Thursday, February 28, 2013

This is a P.J. Kwong interview with Jeffrey Buttle about his choreoraphy for Patrick Chan's short program. The part of Buttle's answer to the question about what he's learned from David Wilson* that applies to the current discussion on the blog is this:
This is such a simplified way of putting it but that age old rule for women when you get ready to go out and you look yourself in the mirror and you take one thing off. It's sort of that - that simplified idea. It's that more often than not, less is more. You look at a skater's style and you - the less complicated a movement is, the more effective it can be. and he taught me that, he taught me the art of less is more. It's just ... doing it properly. In most recent years, watching [Patrick] skate, he's so powerful, he's such a powerful skater, and he's capable of doing all of this, all the moves, big leaps, and I just sort of wanted him to try something different. And as a general rule I find that as skaters mature ... as Michelle became a greater skater for example, it became less busy. The choreography became less busy. It became more about showing the maturity of her skating. And he's at that point where he's such a strong skater he can sustain such a gorgeous beautiful edge and I wanted to give him the opportunity to do that, to hold and sustain these moments. 
The emphasis in italics is mine.

Mature skating" doesn't mean style or persona (an example of that would be the worldly Argentine tango style projected by Domnina and Shabalin in their Olympic cd).

Mature skating means "fully developed."  The skater is in complete command of his or her skating to the point where they can skate anything.

"Simple" doesn't mean "basic" "simplistic" or "easy" here. It means there's nothing unnecessary to the moment or movement. A movement can be complex, with an extraordinary degree of difficulty, without being complicated if its components are integral and if the movement evolves.

Davis and White are mature skaters (age and experience) who aren't showing mature skating. Their skating is busy.

CoP does pressure skaters to hit their elements, get their levels in the elements by showing the features of the highest level, but Virtue and Moir have been able to do that while showing mature skating - fully developed skating.

I don't think the system should be used to help a skater or skating team conceal the aspects of their skating that aren't developed, particularly if the undeveloped aspects of their skating are true partnering skills and the run of blade that go to the core of ice dance. A skating team that is athletic with eye-catching tricks but doesn't demonstrate the fully developed skating of another team that also has the elements and the difficulty should not be scored on par with or higher than that other team - ever.

In pairs, Shen and Zao had impressive qualities when they first hit the scene - athletic talent, big tricks (the sort of tricks that are actually required in pairs skating, not trickery that gets around shortcomings of basic skating and partnering). They made the podium, but they didn't start winning against the other big teams until their skating became fully developed. And that's pairs. I think the same is the least that can be asked of ice dance.

*It's a bit of an eye roller that these remarks are Jeff explaining what he's learned from David Wilson, choreographer of the sleep aid that was D&D's long program years on end. But I'll put that down to Jessica - he did do a terrific Carmen for them, but afterwards it seems she made it clear she preferred to keep skating to variations on The Blowers Daughter. And he does do those 'Everybody Point!' pieces for Yuna's show, but if you can get money for nothing, why not.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What a racket (DW and speed, DW and everything)

This is supplemental to the post below.

During the heyday of the sham with Jessica I tried to connect what fans were saying about the vibe between Jessica and Bryce on the ice 'after Scott' and reality.

To that end, and to supplement my own knowledge (and to road test what I already understood about fans) I watched a ton of D&D (and even D&T). What I saw was Jessica was always Jessica. The face slash didn't change her, the sham (or what fans believed to be "the relationship with Scott and issue with Bryce") didn't change her. Debbi Wilkes, of all authorities, was talking about Jessica's motivational crisis back in the mid-00's.

Jessica was always accident prone, always moody. If fans online had paid attention, they'd have noted how the launch of the sham (spring 2007 - shortly after the face slash) - simultaneously marked the strongest season of D&D's career. In 2007-2008 they had a disappointing Canadians, but whatever accounted for it, it wasn't lack of preparation; their basic skating was gorgeous. They refocused and got bronze at Worlds.

In 2009 Menage a Trois sur la Glace was unleashed and the fandom re-wrote history based on what they decided to take away from that wonderful shot across the bow.

So, I've now been spending time watching DW going back to 2007-2008 season through today. And I think their reputation for speed and power is due every bit as much to the power of suggestion as the supposed Scott-based rift between D&D. DW have something else in common with D&D - the same program with the same elements with the same accents, set to different music.

These comments are going to be rough - as in - I'm setting down observations; they haven't been fully processed and organized. But I think they're worth making anyway. Here are some more or less random takeaways:

The team is not nearly as fast or powerful as VM - not pre-Vancouver, and not now. 

They 'rotate' fast - they appear to turn quickly on their own axis - although not as quickly as it 'appears', and Charlie especially tends to slam in and out of any rotational move with a great flourish of his hair and his arm.

Almost all of the impression of speed and power is down to gratuitous rotation - and not changing edges or holds either - just - throw a quick turn in here and make it look flashy!

Rotation is the bedrock of their impression of speed - when in doubt - rotate! Ignore that almost all of it is stationary and executed independently of the partnership. But they're not covering ice. A comment underneath the post below is exactly right - they are intense, they're rotating, but that second set of twizzles is practically stationary, not just this season, but in past seasons.

Another slow element - the lifts. He might be swinging her around like he's fending off smoke in a room on fire, but he's not covering real estate.

She repeatedly skips with little running steps, he repeatedly lifts her from one side of himself to the other side - or pulls her from one side to the other as they traverse any stretch of ice. This accomplishes two things - they can cover as much ice as possible without stroking and blade run, and Meryl and Charlie don't have to skate together. They don't need to get those edges close to each other's, no unison, no interdependent movement. It keeps them conveniently apart while they're hustling in the same direction.

