Friday, August 30, 2013

Theories theories theories

Disclaimer: This post is for facetious purposes only. The guideline about no so-called alternative theories on this blog stands. This is not open sesame to have at it in the comments about Scott and Tessa's status. Their status is they're married with a child.

These theories arise out of fan attempts to reconcile the way Scott and Tessa present themselves in mainstream media and the weirdness there, with the way Scott and Tessa present themselves on social media, and the inappropriate and gross there. This preponderance of theories is not down to fans, it stems from Scott and Tessa manipulating fans and behaving like assholes.

I just want to look at some of the theories some fans have rattling around in their brains, as opposed to reality, which is that Scott and Tessa are married and have a child.

In no hierarchy:

1) Tessa is with David Pelletier. She's been with him awhile and broke up Jamie and David. Scott and Tessa are concealing this because it would not do for their image for Tessa to have busted up "Canada's sweethearts." Tessa also got pregnant with David's child at an inconvenient time (very careless of her) and this created tensions in the partnership with Scott.

Comments/observations. Not much to say. It's not true, but that's the only problem with it. There are no logical inconsistencies, just two minor subsidiary issues:

a) Sale & Pelletier are/were Canada's sweethearts? I think that's pretty debatable even going back to 2002.

b) This story (it's not a "theory" per se, it's someone's flat out story that they're peddling) has only recently incorporated Tessa's child into the scenario. There was no mention of either pregnancy or child by the author of this story at the time Tessa was actually pregnant, which was when the author of this story was promoting it most strenuously on social media and in the comments sections of on line media outlets. Apparently now it's a useful story element.

"b" is now discounted because it turns out to be the work of a piggybacker. The original Pelletier/Tessa peddler did not, as far as I recall, claim she had his baby.

2) Scott and Tessa are business partners. They have little to do with each other off the ice. They enjoy fucking with fans, leading them on with stuff like the bridal shoot layout, with interviews extolling their platonic intimacy, with occasional hints of romantic attraction off the ice, and, of course, creating programs like Mahler and Carmen. It's all coldly calculated to lead their fans on and promote their skating partnership, blurring those lines for politics, money and fame. This is why, at the apex of the pre-season, right when a new program has been skated, right when their biggest rivals have revealed their program music, right before Skate Canada's High Performance Camp, Scott will drop a photo like this:
It's Daddy!

It's part of the ingenious scheme to promote Scott and Tessa romantically, sell the illusion created by their skating, and lead fans on to hope that Scott and Tessa might some day be romantically involved, while Scott and Tessa count their money and laugh at us. And we suckers fall for it.

Comments/Observations: Pretty airtight. What better way to lead fans on about how close Scott and Tessa are than to spam fans with a photo of Scott grabbing Cassandra's ass right before HPC? Nothing says "Maybe they'll get married some day!" like Scott pushing up Cassandra's dress on a public sidewalk while puckering up for a liplock. Fangurls. They're so easy.

4) I'm not going to repeat the theories that rip down Tessa and do Cassandra's p.r. for her.

5) Vintage Theory - Jessica Dube Division. Jessica Dube is insecure. Tessa gets all the attention both as Scott's partner and as a skater. People want Scott with Tessa, not Jessica. This makes Jessica feel bad. Scott indulges Jessica by posing for romantic photo shoots with her, and green-lighting Jessica publicizing these photo shoots on facebook at the height of Scott and Tessa's skating season, in direct counterpoint to mainstream media and fan discussion of Scott and Tessa's skating and relationship.


a) His indulgence of Jessica is limited to social media. In mainstream media video interviews, his romantic life is treated as a hypothetical, even as he and Tessa purport to be exhausted by pesky inquiries about their relationship - inquiries that could be cut off at the knees by simply naming or describing his famous, real girlfriend. Some fans maintain this is because, in mainstream media, he and Tessa are trying to keep the fans guessing, keep that mystery alive. Even though the central topic of all mainstream media interviews is that they're platonic. This idea that Scott and Tessa are coy in mainstream media (if declaring they are platonic is coy) is, contradicted when

b) Jessica is featured front and center in all shots of the Moir family at the Olympic free skate in prime time national broadcast media, but this Canadian pairs champion/fellow Olympian (who'd skated on the broadcast herself days before) is apparently not important enough for either her name or relationship to Scott to be mentioned by a broadcast media busy identifying everybody else by name and telling us their connection to Scott.

c) Jessica's insecurity and desire to establish her claim on Scott publicly coincides with the fact that, having weathered heavy drama during a period when Scott and Bryce were punching each other out over her, Jessica, and Bryce (who, per fan consensus, was a real pill about Jessica's new relationship) decide to skate to The Way We Were to commemorate their messy break-up that happened when she dumped him for Scott Moir and created a crisis in the ranks of Skate Canada's sports psychologists. They love the program so much they keep it two years running.

6) Scott is cheating/Scott is living a double life. He's married to Tessa but he's also cheating on her - if having a woman on the side with your wife's permission/awareness constitutes cheating. He loves to promote his side action on facebook and instagram, especially when he and Tessa are about to begin an Olympic season, have just unveiled a new program, and fans are vehemently arguing that they are much much better ice dancers than their nearest competition.

Comments/observations: none

7) Scott and Tessa are platonic and Scott is a douchebag. Let's call this the Jekyl and Hyde theory.

"Good" Scott pretends not to be on social media, demurs naming his then "girlfriend'" out of "respect" for her partner when talking to conventional media, repeatedly asserts neither he nor Tessa are on the internet, and waxes equal parts pious and philosophical about fan interest in himself and his partner.

