What’s love got to do with it? Emma Bernstein on the gurus who would guide you to the perfect pickupYou might expect that the art of seduction had changed since 1 BC, but you would be mistaken. Thanks to Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, published that year, the Roman was well schooled in all manner of sly tips and tricks, which bear more than a passing resemblance to those proposed by today’s praeceptores amoris. But there’s a difference. Whereas the scandalous advice of the Ars Amatoria caused a sensation (rivalled only by a certain birth the following year) and resulted in Ovid’s extradition to the Black Sea, nowadays, the authors of dating manuals can enjoy the reverence and gratitude of their lonely-hearted readership. Undoubtedly the most notorious of the numerous guides to seduction is Neil Strauss’ 450-page tome, The Game: Undercover in the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, which has achieved cult status among its lovelorn disciples. This is no simple, step-by-step instruction manual for the wannabe lothario. Rather, the book chronicles Strauss’ initiation into the “seduction community” and his transformation from a “formless lump of nerd” into his alter-ego, Style, the “master pickup artist”. Here, seduction is a field dominated by professional predators, relying upon mind control, hypnosis and persuasion techniques. Lest there be any doubt as to the credentials of The Game, Strauss’ own proficiency is confirmed when an incautious Britney Spears gives him her number. One seduction method beloved of the pickup artist is ‘negging’, which is “to actively demonstrate a lack of interest in a beautiful woman by making an ambiguous statement, insulting her in a way that appears accidental, or offering constructive criticism”. Whilst it beggars belief that classic ‘negs’ such as “you look great – are you wearing make-up?” would melt hearts, ‘negging’ apparently has the dual effect of empowering the pickup artist and making the woman vulnerable. Other methods of seduction rely upon neuro-linguistic programming, “a form of waking hypnosis”, which uses repeated mesmerising hand movements and “flirtatious hypnospeak”. Yet its amoral techniques and nouveau jargon have only served to increase the allure of The Game, whether as a glimpse into a fascinatingly sordid enterprise or as a guide to follow with religious fervour. However, in terms of sheer notoriety, a serious contender to The Game comes in the unlikely form of The Rules – Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr Right, its exact opposite in every way. Where The Game uses advanced mind-control and invented terminology, The Rules espouses the traditional approach, and is bloated on its own self-hype. The two authoresses assure readers that they too can “make Mr Right obsessed with having you as his by making yourself seem unattainable”, by simply following their 35 rules. Their credentials are all in the book’s dedication: “to our wonderful husbands”. Quasi-scientific justification is offered for women playing hard to get; “men are born to respond to a challenge” and that “biologically he’s the aggressor”.Can a “good marriage” really be based upon such superficial rules? Women are advised that “if you have a bad nose, get a nose job”, are told to limit phone calls to ten minutes and to end the date first. The publications of The Rules had feminists up in arms, but the authors argue that their empowering methods enable every women to get what she wants, namely “a marriage truly made in heaven”. It remains to be considered whether the approaches of these two very different books get results.
