Reimagining Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes for 2012
As I lay back on the divan, exhausted, thinking of Frank Gifford — the all-American curl to his forelock, the clean-cut, square-jawed righteousness manifest in his burst to a graceful gallop that in his playing days left lesser mortals, flawed champions all, broken in the dirt at his feet — I couldn’t help but notice: he’s now an old white man.
His kind are these days relics, moral throwbacks, political antiquities that best serve now as nostalgic curios, long in the tooth, frozen in the amber of a now ironic golden age. And though it wasn’t always thus, and though I am quite aware that perhaps the scotch is talking here, tastes evolve, and the tide of cultural preferences can erode even the most solid rock. Of which Frank was an example.
But time, like a younger Gifford, moves smoothly and powerfully forward. Which is why I’ve decided to reinvent myself. To idolize Jay-Z, instead. First because he’s the bomb, and second, because he’s relevant. And relevancy is the new black.
Or at least it was in 2008. But popular sentiment is nearly always at least a half-decade behind the avant-garde, the engine of moral correction, the invisible hand of a new and thrilling aesthetic, so it takes time to settle, to burrow, to nestle into the crevices of our consciousness and take root — or, to take it another way, to become the soft and inviting shag upon which our newest thoughts shuffle their warm relaxed feet.