On social media, which mainstream media pretends doesn't exist or refuses to acknowledge, "douche" Scott goes to town. This is a guy obviously concerned that other people think he's gay or a reject, so he makes sure we know that even if Tessa Virtue isn't interested, there's always a girl who is - BOY is she. He achieves douchebag status because that merit badge is earned by any guy, famous or not, whose entire social media output, seven years running, is devoted exclusively to letting strangers know he's getting laid.

Comments/observations: none.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kicking it Up a Notch - When Sham Photos Progress to the Next Level

In the comments, two posts below this one, some people speculate how fans will "twist" the sham photo output on social media. For instance, one hypothetical scenario supposes that fans will claim Scott was having it off on the side under cover of the sham. Poor poor Tessa.

The "Toddler Moir" post chews Moirville's ass, while nailing Scott to the cross. The post blamed Scott to the extent that he can't say no to Moirville, but most of the shots are at Moirville:

All Moirville's fault!
Poor, poor Soctt.

I've also said that the sham photos show us things we don't want to be seeing, but that we can't avoid seeing.

Not what's in the photos, but what the photos suggest about the dynamics of the people behind the photos, especially when someone is aware of Scott and Tessa's actual status as married parents. Those dynamics are unpleasant.

I've decided to lift up the rock and look at what else might be crawling under there. How fangurl am I being with this, for instance? I was bashing Scott, sure, but for martrying/victimizing himself to the "real" villains - Moirville.

That does strike me now as fangurly. He is, as I've said enough times, 26 years old (in a few days). A big boy.

He's absolutely in love with Tessa, it's true, whom he's been with forever. Faithful to Tessa - we can see that even in the strictly observed boundaries of the sham photos:

The Rule of the Dolphin

He's never kissed a sham girlfriend on social media with any more enthusiasm then he's using on that dolphin up there. And I don't think he's cheating on Tessa with that dolphin.

However, Scott doesn't progress to dolphin until he's been shamming over a year. And being in love with and faithful to Tessa doesn't preclude other dynamics in play.

It kind of comes off like the reason Scott holds back at first is because he and she don't know each other too well and he's not all that comfortable. But once he's warmed up, he decides he should be kissing them on the lips in these photos.

If it's that important for the sham, he'd muster up straight away. It's all performance, after all. Instead it's like once he's used to the girl, he steps up his game because he figures he's owed some perks.

He's been with the same girl (Tessa) a long time.  In the kissy shots, he certainly is scrupulously flaunting his observance of boundaries - look at those chaste arms, the chaste posture, the chaste fish lips - so much so one might wonder what's the point, actually. It's almost like he's playing chicken there. Or a little protesty too much.

I.e., - Look what I'm doing! It's totally inside the ISU's own rules!

He does like to push the envelope on ice - why not off.

Scott IS a semantics guy. And math was his favorite subject in school. It just seems a little too "letter" of the law and not so much with the spirit, and he knows it.

The chronology of both shams does make one wonder. When things started with Jessica she's Bryce's girl, not the greatest English-speaker, the face slash heroine, etc. etc. and one imagines posing a la bf/gf is a little awkward.

A year later it's old hat and boring and what's in it for Scott? How about kicking it up a notch?

Here's what I'm thinking.

The sham with Jessica starts out like this:

Dube Family wedding summer 2008.

and a year later, we're here.

One of three dolphin kisses in a single
photo op. The things Scott does for the sham.

I don't think Scott gives a shit about either of these girls in their own right but it's striking that the shams start out decorous, and after a year passes suddenly "the sham" feels the need to heat things up, when, if the sham were following logic, it would be the opposite.

The actual kisses are no big deal, and in fact that's kind of the point - if they're no big deal, why bother with them?  If they're no big deal, why wait to start kissing until you get to know the girl a little more?

If you wait til you get comfortable and only then start acting like it's important to be kissing, it starts looking like something else.

They're not a big deal for the sham but if you look at it from a really obvious angle it looks like it's a perk Scott wants once he's settled in and sure of his footing.

Shamming at weddings, concerts, holidays, group outings and vacations - so boring and he goes through it every year. A guy should get something out of it, even if just for his ego. And it's kind of Scott-clever with the way he's doing it - kissing the girl while signaling all things he's NOT doing at the same time.

A little having it both ways action.


Now that he's settled in.
Why shouldn't he get something out of this?

In this light, it's interesting to look again at how sensitive Scott is about any guy around Tessa. How even when it was Fedor, there was no dainty lip kissing to be found. And certainly not with Ryan Semple. Maybe this is because Scott knows for himself that sham or no sham, the guy would be getting something out of it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How would he know?

"I think part of what makes each year exciting and different is coming up with new lifts," White said.
If that's what he thinks, why doesn't he try it some time?
"At a certain point, it becomes, 'How can we top the lifts we've done before?' "

And the answer is "we can't" and that's why you do the same ones every season?

I have no doubt Derek Hough has designed lift silhouettes that will fairly scream NEW LIFT. But unless Davis White skate into them, show control in them versus pasting their centers of gravity together like a couple of juniors in order to maintain control, and exit into more skating and another element, instead of exiting into jumping around and a lot of other nonsense, it will be the same lifts.

Their programs this season are My Fair Lady (SD) and Scheherazade (fd). Icenetwork's article features a photo from Bollywood - pretty much a no brainer considering that at least aesthetically, Scheherazade is meant to harken back to that.

With My Fair Lady they're at another ball, and I'm sure this time they'll actually dance there.