It didn’t take long for the Celtics to show just how much Kevin Garnett means to the defending NBA champions.How so? Well, it only took one game in 2009 for the Celtics to lose a home playoff game. Last year, the Celtics lost only one game at home during the entire playoffs, and that was in the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit.Oh, and did I mention they were playing the Bulls?Now I’m not one to bash Chicago sports (unless of course the Dodgers are beating up the Cubs), but the No. 7 seed Bulls aren’t really what I would call a spectacular team. Yeah, they have Derrick Rose, but Chicago doesn’t really have much firepower aside from the rookie out of Memphis.With that description, you would expect Chicago to be home early from the postseason. I mean, in the western conference, the Bulls wouldn’t even be in the playoffs to begin with.The Celtics on the other hand, have been among the NBA’s elite teams all season long. Rajon Rondo has developed into an outstanding point guard (even though his jump shot could use a bit of work) and Glen “Big Baby” Davis has been more than serviceable down low.But let’s face it; the “Boston Three Party” doesn’t include either Rondo or Davis. Of course Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are superstars, but without Garnett, they lack the superstar talent to put them over the top of the Cleveland Cavaliers.At this rate though, the Celtics won’t even be making the conference finals, and even though they’ve only played one game, it should be a bit concerning. Not just because Boston lost to a team that clearly isn’t as good as it is, but because down the stretch, the Bulls were able to score at will.Tyrus Thomas nailed jumper after jumper and Rose seemingly toyed with Rondo and drove to the lane without anyone being able to stop him — that’s where the biggest difference lies.Without Garnett, the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals. Pau Gasol doesn’t get scared by Kendrick Perkins, and Boston is then relying on Rondo’s 11.9 points per game to make up for KG’s absence.But against every great team, the Celtics will need to stop a slasher like Rose. The Cavaliers (LeBron) and the Lakers (Kobe) — the Celtics’ two biggest opponents — will tear Boston apart if Garnett can’t return (it doesn’t look like he’s going to).Aside from the physical attributes Garnett brings, which are obviously among the best in the NBA, his demeanor on and off the court is something the Celtics can’t play without. I’m not necessarily talking about his point and rebound totals, but rather the way he affects the players around him.For example, take a look at Davis. Earlier this season, Garnett made “Big Baby’s” name a reality, making the 6-foot-9 forward cry on the bench after playing poorly filling in for the Celtics starters. With a 6-foot-11 future hall of famer telling you that you suck, it might prove to be motivational in the future. And what did Davis do for the rest of the season? He worked on his mid-range jump shot and learned how to box out NBA players, earning seven points and four rebounds per game, a very respectable mark for a second-year player off the bench.Now I’m a pacifist, and I know I wouldn’t like someone yelling at me to do my job better, but in the Celtics’ case, that’s just what they need. As long as Pierce has been on the Celtics, he alone has never been able to lead Boston to an NBA title.The first year Garnett came in, he did it. I’m not saying Pierce and Allen don’t want to win a championship, but without Garnett pushing the players to play to their maximum potential, it will be a stretch to see Boston carrying back-to-back titles.However, this mysterious injury might not be all that bad. Who knows? Maybe Garnett will be back to help the Celtics beat the Lakers yet again. First though, they’ll need to get by the Chicago Bulls.But hey, as KG put it last year, “Anything is possible!”Jonah is a sophomore majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Think Pierce and Allen can lead Boston to another NBA title? Is Garnett really that important to the Celtics? Send your thoughts to [email protected]
Olawale Ajimotokan in AbujaNigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said it would not make any financial benefits from the two friendly matches it has arranged for the Super Eagles against Luxembourg and Mali in Europe during the international window later this month and in June.Nigeria will meet fellow West Africans, Mali at the Stade Robert Diochon in Rouen, in France on May 27. They will then face Luxembourg in Luxembourg City on June 1 at a venue yet to be finalised.The friendly games are organised to prepare the Eagles when the African qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup resume in October. Nigeria’s poor form of late is manifest in the failure of the Eagles to reach the Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Gabon next year.NFF Secretary General, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, was cool on the financial package negotiated by the federation through its match agent. Rather, he said that apart from enabling the coaches to thoroughly assess the team for the World Cup challenge, the team stood to benefit from the opportunity to display the its rich culture to the rest of the world.“It is not about the money. Everything we are doing is for national benefit, “Sanusi said. “Every time you go to play a friendly match outside Nigeria, of course, you are showcasing Nigeria and its culture and at the same time, you are trying to build a team that Nigerians will be proud of”.Analysts have questioned the decision of the Nigerian federation to play a friendly match against Luxembourg that has no football pedigree and is the second least ranked European team in the world. The Luxembourgers are rated 146 in the world and have neither qualified for the main stage of a UEFA or FIFA tournament.Pundits are also critical of NFF as it will play the matches at a huge cost as all the players invited for the matches by caretaker coach, Salisu Yusuf are foreign-based.NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, had recently rationalised the basis for the proposed games.He said that they tried without success to secure bigger matches with top teams as most of the countries they approached had made commitment to other teams during the coming FIFA window.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram