Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Words

These photos make me cry. What a lovely little girl. Canada is full of lovely children like that. This girl. Children everywhere in Canada who fall easily in love with Scott and Tessa.

Skate Canada is apparently very busy bringing in straight, male hockey fans. Little girls will have to keep waiting in line.*

I love this photo. Oxbow students (Scott's alumni) cheering on the cd practice at Canadians 2010.

Why so stupid Skate Canada? Why? WHY?

Okay, that was words.
*Pssst - Skate Canada - little girls - and little boys - have families. I'm just spitballing here  - maybe families are a potential target market for figure skating?

One of "Jess Dube"'s First Ten Facebook Friends

Barb MacDonald, Skate Canada, Director, Corporate Communications April 2010 to present.

Barb came on board a year before BMO took its money and ran. Barb's appointment did not unseat Debbi Wilkes, but perhaps freed up Wilkes for more face time on camera.

Barb says she's based in Ontario and is "Responsible for Internal/External Communications, Media Relations and media operations for Canada's national governing body for figure skating."

Barb has been a "senior communications consultant" since 1996, with a focus on right-wingish Christian ministries and affiliated fundraising.

Her professional bio from facebook:

An Accredited Business Communicator through the International Association of Business Communications. I specialize in providing both strategic and hands-on communications advice and services for a wide range of clients in the sport, business, not-for-profit and ministry sectors. Also serving as venue media manager for major sports events, running the complete spectrum of services to allow journalists and photographers to see the event, gather information, and file stories and photographs on the event.

(I'm a bit "Eh?" about how Canadian figure skaters of different or no religious affiliation feel about a Director of Corporate Communications who leads with a fundie agenda (not politicizing - ask Barb - she's forthright about it)*. I wonder if corporations sharing Barb's affinities are the ones most inclined to sponsor figure skating. Oh well, I'm sure Skate Canada did its usual thorough research before bringing her in.)

 Late one evening, some months back, "Jessica Dube" restricted her original facebook and all of its albums, and that same evening opened a new facebook account called "Jess Dube". Barb MacDonald was immediately on the friends' short list. Very on-the-spot for such a busy woman. 

Now, people interpret Christian doctrine (alternatively - values) differently. But nowhere in the New Testament is an orchestrated, aggressive campaign of misrepresentation and outright lies condoned, not even when the intent is to guard your privacy while stimulating revenue. We know how much Jesus enthused over the virtues of raising money. Am I right? Is there an "improve thy bottom line" teaching in the New Testament? In the Old Testament are there Nostradamus-type dictates on how to act out a lie for the camera as long as the goal is not just a) redirecting the curious from your personal life, but - primarily - b) scamming the public because you aim to take their money?

I guess there's bonus value points when a strategy lets you have it both ways. How to reap the (perceived) advantage$ of accessibility while retaining the protections of privacy and secrecy?


So you create a lie and cook up a proactive marketing scheme openly  instructing people to believe it while prying open their wallets.**

Does the Bible advocate a pattern of media interaction where you raise the topic of people who resist your lies, mock these hypothetical folk, patronize them, then piously empathize with their romantic delusions?

Okay, well, testaments old and new aside, let's consider that, even today, Jesus is said to speak personally through certain right-thinking people. Perhaps He's reassured the SC crowd in person and they've kept it to themselves. I'm gonna guess Jesus is all about situational ethics these days. It’s okay for GOOD people to do wrong things. And it feels like it would be a giant mess to backtrack now so may as well keep digging and save face. 
What genius looks like.
Lastly, what about style? Does Jesus/the Bible prefer the lie that is smart, quiet, tasteful, tactful, seamless, easy-going, adroit, smooth, with softly blurred edges and a steady, consistent message? Is that better than the lie that embarrasses everybody, debases somebody's core emotional integrity in every photo, is sordid on many levels, degrading, mortifying, trashy, creepy, mutually humiliating for subject and audience, sloppy, unsettling, weird, contradictory and grotesque  - while simultaneouly achieving a tone that's self-satisfied, arrogant, obnoxious and douchey? The Bible is mum on style matters, so I guess Skate Canada has been groping in the dark.
*not mentioning the Jews or the gays (Donald Trump taught me to put the "the" in front of different cultures, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations). Cause SC doesn't have no gays. When Alma Moir gave an interview some years back on how Kurt Browning had helped dispel the gay "myth" in figure skating, she cited Brian Boitano as her example of a figure skater who had, sadly, perpetuated skating's gay image. Now Brian Boitano a) has never come out, as far as I'm aware, and b) is American, but that was Alma's go-to example. Out the guy without a qualm, claim he hurt figure skating's image with the public, and tout Kurt Browning, who years later burned his home down with a leaf  blower.