The ball in My Fair Lady is a fairly sedate society ball - tense, even - and neither Freddy nor Professor Higgens nor Col. Pickering are the sort of guys who, while dancing with their partners, turn 3/4ths away from her to fling their arm out to the crowd and toss back their head prior to leaping.

Charlie says they're putting their own spin on it though, so never say never.

Icenetwork also mentions that Judy Blumberg consulted with DW at Champs Camp and in Canton, which of course means that Judy Blumberg will definitely not be the technical caller or be anywhere near a judging panel at any competition in the coming season where DW and VM compete against each other. I'm sure she's just a pillar of integrity but would she really give her own work fair scores? Or would we get Sandra Bezic type scores (Bezic has never judged in eligible skating on an international level, but she does have the habit of pretending that skaters' she's worked with have skating of the gods.)?

Ah and already, Meryl says "We were honored by her positive feedback." They're gonna be doing this all season. It's gonna be all about selling it off the ice.
"There's a special sparkle that comes with Persian cultural dance," Davis said. "It's kind of the way the women have some mystery about them." Icenetwork 2014.
  2010: "Starting with the twinkle in the eye" (Tom Hammond commenting on Bollywood)

"And Meryl says that's one of the most important nuances - the sideways twinkle in the eye" (Tracy Wilson commenting on Bollywood.)
What Marina says about picturing Meryl in Scheherazade pretty much rips off her tale of her epiphany in Harrods, looking at some Indian silk scarves, and realizing how well Meryl could pull off a Bollywood theme.

And people think VM make her tired.

 They're amazing - the way they top themselves is to repeat themselves and the now that it's Olympic 2014 the best way to break new ground is to recycle 2010.

MY concern is that the USFSA has received a message that if DW closely hew to what they did in 2010 and convince people they've skated clean, the gold is DW's. Otherwise the blatant recycle would seem to put them at a disadvantage.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I feel bad for Toddler Moir

 ^Cassandra Hilborn kissing a little kid's married daddy on the lips, pretending to be his girlfriend and bed buddy. How does it scan in your world, Cass? You're doing it FOR the kid? If SCOTT doesn't mind, it doesn't matter? You have no non-narcissistic values of your own?

What kicks it over the top is the comment. "Hot couple" and "tailgates and tanlines."

Scott will be twenty-six in two weeks. He's the father of a toddler, and here he is.

Toddler Moir doesn't have a chance of growing up to be a mature human being. I don't believe that Toddler Moir will be scarred in the particular way some fans fear the child will - I don't believe Toddler Moir will grow up believing that daddy cheated on mommy with Jessica Dube and Cassandra Hilborn.

Toddler Moir will just grow up without any official acknowledgment of TM's existence during the entire Sochi Olympic cycle, while the relatives in Ilderton elbow their way into the spotlight, and daddy's fake sex life gets its own cheering section. I know these are important distinctions. At least they didn't cheat, Toddler Moir! It was actually all about their love!

Everything was the opposite! No, seriously!

While I don't subscribe to "It was like this for me, ergo it must be like this for everyone" type thinking, I will nevertheless mention that I don't think I would have given a flying fuck that my daddy wasn't sleeping with these ladies, and it was all a con job to protect our privacy as a family. I would still be repulsed by somebody calling him and another lady a "hot couple" and all the rest of it, and I would have been and would remain extremely unexcited by some ladies putting a fantasy romantic life with daddy out on social media using his actual name, and knowing that there are members of the public that think this was daddy and mommy's reality.

Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that even as a child I would know the difference between - we did this for the sham, and we overdid this for the sham. I might wonder how come some of the extra flourishes. #hotcouple, #sleepskyping. #Cass 0 - Tour 1, #definitely sobbed. #someones enjoying this #bad stomach ache #weird feeling.

This is elementary for most people, but as Moirville apparently does not believe in any sort of boundaries, including virtually crawling in between the sheets with their own children, they not only don't recognize that this is going to be uncomfortable for any child who remotely has their head on straight, but it seems to indicate that the sham is actually the least of all possible evils in terms of effective boundaries between Scott and Tessa's private life and the expectations of their nearest and dearest.

Everybody can see what the situation is here, not just the fans. That's what's so uncomfortable.

Everyone outside of Moirville of course, where the zamboni fumes have arrested a lot of people's personalities.

This is about intentionally alienating the public. When we're alienated, it seems to me they think Scott and Tessa belong to them even more.

I say the kid has no chance at growing up to be a mature person because look at the role models. TM may still be in diapers and is already living in a bubble.

This is not a performance by Daddy. This is a con by Daddy. A performance requires willing suspension of disbelief by the audience. The audience knows it is an audience. Here, we have Scott, as Scott, pretending to be in a relationship with someone other than Tessa. This is Daddy, not Daddy pretending to be a character. This is daddy pretending to BE with someone else.

Moirville is so good at understanding context and conveying critical distinctions that I'm sure Daddy's social media lip locking in all its permutations on the web will be explained with no problems, and the kid won't be upset.

They can't possibly anticipate that the kid WILL be upset but have gone ahead and done it anyway, figuring that's the price of dinner. Not when the only agenda at stake is the need to one up a fucking blog, save face to themselves, enable over-involved family members, and put some outspoken internet fans in their place.

If they thought it would upset Toddler Moir down the line, Scott would never do this. Right Scott? You've must have nailed this one down after Tessa studied it in psychology class. You must figure you're on solid child development footing here.

I wonder if they took a hot iron and branded "Property of Ilderton" on Toddler Moir's behind before putting on the first diaper.

