January 26, 2014

“Is it immoral to watch the Super Bowl?” [Darleen Click]

Pearl-clutching at NY Times

Pro sports are, by definition, monetized arenas for hypermasculinity. Football is nowhere near as overtly vicious as, say, boxing. But it is the one sport that most faithfully recreates our childhood fantasies of war as a winnable contest.

Over the past 12 years, as Americans have sought a distraction from the moral incoherence of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the game has served as a loyal and satisfying proxy. It has become an acceptable way of experiencing our savage impulses, the cultural lodestar when it comes to consuming violence. What differentiates it from the glut of bloody films and video games we devour is our awareness that the violence in football, and the toll of that violence, is real.

The struggle playing out in living rooms across the country is that of a civilian leisure class that has created, for its own entertainment, a caste of warriors too big and strong and fast to play a child’s game without grievously injuring one another. The very rules that govern our perceptions of them might well be applied to soldiers: Those who exhibit impulsive savagery on the field are heroes. Those who do so off the field are reviled monsters.

The civilian and the fan participate in the same basic transaction. We offload the mortal burdens of combat, mostly to young men from the underclass, whom we send off to battle with cheers and largely ignore when they wind up wounded. [...]

The N.F.L. and the bloated media cult that feeds off it rely on fans not to connect the dots between our consumption of football and brain-damaged human beings.

The Leftist tropes just fly off the page!

But it should be noted that the word “immoral” will never be in a NY Times article with connection to any activity deemed “empowering” …

[sotto voce] Abortion [/sotto voce]

Posted by Darleen @ 9:10am
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Comments (71)

  1. Memo to Steve Almond: Don’t blame the sport for your immature reaction to it. The word for doing so is “superstition.”

  2. It’s only immoral if the Cowboys are playing.

  3. I thank the good Lord above the Superbowl will not be on NBC. Bob Costas will not have the chance to lecture we serfs in flyover land about the immorality of team names, much less the game itself.

    No, Costas is off to Sochi, searching out gay Scandinavian curlers to pit against immorality of a different kind; National values that don’t agree with his own.

  4. Maybe we should try paying the players lots of money for the increased risks they are taking.

  5. Greetings:

    Apparently the author is unaware of President Obama’s campaign against “infantry inequality”. I’m sure that the President’s bold vision of infantry units well-seeded with soldiers of a different sort/sex/gender/whatever, except maybe for the really really bull dykes, will alter the author’s substantial fears in this regard

    Hopefully, as a reported basketball player himself, the President will expand his voracious concept of “inequality” to the NBA and demand that it do away with its back-of-the-sports bus WNBA and, much like Rosa Parks, bring the women forward into the light of a brand new sporting day. Who knows, after that success, maybe it will be time to fix that Title IX bus ???

  6. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find the decoration for impulsive savagery in any military listing.

  7. I must be a leftist because I see nothing objectionable here. Reading the whole thing felt like drinking room-temperature water. So anodyne as to disappear in spots so I go back to check what I missed and it’s all still nothing at all, actually the sentences align with my own more boring thoughts. I fell the same way as this author. We are kindred spirits in this. Everyone else is in the same house watching the game and we two are talking not knowing the score.

    And when I actually go to a game, go to a stadium, I am amazed all over again. Approaching the stadium I am transported. Immediately emotionally involved. I know this sounds strange but it feels utterly Roman. Approaching the stadium, passing through the turnstile, nowadays being checked out, the sound of it makes it, the roar of the crowd in there at some unknown something, and confetti rising up visibly even before entering, by the time I am inside the transfer is complete.

    So I get it. It’s not like I’m anti-football, anti-stadium, anti-blow a valve someway somehow by public event, rock concerts, wicker man burning and such. So I’m right back with the NASCAR crowd that enjoys a good spectacle.

    Plus brutes need things to do too. Not everyone can be writers.

  8. I think that when that paper is mentioned, it should always be referred to as “the effete New York Times”…

  9. I don’t think this is much different from, say, when they write about a new theory that Jesus never existed immediately before Christmas or Easter – same idea. Most of the country is coming together, enjoying a rare moment of shared experience – watching a game that echos certain uniquely American virtues and values. A Leftist can’t stand such a thing, and so there needs to be some bullshit reason why he’s too good to partake in it.

