Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Dumb Down Immigrants


In its energy and complexity, football captures the spirit of America better than any other cultural creation on this continent, and I don't mean because it features long breaks in which advertisers get to sell beer and treatments for erectile dysfunction. It sits at the intersection of pioneering aggression and impossibly complex strategic planning. It is a collision of Hobbes and Locke; violent, primal force tempered by the most complex set of rules, regulations, procedures and systems ever conceived in an athletic framework.

He's not wrong, but for the wrong reasons. Football is a quintessentially American game because any moron with sneakers can play a position in it well at some level of competition, if only as an interior lineman. It is basically the game that awards mediocrity while throwing bouquets on the better-than-average outsized of the actual contributions of the player (I'm looking at you, Tim Tebow).

And, like America, it is as violent as it is because it contains within its own parameters the engine of that violence: protection. In football, it's padding. In America, it's the handgun.