Monday, July 18, 2011

Bad Girls

If you never owned an actual record and record player, you probably don't know who Casey Kasem is. Or, if you're a Scooby Doo fan under the age of 30, you probably never put the voice of Shaggy together with Top 40 radio.

Speaking of Scooby Doo, by the way, why were Scooby and Shaggy ever afraid of any of the ghosts and monsters they ran into, since they were always just the bad guy in a disguise. Wouldn't they have figured that out at some point?

Anyway, Casey Kasem would count down America's Top 40 - the top 40 songs in that particular week's Billboard chart - on his show every weekend.

Yesterday morning, TigerBlog was flipping through the radio when he stumbled upon the voice of Casey Kasem - who also was the voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo. It was a repeat of the countdown from July 14, 1979, the top 40 songs from 32 years ago this week.

The year 1979 was an interesting time for music, with a combination of some classic rock songs that TB listens to on his I-tunes pretty much on a daily basis and the peak of the disco era.

The countdown certainly reflected that. Included on the list were songs like "The Logical Song" by Supertramp, "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick, "Is She Really Going Out With Him" by Joe Jackson and "Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen, as well as R&B classic "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind and Fire.

Alongside those were disco smashes like "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, "Good Times" by Chic and "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.

In fact, the top two songs in the countdown - which included a Long Distance Dedication of Stevie Wonder's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life" - were disco songs, with "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward at No. 2 and another Donna Summer favorite, "Bad Girls," - at No. 1.

As an aside, the Long Distance Dedication was from a family in Kentucky to an old friend in Indiana, whom they no longer lived near, and it struck TB as really weird, because the distance isn't that great. And then he realized that distance in 2011 is way different than distance in 1979.

TigerBlog listened to the countdown on 101.9 FM in Baltimore, as he was in town for the Summer Sizzle lacrosse tournament. As a result, he missed the Women's World Cup championship game between the U.S. and Japan, though he did see the highlights later.

Again, TB has the same problem with international soccer on the women's side that he did with the men's game.

First, the rules of college soccer are far better than those of international soccer. Forget the stuff that is untouchable, like the offsides rule and all that.

The idea that time isn't kept on the scoreboard is ludicrous. The three-substitution rule is bad also, because it means that you have exhausted players on the field at the end, which inhibits the quality of play.

And overtime should be sudden death, and not because Abby Wambach's goal would have won it for the U.S. In fact, if OT was sudden death, then Brazil would have beaten the U.S. - but that's still how it should be. Why do they insist on playing out all 30 minutes?

Lastly, and this applies to the NCAA tournament here as well, penalty kicks are no way to end a game, let alone decide a World Cup championship. Keep playing until someone scores.

The game won't go on forever, since both teams will have to take chances to get the goal to win. They couldn't sit back and play for a tie and hope for PKs.

Mostly, though, TB thought about the difference in the world of women's sports from the days of "Bad Girls" as the No. 1 song in the country and today.

The countdown that TB heard came seven years after Title IX was enacted in 1972, and even after that landmark legislation, the idea that an international women's sporting event would get the kind of coverage and attention that it did was unthinkable.

TigerBlog has said this many times before, but the idea that Princeton - or any college - would shortchange its women's teams in favor of its men's teams is unthinkable. It's not something that would ever enter into the radar of anything that is done around here.

TB has sat in so many meetings in which gender equality is never spoken about because it doesn't have to be. It's just something that exists.

One of TB's longstanding questions is what would it be like around here for gender equality if not for Title IX. TigerBlog likes to think that Princeton does much of what it does because it's the right thing to do, not because it's the law.

But maybe things would be different if there wasn't the constant threat of the federal government hanging over college sports? TB hopes not, but he can't be sure.

In fact, much of the equality here is between the usual "haves" of college sports - football, basketball and such - and everyone else, regardless of gender.

Still, progress would have been much slower without Title IX.

And maybe Princeton's women's teams would still be playing in substandard conditions, practicing when the men didn't want to, without the same administrative support.

It's a great question.

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