  10. It’s odd how any living masculinity must be transmogrified into hyper-masculinity, almost as though masculinity itself were designed to disappear. But then, surely no masculine being would or could possibly write.

  11. No, Costas is off to Sochi,

    He should hop a plane 650 miles NW to Kiev to see some real action.

  12. Thanks, geoffb. News from Ukraine is hard to find. One would almost think that was on purpose.

  13. And the author, one Steve Almond, wonders why he never gets invited to parties. He’s probably the type who lectured family members about signing up for Obamacare at Thanksgiving.

  14. the NFL is very thuggy and it employs a lot of scummy pieces of shit what would otherwise be out committing rapes and murders and various other crimes

  15. but no it is not immoral to watch the Super Bowl

    it’s immoral to watch the commercials

  16. Is there a war on football? Obama’s already weighed in about how his hypothetical sons wouldn’t play it.

  17. Apparently His Disastrousness thinks his imaginary adult son would obey dumb old dad.

  18. Said phantom son who would have already graduated college after playing college ball for four years? That son?

    Sure thing.

  19. Of course, he’d have to have gotten his ability to play such a demanding sport from the Klingon side of the family.

  20. M’chele does walk like a linebacker.

  21. Yes,Michelle would be the one teaching ‘lil Trayvon football fundamental. While Obama hits the links with the boys.

  22. Obama can teach him how to . . . .

    Help me here. I’m trying to think of something he’s good at.

  23. Lie. He’s a champ.

  24. Another problem with football is that it has rules which inevitably create unequal outcomes for the teams.

  25. What’s a word like “immoral” doing in the NYT?

  26. What’s a word like “immoral” doing in the NYT?

    Trying to shame red-staters. Doy.

    Look.

    Male competitive energy is boundless, and men are going to express their competitiveness one way or another.

    Among tribal cultures, frequent raids into the other guy’s camp — to show who’s baddest — was one outlet.

    War as pastime — as between kingdoms in old Europe — including knights errant and jousting and the like — was another.

    Or dueling to settle an insult, verbal or otherwise.

    As were gladiator fights and feeding Christians to lions and any number of blood sports that men have devised.

    Me, I’d much rather live in a society where the male tendency toward violence and domination is contained in a football stadium or a hockey rink or a boxing ring — much better than losing sons and brothers to duels or pointless raids and skirmishes.

    Or corporate raiding or dominating the market or making the best damned product X on the planet such that the competition has to eat its pitiful little heart out.

    Trying to squelch masculinity instead of harnessing it for social improvement (or a really awesome game) is a foolish, dangerous project.

    Count this sports-averse woman out. I may turn on football only to have a steady cadence to nap to, but I’m not stupid enough to interpret my indifference to sports as an indication that it’s wrong.

  27. To clarify, the paragraph beginning “Or corporate raiding…” is intended to extend the list of positive ways that masculine competitiveness can express itself, but the structure indicates otherwise.

    My bad.

    Speaking of eunuchs, the Ricochet crowd continues to dismay. The lawyers on that thread, in especial one James of England, make me want to puke. They’re the blokes who’d have objected to Churchill’s “warmongering” prior to 1939, then begged him to help them win, then tossed him out after they were done with him.

    Lawyers are so comfortable in the half-light where they dwell, where there’s no right and wrong, just “legal” or “effective,” that they’ve lost the ability (assuming they had it) to recognize actual threats to liberty, whether great or small.

    I usually don’t expend much emotional energy hating people like Obama: his character is pretty clear and becoming clearer, but people like JoE really make me want to spit bullets. And not because they’re wrong — lots of people are wrong — but because they’re weaselly sophists who feign principled stands while stabbing principle in the back.

    They’re the ones who would have sidled up to Jesus and said, “You know, I have no objection to your preaching and your messages are quite pleasing and it’s really nice that you’re healing people and all, but do you have to do it on the Sabbath? It’s not helping your case to provoke the Pharisees. Surely, a paralytic can wait one more day to be healed without poking a stick in the hornet’s nest. If you really are a man of God, there’s nothing wrong with being judicious , is there?”

    You cannot serve God without offending the Devil. And the Devil will always howl in protest during an exorcism.

    It’s unpleasant and dangerous to fight evil. Sack up or get out of the way.

  28. Crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.

  29. >And the Devil will always howl in protest during an exorcism. <

    scott walker's 2011 madison wi saga

  30. scott walker’s 2011 madison wi saga

    Preciso.

