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smashing kids brains against their skull, maybe not so bad after all?
December 2, 2013 8:02 AM   Subscribe

America’s Newest Culture War: Football Daniel Flynn is a conservative activist and author whose newest book argues that there is a War on Football, with the real victims not being Junior Seau and his brain damage, but America.

FTA:

An audience member "wants to know what Flynn thinks about Obama's confession to The New Republic in January that in light of the game's health crisis, he'd think twice about letting son play football—if he had a son.

"He does," interjects a white-haired woman in the third row. "The guy from Florida." After the audience and Flynn share a good laugh at the expense of Trayvon Martin, Flynn gets to the point: Football is the perfect way to turn boys into men. Obama, he says, was a wayward teen, citing the "choom gang," who could have benefited from the structure of the gridiron."

Wikipedia entry on CTE:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a form of encephalopathy that is a progressive degenerative disease, which can only be definitively diagnosed postmortem, in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. It has also been found in soldiers exposed to a blast or a concussive injury,[1] in both cases resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression, which generally appear years or many decades after the trauma.

Interviews with Flynn: 1, 2

The NFL also promoted and interviewed Flynn.

Deadspin report from Flynn's talk.

Previously: 1, 2, 3
posted by MisantropicPainforest (213 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, I need to wage a War on Football right now? I've kind of already got a full schedule saying "Happy Holidays" to people from now through Isaac Newton's birthday. Look, can I get back to you on this in January? I think I can commit to betraying my country by not watching the Super Bowl.
posted by escabeche at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [49 favorites]


This is my surprised face.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


We just watched that Frontline report on CTE and the NFL and it was pretty damning stuff.
posted by jquinby at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


wow. i thought there was some kind of tabloid talk going around that Obama had a son by another woman and then I got to the part of the sentence that said Trayvon Martin.

and then i had to reread that all again.

i would hope that if someone ever ever said anything like that to me in person, that no matter who they were, i would calmy and resolutely ask for some clarification on how their thinking of that particular conclusion rather than just become stunned into silence and sadness.
posted by sio42 at 8:09 AM on December 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


Not content to laugh at one dead kid, Flynn also looks foward to a new defense from OJ.
"Just wait a few years when OJ gets out of prison. He's gonna say, 'I found the real killers—it's CTE!'
Though apparently, this is not a new line of thought (Slate article from 2007).

Yes, this whole CTE thing is cooked up by the media, and poor Dave Duerson was mislead by the press when he committed suicide and asked for his brain to be "given to the NFL's brain bank."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Obama, he says, was a wayward teen, citing the "choom gang," who could have benefited from the structure of the gridiron."

Right, I mean look where the guy wound up after all, the slacker.
posted by jquinby at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2013 [106 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: "Obama, he says, was a wayward teen, citing the "choom gang," who could have benefited from the structure of the gridiron.""

Yeah, if only he'd played football instead of smoking dope, he could have been anything, even President of the United States.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2013 [42 favorites]


On fall football fields every type of sporting pitch/field/pool ever, the impossible becomes the possible every weekend.

if only there were other options for sports

but nope there is only football for the endless autumns that make up our American years
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Baseball is America's game.
posted by Teakettle at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2013 [12 favorites]


- Obama, he says, was a wayward teen, citing the "choom gang," who could have benefited from the structure of the gridiron."

- Right, I mean look where the guy wound up after all, the slacker.


Two-term president? Whatever. He could have been president for life! Or King of the World! Or CEO of a major investment company, raking in billions, instead of this chump of a guy.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not like Barack wasn't into sports, last I heard he has a killer jump shot.
posted by PenDevil at 8:14 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


How long did Daniel Flynn play amateur and professional full contact foot ball? I wonder if he's a case for CTE diagnosable before death based on published works/speeches?

Now I need to go find a CTE project to donate my multiply mediumly concussed brain to when I die ...
posted by tilde at 8:15 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I ask him about Flynn's thesis, though, [Craig] James pauses for seven seconds and blinks a few times, not quite sure whether to unload. "Okay," he says finally. "It's an issue. It's not about a policy or a thought—we have proven results that there are issues for athletes who suffer from concussions. And so we have to address it. It's not a softening, it's a wisening up!"
Goddammit, Mother Jones, don't make me agree with Craig James.
posted by Etrigan at 8:16 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought Traumatic Brain injuries were defeated when the evil Doctor Roinuj Uaes was defeated in that episode of NFL Rush Zone... That's what we're telling kids these days, right? Plus, liquidifying kids brains with TV preps them for CTE...