For me this is sad, although I haven't articulated all of it for myself. I think this photo is there to provoke. I think it's there to flip the finger at fans. Scott as ever checks his balls at the Arctic Edge arena exit - or at the entrance to the Detroit/Windsor tunnel. I don't mean check them into Tessa's bag, I mean fork them over to the fam.

A family and community that chooses immaturity over respect for their own innocent family member. They choose a pissant fan war that they need to make themselves feel smart.

The photo itself is not a scandal. Scott's kissed a dolphin on the lips. Scott and Tessa are both in show business, which is what figure skating is, essentially, where you fish kiss every other person you meet at certain times of the year, even people you dislike. Cassandra has littered her facebook with photos of herself smooching friends similar to this photo and even more cozily than this photo, so for those who are interested in Cassandra context, it's there, but of course, she's not the point.

Scott's context is he's 26 years old, he's married and he's a father, and there he is.

He'd rather humiliate himself than actually deal with the crux of the problem, and IMO the crux of the problem is selfishness masquerading as support, requiring more time and energy to deal with than he can afford to spend at this time in his life.

There's this, too:

Hear that Toddler Moir? Mommy isn't married to that "Moir dick" and she hooked up with Sidney Crosby in Vancouver.

What do we have here, Toddler Moir-wise? The choice is either that Toddler Moir's nearest and dearest are a bunch of unfiltered, petty, needy, entitled, boundary breaching, overbearing, chip-on-shoulder, narcissistic cases of stubbornly arrested development that Toddler Moir's parents cope with by cravenly enabling left and right, OR the public supporters of Toddler Moir's parents' skating are such incredible assholes Toddler Moir's existence had to be edited out for almost four years. The latter scenario is intriguing - the idea that the fan intrusiveness they experience is dire enough to edit out their kid's existence from the record, while simultaneously fan intrusiveness was never actually serious enough to warrant the employment of a competent sports management agency.

Both scenarios are a wonderful reason to bring a child into the world at ages 21 and 23. Why wait til you can function like a freaking human.

Moirville wants the public to have all kinds of misconceptions and wrong ideas about Scott and Tessa, but especially Scott. That proves our inferiority, and it asserts their ownership.

I tell you what this is - it's humiliating. Not for US, but to see Scott. Where to even start - a twenty six year old man, a father, a husband, a man who as an athlete, a skater, a competitor - is ferociously smart and plain ferocious. He doesn't give a fuck what you, me or anyone else thinks or says in that arena. Fuck us. He knows himself, he knows what kind of skater he is.

Even if we don't know him, we know that about him.

So when we see that guy do this, it mortifies. We're in on something we shouldn't be seeing. Not the kiss. The family dynamics and agendas and how it works on Scott. We shouldn't be seeing it and that's one thing I don't think they know they're showing us. What we see is an Olympic champion and a husband and a father whose original family has no respect for him as a man, compared to what they expect from him. We can all see it. He's not a man to them. He's Scotty. The sham diminishes him, as do they.

I believe the intent of this photo is not sham. I think it's posted to alienate the fans on the web; it's to flip us off, and of course Scott throws himself on the sword, as usual.

I'm not saying he doesn't have a choice - he has a choice, but weighing the hierarchy of priorities and all of the other stuff he's got going on, the personalities, the histories - this is path of least resistance. Just chew on that one. THIS is the path of least resistance. Think about what the alternatives must entail.

It's uppity as shit of me, and very fanlike, but I'm humiliated for the guy. Somebody should be, so I'll do it! I'm mortified for him.

Scott and Tessa are connected to and part of larger communities (internationally, in Detroit, in the larger elite athletic performance community, in the USA, and others) that have nothing to do with Moirville. And so Moirville defaults to competing with the public for ownership. One-sided competition, but they need to feel better than, and we're all they've got.

They portray the public as wanting ownership of Scott and Tessa, so Moirville can assert their superior claim, and win. Ego-wise, it's as lowest common denominator as it gets, and weird. But if it walks like a duck ...

It's pitiful. Even if Virtue Moir's true status was public domain, we in the public wouldn't know Scott and Tessa, we wouldn't have a relationship with Scott and Tessa.

I think it's more than the type of competition involved in "being right" or "not giving in". It's more than pretending Scott/Tessa's marriage is a secret and insisting on the sham against all evidence that not many people even buy it.

As the sham has morphed over time, I think it's now morphed into an alienation device. The more we're alienated, the more Scott and Tessa belong to Moirville.

This will be one of those posts that gets a lot of editing because it's one of those posts where I'm processing my reaction while posting.

P.S., while this next remark may be egocentric of me, I don't care. I suspect that because the blog banner mocked the Cassandra sham's recent use of poorly lit long shots, they decided to one up with a clearly focused lip kiss. That's the level here.

And I may owe Meagan Duhamel an apology. I may call her out for being a poor sport, for taking potshots at her teammates on social media, but at least she signs her name to that activity. That's unlike Scott and Tessa who pretend to be completely above it but engage on a pettier level than Meagan. Meagan may be breaking athlete/fan protocol by directly engaging a fan (you should never EVER break that fourth wall). But Moirville is actually mud wrestling with the fucking blog and other fans on social media while posing as too good for any of it. Meagan, I apologize to you.

And btw, Scott is choosing his original family over his child. I understand how everything can be wanked to rationalize that this is all for his kid, but it isn't. Erasing this child for the entirety of the Sochi cycle while his brothers make sure their own kids get their moment in the spotlight is not for the sake of his child with Tessa. It's because he's chosen to enable his original family, which means he's chosen them over his new family. If a kid comes into the world and for the first three years - and who knows how long it will continue - daddy is smooching it up on social media with other women (in photos that will be there forever with gifs, commentary, tumblr, fan wars, etc. in public) while denying he's even dated mommy, let alone admitting you're alive, while the kid's relatives are out there in public with their hands out, hustling their skating club, there is something wrong, and it's not fans.