    Heartening, though, is this other Ricochet thread, where the Moderates are being called out on their undue moderation.

    Unheartening is that Free Dominion has been successfully shut down (for now) by Richard Warman, that SOB who files nearly all of the suits under Canadian Human Rights Act.

    Quoth the founder:

    “If it takes force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with your ideas. If you are willing to use force to impose your ideas on your fellow man, there is something wrong with you.” — Mark Fournier

    I want that tattooed to my forehead, plzkthx.

  31. Them thar member-feed links are null-sets where us non-members are concerned, though I’m perfectly willing to take your word for the call outs.

  32. To clarify, the paragraph beginning “Or corporate raiding…” is intended to extend the list of positive ways that masculine competitiveness can express itself, but the structure indicates otherwise.

    *puts away Cyberpunk RPG rulebook*

    Oh well.

  33. dicentra says January 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm – Trying to shame red-staters. Doy.

    It would work better slipped into a reality show, or even a Costas monologue.

    Who reads the Times? For that matter, who reads?

  34. “*puts away Cyberpunk RPG rulebook* Oh well.”

    Hey 2020 is only six years away now. The Sprawl of Night City awaits. Chop docs n’ ‘ware, oh my.

  35. The NFL is boring.
    The stupor bowl is the epitome of bread and circuses.
    Writing about it’s hyper masculinity blah blah blah is ridiculous.
    Getting your tits in a twist to defend the hyper masculinity … Priceless.
    I always look to the stupor bowl as my own touchstone to know that winter is almost over, and spring cannot be denied.
    Soon, the days will warm.
    And if pitchers and catchers report, so much the better.

  36. To clarify my position:

    I grew up as a football fan, but these days I see it more as a bread and circuses/opiate of the masses thing.

    I don’t see taking away a major distraction for basically conservative, but totally tuned out people as being a winning strategy.

    I don’t get it. All the Left has to do is wait around for 10-15 more years for the poison to fully set in. They’ve got most all the schools, especially the universities. They have all the entertainment media. They control the news wires and control most of what gets out. They have the bureaucracy, and seldom lose the Senate, and never by much. Why do they seem so desperate and hurried lately?

    Are they just that keen to get to the thumbscrews and bamboo shoots?

  37. Desperate and hurried?
    In my opinion they just want to close the deal. ABC.
    Education/politics/Control.
    And we concern ourselves with richard Sherman. Or protecting the holiness of the NFL.
    Sheesh

  38. Desperate and hurried?

    Remember, their utopia is of this world and to enjoy it they have to be alive. Those 60’s radicals are now “in” their 60’s for the foot-soldiers and 70s+ for the leaders. Got to get that utopia before they are all fitted for drool-cups.

  39. Desperate and hurried?

    Yes.

    They are cranking up the rhetoric on AGW, which is not going to be a winner in the “perception is reality” (cause people recognize that it is cold) environment they have fostered.

    Obama is threatening a slew of executive actions at a time when his poll numbers have never been lower. He’s also always benefited by the appearance of inaction (see Limbaugh Theorem) which makes this strategy doubly shaky.

    There’s a lot more of it, much is happening at the state and local levels, and the common thread is that it involves overreach that is so onerous and obvious that it threatens to wake people up instead of keeping us dopey just a little longer.

    These guys are desperate for a home run when they just need to keep watching the Republican leadership walk batter after batter.

  40. The struggle playing out in living rooms across the country is that of a civilian leisure class that has created, for its own entertainment, a caste of warriors too big and strong and fast to play a child’s game without grievously injuring one another. The very rules that govern our perceptions of them might well be applied to soldiers: Those who exhibit impulsive savagery on the field are heroes. Those who do so off the field are reviled monsters.

    What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  41. dicentra says January 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    That is hands-down one of the best comments I’ve ever read.

  42. People have a right to be fans of what they are fans of and sports have been around for a very long time and will be here long after we’re gone.

    What is truly pathetic are the people who cannot resist the opportunity to declare how above-it-all — including youthey are: “There are important issues in the world, yet you drooling yahoos concern yourselves with these trifling matters. Too bad you can’t be more like ME, but I guess we can’t all be philosopher kings, thinking deep thoughts about important things and scolding those who are so obviously our intellectual inferiors.”