Please note: This comment is meant as satire. To my knowledge there is no Doctor Roinuj Uaes in NFL Rush Zone, and if there is - Stay Classy NFL!
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:17 AM on December 2, 2013


Forgot the asshole tag.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:18 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


"After the 1905 season that was so deadly, they had to have President (Theodore) Roosevelt intervening and holding a White House summit on football."

And I'm entirely sure there was some jackass pointing out how T.R. was too chickenshit to kill a little bear and how this was a game for real men.
posted by griphus at 8:18 AM on December 2, 2013 [24 favorites]


(NB: That's from Flynn's interview w/ the NFL.)
posted by griphus at 8:19 AM on December 2, 2013


A little brain damage builds character!
posted by XMLicious at 8:27 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


What we need is robot football. Nobody weeps when a robot gets hurt.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:30 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Football? Psshaw. What makes men out of boys is, garage bands.
posted by thelonius at 8:31 AM on December 2, 2013 [20 favorites]


What we need is robot football. Nobody weeps when a robot gets hurt.

Except for the robot that has been programmed to feel pain.
posted by NoMich at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2013


I expect some of these folks are inevitably going to dig their heels in so hard that it'll probably be *harder* to make possible rule changes that will help kids play more safely. Which is a real shame.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmmmmm. I'm assuming Flynn does not believe that his line of reasoning is going to make anyone like football....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2013


[A couple comments removed. Folks, I know it's tempting to meet political posturing in kind, but can we maybe try and avoid the bottom-of-the-barrel 'brain damage = Republican, geddit' stuff and act like a place where people have actual conversations?]
posted by cortex at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Does anyone else think that, if the radicalization of the Republican party had happened just a little bit early, they would have politicized cigarettes? I picture Sarah Palin puffing away at a Marlboro and taunting 'liberals' between hacking coughs.

They've moved so far into parody that they've become the party in favor of stuff that kills you: Big Gulps, football, no health insurance, and land wars in Asia.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:35 AM on December 2, 2013 [73 favorites]


"Dad, do you love me enough not to want me to risk brain damage?"

"Not as much as I fear appearing unmasculine or letting you appear ummasculine, son! It's the American Way!"
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2013 [48 favorites]


citing the "choom gang," who could have benefited from the structure of the gridiron.

Yes, adolescent males, your aggression can only be tolerated if it can be monetized for the benefit of your superiors.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


Drew Brees (QB for the New Orleans Saints and 5th most prolific passer of all-time in the NFL) is on record as stating his son won't be allowed to play tackle football until he is a teenager.
posted by COD at 8:37 AM on December 2, 2013


[Flynn] points to a 2012 study for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that found that NFL players were statistically less likely to die early than men their age who did not play football. "What they found shocked the players' association: NFL players actually live longer!" Flynn doesn't mention until the end the second study NIOSH released a few months later, which found that NFL players had an significantly increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases, but when he does, he questions the agency's motives for conducting it.

Well, which is it? Does NIOSH produce credible reports of research or not?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:37 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Drew Brees (QB for the New Orleans Saints and 5th most prolific passer of all-time in the NFL) is on record as stating his son won't be allowed to play tackle football until he is a teenager.

Well, of course a quarterback doesn't like tackling.
posted by Etrigan at 8:39 AM on December 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


So... once again a cultural hegemonic icon is spasming with fear because a minority of people have raised concerns about it?

see also:
War on Christmas
War on Christians
War on straight people
War on traditional family values
War on incandescent light-bulbs


people are so... tiring
posted by edgeways at 8:39 AM on December 2, 2013 [34 favorites]


I wholeheartedly approve of a war on professional football.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:40 AM on December 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


If we don't Football then our harvest will fail.

It is really deeply weird how focused Republicans have gotten on symbolism. They have pretty much abandoned the previously shared neo-liberal technocratic consensus and moved on to a post-literate meme-politics (despite being terrible at internets). It's like they swallowed their dog whistle and can no longer speak.
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 AM on December 2, 2013 [128 favorites]


It is really deeply weird how focused Republicans have gotten on symbolism. They have pretty much abandoned the previously shared neo-liberal technocratic consensus and moved on to a post-literate meme-politics (despite being terrible at internets). It's like they swallowed their dog whistle and can no longer speak.

Word. Plus. Failure to win will only cause them to burrow deeper.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walk a few blocks from here and you'll see people who got knocked down and stayed down.