I wonder this: if who you are or pretend to be for the public doesn't matter, and won't matter to Toddler Moir (who at some point we may see competing in novice claiming to have been cloned in a petri dish) - why did Jeff Buttle use an article on his hockey playing to unofficially come out? Why does Jeff care how real he presents himself to the public.

And why did Scott give a fuck that someone was faking as Tessa Virtue on facebook? That's just social media, Scott, why did you care?

Scott appears far more sensitive about his wife than he is about his child. But that's just a public impression.

Why is Scott completely unable to pretend he's anything but in love with Tessa, even in public? He can't say anything about her that doesn't adore her. As that is something that undermines the whole sham, why doesn't he put that in check? When he was Jessica-Dube-ing, he could have done a whole lot better, quote-wise, than to say "My girlfriend is sometimes bugged by it all, but you know, fuck her if she can't deal with it. Tessa is part of me."

That was his tone.

Everything he does with Tessa appears to be in his DNA - it doesn't matter if he's in public. It's DNA.

It's odd that it doesn't seem to extend to his child.

(P.S. - all that said, and as embarrassed for Scott as I am, I completely believe that if money were involved he'd suddenly grow a pair. They're wonderful like that.)

Another question about Toddler Moir to throw out there - Scott adores Tessa; she adores him. She's locked down. But Tessa never kissed Fedor for the sham. She never kissed Ryan Semple for the sham. Scott's a little sensitive, so you know, let's respect that.

Yet Scott has placed his lips on women who are not Tessa, while his child is growing up, a sitting duck to see these photos. As sensitive as Scott is about Tessa and even freaking gay guys who have no interest in getting into her pants, as sensitive as he can be about sham matters on her end when he knows everything's platonic, and as sensitive as he is when she's interacting with guys for work, his child is expected to just take what he does for the sham in stride. He can't handle it with Tessa even when it's nothing, but apparently his kid is a lot tougher and less sensitive, and will process all of the stuff he does in photos with women not mommy just fine. It will make perfect sense to TM.

Are these photos wish fulfillment for Moirville - look, what if he were married to a narcissistic idiot we could manipulate instead of Tessa?

Can't blame us if we wonder, but us wondering shit just serves their purpose. Alienation. That's what they want.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Walk This way

These are embedded here with permission. So much better than I was able to do with windows movie maker. And what a great idea.

77 points. The WTF sets in directly after the twizzles. Meryl's random two footing, walking, kind of hanging out, weird sort of stutter steps, and gliding while being pulled.

There's not even a half-assed indication of a sustained edge after the second twizzle pass.

Look at how sloppy they are - the snow they're creating. Not kicking up, creating. There are ice shavings piling up alongside their skates wherever they go and flying into the air as well. Look how sloppy the free legs are, and the hips. They barely bother to articulate their legs in the polka and barely get the free legs off the ice.

The hops in between, the skipping and scurrying I figure is choreography. The times where she's just sort of there for a beat, seemingly two footing at random, or pausing, I do not understand.

Charlie's skating is a little basic but I guess the full effect is lost without the angel smile towards the audience as he turns his torso three quarters to sweep his arm and throw back his head.

The downside to watching only feet is we can't see when Meryl is being pulled or yanked, and when she's not. We can see that in the choreographic lift (where Charlie's position is a squat) she is set down on a flat and on two feet. 77 freaking points for this and it's just full of Meryl on her flats or two feet getting yanked by Charlie, not to mention one or both of them going two feet to bracket every single element. They cannot skate in and out of their elements. Considering their rivals can, I think that's a big difference. God forbid ISU acknowledge this - they'd lose the manufactured rivalry.

I would really love to use the Finnstep sd here, but it's fairer to wait to compare it to Davis White's Finnstep.

Look at the ease, the freedom of movement, how everything defaults to the edge. The freaking blade run compared to DW - compared to anybody.

BTW - that's just "style". people. "Being good at it" is just one style option among many.

How come Tessa is skating this program? It's possible to cover ice, change directions, change holds without walking, two-footing, going up on your flat while being yanked hither and yon, and all the other random weirdness Meryl does outside of what appears to be choreography? Who knew? But why bother?

In Tessa's choreographic lift, she is set down on a deep running outside edge that carries into the next transition. And in contrast to Charlie, who settled into a squat, look at Scott SKATE that lift.

Without question, Virtue and Moir's patterns are bigger, their skating is obviously more powerful, that their speed is superior to Davis White's is in our faces, particularly in the footwork and pattern sequences, there's more, you know, skating, and just they cover more ice in general. The articulation in the free leg is night and day. That Virtue Moir use their entire bodies, versus using just their limbs while haphazardly posing the rest of the body is also clear.

The only thing missing in the gussied up junkyard of Die Fleuder-fake is the skating. This program should have been called The Road To Nowhere. All the leaping, extravagant gesticulating and flinging, building up to nothing happens.

I don't mean to be juvenile with the Die Fleuder-messing and the Die Fleuderfakery - but what is this program but sleight-of-hand? How to skate your free dance without skating.

In both programs Meryl does a whole lot of weird half-finished intersticial stepping.

And look how frequently they slooooww down with their skipping and trotting. The program is one continuous re-set.