  43. “I know I’m a philosopher-king because my zip code is 10023.”

  44. That is hands-down one of the best comments I’ve ever read.

    Many thanks.

    Do I win pie? Say I win pie.

  45. Is it immortal to witch the supper ball?

  46. Of course, pie. The cake is a lie.

  47. :: yay pie ::

  48. First, I must stress that I have no use for the nancy-boys at the NYT, however, some time ago I decided that there was virtually nothing about modern popular culture that I wanted to be a part of. We have disconnected from any TV signal, shop only at our small independent grocery store and other local businesses. It helps that we are in a very small, and fairly remote town. We are agressively attempting to grow and preserve as much of our own food as possible, etc. We have opted out of the culture, since it’s values no longer approximate ours. This includes all sports, pro and collegiate, all movies, TV shows, and anything else coming from the “entertainment” industry. And this from one who formerly could not get enough football (always hated baseball).

  49. Boston Cream Pie is a cake.

  50. Leave it to the NYT to ruin it for us long-suffering Seahawks fans.

    Sherman!

  51. It is said that Democritus laughed at people who flaunted their adherence to fashion and he laughed at those who flaunted their rejection of fashion.

  52. I’m a rebel, Strabo. Self-reliant sports fan and proud of it.

  53. “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in time of moral crisis, strive to preserve their neutrality.” – attributed to Dante

    Fish or cut bait…

  54. What does that mean, Strabo? I can’t enjoy watching football just because you don’t? Hell, I like hockey and baseball, too.

  55. I hadn’t realized that concussions in professional athletes had risen to “moral crisis” status.

    Guess I need to read more. But what? I mean, last I heard, I was supposed to cancel my subscriptions to the big newspapers, and sever my Internet connection. What’s left? Where can I get the up-to-date notes on the Moral Crises of the day?

  56. She should have thought of that before they dropped all that money of their last vacation.

  57. No, no, no. I don’t begrudge anyone their choices with regard to (mostly) benign pastimes like sports viewing. To each his own. I’m just relating my choices in light of the wretched moral milieu that permeates virtually everything within our “popular” culture, given the OP question. Our choice, that is, my family’s choice, is to “check out.” We are done with the crap emanating from the entertainment industry, and would be supportive of any others who do likewise. We are not, however, under any illusion that our choice will spread like wildfire, causing a massive economic collapse of said industry. But we’re hopeful!

  58. Ah, nevermind then. Outlaw!

  59. -The Super bowl will go on…because it can.

    – The finest example of pen-ultimate lavish indulgence.

    – It will continue to ignore those that can’t participate or enjoy silliness and sport.

    – Just one more Leftist envy issue.

  60. And not because they’re wrong — lots of people are wrong — but because they’re weaselly sophists who feign principled stands while stabbing principle in the back.

    Quick, someone get ‘James of England’ a cob-logger spot over at AOSHQ!

  61. Quick, someone get ‘James of England’ a cob-logger spot over at AOSHQ!

    None of the morons even remotely approximate the unctuous mendacity of J0E.

  62. Some can even think real thoughts and express them.

  63. - While we can point at them, mock and laugh at their envious discomfort, which of course is what drives them to want to destroy everything clean and decent.

  64. I see the post I linked above got bumped up the page by another cob-logger there so it seems that they do understand that it is an important thing, unlike the moron-commentators, but they fail too since they don’t seem to have any awareness that there is a place on the inter-tubes that has spent years attempting to educate everyone about just that very important thing, language, meaning, and intent.

  65. I bet not a single mention was made in that comment thread that others have been pushing these ideas for so long that they can’t even remember when it was, exactly, that they were excommunicated for them.

    But hey: it’s trendy to notice what Obama’s doing to language. So I guess it’s no longer “fundamentally unserious,” being topical rather than merely academic.

  66. There is a single mention now.

  67. I think I’m banned over there. I lost it when Ace, after spewing a lot of smug sounding shit about purists vs. strategos, started accusing Santorum of being a rubber thieving agent of Theocracy and telling us that Romney was a winner.

  68. To me the GOP primaries pre 2012 utterly destroyed Ace’s “brand” of being rebellious, humorous, open minded, and honest. I knew he had a pendulum going where he’d swig left and then learn his lesson and swing right only to wander back left but the primary cinched what he really was for me.

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