While the only vaguely cryptoracism of this comment is disgusting, I love that he made it at the Omni Shoreham. Walk a few blocks from the Omni Shoreham and you'll find embassies, million dollar houses, and fancy private schools. It's like he knows he's in a city, but hasn't actually looked around at where he is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:45 AM on December 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yes, this whole CTE thing is cooked up by the media,

Well, now that climate change and the IPCC has been exposed and dealt with, they need a new issue to educate the public about.
posted by sneebler at 8:47 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


i thought there was some kind of tabloid talk going around that Obama had a son by another woman and then I got to the part of the sentence that said Trayvon Martin.

According to the tabloids I saw in the grocery store last night, Obama has another, secret, wife and OJ is Khloe Kardashian's real father. Why not? That makes as much sense as anything Daniel Flynn has to say. And speaking of the kind of nonsense you're likely to hear from gaga uncles-by-marriage at a holiday dinner, from my own I learned that O Reilly has a new book out called Killing Jesus. I'm guessing it isn't an instruction manual.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:47 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Naked, as G-d intended, is the answer. It would encourage speed, agility and strategy over brute force. Plus, I might care enough to watch.
posted by maggieb at 8:49 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


...from my own I learned that O Reilly has a new book out called Killing Jesus. I'm guessing it isn't an instruction manual.

I was seriously puzzled there for a second and wondered what sort of animal could possibly go on the cover of that. I mean, what, the Rails books aren't selling any more?
posted by jquinby at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2013 [46 favorites]


And speaking of the kind of nonsense you're likely to hear from gaga uncles-by-marriage at a holiday dinner, from my own I learned that O Reilly has a new book out called Killing Jesus. I'm guessing it isn't an instruction manual.

I'm really hoping its not about the Jews.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2013


And speaking of the kind of nonsense you're likely to hear from gaga uncles-by-marriage at a holiday dinner, from my own I learned that O Reilly has a new book out called Killing Jesus. I'm guessing it isn't an instruction manual.

Once while getting my evening lulz watching O'Reilly, he made an announcement that "we'll have a town hall meeting to discuss killing Jesus on the website."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2013


Does anyone else think that, if the radicalization of the Republican party had happened just a little bit early, they would have politicized cigarettes? I picture Sarah Palin puffing away at a Marlboro and taunting 'liberals' between hacking coughs.

This basically happened. For example, Morton Downey Jr. made a career out of being a chain smoking mans man who taunted pansy liberals on his show.

Of course, after he got lung cancer, he sort of.... changed his tune on smoking.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


If we don't Football then our harvest will fail.

By law I must now mention the wicker man.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2013 [20 favorites]


Didn't people also used to say that boxing has the effect of giving young men some direction?
posted by Ghost Mode at 8:53 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be happy to wage a war on football, but godfuckingdammit, my town now has two dojos offering kids MMA lessons, one of which does compete in pankration leagues, and my 9mm comes with only two girly 5 round mags.
posted by ocschwar at 8:53 AM on December 2, 2013


Naked, as G-d intended, is the answer.

The pile-ons would be magical.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's not even strictly a republican/democrat thing. it's more of a change vs. no change thing. it's as if when someone says: "hey we just learned this really important thing from science, that indicates we should perhaps apply some moderation to this thing we hadn't really known enough about until now", and there is a whole faction of folks who will get out the pitchforks whatever the topic.
it's like a general resistance for any change that comes from learning something.
posted by rude.boy at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


i would hope that if someone ever ever said anything like that to me in person, that no matter who they were, i would calmy and resolutely ask for some clarification on how their thinking of that particular conclusion rather than just become stunned into silence and sadness.

Not that Flynn's comment isn't completely inane, but he's referring to Obama's statement that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, which has become a GOP punch line and is brought up in the comment section for every single news article published since then, no matter what it's about.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 8:59 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, if the naked players were greased up beforehand, it would be harder to tackle your opponent. Be a man, Daniel Flynn, and champion manly football!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:01 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Naked, as G-d intended, is the answer.

"Welcome to Lambeau Field, everyone. Before we get started, this is our standard disclaimer from the Players Association reminding our viewers that it is quite cold today and to please keep that in mind."
posted by Panjandrum at 9:02 AM on December 2, 2013 [41 favorites]


If we don't Football then our harvest will fail.

By law I must now mention the wicker man.



Don't you understand that if your crops fail this year, next year you're going to have to have another blood sacrifice?

And next year, no one less than the commissioner of the of National Football League himself will do.

If the crops fail, Roger Goodell, next year your people will kill you on Superbowl Sunday!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:03 AM on December 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


post-literate meme-politics 

Thats a sockpuppet name if I ever heard one.
I have played many violent sports- football is the one I would not go back to. Perhaps there is an opportunity for rugby to gain ground!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2013


Can we just call them The Contrarians already and make it derisive?
posted by Slackermagee at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, if the naked players were greased up beforehand, it would be harder to tackle your opponent. Be a man, Daniel Flynn, and champion manly football!