These people.

** a/k/a  hubris (a sin).
Barb MacDonald didn't vacate One Way Ministries until some months after her appointment as Skate Canada's Director of Corporate Communications, and she began servicing Skate Canada long before her appointment to the Directorship.

It's super creepy how SC corporate directors, whose core responsibilities are corporate marketing, sponsor relationship development -  and in Barb's case, some venue/media operational oversight -  are so freaking eager to be personally hands-on with their "stars." Isn't the above a task for a p.a. or PERSONAL (not corporate) PR rep? Debbie "Mac" can't escort VM?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome Back Jessica

It's the off-season. In the area of blog on-topic, off-season could be spent creeped out by the ongoing facebook presentation which continues disturbing, and which, sickeningly, no longer affects only Scott and Tessa, and hasn't for some time. (Ask Anthony Weiner and the little weiner he and Huma Abedin have in the oven. Post Weiner-gate, every reporter on the planet lectured him for not understanding that the internet is FOREVER and his choices would be little weiner's problem too one day.)

Grade school kids go online. Grade schoolers in years to come will go online, see the pictures, and comment to a fellow student too young to comfortably explain. I know I'd love discovering how, in my infancy, my dad had been in the news as attending my uncle's wedding with some woman other than mom, a woman said to be dad's girlfriend, while I didn't exist and mom pretended to be off in Spain all by her lonesome. And would I ever appreciate my friends' ability to eyeball archives of the "gf"'s copious love yous, amoreuxs, mon chums, j taimes, heart emoticons, winks, bfs and m'ennuies aimed at daddy for the entertainment of thousands, stored for eternity on hard drives; the many many tasteful Punta Cana romantic getaway photos which sit in the computer storage of countless fans; and the "gf"'s 2009 My Year facebook collage, which can be found most anywhere. And there's dad's endearing published remark that his "gf" finds it annoying when people think he's with my mom. Oh yeah.

(Oh - goes without saying -  the pride I'd feel watching video of mum and dad's historic Olympic triumph, its run-up and aftermath, some other lady in the camera's face purporting to be Daddy's woman.)

The foresight - it impresses.

Danny Moir married in Mexico, but Tessa says she went to Spain. Okay. Set aside this blog's perspective expressed above and below, and consider just this - why would any Virtue admit to attending Danny Moir's wedding? If Tessa attended - how suspicious! I mean, it's not like the younger Virtues grew up with the Moirs as family, it's not as if Danny Moir, most especially, was ever tight with any non-Tessa member of the Virtue family, and it's not as if he was a significant influence in both Tessa and Scott's life from their childhood til now. It's certainly not as if both Virtues and Moirs have ever continually emphasized their family ties, highlighted most especially in that inventive chronicle, Virtue and Moir: Our Journey From Childhood Dream to Gold. Besides, that memoir, like all their public output, is a combination of inartfully rearranged truth and complete crap. So, pshaw. Why would Tessa attend Danny's wedding?

If Tessa were on record as a wedding guest, some might think Tessa and Scott were together. I mean - it's training break! They are never near each other during training break. Not even for Danny freaking Moir's wedding. The only reason they're together constantly the rest of the year is they're ice dance partners. The second training break hits they immediately let it be known they will not so much as breathe the same air for an instant in their haste to be continents apart.

The paranoia - it staggers. It overwhelms everything - consistency, a coherent public narrative, common sense.

