Saturday, September 03, 2016

"Being an accomplice is a fact of being American"

Spencer Hall on the opening weekend of his and our favorite sports season
The violence at the heart of football is the thing that will eventually kill it. It’s in the bones and marrow of the sport, and has been forever, and fatalism in the face of it or mitigating it by degrees of manner or ritual or rule is a dodge. The worst part isn’t even that it’s thrilling, even in measures we consider acceptable like doses of radiation. 

The scariest part of thinking about the inherent violence of football — America’s most popular sport, even now— is that it’s just a sliver of something huge and more monstrous and inescapable. That being an accomplice is a fact of being American. That somewhere in a long history of violence, even the home I buy or the car I drive or the food I eat is a feeble payment against a long debt of crushing injustice, inequality, and ambient malice. 

That every story here— beyond football, even— is one of trying to save or pardon the killing thing you love in spite of itself—even if, or when it turns on you. Even when it is, inescapably a part of you. 

When that thing is you.
It's possible that as some point we'll decide that we can't do the cognitive dissonance necessary to keep this meat grinder business afloat.  But our entire history indicates otherwise. 

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