And the lifts are static. They get into them with her getting flipped onto his back (again, an entrance VM did as teens) - not even a supported cartwheel - or doing a quick turn and jump (VM as teens), and it's one position of hers for each position of his - there's none of her twisting and changing in space. It's all first we'll do this shape then we'll do that shape.

DW are doing a LOT of Belbin Agosto stuff. Difference being, Meryl is smaller and lighter, so her legs don't dangle as close to the ice, and the entire stretch of her body with legs split doesn't equal Charlie's height, so the moves seem less awkward. But they're very similar moves. Tanith, btw, last year said she found it difficult to do Weaver & Poje's lifts (they pitched in with BOTB). Presumably, she had her own down. And these are the lifts DW are doing. Does the math mean DW's lifts aren't as challenging as Weaver & Poje's? 

Belbin Agosto rotational 2006

Samson and Delilah 2009

Tango 2011

Die Fleudermaus 2012

Notre Dame 2013

Tango 2011
Die Fleudermaus 2012

Come on - seriously?
Latin sd 2013
DW had what Rod Black called a spectacular lift in their Phantom program. Charlie is gliding backwards on a flat, free leg extended behind him, Meryl balancing on his back and thigh.
  • Unsaid - it's a flat.
  • He's moving as slowly as Maxim Shabalin moves gliding forward on a flat, free leg semi-bent behind him, toting Oksana.
  • Meryl pops down on two feet and they immediately do knee slides and take a break (music transition).
Conversely, Tessa does the goose in Mahler and immediately she and Scott take off in full flight in their program off her set down.

Other notes - lots of dragging Meryl on the ice, minus only Domnina and Shabalin's straps (it's a BA style drag - he drags Meryl on her blades). I'm not referring to their Olympic program, but all of their programs.

Charlie is always slamming his moves.  However his edges are not gliding across the ice with the power of his energetic from the waist up head and arm flourishes.

There's lots and lots of pumping from both of them.

They rush the hell out of their transitions like - no time to take time - we're going too fast!

The choreography repeatedly cues the audience.

Except again, look at how much ice they're covering (or not).

The 2011 Worlds fd was a whole lot more labored than I remembered.

The dance spin always starts with a back outside edge from both of them, and except for one fd, Meryl always changes positions mid spin using a pirhouette (not edges, changes positions).

Meryl pirhouettes a lot. It's the spin transition, a footwork transition, a lift set down transition.

This is a smoke and mirrors rivalry and Virtue Moir are getting the short end of the stick despite being miles ahead of DW in ability and execution.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

OT - how have Meryl and Charlie improved since 2008-2009?

This is OT  but as D/W've spent yet another season with astronomical scores, and declarations that they're on par with Virtue Moir, I'd like to know how their skating has improved since they were 4th at the World Championships in 2009.

If one looks at Mahler and compares it with any subsequent fd of Virtue and Moir, we can see Virtue and Moir are now faster, considerably more powerful, and have kicked their twizzles into a whole other realm. There is no comparison between the team they were then and the team they are now. Their choreography has become more challenging. Their elements have become more challenging. The entrances and exits to the twizzles, the unison, the control, the speed - it's night and day and they were good back then. Their Mahler lifts look like junior skater lifts compared to what they're doing now. Their overall power blows what they did in Mahler out of the water - they cover a tremendous amount of ice in a single stroke, their patterns are huge.

Of course the ISU doesn't give a shit about that stuff.

I would ascribe it to Tessa being able to put on muscle, train like an athlete instead of using off-ice time for so much pt, which allows her to get deeper into the ice and generate more power. It opens up the possibilities for the two of them and they've taken full advantage.

Meryl and Charlie - same twizzles, same rotational lift (which is the rotational lift used by Belbin/Agosto - so, a 2006-era rotational lift), same dance spin done the same way (once they're in it). Their elements haven't changed at all. But they're getting scored like they've transformed themselves. How have they transformed themselves? They're the same skaters.

What accounts for it? Compared to 2008-2009, Meryl is better at finishing her movements, but neither one of them really uses their entire body to hit their lines - which is okay because they barely ever hold a line more than an instant - and obviously, CoP doesn't particularly care about that type of refinement (not just with them, but with skaters like Yuna Kim, for instance, with a poverty of movement from the knees up). Davis White's phrasing of their programs tends to blur to one note as the skating season goes on; they become more frenetic as they push themselves to be as fast - or at least as constantly busy - as they can.

Marina has created 'busier' choreography that enhances the appearance of tons of action, but it's not skating-centric busyness, and the element execution is the same. They are still choppy, they still generate speed by pushing, running, flinging and racing - and, if we stuck VM on the ice with them to compare - are they really going that fast? I don't think they're faster than Virtue Moir - I think VM are deeper, faster and more powerful with their stroking than Davis White, and move with greater ease and freedom. Their bodies are more open, there's no apparent "work". I think Davis White are 'quicker'.

I have been thinking about this for awhile, but I realized yesterday, while watching video of a Shib show rehearsal, that I've really been thinking about it. How for all the talk of rivalry nobody specifies what it is that makes Meryl and Charlie so close to Virtue Moir as figure skaters.

It's clear to me they don't have Virtue and Moir's power in their stroking. The "power" seems to be in flashy athletic moves, not the actual skating. They push, pull, run and scramble across the ice. Their patterns are nowhere near as huge as VM's anymore.

At -- Worlds 2012? GPF 2011, Meryl/Charlie and Scott/Tessa came out during practice and mimicked the opening movements of the Shibs' fd. Look at the difference between how the two teams move. Of course it's just opening choreography, but the difference between each team's clarity of movement is night and day. Even in those brief seconds I'd say VM are moving more powerfully, more easily, and cover more ice per step doing Shib steps. VM are actually even quicker.
The immediately obvious difference here is the same difference evident when they do their free skate. Virtue and Moir are the more powerful and the faster, but we're not allowed to notice that. It's supposed to be speed and power versus grace and detail. But VM have DW beaten in both categories.