Even with the release of yet another appalling un-couple photo-op (or two) establishing Jessica's presence, the public could not for a moment be allowed to think Tessa attended Danny's wedding. What the hell do we think this is - August (Leanne Moir)? Tessa only attends Moir weddings in August (Charlie Moir)!

This mindset long ago crossed the line from image management to crazy town.

Would Scott have enjoyed any of this as a kid, awareness that his mom had pretended to be with someone other than Joe in Punta Cana, and in many other odious photos, as well as in other high profile media imagery for the world to see? His dad pretending to be with someone else? His parents continually denying each other in public more than Peter denied Christ?

Was it assumed all of this material would disappear once the perceived need was past, simply by restricting (but not really) facebooks after the horse had left the barn? Is that why their prolific photographic output and revolting content rivals that of a sham relationship wire service? Which continues even after someone else is involved, somone who will feel it years from now? Let's hope the someone doesn't grow up the sensitive type, but genetic odds are against it.

Oy. I thought this post was going to say that as it's summer, the blog could turn a bit of attention to Jessica's comeback, but - the other stuff just comes out. Scott and Tessa may be Olympic champions, but in the face-saving department, they're more spineless than many ordinary people. Most people lack Scott and Tessa's excruciating, and, IMO, destructive self-consciousness. Or inability understand that when it comes to advice-heeding, experience does not equal competence. A whole bunch of mediocre figure skaters, corporate lawyers and coaches/judges elevated to the Skate Canada bureaucracy does not render them capable in business development, public relations, marketing and social media strategies, no matter how many years of experience they have fucking it all up. This is intuitive - you don't see many USFSA figure skaters at any level joining up with their Fed like mindless automotons - they pay lip service, but where it counts, they use their brains. Then there's Scott and Tessa, a couple of rote-ishly obedient skate bots, striving year after year to achieve straight A's in a curriculum designed by quacks.

Okay, I think that's out of my system for the moment - it's been awhile.

Let's say hi to Dube/Wolfe. Jessica and Sebastien have won a summer competition in Liberty, Pennsylvania. Per one report:
The new team of Jessica Dube and Sebastien Wolfe made their debut in the pairs free skate. The nerves showed for Wolfe, who struggled on lifts, but their jumping elements were strong.

Jumping element.
Pre-novice run-through
Jessica/Sebastien executing lift popular with tiny pairs girls
goofing around outside bars when they're really drunk.

Second lift - exciting variant.
Third lift.
When this pairing was announced, Annie Barabe remarked that immediately she was struck by Jessica and Sebastien's power and matching lines. Bryce struggled with his flexibility. Not so, per Barabe, Sebastien:
So there's that.
Before Bryce's injury, Jessica and Bryce had reportedly enhanced the difficulty of their death spiral. It didn't go so well when they unveiled their short program in last summer's competition, but no doubt this was owing to a partnership past its sell-by date wreaking havoc on Jessica's morale. While Jessica and Sebastien:
There she is.
Gosh darn that Wolfe and his nerves.

Any slip-ups are down to Sebastien, as he, like Bryce, is the inferior partner. (Per fsu, the way to tell the inferior from the better partner is leg lines.) 

Finally, we recall that at the time she ended her partnership with Bryce, Jessica announced she was making a lot of changes. This amounted to staying in the same place, with the same coach, training in pairs and aiming towards the same goals, but producing a lesser product. On the upside, more time for One Tree Hill reruns and runs to Starbucks. It also represents the restoration of the rightful order, which is Jessica as the acknowledged stronger, more accomplished partner. It was getting a little uncomfortable with Bryce - him musical, dynamic and consistent, her a sack of wet cement. So, phew.

Post-Liberty she and Annie expressed hopes for Skate Canada, a podium finish at the 2012 Nationals, and that D/W would receive international assignment(s) in the upcoming competitive season. And she's continuing in singles. And surely none of us doubt that Jessica will fulfill her announced intention to attend Montreal's Concordia University this autumn, with a concentration in "communications". She's sure to be a natural.