Oh, well, Turkey has that covered. In oil.
posted by emjaybee at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2013


If the crops fail, Roger Goodell, next year your people will kill you on Superbowl Sunday!

Best halftime show ever.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


This thread would seem to support Flynn's thesis.
posted by 0 at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2013


The new commissioner has to kill the old commissioner in the grove of Nemi.
posted by jquinby at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also in Rugby you can totally just pull people's shorts off.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just had this feverish idea that this Daniel Flynn is actually an entirely different Daniel Flynn, and he's only taken to advocating for American Football after this nasty head-trauma-related incident on the cricket field.

Also, from the linked American Spectator piece:
The first in her family to graduate college, Jessica following her educational aspirations back then appeared as unusual as her pigskin passion does now. Whether pursuing her degree or a quarterback, she lives for proving naysayers wrong.
Writing this horrible is almost brilliant. It's like the author has found a prose style that actually simulates (or indeed reproduces) the experience of receiving blunt-force trauma to the head. I'm also curious about exactly which quarterback Jessica is pursuing, but my head hurts too much to really think about it.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:10 AM on December 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


Also, if the naked players were greased up beforehand, it would be harder to tackle your opponent. Be a man, Daniel Flynn, and champion manly football!

Turkish Oil Wrestling. Not naked, but they do wear leather pants. You can stick you hand down the other guy's oily leather trousers, as long as you don't stick your finger in his butt or mess with his junk.

Notice how tubby NFL players look in comparison? And there's no CTE scandal in this sport.

Time to man-up, guys. Lose the shoulder pads, get you some leather pants and olive oil.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:11 AM on December 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


In Better Football everyone removes their clothing as post-goal celebration.


it's not even strictly a republican/democrat thing.

It does seem to be a partisan thing lately, though? I mean, I cannot off the top of my head recall any Democratic public officials who proudly made statements regarding their scientific ignorance of various subjects in the same way I can readily recall a number of Repubs who have done so.
posted by elizardbits at 9:11 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Every year, a slip with the name of every NHL player is placed in the Stanley Cup (the name was mistranscribed from the original Druidic "Stian Leighkoup" or "Winter Offering") and the commissioner draws one out. That player then reports to his home stadium to be hockey-pucked to death by his team.

Winter has not failed to arrive even a single time thanks to this ritual.
posted by griphus at 9:11 AM on December 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


Not naked, but they do wear leather pants. You can stick you hand down the other guy's oily leather trousers, as long as you don't stick your finger in his butt or mess with his junk.

Can't mess with junk? What a soft sport.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2013


This thread would seem to support Flynn's thesis.

Because large corporations and schools are shutting down access for adults to play football, making enormous cuts or eliminating football programs and advertising, making being a football player a disqualifying health condition, and telling football players with CTE that if it's a legitimate hit their bodies have a way to shut the whole thing down?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2013 [24 favorites]


If we don't Football then our harvest will fail.

By law I must now mention the wicker man.


Don't make me get the bees.
posted by phearlez at 9:17 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


This thread would seem to support Flynn's thesis.

Whatever you do, don't elaborate on this! just come in here, drop your stupid bomb, and snicker.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:18 AM on December 2, 2013 [27 favorites]


it's not even strictly a republican/democrat thing. it's more of a change vs. no change thing. it's as if when someone says: "hey we just learned this really important thing from science, that indicates we should perhaps apply some moderation to this thing we hadn't really known enough about until now", and there is a whole faction of folks who will get out the pitchforks whatever the topic.

The rejection of scientific evidence in favor bombastic and demonizing appeals to traditional values? Definitely a Republican/Democrat thing.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are legitimate critics of the game yeah, because of health and what it does to school budgets, but football is as popular as ever. It isn't really under threat. Rule changes have and will be made in the future to reduce the health impact. People seem to just assume the game will just collapse instead of changing but the history of the sport doesn't really support that.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2013


If the experts cited by Frontline were really onto something, he says, "society would look like Night of the Living Dead."

1) replace "Night of the Living Dead" with "Dawn of the Dead" and I'm not sure society DOESN'T look like that

2) Just what percentage of the American population does he think plays pro football, exactly?
posted by like_a_friend at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2013


More than half a century ago, my pop played high school football. He tells the story that the third time he woke up flat on his back with the team doctor looking down at him, the doc said "son, you might want to consider a different sport." That football players can sustain repeated head injuries and repeated concussions are bad for a person can't really come as a surprise, can it?
posted by Karmakaze at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2013


If this is a "War on Anything" issue, it's part of the ongoing "War on Science", which (sorry for being 'partisan') is part of the desperate efforts of the dying Republican Party to not die away gracefully, but to take down as much else of humanity while they're at it. Not even 'traditional values', more like 'supervillain values'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:21 AM on December 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


This thread would seem to support Flynn's thesis.