In the rehearsal video of the Shibs yesterday. I saw deep knees, incredibly smooth skating, great control, lots of unison and speed. When they were juniors, they were graceful, but a bit slow and not dynamic. They've made huge strides in speed, power, unison and clarity and ease of movement. Lots of move as one (which is what connection means in figure skating). Their programs are arguably not as difficult as Meryl and Charlie's, but they strike me as much finer dancers and basic skaters, yet since their Worlds bronze medal they're getting crapped on (yes they have had some stumbles, but even when they skate beautifully they are no longer scored near DW in TES or components - I don't think).

The Olympic gold and silver medalists have continued to compete against each other and to be scored within a hair's breath - at least at major events where they compete against each other, the scores get a little bit closer. During the GP, DW's scores blow VM's out of the water, and let's not even talk about their respective nationals. The agenda at the US event appears to be to establish Meryl/Charlie as the best in the world, far out of even VM's reach, and the agenda at Canadians seems to be to establish Gilles/Poirier as the heirs to Virtue Moir.

The gold medalists have improved their skating on every level.The silver medalists have maintained their form, but the message we're supposed to hear is that DW are better or on par with VM. How do the gold medalists improve and the silver medalists maintain, but on the score sheet the silver medalists have advanced to where they're breathing down VM's neck? How does that happen? The team that stayed in place has somehow advanced on a better team that grew still more.

For God's sake, they beat VM on components which should never ever happen in any universe of figure skating, let alone ice dance.

I think their supporters would argue that Meryl and Charlie are finally being appreciated - that they were held down by politics in 2008-2009 (and yes, that result at Worlds was a joke).

But, it remains when I look at their skating from 2008-2009, they're the same skaters today doing the same elements the same way. All they change is their packaging. Die Fliedermaus was the same skating in a waltz package - the program, music, choreoraphy danced - the skaters did not, the elements did not. This year, they're trying to skate in a chemistry package - lots of beseeching arms and fevered facial expressions - still the same skating though - not just how they're skating it - but what they're skating. Is that rotational lift carrying through from 2008 to Sochi or will they actually do something different instead of claiming they are. The only time they actually did something different - the tango - they kept having to simplify it - taking out choreographic detail Moir and Virtue have been able to do since they were both teen-agers.

Virtue Moir have grown tremendously where it counts - where the blade meets the ice. But the scores ignore it.  It makes no sense at all. How have Meryl and Charlie improved since 2008-2009? They are strong individual skaters, in tremendous physical condition but what about their actual skating supports a claim that they are neck-and-neck with VM in ability?

I know CoP doesn't care, but in all the time DW have skated together, and their claims of connection, I've never seen either one react to or take an adjustment based off the other one while they're skating, which is something skaters with a connection should be able to do in a mutually interdependant sport.
P.S. - if there's validity to these observations, I'll go further and say it has nothing to do with Marina politicking for DW.  It's an ISU thing - or the egregiously scratchy, shallow skating of G&P wouldn't have been scored as it was at the 4CCs. IMO in the short at Canadians GP didn't lay down nearly what Paul Islam did but still outscored them - and in that short Paul Islam matched whatever particular assets GP bring to the table. They were fast.  Their twizzles, edges and unison crushed GP.

Is the ISU afraid when Virtue Moir retire there is nobody like them left, so they're overvaluing - once again - hugely theatrical, bombastic performance styles and just looking the other way at the actual skating? The type of thing that made ice dance a joke prior to CoP establishing real criteria?

Is it because Meryl/Charlie are more accessible, dance every dance (so to speak) while VM are mysterious, apart, at times appear to project the belief that they think they're the smartest people in the room, and keep pushing their programs to where, if the ISU appreciated it, it would force the ISU to, you know, work harder, and force the judges and so called tech callers (who don't seem to be actual specialists, but more on par with assignees) to see better and improve their understanding of the sport?

P.S. this is the best place to throw this in - I've read (Sinead Kerr) and heard of (Kurt Browning, for God's sake) people questioning why there's no deduction for stopping a program and then resuming, as if these fine skaters and other people had never heard of such a thing until Virtue and Moir, as if Virtue and Moir got special treatment or slid through a loophole.

Where were these thoughtful people when Zhang & Zhang won the silver medal at the Torino Olympics after they had to stop their program because she landed a throw in a painful split? They got their bearings and resumed and won silver. At a TEB some years ago, Craig Buntin sliced his hand in the middle of a program. They had to stop and bandage his hand to staunch the bleeding. They then resumed, and made the podium. Alex Shibutani experienced a quad spasm, stopped, then he and Maia resumed their program. In all cases the public response was how heroic the skaters were, and good for them! It was a feel good story in the cases of those who resumed and did well enough for a podium finish. Inspiring triumph over adversity.

But VM? It's all "Don't get me wrong - they're one of the best teams ever but should this be allowed?"

What the hell. Is it so threatening to have that much talent?

P.S. I read so much on line fantasizing about the atmosphere at Arctic Edge - fans creating fan fiction, doing a whole lot of projecting, and then adopting their fan fiction and projections as fact. For some fans, it's now fact that things are terribly strained between DW and VM. Prior to this season, it was fact that DW were Igor's creatures and VM were Marina's creatures; one fan insisted it was well known abroad that Meryl and Igor were an item.

