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The New Yorker on 'The Unbeautiful Game'

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I enjoy football, and the current NFL.

    But I also enjoyed this post very much.
  2. football is nowhere near as boring as that story
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Gopnik's trying to strip the myth from the game. I get that. I think, though, it would have been better if he had actually interviewed a coach or two, maybe talked to some current players - I know many who are open, honest, and spirited - and bounced some of these ideas off of them. This piece lives too far in the vacuum of one guy's head. To me, the piece is more about how once an idea start rolling in the head of a writer, it can select parts of facts from here and there to create a compelling argument - so long as it isn't exposed to the air of a player or game or experience that justly proves it wrong.
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    The only thing I could wrap my head around as I read this was what J_D already said...

    It was written for the New Yorker.
  5. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    The only thing worse than romanticizing the past is romanticizing a past that you don't remember or weren't alive for. Gopnik's exposure to the game as it was came not with a media pass but a library card. His opinion is a literary conceit, nothing more. The game isn't boring. He is. The easy thing is to criticize an entire sport and its athletes for a dearth of stories. The harder but better thing is to go find somebody with a story to tell.

    YHS, etc
  6. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member


    Disagree- Gopnik's brief overview of Joe Namath Jet era is dead on and could only have been written by someone who followed the Jets in that time.

    You guys are just upset because he poked fun at the writers enjoying free food in the press box.

    Someone needs to get Roy Blount on here and ask him what he thinks. Could he have written "Three Bricks Shy Of A Load" in today's NFL. Ricky Manning might have beaten him up.
  7. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    The opposite of boring, in the instances cited above, is not interesting. A trainwreck is not boring, but it's not interesting. Watch a someone with cerebral palsey shoot heroin is not boring, it may be interesting, but it's still offensive and hurtful.
    Owens & Johnson are just insecure, under educated, ignorant narcissists, whose act has gotten old, tired and stale. Ray Ray is just a dimwitted sociopath.
    Boring, maybe not, but far from interesting
  8. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    A litigious U.S., a world where you cannot trust ANYONE, paparazzi on roids.

    That is what has sucked the personalities out of athletes.... most celebrities for that matter.
  9. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr 70,

    Like me, Gopnick was wearing short pants and following the Montreal Expos when Namath's Jets won the Super Bowl. I appreciate any kind words you can give Canadian writers but with Gopnick, well, he had to experience the NFL's glorious past when it had already moved into the past--second- third- and fourth-hand. He was an Expos fan as a kid and I'm sure that he stayed one as a McGill student in the mid- and late 70s. As for free food in the press box, I've never had a press box hot dog--I haven't eaten meat since 1974. I could care less about Gopnick's stereotypes of scribes--they're probably as accurate as the stereotypes of NYer writers.

    YHS, etc
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    My main bone of contention is that many of you aren't finding these players as interesting and/or charismatic and/or romantic because you deal with them on a personal basis. There's every possibility that the home-spun charm of a Unitas might have come across as Tom Brady-like vanilla if you were having to interview him today.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Johnson , Owens and Lewis are ESPN fueled bores. Back in the day the closest thing to those fellows was Fred the Hammer Williamson.

    Well the Packers shut him up. We've all seen the classic NFL film of Packers/ Chiefs Super bowl with The Hammer being carried off field and Willie Wood proclaiming "We got the Hammer we got the Hammer"

    Some might have considered the 67 Packers boring. I think they were far from it collectively. Even today those guys are more interesting to hear from than most of todays players in the NFL.
  12. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Oh God, I'm having that dream where I sleep through final exams.

    Somewhat ironic that the author is bemoaning the complete lack of fun and humor in football today, which is exactly how I felt reading the story. He is no Groucho Marx.

    The whole piece is a very long cliche, which better writers have applied to virtually every sport: it's just a big boring corporate business out there, bring back the good ol' days when players could laugh and a writer could find some good material for a book. This is hand-wringing by a wide-eyed fan, lamenting the 'silly putty' reshaping of the sport by media and league drones. The complaint is trite and unoriginal. Football purists don't fall for 'reshaping' and hype and dazzle--they just want to see the game.

    As for the books: short-sighted to mention Semi-Tough without also mentioning North Dallas Forty. Not everyone laughed through that era. Three Bricks is a classic because of Blount, not because of those Steelers...you could tell Blount to go write about some random 1980s Tampa Bay team, you'd still die from envy that anyone can make it look so easy.

    Did Pierce or Feinstein et al set out to write another Three Bricks? Doubtful....so why the comparison? (And to respectfully disagree with Boom and others, I think Pierce would be perfect for that kind of book.)

    Finally, this sentence near the end sums up a philosophical difference I can't reconcile: 'The essential experience of watching sports is experiencing loss...' No: To me, the essential experience is the anticipation of the unknown, the instant drama and unpredictable twist of fate that truly tests the limits of human emotion.
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