The complaint the entire season by VM critics was they weren't doing enough skating; there were too many static sections. What they should have done is waved their arms frantically into the air while leaping around into nothing, like Meryl and Charlie, because if ever a skating program was one big static section after another, it's DF.

There is no trade-off here. There's no apples and oranges. It's not speed and power versus grace and refinement. It's a slam dunk for Virtue Moir. DW are not trading refinement and grace for speed and power, they are sacrificing refinement (including the blade work that represents the finest skating skills) for the APPEARANCE of power and speed. The appearance is created by non-blade-centric, frantic movement and getting up off their edges.

Virtue and Moir have the skating skills, the grace and refinement, and, what is made obvious in these videos, the speed and power. They do more skating, they sustain their edges, use their skating for their choreography. The skating isn't just something they squeeze into the choreography.

P.S. I knew Charlie yanked and pulled Meryl along but until looking at these videos I had no idea how MUCH he yanked and pulled her along, and when he does it, she's not on an edge and he's often simply stepping from one foot to the other. Their choreography appears constructed to get them skating as little as possible and get them off their edges as much as possible. I also think the pulling and yanking is visual trickery leaving the impression they're in hold. Pulling and yanking isn't hold.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Sports Gene - a/k/a logical fallacies in the Davis White narrative

Charlie White retweeted the above, which links to this:

Root of Athletic Success - NY Times Review

I haven't read the book that's reviewed, but reading the review Charlie linked, it focuses on athletes who may not be the most naturally talented, but compensate by putting in the work. Or, as Tanith Belbin would say, "puttin in the work." Even after "Everyone else gone home."

If you're not gifted compared to, say, your nearest rivals, but you put in Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours (Gladwell postulates this is the magical number for true mastery of a skill), you may end up the winner.

It appears to me that the usual DW narrative presents them as gosh darn hardworking ice dancers.

But that's kind of like Gilles/Poirier presenting themselves as skaters with "personality". Implicit in that label is other skaters lack personality. Because Gilles/Poirier claim personality as their signature, they must  have the MOST personality. That's simply not true of Gilles/Poirier.

Likewise, in the narrative of Davis/White as hard-working athletes who leave it all on the ice, there's the implication that they work the hardest. Just as because their apparent distinguishing characteristics as skaters is that they're fast and powerful, the implication is that they're the MOST fast and powerful.

But they're not. And they're not the hardest working.

What if the naturally talented athletes/rivals work as hard - or harder - as the less gifted athletes/dancers? What if they also are "puttin in the time."? What if, in fact, they thrive on discipline, on challenge, on setting impossible goals and meeting or exceeding them? What if they're so gifted they do this every season, versus doing the kind of hard work that involves repetition of the same stuff you already know?

It appears to me that the US media narrative, and DW's narrative, is that Davis and White are the hardest working, and, through hard work, they've defeated - who? Beautiful dilettantes? Scott and Tessa who just roll out of bed and float through their practice on the strength of natural ability? Scott and Tessa who, like, say, Jessica Dube, never try new things? A lazy Scott and Tessa who "take a break" in the 4CC's fd and still expect to win (the reaction to that event was a red flag in SO many ways. SO many asses showing.)?

Scott and Tessa put in the hours AND take on riskier programs, elements, choreography. Davis and White put in the hours so that they can maintain their delivery of, essentially, a five year old program. Scott and Tessa have improved their speed and power to where even a casual observer can tell they're faster and more powerful than Davis and White - obviously so, all the while executing programs that are increasingly challenging both choreographically and athletically, with skating skills that any idiot can tell are superior to Davis and White's.

Did Scott and Tessa accomplish this over brunch in London?

Scott showed yet another improvement this season - his topline. How did that happen? At fashion shows? He didn't spend hours on the ice with the posture bar? Not for nothing, his topline looks natural, not like something he's thinking about or reminding himself to maintain. There's nothing stiff in it. His skating is as natural and spontaneous as it's always been. What kind of hours does it take to make something unnatural into something natural? What kind of hours PLUS talent for movement does it take? Is talent a dirty word now? Does it imply short cuts, coasting etc? Is talent supposed to be fair? Are we, as a teacher from Scott's old middle school, in an excess of Olympic zeal, once said, ALL supposed to be capable of Olympic gold if we work hard?

What happens when the less talented, but plucky supposed underdog works their ass off vis a vis a far more talented athlete that is working every bit as hard and, on top of that, working smarter? A lesser product plus hard work is more deserving than a superior product plus hard work? Is that the narrative for Davis White and Sochi gold?

I certainly hope they don't hammer down on that theme this year, because every time they do, the implication is Virtue Moir don't work as hard. And they know better. Virtue Moir submit themselves to types of training that DW shun, for example. Neither Davis nor White really wants to spend the time on ballet, which might at least improve their unison and alignment. Scott Moir doesn't strike me as somebody who would embrace ballet given his druthers, but his figure skating career is more important to him than his personal preferences, and he submits to training in that as well as training in myriad other ways that develop his skating. Is it unfair that when Scott applies himself to something like ballet, that he gets results, whereas when Charlie White tries ballet, it doesn't do much for him? Does that say something about ballet or does it say something about Charlie (and Meryl's) abilities?

This may be a season where the narrative is that talent is an unfair advantage.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Wanted to get that out of my system.

Later on I want to look at the "new" DW twizzles from last season, where they added "stuff" before the twizzles, consisting of leaping, and Charlie pulling and yanking on Meryl. IOW, once more speed-skater-ing themselves into an element because they can't generate rotational momentum from their edges.