Lo and behold Igor is ousted and both teams remain. In this case, it was actually VM who issued the warmest and most sensible remarks on the situation - they kept themselves out of it while letting it be understood they were aware of the issue between Marina and Igor and agreed with the outcome (i.e., Scott saying "They had to part ways". Since Igor disagreed that they had to part ways, that would suggest Scott sees the situation from Marina's perspective). Saying that, they called Igor a friend and expressed confidence in his future success, as well as appreciation for all he'd done while working with them.

Of course Tessa gets her ass chewed later after the season started for saying that change is good and she'd told Margolio she had a renewed appreciation for skating.

While DW's recent remarks got a bye from the fandom. They were extremely chilly. They said it was none of their business, that it had nothing to do with them, and as they knew they were staying at Arctic Edge they focused on their own training, the end.

These were the remarks from the team the entire fandom insisted belonged to Igor, declared they KNEW DW belonged to Igor, and that their loyalty lay with him. And here DW let it be known that when the issues came up, in their view Igor was nonessential - Marina was essential and they considered training at Arctic Edge to = training with her.

A lot of the fandom either just wanked political reasons for why DW chose Igor (they weren't FREE to follow their hearts!) or ignored that DW's choice violated what they claimed was received wisdom. And it's the same now with DW versus VM on a personal level. Make shit up and carry on as if it's now established fact.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How's she liking her demotion?

I'm working on a new banner for the blog, which, in addition to choosing photos, involves pulling together quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scottie Pippen, Scott Disick and Scott Baio, maybe Tennessee Williams and absolutely Walt Whitman, because for all Cassandra's F. Scott-centricity nobody in American literature really expresses Cassandra Hilborn's newfound self-grandiosity like Walt.  ETA: The quote fits the persona CH is attempting to put across but ended up not fitting the banner. Maybe I can use it if the banner changes for the summer vacation consumation photos, where we'll be informed without a shadow of a doubt due to beach shots in skimpy swimwear taken at a sunny resort, that Scott Moir, daddy of a toddler, husband to Tessa Virtue, is now fucking Cassandra Hilborn. Because we need to see it. Facebook profile shots don't satisfy this people.

In the choosing photos part I returned to this lovely shot:

Which has one comment urging her to go be a star. Girl is too gorgeous for London.

She's trying, Candice! She's trying!

The photo won't be in the banner, but in the interests of research I clicked on the "like" button to see who might be suddenly liking it every time Cass Brook uploads a photo. Look who likes it:

That is some kind of friendly.

It's really nice that Scott can bed hop like this and the girls stay friends and admire each other's facebook poses. It's almost as pleasant as things tend to be back in Canton when Fedor finishes with Tanith, hops onto Tessa, hops off Tessa, jumps onto Jana, then scoops up Meryl. The girls all stay besties.

Come to think of it - Quebec and Ontario have one-upped Michigan, because Jess and Cass didn't just stay friends after Scott segued to Cass, it strengthened their connection.*

Of course, this shot hit facebook about a month before Cassandra's opening night, which was, as we recall, in "M'ovember", but I don't think it's stretching things to assume Jess had a good idea things were heating up to epic literature proportions and fast between Cassandra Hilborn and Jess's former amoreux.

I also have to wonder why in his photos with his passion du jour, Scott kisses or gets kissed, but Tessa doesn't even hold hands. It's almost like he agrees to double down on making it convincing as long as he's assured Tessa isn't doing anything at all, not even for the camera.

*Boy, if Worlds is the Sham Shindig it's setting up to be, I'm looking for some mega lip locking on instagram and twitter either during Words itself, or afterwards when Scott and Cassandra can finally be together in their swimsuits as Cassandra so eagerly anticipates, highlighted with admiring remarks by Jess. "Trop hot!"

Forget that it's revolting with a child in the picture (or actually, the child is not in the picture, but Daddy's fake girlfriend is, macking all over him). There's some being right to do!

#Moirs #winning

Cassandra's facebook showboating and twitter showboating read like "Look sweetie how hot your dad is for me! I'm hot for him too!"

The boys could learn from the girls here, huh. There was Bryce back in '09, whinging a bit to the camera that it was difficult to see Jessica with her boyfriend (who was Scott MOIR), and here the girls see passing the guy around as a bonding experience.

It's all so role-modely and clean cut and gosh darn Canadian and wholesome it can only have been inspired by the folks in Ilderton Ontario.

P.S. - you know what's really sad? Daddy is the first man in a child's life. I look at the (limited) pictures of Charlie Moir and his daughter, and what appears to be the love and happiness in his face, and I think - I hope this is what it looks like, because that's a lucky little girl. 

By any measure, a child of Scott Moir's should be incredibly lucky. An amazing masculine role model. Loving. Incredibly responsible. Works his ass off. Devoted. If there's ever someone willing to show up for the scut, it's him. Treats mommy like gold. Funny. Kind of the template for how a man should be  - it's a set up to make any kid feel secure.

But then THIS shit. Trash all that crap because you know what matters? One upmanship. And daddy doesn't have the balls to draw the line.

When you love somebody - it's even WORSE when you come across stuff that's unsettling or confusing. Of course Scott and Tessa will "explain" what we've already seen as well as what we're in for with Worlds 2013. But kids aren't robots you can program and they're not sponges either. They want to see things for themselves and figure it out for themselves and decide for themselves. And what's been done during Scott and Tessa's eligible career is a recipe for insecurity and doubt. Scott, with his own insecurities and ultra sensitivities, ought to be more aware of this than anyone.

Ilderton Ontario Moir

What if Scott and Tessa's changed their child's legal name to Ilderton Ontario Moir, and just continued using the child's current given name in private.

Last time Scott was in the Kiss'n'Cry after a complete program (the 4CC short dance) he thumped his chest so hard during his customary Ilderton shout out one of the microphones in the space reverbed.