"Some people don't like football and the culture that surrounds it" : War on Football :: "War in Iraq would be a bad idea" : pro-Saddam Hussein
posted by Etrigan at 9:22 AM on December 2, 2013 [23 favorites]


OK. I finally managed to parse that sentence about Jessica and the quarterback and will concede that it makes sense, at least somewhat. But I would now like to nominate this as the worst paragraph in recorded history:
Like Jessica Cabrera, the gridiron game opens the 2013 season as an underdog. Guilt-tripping parents into the dubious belief that football means signing their kids up for long-term brain damage and lawsuits that make the sport cost prohibitive through escalating litigation and insurance fees have left football at the bottom of the pile, unsure whether it can continue for many more years.

My teeth now hurt. A lot.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:22 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems like pretty bog-standard "I want everything I like to stay the way it was when I was 18 forever and if you disagree you're terrible" rhetoric. All the quibbling about whether the science is good or whether society is going soft is just a smokescreen for that basic "No!" to any kind of change.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:23 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


You have to admit, conservatism has achieved a kind of beatific purity.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:26 AM on December 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


I have no problem with people playing football. But, a lot of people get unhealthy being sedentary and binge snacking watching football. Perhaps we should encourage sport participation more than worship of one particular sport. Stop talking, start playing?
posted by niccolo at 9:36 AM on December 2, 2013


It's one thing to risk the abstract seeming future of the planet in an effort to deny climate change and secure corporate profits, but it's another thing entirely to ask parents to ignore science and suggest they should put their kids at risk. There are plenty of parents from across the political spectrum who believed football was dangerous decades ago. Suggesting that protecting your kids from a dangerous activity is un-American is probably not going to sway a whole lot of parents. Indeed, I suspect it's more likely to generate conversations that conclude with the phrases "fine, then, I'm un-American - now go sign up for some other sport. "
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:37 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


NOT THE BREES!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


The first in her family to graduate college, Jessica following her educational aspirations back then appeared as unusual as her pigskin passion does now. Whether pursuing her degree or a quarterback, she lives for proving naysayers wrong.

I'm in the middle of writing about bunch of high school English exam questions, and this looks like nothing so much as one of the "clearly wrong" answers I've been putting together.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Derp.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:47 AM on December 2, 2013


Apparently the Obama=Trayvon is a Thing among the right wing media.

Dinesh D’Souza Deletes Tweet Calling Obama 'Grown-Up Trayvon'
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:49 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Football, hah! We've been going downhill ever since we removed bare-knuckle boxing from elementary school.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2013


Apparently the Obama=Trayvon is a Thing among the right wing media.

As best as I can tell this line of thought has to essentially internalize the celebration of Martin getting shot and killed for no reason in order to make any sense at all. Which means today is going to be one of those days where I can't engage with conservatives on any human level. Awesome.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:05 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


leotrotsky: Does anyone else think that, if the radicalization of the Republican party had happened just a little bit early, they would have politicized cigarettes? I picture Sarah Palin puffing away at a Marlboro and taunting 'liberals' between hacking coughs.

Pogo_Fuzzybutt: This basically happened. For example, Morton Downey Jr. made a career out of being a chain smoking mans man who taunted pansy liberals on his show.

Of course, after he got lung cancer, he sort of.... changed his tune on smoking.


More proof that people can be completely deluded, yet still make an about-face after reality proves to be too strong of an opponent. There's hope for this country, yet. (Unfortunately, if we follow the trajectory of Morton Downey, Jr., it'll be too late to do any real good.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


[C'mon folks, make a basic effort.]
posted by cortex at 10:17 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Navelgazer: As best as I can tell this line of thought has to essentially internalize the celebration of Martin getting shot and killed for no reason in order to make any sense at all. Which means today is going to be one of those days where I can't engage with conservatives on any human level. Awesome.

If it eases your mind, conservatives have still not reached hivemind status. You can find people who are conservatives but don't jump on the bandwagon of Trayvon Martin being fodder for crude jokes.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:17 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it eases your mind, conservatives have still not reached hivemind status. You can find people who are conservatives but don't jump on the bandwagon of Trayvon Martin being fodder for crude jokes.

