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January 2, 2012

RebelMart's Mimeograph Machine, on sports: "we sit in silence when owners and leagues rip us off"

Atlantic Yards Report

Musician/designer/activist Scott M.X. Turner, he of the website/group Fans for Fair Play and the one-man band RebelMart, has moved from Brooklyn to Seattle, but he still keeps in touch with his daily Mimeograph Machine, a newsletter/broadside. (Sign up at rebelmartmx[at]gmail[dot]com.)

Below, with his permission, is Volume 1, Number 25, from 12/28/11, expressing some of the dismay regarding big-time sports that's going around.

RebelMart's Mimeograph Machine, on Sports

VOL. 1, NUMBER 25

Sports...

Fun. Despicable. Macho. Colorful. Epic. Eccentric. Racist. Capitalist. Good exercise. Sexist. Drunken. Homophobic. Adrenalizing. Musical. Classist. Memorable. Bonding. Violent. Lucrative. Divisive. Seductive. Life-affirming. Deadly.

I find it hard to explain to people why I like sports. It used to be because I ran with lots of political activists who deplored sports. They're right to. But they're wrong to toss it out with the bathwater.

They were also wrong to dismiss sports' enormous implications in the world today. A lot of sporting elements flail about in the world of political activism. In the battle royale of The People vs. The Man, knowing about sports is a vital thing. I'd say "tactic," but that makes the whole world-revolution thing sound exploitative. I like the whole world-revolution thing, you know.

I'm still a lefty and I still have that discussion all the time. I guess what I really mean is, I find it hard to explain to myself why I like sports. At least, still like sports.

And that's the rosin-caked razor's edge my sports-love balances atop.

I like sports and deplore sports. What other thing, besides life itself, contains as many descriptives as the top of this issue of the Mimeograph Machine?

Michael O'Keeffe, one of New York's best sportswriters -- hell, one of the Apple's best journalists, period -- once told me "Sports makes it hard to like sports."

Yeah!

I got on this jag about sports today after reading an article in the New York Times today -- about the New York Mets' desperate finances. Too many belly-button-examining books have been written about sports'n'culture'n'politics. Still, it made me think again about a very basic issue.

Sports fans are incredibly smart. Via sports, we can crunch numbers, solve complex geometry in milliseconds, explore military strategies, fathom chemistry, analyze financial formulas, present a sprawling vista of facts at the drop of a hat, beat Lincoln and Douglas in a debate, and most importantly, detect bullshit instantaneously.

So how come we sports fans are such fucking idiots?

We love our teams, our players, our games all the while knowing they're none of those things "ours." Jerry Seinfeld once famously said "you're actually rooting for the clothes." [AYR: see the video] Civic pride is a pretty unquantifiable thing -- yet it's always used to justify all the wasteful projects spend taxpayer dollars on.

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Posted by steve at January 2, 2012 4:26 PM