It's going to be great to look back and see Ilderton - an entire town - carrying more status with your parents than you do. 

This could be averted by changing the child's official name to Ilderton. The child would become an instant mascot for the paternal side of the family and a walking billboard of sorts - thus doing their bit for the cause (as if they're not already doing plenty with the whole "pretending you don't exist" bit). And Scott and Tessa could finally blow kisses to and acknowledge their own kid with nobody the wiser. Place names for children are very popular - look at all the Bronx's, Brooklyns, Indias, Montanas. I, personally, know a woman named Texas. "Ilderton" wouldn't be the worst.

Here are Scott and Tessa skating in Colorado in 2006. It's not their finest hour. It's not so much because of the errors.  Scott handles Tessa like a sack of wet laundry, and the more they stumble, the worse he gets. It's like she disappears and he's just in his own stew. He leaves her hanging.

After Marina gives him what appears to be a meaningful look, she leaves them to receive their scores. While enduring the long wait for the marks, Scott is sullen, and Tessa valiently picks up the slack. Then she starts waving and blowing kisses to different friends, and Scott starts giving her names to add. It turns cute, and she pats his knee. The wait for scores is forever, and it's filled by saying hi to friends.

It's cute because they're so young. As they made their mark in seniors, they stopped doing the name-by-name shout out to school friends.

That's something mostly kids enjoy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I'm Scott Moir. I'm not gay.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

When Scott was shamming with Jessica, some Jessica partisans claimed that the reason Jessica had a pattern of lifting her leg on facebook and pissing all over her amoureux to mark her turf at the very times Scott and Tessa were most in the spotlight was because she was very understandably insecure about the attention Scott and Tessa received. The theory went that Scott indulged her because he was devoted like that. Even though he himself preferred to shun social media most of the time.

When the 2013 Canadians were upon us, Scott made a point to reiterate that neither he nor Tessa were on the internet. More than that - they were special - they were the only skaters not on the internet, claimed Scott.

If a guy brags about not being on the web, shies away from discussing his private life with any consistency or specificity, but at the same time continually has a girlfriend who is on the web spelling.out. for strangers exactly what her relationship with Scott is, complete with hearts, smooches, gushes and labels (and absolutely no humor or normalcy - just 100% mash notes)*, and the people involved are in their freaking mid-twenties but it's always the tritest - and the web is where 99% of this relationship takes place - what does it look like?

Scott Moir. He's not gay.

You have to wonder if that's not part of it, Moirville-wise too. Scott is denying he's with Tessa. Well then, get him a girlfriend so people know he's not gay. Say it over and over and over - he is the BOYfriend of a FEMALE - just not Tessa.  See - kisses! See - the girl herself adores him - can't get enough of him! Has to tell the world!

Maybe this is Moirville's way of making sure Scott doesn't contribute to figure skating's "gay image" the way that Brian Boitano did. He's straight like Kurt Browning.

P.S. - it goes without saying that because the sham takes place on social media, the girl comes off like a bunny boiler. Instantly she's obsessed. She can talk of nothing but Scott, and she can't talk about Scott in any normal way - she's continually cooing, fawning and slobbering over him like she's just discovered her girl parts. Frankly, it's icky, and although it's a complete sham, it's TMI in style. Nobody needs to know that you're twitching without your boyfriend. What do you do when he comes "home" - fire a canon full of rose petals before hurling your body on top of him while screaming with joy? Do you put you cell on speaker so everyone can share? The friends these two girls "share" with come across like voyeurs who get off on Scott + girl the way fans get off on Downton Abbey. Oh tell us more you fantastic duo! I just squeal when I think about it! It's better than Fifty Shades of Gray. You guys make me feel all gushy inside.

There's something wrong with these people.  

*While doing a whole lot of self-aggrandizing quote hawking.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

Jessica's just blown the salchow, the first throw, and her and Bryce's Olympic dream.
Look at Debbi  Wilkes. I think she needs to mix up her game.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Evan and Tanith versus Scott and social media girlfriends

Although I've referenced Evan Lysacek and Tanith Belbin many times in the past, it still squicks me out a bit to straight up call them a sham, even though I believe they were a straight up sham. But at some point I have to own what I think, and as this is a blog and not a news site, I am going to declare that I believe they were never romantically involved for the reason most people would guess it never happened, and the relationship existed to buy the glamorous ice dancer a little privacy in her actual private life, and to create an official private life for Evan.

For Evan, I think his perceived need for an "official" private life had a lot more to do with his show business aspirations, and what he felt would make him an appealing endorsement prospect then with any pandering to the supposed prejudice of the U.S. figure skating audience or the USFSA.

There may have been a little pandering to Scott Hamilton involved as well.

When they became a "couple" they were an "official" couple. They released an account of their relationship to the mainstream media. (They became closer during the tour, they liked a lot of the same things, his family loved her, her family liked him, it was just perfect.) After they broke up, Evan mourned a bit in New York magazine.

It wasn't like this:

Oh he's just thrilled. And so convincing.
Hide and seek, baiting and switching, setting up stings, but most of all - KEEPING IT OUT OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA. Tanith and Evan were never "now you see it, now you don't" which appears to be the staple of the operating procedure for the Cassandra Sham. Why do they want to be seen but not seen? What are they avoiding?

From the start the thing with Jessica was markedly stupider than the deal with Tanith/Evan, yet the Canadian media all pretended it wasn't.