Oh, I know. My reaction isn't totally rational itself, I just know what I'll be getting angry about for the rest of the day.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:19 AM on December 2, 2013


A thought just occurred to me - is this an extension or another strut on denying TBI help to veterans as well?

I joke about my concussions but they're all self inflicted from clumsyness and mostly teenage stupidity. But I do have family directly permanently affected by all this IED war shit and it's not frikken funny, dammit.
posted by tilde at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


see also:
War on Christmas


Crack-purchasing mayor Rob Ford was elected after vowing to fight back against the 'War on Cars.'
posted by colie at 10:25 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's one thing to risk the abstract seeming future of the planet in an effort to deny climate change and secure corporate profits, but it's another thing entirely to ask parents to ignore science and suggest they should put their kids at risk.

*cough* the anti-vax movement *cough*

Risks are seen as relative, so until a family member gets polio, or someone they know dies of whooping cough, people might not see the risks of not vaccinating their children. The same goes for signing up kids for football - until the realities of the risks are seen first-hand, it's a vague threat that other people have to deal with, or something that only happens when you're up to the levels of the pros, who make enough money to deal with those costly issues, right?

My wife and I were in the emergency room with our very young son a few months ago when he got croup, and we were pretty freaked out. While trying to calm him enough to have get x-rays taken, two kids came in on stretchers, strapped into place so they wouldn't further injure themselves. They were pre-teen football players who got hurt pretty bad in a game. My wife and I looked at each-other, and agreed our son would never play football. That was enough of an example for us.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


tilde: How long did Daniel Flynn play amateur and professional full contact foot ball? I wonder if he's a case for CTE diagnosable before death based on published works/speeches?

That's one thing about the Hoo-rah Real Americans that really bothers me - it's proxy machismo. They're standing up for the manly things that other people do. Gun rights to protect themselves from the Looming Threats from The Others, inflated military spending and prolonged conflicts when they themselves aren't (and won't) enlist, and reverence for truly manly sports they watch from the sidelines or from their couches.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:30 AM on December 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


wait wait wait, hold on just a damn minute. TURKISH OIL WRASSLIN?
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2013


octobersurprise: I learned that O Reilly has a new book out called Killing Jesus. I'm guessing it isn't an instruction manual.

leotrotsky: I'm really hoping its not about the Jews.

Nope, it's the theory that Jesus died because of taxes, and -surprise- it's not really that accurate.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:38 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're seeing this in Canada, too; people upset by the alleged softening of hockey, which is ostensibly part of an attempt to wimpify society as a whole. I haven't seen or heard of any allegations that it's actually a Liberal Conspiracy, but now that this guy has the ball rolling I wouldn't be surprised to hear Ezra Levant take up the cause soon.

That whole thing about conservatism's purpose being to stand athwart history yelling stop gets truer every day. This is a movement of people who are *fucking terrified* of the future (and the present) and will do everything they can to keep anything they like, from "traditional marriage" to football, from changing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:38 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is right out of the American conservative playbook - it's shockingly easy to gin up pageviews/retweets/speaking engagements/book sales by presenting liberals as destroyers of good clean American fun.

That said. It is often very, very difficult to tell when liberal advocacy stems from a reasoned consideration of the facts, and when it stems from personal dislike of lower-class (speaking broadly) American culture. For instance, Michael Reagan (or someone) tweeted on Friday about the snobbery of Buy Nothing Day. Instinctually my hackles were raised, but the man has a point; we have a cultural expectation about what a "good Christmas" is, and for many people, hitting the black Friday sales is how they're able to afford it. Buy Nothing Day is an elite form of consumption; those who participate are saying "things are not important to us". Not everyone has that luxury.

So, if you're ever mystified as to why conservatives often act out with such ressentiment, keep in mind there's a reason why they think that liberals are snobs looking down their noses at normal American folk. It's because we sometimes are. And it's to the detriment of the urgent messages that people really need to hear - around climate change, economic policy, and smaller issues like CTE in football and hockey - that that is so.
posted by downing street memo at 10:42 AM on December 2, 2013 [27 favorites]


I love that the Spectator article is centered around trying to drum up sympathy for a woman who plays football. What other principles might conservatives be willing to sacrifice if they thought it would save their beloved football? Would they embrace gay marriage? Abortion rights?
posted by straight at 10:43 AM on December 2, 2013


So, if you're ever mystified as to why conservatives often act out with such ressentiment, keep in mind there's a reason why they think that liberals are snobs looking down their noses at normal American folk. It's because we sometimes are. And it's to the detriment of the urgent messages that people really need to hear - around climate change, economic policy, and smaller issues like CTE in football and hockey - that that is so.

