Homeland plot twist
- Sol: I know something you don't know.
- Senator Lockhart: And what is that?
- Sol: I am not left-handed! [switches rapier to right hand, begins dueling the senator much more expertly.]
“I love football — it’s so much fun, it’s beautiful, it’s thrilling, it’s an excuse to drunk-tweet in the mid-afternoon — but it has also become the major theater of American masculine crackup. It’s as if we’re a nation of gentle accountants and customer-service reps who’ve retained this one venue where we can air-guitar the berserk discourse of a warrior race. We’re Klingons, but only on Sundays. The Marines have a strict anti-hazing policy, but we need our fantasy warrior-avatars to be unrestrained and indestructible. We demand that they comply with an increasingly shrill and dehumanizing value set that we communicate by yelling PLAY THROUGH PAIN and THAT GUY IS A SOLDIER and THE TRENCHES and GO TO WAR WITH THESE GUYS and NEVER BACK DOWN. We love coaches who never sleep, stars who live to win, transition graphics that take out the electrical grid in Kandahar. We love pregame flyovers that culminate in actual airstrikes.”
Man Up - Brian Phillips at Grantland
Here’s a really great read on our masculine culture and the NFL and all that, and how that kind of culture is totally screwed up (no duh), but also how when we hear about it, we aren’t addressing it correctly, maybe because culture feeds itself and you don’t really realize that the thing you are eating is causing the indigestion even as you are eating more (Ouroboros-osis?).
It’s weird to think about how football teams are like military units. Or how both the NFL and US military are plagued by suicide and how they both involve a violent amount of mental and physical trauma. And how both team and unit are driven by a psychological need to never be weak. Which is understandable, because I do not know how you stick your head up to shoot back when people are shooting at you, without a serious amount of psychological pressure. The same way I don’t know how you actively, voluntarily slam your body into another body going the exact opposite velocity.
I heard on the radio today that there are 22 US military veteran suicides EVERY DAY. I can’t even comprehend that number. If that was swine flu the national media would blanket us with terror alerts and we’d be on a worldwide pandemic alert. But whatever is happening isn’t contagious in the same way, and it only takes volunteers, so it feels far off and not particularly pressing to the general public.
Grantland also has a great read from Andrew Sharp, that manages to actually take a nuanced look at the scandal and ask whether a professional sports locker room is inherently different but also whether that matters. It isn’t as broad as Phillips’ essay, but it’s a really balanced look at the Dolphins controversy.