How does a guy whose girlfriend
  • is an Olympic teammate (on a small figure skating team) 
  • whose youtube video where her face is sliced open has gotten millions of hits and was mentioned in the NY Times,
  • who was a figure skating Olympian for Canada at the same time HE was a Canadian Olympian, skating on prime time national network television to The Way We Were with her official "ex" boyfriend who was "ex" because Scott Moir was her "now" boyfriend,
  • a girl who is continually interviewed by the same outlets that interview him,
manage to keep the girl's name unattached to his in just about every piece of mainstream figure skating journalism for his entire figure skating career? How do these journalists interview her and then turn around and interview him, ask him if he's dating Tessa and he says no, and they don't say - yah that's right, I just interviewed your girlfriend Jessica last week? How is she reacting to all this?

How is it that not once was Scott asked by Tracy, Debbi, P.J. or any of the sports/entertainment media types - "your girlfriend is Jessica Dube. She was the bronze medalist in 2008 with her partner when you and Tessa won silver in dance. 2 years later - you won gold in Vancouver and she and her partner had a disappointing competition."

"Is there jealousy? How is she handling it? Does it have an effect?"

Or Rod Black: "Three nights ago, Jessica Dube and her partner saw their Olympic dream die on this ice. And now - here she is. The moment. Watching her boyfriend Scott Moir. Win the gold medal. Olympic champion."

Seriously? Rod Black never wanted to emote all that?

Scott, I believe, never even said "my girlfriend" on video or podcast. He'd only even say that much in print. Otherwise, it was awkward, hedging, hypothetical, conditional clauses.

Jessica Dube sits right in the middle of his family on national television - placed there to be seen by us -  just days after she and her partner skated in front of Canada, on Canadian ice, and were disappointed, and of course the networks that spent millions for the Olympics - and figure skating is the crown jewel of the winter Olympics, and these skaters are Canadian skating in Canada - the major broadcast media worldwide didn't acknowledge her.
Because ... they were respecting the super duper private Scott and Jessica who shied away from discussing their love in nicely packaged mainstream media soundbites? Scott and Jessica preferred to kiss and cuddle and coo and smarm in front of thousands of strangers on social media?

The photo above of Tanith/Evan was taken in 2008 on the red carpet in connection with I believe a Tom Collins party. Tanith Belbin was still competing with Ben Agosto. They were USFSA stars, popular Olympic silver medalists, and aiming for Vancouver. If the whole point of appearing at fashion shows, on red carpets, and other mainstream events is to promote yourself as a brand with your partner (as Scott and Tessa purportedly did the entire year following their win) - then why did Tanith run around appearing at events with Evan? Why didn't she stick with her own platonic partner, Ben, promoting the two of them as a brand and a duo? She and Ben were still mid-career - they were aiming for Vancouver.

But Tanith had no problem making appearances in her own right with her official boyfriend who was also a figure skater and a teammate.

But not Scott.

How come it's okay to roll around in the sand with Jessica on facebook in front of thousands but she can't make it to the Gemini awards as Scott's date (Scott can still present with Tessa on stage)? How come Scott and Tessa are all over Canada appearing together and but Jessica is never there as part of the action (a la Tanith tagging along the time Meryl and Charlie threw out the first pitch at a baseball game)?

How come in between taking care of her chores Cassandra Holbin tweets her head off about Scott Moir and wishing she could go to Japan, but apparently (and I'm ready to be corrected) she doesn't weigh in with support when he and Tessa have to stop the program?

How come Scott only shows up on a three degree of separation facebook album with his girlfriend but the girl doesn't show up with him anywhere else?

And what happened to the whole cuddly, romantic, Dominican '09, Mexico '2010 and Xmas kissy style? Why is it now mostly group poses with Scott's eyes hitting anyplace but his girlfriend's face? What are they ducking? Why do they want to show but not show? Why show at all if you're going to play this game?

Why don't they keep the Cassandra/Scott photos to "secret" facebooks if they're so gun shy? Why does someone whose facebook is publicly visible have to have the photos? Why are so many of Cassandras albums private but she makes sure Scott's presence can be seen by any random creeper?

And why are his "girlfriends" - both of them - so absolutely crazy for showing off their relationship on social media platforms when Scott Moir himself isn't on social media?

We all know the answer. I'm sorry, you have to be willfully not wanting it to be true, invested in some fan way, not to understand that these relationships exist in two dimensions only and even then it's not enough to make Scott comfortable.

The blog has said this before - many times. And a question that keeps coming up, coming up, coming up, is how can people who know him and love him stand to see this year after year?

I get why he does it. He's pleasing other people. That's part of who is he is - the people he's pleasing have emotional power over him.

But why do they LET him? Why does the older generation support it? Why don't they give up their self-interest and say - live your life, that's much more important than how we can capitalize on yours and Tessa's success, or from associating ourselves with you, or promoting ourselves with you. You've helped us out four years now, live for yourself. You've repaid us.

He's 25 for God's sake - it's horrific and utterly mortifying that a man would spend most of his twenties living like this for public consumption. It's horrific that a husband and dad would be pretending to boyfriend a gal whose mother tweets her if she's taken out the garbage.

There is no way this is okay, healthy, or doesn't cause a psychological wound. I honestly think the reverb on this will last a long time.

I don't think it really registers as what it is with the hometown group because of their deficient maturity level.

Why don't they say we don't need it from you - and we'll respect who Tessa is and the time you need for yourselves?

THIS, by the way. Does not support "Scott and Tessa". It supports the Ilderton Skating Club, which is the Moir skating business. Scott and Tessa's names are used to sell the shirts.

Of course you can cheer them at London Worlds without wearing retina-blistering yellow. You aren't a bigger fan because you're wearing the sweatshirt.

I have nothing against the Ilderton Skating Club (run better than Skate Canada at large, as far as the skating part is concerned, IMO) or the Moir family per se. But I do have issues with their priorities.

I look at that photo and all I think is that THAT is what too many people in Ilderton have been spending their energy thinking about instead of what their beloved Scott Moir is compelled to be doing.