Given that most of the conservative standard-bearers are extremely wealthy, I find their "you snobby liberals don't understand us blue-collar Real Americans!" stance to be pure-dee bullshit.
posted by emjaybee at 10:45 AM on December 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


Given that most of the conservative standard-bearers are extremely wealthy, I find their "you snobby liberals don't understand us blue-collar Real Americans!" stance to be pure-dee bullshit.

And yet, it's a message that clearly resonates with its target -- no matter how hypocritical it might be on the part of the people who deliver it.
posted by Slothrup at 10:53 AM on December 2, 2013


Given that most of the conservative standard-bearers are extremely wealthy, I find their "you snobby liberals don't understand us blue-collar Real Americans!" stance to be pure-dee bullshit.

The "conservative standard-bearers" are professional liars who are culturally very similar to you and I. On the other hand, they wouldn't be "extremely wealthy" if there weren't a ready market for their ideas.
posted by downing street memo at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given that most of the conservative standard-bearers are extremely wealthy, I find their "you snobby liberals don't understand us blue-collar Real Americans!" stance to be pure-dee bullshit.

To be fair, most liberal standard-bearers are also quite wealthy. That's pretty much how you get to be standard bearer.
posted by rocket88 at 10:55 AM on December 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


If the crops fail, Roger Goodell, next year your people will kill you on Superbowl Sunday!

If there's one thing that the Goodell Commissionerate is sure of, it's that young black men should be the main focus of any regimen of punishment, so I have no fear he'd find a way to put someone like Tyrann Matthieu in front of that particular bullet.

People seem to just assume the game will just collapse instead of changing but the history of the sport doesn't really support that.

You're right about the popularity of football right now, but that's what boxing higher-ups were telling themselves through the 70s and now their sport isn't even the most popular combat sport anymore. It doesn't take that long for this stuff to pick up steam.
posted by Copronymus at 11:00 AM on December 2, 2013


That's one thing about the Hoo-rah Real Americans that really bothers me - it's proxy machismo. They're standing up for the manly things that other people do. Gun rights to protect themselves from the Looming Threats from The Others, inflated military spending and prolonged conflicts when they themselves aren't (and won't) enlist, and reverence for truly manly sports they watch from the sidelines or from their couches.

I think a sizable part of this War on Football stuff is the reactionary response to having the bullshit Manliness in a Can lifestyle buy-in stuff questioned. Never let anybody question any of it, that gets dangerously close to having to admit that you can't buy into a safe, low-maintenance lifestyle that lets your varsity trophies or Harley keys equal Granddad's Purple Heart on the post-Boomer manliness scale. God forbid, somebody might even be questioning the scale itself...

A lot of people buy in hard and let these illusory canned Manly Lifestyle things define them. It's an easy, comfortable, prepackaged, and above all safe way to put defining your life on cruise control - just tick off the boxes on the list of "Man Stuff" and you're golden. I'm not talking about people who love football or any other traditionally "manly" things, it's perfectly fine to love those - I'm talking about people whose love of those things is them. Everything's built on that foundation. And questioning any of it gets personal because it is personal. Lives are lived entirely within these spheres of manufactured masculinity, and to even seem like you're picking at the foundations provokes a defensive response that's so predictable Flynn could've probably estimated his book sales ahead of time with an uncanny degree of accuracy.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:01 AM on December 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


I'm fighting my own war on Football by watching more basketball.

Basketball: The True Face of Progress.

Vote Kevin Durant for America.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:02 AM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Obviously there are liberal snobs out there, but they're not primarily responsible for the resentment felt by conservatives. I've lived all my life among mostly liberals and no one has ever given me an iota of grief for not participating in buy nothing day, for owning a car, for not recycling everything I could, for wishing someone a Merry Christmas, for watching football, or for anything like that. I suspect most conservatives have experiences that are similar to mine.

If you're looking for someone to blame for the resentment, look at the conservative media stars who never miss an opportunity to find (or invent) a speck of snobbery and blow it up into a cataclysmic culture war.
posted by burden at 11:02 AM on December 2, 2013 [19 favorites]


As the closest thing Mefi has to a conservative, I support a "war on football," so long as it isn't a war of annihilation. The original reason we have high school and college football isn't that people liked the sport. People were mostly horrified by it 100 years ago. It's to limit the harm the sport causes. Teenagers will do stupid, violent, harmful things. We can only mitigate that tendency, and channel it, not stamp it out.
posted by ocschwar at 11:04 AM on December 2, 2013


burden: " If you're looking for someone to blame for the resentment, look at the conservative media stars who never miss an opportunity to find (or invent) a speck of snobbery and blow it up into a cataclysmic culture war."