Those Giselle twizzles - and Giselle itself - fall apart even more dramatically now that Scott and Tessa's new sd has been unveiled. I invite anyone who has spent time looking at Scott and Tessa's new Finnstep sd to look again now at Giselle. Everything about it.

In the Finnstep, I looked at the exit to Tessa and Scott's sd twizzles, I thought, okay, did they stop dead after the last twizzle in order to hit that dip? No. They actually have a running edge. They drop into that dip from a moving edge. In Giselle, Charlie and Meryl pivot onto their other foot the second the final rotation is completed.

I also read over on fsu a post from a fan who apparently believes VM are executing twizzles in the style of their music every single time out of the goodness of their hearts and simple personal artistic integrity, as this poster doesn't believe you get points for that. Yes, you do get GOE for that. You also get points for sustaining an edge upon your exit.

Of course Charlie and Meryl get points for both - and I'm going to look at Giselle in particular - even though for them "running edge" means leap UP and pivot onto your opposite foot the instant your rotation is complete (always be leaping), and "style of the music" means "not at all in the style of the music." They're pretty half-assed about that level 4 hop into them as well.

I am interested to know if DW fans bragging on how DW have enhanced their twizzles can explain what the almighty pulling, tugging and yanking from Charlie, as well as Meryl's backwards walk (walk, not glide), has to do with the style of the Giselle music or enhanced difficulty. It seems to me that to the degree Meryl and Charlie changing their orientation at any time during a program threatens to topple them over, it is difficult, but a simple upright straightfoward 180 doesn't seem as if it should challenge Olympic level ice dancers, and otherwise they've simply taken the opportunity to grab momentum from swinging their bodies into the air, and from Charlie yanking Meryl a few yards across the ice.

 They do a minor variant of the hauling and leaping in Notre Dame, but it's the same stuff.

Here is Comment 2:56pm's video montage of DW and VM twizzling.

Why VM - or any skaters - bother with styling their twizzles in the character of the dance when one size fits all bombastic twizzles with the arms slung behind the back from either shoulder height or below suffices as "character of the dance" for DW, beats me. ISU doesn't want "innovation", so naturally in the Orwellian language of contemporary ice dance, staying the same, as DW have done season after season, fd to sd, becomes "innovation." They're the leading edge of being static. If ISU recognized that VM raised the bar in Carmen - look what is possible with twizzles in the style of the dance and a sustained edge out of the twizzle, for instance - the standard for level of difficulty and even GOE would be raised, which would mean DW would be getting lower scores.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

No other team can manage it

Just look at every piece of this. How blade-centric it is. How blade-RUN centric it is for linking moves and hold changes. Imagine Charlie and Meryl attempting any of it. Transition, transition, transition, flow flow flow. Change hold change hold. Unison unison.  Edges edges edges. Virtuoso multidirectional skating.

Look how close together their feet are in hold and when changing hold. Look at their knees. Look at the length of the blade run. Look at the obvious speed.

Then remember that Mery and Charlie's hop/squat/re-set, pose/scurry/re-set, and skipping/jump, pose/lift, re-set - however Derek Hough has repackaged it - and not this, will get 80 points this season, and beat this in pcs. Beat THIS - the entire season. In pcs. DW's cramped little steps, their twinkling toe picks, the flurry of their legs that somehow carries them only about half an inch no matter how desperately their arms flail or how theatrically they fling their hair and smile at the crowd. They need to tug, jump, slide, leap, hop hop hop to cover any ice at speed. But still.  80 points. Wait for it.

I also suspect that Virtue Moir could cut glass with their blades in footwork all throughout the season and still struggle for Level 4.

They kill me.

Look at Tessa's right skating foot as they come around the turn. Tarasova was right. Her gift for ice dance is from the gods.

An fsu-er already finds the "Muskrat Ramble" section "discordant."

Here's Astaire Rogers:

Astaire Rogers Dance in Follow the Fleet

That sort of transition/tempo and intentionally discordant tonal change worked all right for Fred and Ginger. It was even praised. But I mean - sophistication, shmomistication. Who cares that the music and tempo shift, but Scott and Tessa anticipate and carry the style and the energy through the transitions while dancing in harmony with, and in relation to, all of the selections? And btw, there is a tie-in/transition between Muskrat Ramble and the music section that precedes it - it's the wail of the horn. The two selections are clearly family. Scott and Tessa don't need to change the character of their movement, nor the energy.

I love the program - I think Marina is brilliant and this is skated wonderfully. I always notice when supposed figure skating fans respond with program comments, and not skating comments. It makes one wonder if some fans have any idea of the skating Virtue Moir are pulling off in this program, setting aside that they're dancing with their skating. One would think skating fans would notice what's accomplished with the skating, first and foremost. At this stage, I don't even think "accomplished" is the word for Virtue Moir. They've been this accomplished for a long time. Revealed is more on point.

Observe how they get back in hold after footwork.

If only they weren't so darn heavy-footed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Every year they make the twizzles more difficult. It's not just the jumps, but the holds and twists right before they enter them. No other team can manage it."
(Davis White fan, rolling up sleeves and pluckily tackling the technical case for Davis White's wins over Virtue and Moir.)
Set aside that this defender has merely pulled this statement out of their hind end. Let's look at DW's post Vancouver twizzles.
Davis White 2011 twizzles:

Look at those twists and holds!
One thing for sure, no other dancers could pull off this hustle.

Virtue Moir 2011:

Now that is certainly different from the twizzles these two performed in Vancouver. If Davis White ever tried a circular twizzle pass followed by a sbs twizzle pass, they'd both end up face-planted in the parking lot and never find their way back to the ice.