He never looks as uncomfortable and/or OTT among his Michigan friends and connections as he does when he's among his nearest and dearest in Canada. In Michigan, he looks like an adult. A man who can be respected, a peer. But when touching base with his roots, they seem to need him to revert and regress. Or maybe that's his coping mechanism.

It might actually make them happy that he has to live a lie in public - it makes him belong to them more and it also restricts what he does in the larger world to an extent (ROOTs, for example) leaving more of him for them. It makes them more important - they're the "official" Scott Moir headquarters.

It consolidates their proprietary interest in Scott and Tessa. It makes them special - Scott and Tessa belong to them even more when others don't really know the truth about Scott and Tessa.

There must not be all that much to do in London or Ilderton (I kind of believe it considering how at a loss for ideas Scott and Tessa were when they were out there "promoting London"), so the sham is VERY entertaining. And Scott is just "Scotty" - he's always been moody. Easy to rationalize especially if he doesn't press the point.

I sometimes can't believe ANYONE would encourage someone they love in the toxic idea that it's not just for his own benefit, but for the circle of people he loves. They, IMO, could make it easier - let him off the hook - but  don't want to sacrifice what they're getting out of it. They're just unwilling to look at his interests as possibly separate from theirs.

Not only is he shamming, he's participating in the most low rent, humiliating scheme of lies and petty tricks ever cooked up by a set of people with an unearned complacency triple their brainpower (not just that he has to deny Tessa like Peter denies Christ, but he has to treat fans like shit when clearly it made him extremely uncomfortable to do so) .

And yet such is the apparent power of Ilderton that when it comes to making a choice - treating well-meaning fans like shit it is.

My opinion of the Ilderton crowd is they have a juvenile, chip on the shoulder sensibility that has some sharp edges and we all know that a juvenile sensibility is often also selfish.

The blog started because I knew Scott and Tessa were married. Because I knew this, I understood that everything they put out to the public, everything they were selling about themselves off ice, was performance. Ironically, it's on the ice where they're who they really are. Exactly the opposite of what Tessa pretends.

It wasn't just defensive lying, it was proactive lying with a set of instructions about how we were to think, and it was also announced what we already thought. All lies.

Added to that, Jessica spam had become offensive and meanspirited. It was clearly sport for those most involved.

Because it was performance, that makes us the audience. An audience is entitled to critique a performance put on for its benefit. And that is what the blog has been doing.

Performances also reveal things about the performer. In the case of the sham, it revealed an attitude towards the public and a sense of entitlement on the part of the performer (Sell a book, REALLY? Tout lies as never before told truth and charge for it? Make up a rift when the evidence it's a lie is everywhere?). A lot of it seemed just an excess of zeal. Everybody had so much adrenalin from the Olympics, everyone around Tessa and Scott was on such a high from Virtue and Moir's win that the sham became a way to channel some of that adrenalin.

But lately, with the launch of the Cassandra sham, you kind of have to think. Of course they'll treat the public this way.

These are adults, all happy to encourage a man they actually love (who is clearly unhappy doing it) to represent himself to the world as much less than the man he is, with much of how he represents himself the absolute opposite of who he is and how he behaves and what he values - and who he wants to be. No wonder he doesn't care about anything but him and Tessa. What else is there? He's not Scott anywhere else - he's serving a million masters.

This bunch aren't protecting Scott and Tessa. They're protecting themselves.

P.S. "Believe" is an ironic slogan for a crowd of professional liars, hoaxers and scam artists.

P.P.S. I also find it ironic that this group is good at the sloganeering part of embracing values, to where they turn meaning absolutely inside out - like "what you see is what you get" but they don't get the part about living them.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sorry Mom. Cass is busy tweeting about Scott.

Moooooomm. You're embarrassing me!
Low blow, but the family has put itself out there.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cassandra will look great in yellow

The Ilderton skating club (and Alma Moir) is using London Worlds 2013 and Scott and Tessa as a fundraiser - hawking Worlds 2013 versions of the 2009-2010 Olympic "Believe" sweatshirts in a flattering shade of yellow at $20.00 per.

The cause is worthy - its bursary fund, which assists the club and young club figure skaters.
But boy, they really work the Scott and Tessa thing for the town, don't they?  Did they want Tessa and Scott to win the Olympics because of love for them, appreciation for their hard work and talent, and home town pride, or because they thought if Tessa and Scott won, Ilderton, and skating enterprises Moir, would hit the jackpot? Don't even mention all the support we gave over the years kids - you'll be paying us back the rest of your lives.

If I came from Mayberry I wouldn't want Mayberry to think it owned me. I don't think I'd want to serve as an exclusive Mayberry fundraising resource that Mayberry gloms onto whenever I'm town for something crucial to the next year of my career, when I'm in town as an elite athlete for the most critical competition of the pre-Olympic cycle (and we know the type of tunnel vision that requires), and I'm a spouse, and I'm a parent to a young child. But sure Mayberry, climb aboard on my back. I'm always ready to hand over the pound of flesh demanded in payment for your support. Where would I be without you? 

Or maybe every time I rolled into Mayberry I'd know it would be a nightmare no matter what, so may as well pile all the agendas on top of me at once and get it done.

I wonder if Ann Arbor has these expectation$ of Charlie and Meryl.

What am I saying. Remember that article during Canadians, how Scott and Tessa flee the insularity of Canton for the refreshingly NON-skating obsessed region of Ilderton and London? Meryl and Charlie probably have it way worse. All of Canton up in their grill, clamoring for their time and attention. Detroit never gets out of their face.

I know there was often a sea of Michelle Kwan support when she competed, but it wasn't organized, and I don't think it was from her dad Danny's various enterprises. Plus she was a California girl and even if when she skated there the stands were filled, people from California go out the exits and have other stuff to do besides figure skating.

