Brian Banks – Brian Banks – Brian Banks

Get used to the name, ‘cause you’ll be hearing it often. And may it be for touchdowns and commencement addresses rather than gimmicks or Kardashians, because among other things Brain Banks just may be our answer to Michael Vick. Yet how many men with Banks’ spirit and character are deteriorating right now in American prisons?

At 17, Long Beach Polytechnic High School football star Brian Banks was convicted of kidnapping and raping a female classmate. He did just over 5 years in state prison. When his accuser confessed that she wasn’t raped by Banks, a judge exonerated him. Now 27, the athlete once pursued by USC is hopeful he’ll be given a shot in the NFL, allowing him to fund a documentary about his journey.

Prison is like living in a parking structure overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles and filled with beggars from New Delhi, except these askers don’t want money. They want you to believe they’re innocent. And life behind bars means gettin’ used to these claims: what I call the white noise of innocence. It’s not hard, really, ’cause you tune it out almost immediately. You have to. Before you even hit a real prison yard you’ve heard so many stories of wrongful prosecution you know the idiots from the potentially sincere, the mistaken from the mealy-mouthed. When it comes to inmates’ comprehension of how the court system works and the law in general, you’ve found a bottomless pit of delusion, denial, and distortion.  Read more

Notes from a Non-Parent 5: The Parent-fetish Trap

Q: Are we, who admit to being too selfish for childrearing, freer to enjoy the company of others’ children?

A: Damn right we are, especially with so much predatory marketing keeping parents’ envious eyes on each other. As moms and dads everywhere condemn the current wave of weirdo parenting while trading assurances that their own kids are free of transmissible dysfunction, it’s only gotten that much more entertaining.

I don’t really care about last week’s Time magazine cover of a confused oaf takin’ a pull off his ma’s tap. I don’t care about extended breast feeding’s quasi-cat lady proponents or this beyond tragicomic “pre-mastication” trend. Yet it’s all fodder for the current national yakkety-yak and it’s overtaken my parent-friends’ usual election year/Facebook/reading list talking points. I listen in, but all I seem to hear is how superior they feel for not going to extremes themselves (while their kids kick shit over and scream “shut up!” when someone interrupts their iPhone game).

My wife and I laugh about how parenting can be as extreme as energy pills made from dehydrated placenta. We see the decision to spawn as extreme to begin with, and no cultural child-worship (or pressure from my wife’s mom) is gonna convince us otherwise. Read more

Hey, I Got Your Avengers Right Here…

Only if these two were hiding WMDs and the Avengers were sent to stop ’em would I pay $15 to see a movie about it.

Cinema attendance surges in times of economic insecurity and moral ambivalence, and with storm-troops of superheroes out to crush absurdly irrelevant bad guys, movie escapism isn’t so much offered as detonated. But I can’t help wondering, if the Avengers are so great, why can’t they stop the powdered baby pill smugglers?

I mean, wouldn’t you enjoy watching a superhero tackle just one goddamned oil spill? Ooh, or how about a flying goody-goody facing his or her own demons? Where’s our $200 million movie about a fight to the death with power-sapping civil litigation, or sneak-attacks from the evil Captain Vicodin? Read more