Twists and holds - 2012!!!!

How waltz-like. Bear in mind that Meryl and Charlie are pulling in that extra GOE for executing twizzles "in the style of the music". Boy, their twizzles are versatile. 2011 was a tango, and 2012 was a waltz, yet the same twizzles done the same way - no stylistic modifications in the performance of the twizzles themselves - are deemed to be in the character of any music DW are using. Waltz, tango, ballet - doesn't matter. They get the GOE for style of the music doing two straight-on bombs away twizzle passes styled identically season to season, sd to fd.

Here's Funny Face's twizzles (2012). How do VM keep getting way with repeating themselves like this? It makes me so mad they beat Die Fleudermaus in 2012!!

Oh wait.
Here's the Notre Dame (2013 twizzles) - part of the program that outscored Carmen at every meeting. One thing for sure, those twizzles are certainly in the style of music describing a tragic romance of epic dimensions marked by angst and yearning, not to mention they certainly showcase Meryl and Charlie's newly discovered connection.

Hop, drag and leap. A little swervy and uncontrolled in the traveling part.
What kind of music style was Notre Dame, so I can decide if these are in the style of the music?

Here's Carmen's twizzles:

By the way, after two of these twizzles, VM transition into their dance spin. Another element.

So, DW fans have decided to defend their faves on technical merit, but by making it up.

I believe a DW defender also claims that DW are better waltzers than VM. Are they referring to the Golden Waltz pattern dance? Because really - does anyone want a gif stand-off on that one?

Or do they believe because Die Fleudermaus was waltz music, DW must have waltzed in it. They did not. They did no dance of any kind except a weird polka/two step quote in the part of the choreography where they grabbed the kitchen sink, added some limbs and head flails, and started throwing it all at the audience while modeling applause-beseeching gesticulation.

I would like the "twists" part of technique explained to me in skating terms, and also how that impacts the difficulty of a twizzle. That is if DW were twisting and holding. Let's just pretend. Their fans are.

I put this up because DW fans are following the DW playbook. They think SAYING DW do something is exactly the same as DW doing it.

P.S. - Today Nick McCarvale of NBC claims Virtue Moir merely "squeaked" by DW in the 2010 Olympics, although the victory margin was, I believe, in the neighborhood of five points (Lysacek beat Plushenko by something like four tenths of a point). But of course, when DW are awarded Worlds gold in 2013 by a margin of about 4.5, they SMITE their rivals. "Smite" means "firm blow" or "defeat or conquer". It doesn't mean squeak by.

This is typical.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Here We go

Virtue and Moir debut their short program this weekend (and have revealed both their sd and their fd program music).

Many fans are excited; some are wrecks. It's a given they're going to skate better than Meryl and Charlie, because they're far better skaters than Meryl and Charlie, so these nerves aren't really about skating.

Once Virtue and Moir skate, the season is launched. Are we in for yet another season where no matter how they skate, (or, more importantly, no matter how Meryl and Charlie skate) Scott and Tessa won't be scored better than Meryl and Charlie? Will Meryl and Charlie get away with murder yet AGAIN for an entire season and in every encounter with Virtue and Moir?

Following a summer where the ISU implied Scott and Tessa "misused" the interruption rule at the 4CCs (as the only reason Virtue Moir would wish to interrupt a fd in a competition they were leading would be if they couldn't win otherwise, this is the implication left by the ISU inquiry) - fans' apprehensions are justified.

Meryl and Charlie will get 9s, 10s and +3's, and defeat VM in pcs, no matter what's going on with their blades, or whether what they do actually matches the criteria for maximum scores in the ISU's own rulebook, just as they did in 2009 (where, it was recently pointed out, Charlie bellyflopped on an element in Lake Placid. Instead of the team receiving the required -2, the team received a "0", which is the baseline GOE for a successfully executed element. So even back then, +GOEs were their baseline). They will execute the same two-set twizzle pass and the same assisted dance spin rotationals and be declared the best in the world at both.

I've noticed something about the image that's been built for Davis and White. Meryl and Charlie are such wonderful people, their skating is never called out. Even people who privately believe Davis White are blatantly inferior to Virtue and Moir refrain from saying so publicly. That "nice' meme we're getting about Meryl and Charlie is so aggressive that, paradoxically, it's deployed as an intimidation tactic. They're so nice, that if you criticize them, you're not.

The sd pattern is the Finn Step.

This is the last time Scott and Tessa competed the Finn Step, Tessa skating like Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid - legs on fire.

Here's Meryl and Charlie:

Scott and Tessa are so much better it's ridiculous.

Charlie has said that the Finn Step is good for him and Meryl because they have "quick feet."

The ISU likes to score Meryl and Charlie for imitating something rather than their execution of the thing itself (scoring what they do prior to and after an element as components of the element itself, which is how they get "character of the dance/music" twizzle points for the same set of bombastic twizzles in every single program). With that in mind,

this article:

with this quote:

"But the Finnstep is problematic. With all those toe pick steps, can you imagine in the world championships? The ice would be pitted with holes. I don't think that's practical"

Toe pick steps! Additionally, the FinnStep starts off beat/off time, which is fabulous for skaters who simply let the music accompany them instead of actually skating ON time.
DW are ice dance innovators. You can actually do it without a partner.
And without doing much dancing. Or skating.

I wanted to get these Finn Step youtubes embedded before the weekend, but later on and prior to the competition, this post is going to be built out with more about the Finn Step, as well as with some comments on Tessa and Scott's using their bridal shoot photos for a new round of fan shaming.