It just seems like a crass thing to focus on during these worlds, in particular. At least in this way. But hey, this is the last worlds, so better squeeze the pump.

Yes, children, everyone thinks you're going to lose to Davis White at these Worlds, setting Davis White up to defeat you at the Olympics. Yes if you can't soundly defeat them with Carmen you may be screwed.

But forget that. What have you done for Ilderton lately? This is Ilderton's big chance - while you're still eligible, and they've done so much for you. It's family.

The pitch is - buy the sweatshirts to have a sea of visible support for Scott and Tessa, but at $20.00 a sweatshirt (which won't produce a fortune in that venue, it's true) - the point is to sell those shirts and fill out the bursary coffers.

The Moirs get right in there promoting. I certainly hope they're aiming this initiative at family/friends they already know have secured their tickets and will be attending or rooting. I hope they're not doing fan outreach, prompting fans to dig into their pockets for the Ilderton skating club.

Because the gall.

  • are Virtue Moir supporters having an easier time with Worlds tickets than other fans? The Ilderton club's goal is for the venue to be a "sea of yellow".
  • When is it going to be the Virtues' turn to capitalize on their famous kids/relatives? One of Tessa's brothers teaches school - doesn't that school have fund raising drives it can piggyback onto something Scott and Tessa are doing? Are no Virtues opening restaurants in London? I believe the Virtues supported Scott and Tessa coming up every bit as much as Moirville did.

  • Maybe the Virtues have their hands out in private.
Ilderton as ever proceeds on the notion that everybody is an extrovert, no less the people competing. Everything's about group, group, group. God forbid you're the personal space type of person, or a breathing room believer. You'll suffocate.
  • Are these people gonna buy the sweatshirts, cheer their lungs out, then head off home, or are they going to be working their contacts and burning up email trying to see if Scott and Tessa have any time to spend or if Scott and/or Tessa could spare some time cause it would thrill Kelly, Grandpa, Suzie, Uncle Phil or little Emma and make their life?
I haven't worked it out entirely why I think this if off-putting - it's just a gut feeling. An extremely tension filled Worlds at home. And mom and aunts and everybody are whipping up the town to be all up in your grill, and they are also whipping up the town to purchase some sweatshirts and do some fundraising in your name.

Maybe competitive athletes can think of nothing more exciting and there's nothing they appreciate more.

It's family, so no matter what other pressures are on them at this Worlds, THIS is something they have to support.

There's something about it though. It feels inconsiderate. But that's me. I don't come from a small town that's about nothing but figure skating. If I were an Olympic figure skater about to take the ice at home, maybe I'd want everybody I know to shell out $20.00 for my mom and aunt's club bursary fund and fill the arena cheering, because I certainly want to be even more in their debt. No better time to get that done than an athletic competition where the pressure is excruciating.

Whatever - if you're a Virtue and Moir fan - a real fan - you'll dig into your wallet and get one of these fabulous yellow sweatshirts. $20.00 is the least you can spend after all Virtue and Moir have done for their fans.

Whatever else is planned in addition to aggressive sweatshirt hawking, you know it's going to be a sham-palooza. I fully expect Cassandra in the yellow Believe shirt to turn up in instagrams and profile pictures and mobile uploads - if not parked mid-Moirs.

ETA: Another thing - the self-appointed fan police - those who claim ties to the Moirs or knowledge a couple of steps removed - need to check themselves, IMO. Bear in mind that if we are meant to take Scott and Tessa's platonic status for real, anyone who suspects they have a baby is nuts, and should be treated as nuts, just as it would be if a bunch of fans got together and speculated that Meryl and Charlie had a secret baby.

You do not take it upon yourself to thrust yourself into a fan conversation somewhere and proclaim them wrong by virtue of your superior insider status.

What would be the point? The blog has been talking about it for 2 years. Why is it so important to put in check about half a dozen fans chatting on a fan site somewhere? That accomplishes what? Virtue and Moir have already made it clear that what fans say and think has no bearing on what they're going to claim fans say and think, and the media is going to go with Virtue and Moir's version. Fan speculation or even outright assertions don't affect the Moirs at all. They're undeterred.

So the purpose of interfering is -- what?

Something to do?

That would be it. It accomplishes nothing but to satisfy the ego of the person butting in.

Scott and Tessa, and any fans who speculate or reason out about them - are none of these people's business. They tried it with the blog and with fan discussions that took place prior to the blog. But now they've decided well, we can't control the blog types, but we better set the "safe" group straight.

They need to back off.

It's not their business, and furthermore, it only fuels the speculation because no other figure skater has self-appointed family friends or acquaintances or connections running around policing what fans say, while the subjects themselves keep their mouths shut. When some people thought Charlie was Jewish, Jacquie White went somewhere (wikipedia?) to say he wasn't and actually almost overshared about where the idea originated. When people fretted that Kristen Moore-Towers' news was a split with Dylan, SHE went to facebook to say that wasn't the news.  But every busybody in Ontario thinks it's their business to check fans when it comes to Scott and Tessa.

It isn't. Fans are allowed to think for themselves and see for themselves. If Scott or Tessa or any actual Moir or Virtue wanted to set the record straight, they've had ample opportunity. God knows they talk about a whole bunch of other stuff.

And furthermore, I think some busybody going the extra mile to make sure fans think something that was for Scott and Tessa's kid wasn't for their kid is absolutely grotesque. That kid is going to grow up.

P.S. Obviously, the motivation for a lot of the fan police is to protect the insider status. They enjoy being the ones who know something others don't. The "don't like to share" might also explain some of the home town enthusiasm for the sham as well.