Sunday, February 7, 2016

On Football

I was never a football fan.  I think it's in my genes.  Forgetting the emptiness of the rhetoric around its violence, I usually just found it boring to watch.  I've never been a big sports fan in general, but I could get into soccer during the World Cup.  A good baseball game gives me joy.  Maybe I like sports in which you can see the faces of the players.  Maybe that adds to the drama.

There have been a lot of flare-ups in the NFL and college football these last few years.  My hometown football team has been defending its right to advertise itself with an ugly racist symbol.  A promising openly gay football player proved not to be quite good enough to make it.  A major state university turned a blind eye to a serial child molester in order to save its program.  Exploitation of college players!  Bullying in the locker room!  Destroying the economics of the university system!  White Male Capitalist Patriarchy! It's all connected! It's all connected! It's all connected!

I would care about any or all of these issues if not for the one big one. No football fan can plead ignorance anymore. When you watch a game, you are watching people destroy themselves and each other, hit by hit, concussion by concussion, blood by blood. I am TAing a class on Cult Cinema this quarter.  The professor and I were chatting recently about how cult cinema barely exists for the younger generation of filmgoers.  When snapshots from snuff films can appear on the cover of daily newspapers, there's really not much you can do to shock anyone with stylized violence, fictional constructions.

So, I don't care if football players can be homophobic, or if that whole cheerleading thing is sexist, or if the whole system screws up the economics of the modern university system, or the racism that continues to haunt the institution. None of that matters, when you are surrounded by millions and millions of people who get off on watching a snuff film in slow time.

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