Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

For George Mason: God Finally Left the Building

posted by donna freitas

Mason Miracle, March Miracle, and Miracle Run are just a couple of the turns of phrase invoking miracles or divine-intervention that have been used to somehow describe the fact that, against all odds (literally), the George Mason Patriots men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Final Four, upsetting the tournament’s top seeds one after the other, until they sadly lost to Florida, 73-58, after a hard fought first half on Saturday night. The Cinderella Team has become standard fair each year during March Madness, but this year, as The New York Times sports reporter Pete Thamel wrote yesterday, “By the time George Mason took the court for its Final Four game with Florida on Saturday night, the Patriots had already redefined the role of Cinderella in the N.C.A.A. tournament.” And though the George Mason came out of the locker room to the tune of the their pep band playing “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike and the Mechanics, alas, Thamel reports that their “plea for one more divine performance was left unanswered.”


What is it about championship games, particularly the ones that come in March, that lead us to take up such religious language in our descriptions of wins and defeats and the “why” behind the Cinderella Team’s success? And why do we adore the Cinderella Team so much in the first place? Is it the fact that we somehow believe that, via a group of men or women dribbling a ball down a court, there really is a miracle unfolding before our eyes? That God is somehow playing a role in the spectacle?

As a lifelong college basketball fan, one whose team is always a Cinderella-bid at the N.C.A.A.’s (University of Rhode Island–I know, who’s that?) when they somehow manage to squeak out a good enough season or win the Atlantic 10 title to get a ticket to the ball, I am an unabashed follower of the underdog, that team that is just not supposed to be there but somehow is, and whose every win is regarded as coming on a wing and a prayer and with a lot of divine intervention. I have prayed, screamed, and begged my way through heart-stoppingly close games that are won and lost by those Hail Mary shots from across the court (notice our name for those). And I’ve been known to perform all sorts of superstitious rituals, because–as any sports fan knows–every little move you make can effect the outcome of a game and potentially upset the gods and goddesses of game-watching. Though George Mason is not “my team,” I always follow Cinderella each year, because I want the miracle as much as the next fan.


Of course, lurking beneath all the wonder is the hard fact that sometimes, despite our faith, prayers, and believing, more often that not, these March Miracles are fleeting. Though George Mason seemed to sustain the stunning run longer than most Cinderellas have in the past, it seems that finally, on Saturday night, God sadly got distracted and, at least for this year, the Mason Miracle came to an end. And in the wake of the sadness of fans who’ve been closely following this unusual Cinderella tale this season, we are all now left with a totally disappointing final game this Monday night, between two superpowers of basketball, Florida and UCLA, a game I plan to forego for “24” now that Mason is no longer a contender.


Will They or Won’t They? Donna & Josh on “West Wing”

posted by donna freitas

It took almost a full seven seasons of “The West Wing” for writers to finally address what I think is the most romantic storyline in this show’s entire run: Will Josh and Donna EVER get together? I mean, for real this time? As “The West Wing” draws to a close for good (sniff, sniff), I am anxiously waiting to see how the relationship between these two “friends” and colleagues resolves (or doesn’t).

Viewers have watched as the tension between these two characters has been building for years, with flirtation, stolen glances, sighs, clever banter, and even long hours of intense devotion at hospital bed sides. I’ve heard of Christian couples waiting until they reach the altar for a first kiss (but then again, they tend not to date that long beforehand) and boyfriends and girlfriends waiting a full year before they lock lips, but SEVEN years? I have always felt that Donna and Josh have taken their chastity thing a bit too far.


The answer to my question was at least partially addressed and sealed with a kiss during the episode “The Cold” when–hooray, hooray–as Donna knocked on Josh’s door to deliver fantastic news about the polls for Matt Santos, and in Josh’s happiness he grabbed her and finally gave her the on-screen kiss we’d all been waiting for (well some of us at least, since I know many out there are still rooting for a return of Mary-Louise Parker’s women’s rights character, Amy, not only to the show but a place at Josh’s side.)

And (most) viewers rejoiced! The question burning my brain now is, where to from there for Josh and Donna?

Unfortunately, and in typical “West Wing” fashion, post lip-lock viewers so far have only seen Josh and Donna briefly hem and haw about the meaning of this new drama in their long-term relationship. Is their long time relationship destined to end with only a kiss and confusion? I wondered sadly, as the credits rolled after last week’s episode. Yet, evidently it will not, since scenes for this Sunday’s upcoming episode, “Election Day,” included a glimpse of Josh and Donna in bed together.


Hooray? Personally, I think they deserve a little more romance than a one-night stand, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I think I’ll set my expectations high and hold out for a marriage proposal by season’s end and just hope for the best (and that, as much as I love Mary Louise Parker, that pesky Amy won’t return to ruin it all….).


Scientology vs. Kabbalah: A Spiritual Battle for Celebrity Souls

posted by ellen leventry

As if it isn’t enough to be badgered by paparazzi and crazed fans, now David and Victoria Beckham, Britain’s celebrity royals, are reportedly being fought over by Tom Cruise and Madonna. Does Tom want the soccer phenom to star in his next movie? Nope. Does Madonna want the former Spice Girl to do a duet? Nope. According to’s The Scoop, Madge and Tom are waging a battle to win the super couple over to Kabbalah and Scientology, respectively.

Pictures of Posh with Cruise’s fiance, Katie Holmes, have been splashed all over the celebrity gossip magazines for the past few months. But it seems that Jewish mysticism is winning out: Those same tabloids are now carrying pictures with Mrs. Beckham sporting the red string bracelet popular among Kabbalah enthusiasts.


“Perhaps Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie have the edge,” Rick Ross of tells Scoop, “since Ritchie after all is a Brit and his wife keeps a house in the English countryside.”

Perhaps Madonna and Cruise should just get together and form a religion called Sciencabbalism. Maybe then they’d finally land America’s celebrity royal, Oprah–who according to reports, has so far been able to resist the efforts of both the couch jumper and the Material Girl.


When Is a Group of Christians Not a Christian Group?

posted by burb

The category “Christian rockers whose band is not Christian”—think Scott Stapp, or P.O.D.–is getting less exclusive every day. But at least one band is willing to sue to get on it. Mute Math, a Louisiana prog-rock group, is suing Warner Brothers for labeling them a Christian band. Headed by Paul Meany, formerly of the out-Christian act Earthsuit, Mute Math played to raves at Christian festivals over the summer and opened for Mae, a Christian band, last fall. But when Warner released their EP on its Christian subsidiary, Word Records instead of one of their mainstream labels, the band balked, first putting their full album out on a label co-owned by Meany called Teleprompt, then filing suit.


Naturally, the band’s move has bred resentment in the evangelical ranks that calling any entity Christian is a litigatable offense. But think of the upside: the case may yield a court-approved definition of the term “Christian band.” A Mute Math spokesperson sketched out a sort of negative definition in saying what Mute Math is not: “Mute Math is not a worship artist. They don’t preach from (the) stage. They don’t preach in their interviews.” That’s a start. But Meany himself intimates there’s more to the distinction when he told Billboard, “I had no desire to be the Christian version of a real band.”

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