And don't forget their own snobbery, talking about "real Americans" who love huntin' and shootin' and prayin' and terminatin' their gerunds with Gs.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're right about the popularity of football right now, but that's what boxing higher-ups were telling themselves through the 70s and now their sport isn't even the most popular combat sport anymore. It doesn't take that long for this stuff to pick up steam.

There isn't all that much you can change about boxing. Football can reduce contact while still being recognizably football. The game is already changing in that direction while popularity continues to grow. If it was dropping along with the reduction in physicality, I would see some validity in the predictions of collapse.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2013


I kind of like the idea of fixing football rather than destroying it. The strategic aspects of football and the pacing (slow and fast in sequence, not one or the other all of the time) make it more interesting to watch than many other sports. I think a reduction in contact would still leave it a better spectator sport than most of the alternatives, particularly if they were made safe from CTE as well (in particular soccer and hockey have concerns here).
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:10 AM on December 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


If we do away with football, it will destroy the Ameican economy because management will be unable to communciate. No more level playing field, no more sales blitzes, no more running interference, no more being on the same page, no more throwing away the playbook, no more sticking to the game plan. No number of Hail Mary's will be able to save American business. Maybe we should consider the consequences and take a hit for the team.
posted by klarck at 11:16 AM on December 2, 2013 [38 favorites]


Football can reduce contact while still being recognizably football.
...
I kind of like the idea of fixing football rather than destroying it.


When discussing "moral hazard" in one of my MPP courses a few years back, I brought up the idea that pads make football players hit harder, thereby counterintuitively increasing the risk of injury. Making this point at the University of Michigan might not have been the best idea.
posted by Etrigan at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not true- we have a whole reserve of vague sports metaphors we can fall back on. It'll mean improving our game - I daresay really bringing our "A" game - but I think we can swing it.
posted by COBRA! at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Potomac Avenue: "I'm fighting my own war on Football by watching more basketball.

Basketball: The True Face of Progress.

Vote Kevin Durant for America.
"
______________________________________

[Grainy B&W picture of Durant looking stupid or shouting. Preferably both]

VO:
Kevin Durant: He never set a single-season record for 3-pointers. And Durant didn't average nearly 7 assists per game in the same season.

Kevin Durant is too tall for regular pants. Kevin Durant made that goofy kids' movie I saw on HBO.

Kevin Durant: Wrong for Pants. Wrong for America.

Paid for by the committee to point out that Steph Curry is awesome.
posted by Mister_A at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


I kind of like the idea of fixing football rather than destroying it.

I don't know if this is even possible, especially since the current approach is "there is no problem; football is fine the way it is." I guess all the teams could get sued into oblivion and bankruptcy, and we could try to build a new sport on top of the ruins, but I'm not sure that would be that different from "destroying it."
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:21 AM on December 2, 2013


"I kind of like the idea of fixing football rather than destroying it."

The NFL attracts the biggest, fastest, nimblest, most seriously talented atheletes mankind has ever produced. Those guys could turn flag football into something amazing that I'd watch every Sunday.
posted by klarck at 11:23 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


GenjiandProust: I don't know if this is even possible, especially since the current approach is "there is no problem; football is fine the way it is." I guess all the teams could get sued into oblivion and bankruptcy, and we could try to build a new sport on top of the ruins, but I'm not sure that would be that different from "destroying it."

Well, football is ultimately mostly played by children. The whole deal about football causing guaranteed transient brain injury even at the HS level and below that reduces academic achievement needs to be driven into the national consciousness. People will demand new rules for their kids' teams. Eventually those may percolate upwards.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:25 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


As someone who has long loved tackle football, I always wanted it to be Valhalla. I wanted the players to go out there and play both beautifully and brutally, executing plays that relied on a dozen different moving parts operating in exquisite synch and also pulling off hits and blocks that put the fear of God into the player on the receiving end. And then I wanted everyone to magically be back at 100% health the very next day so they could do it -- and entertain us -- again.

Before the young laird wolf was born, my wife and I had many a discussion about whether we would allow him to play tackle football. I always told her it'd be fine. I grew up in the 'hood playing tackle football (sometimes on the street!), and I realize now that I probably got concussed on more than one occasion. Back then, though, we just called it "getting the wind knocked out of you." So I was all, "Come on. It'll toughen him up, team sports, sense of belonging, character building blah blah blah."

(I'll note here that it didn't really toughen me up or give me a sense of belonging. Although I was fearless playing street football, I was pretty much otherwise wimpy and non-confrontational -- as as well as quite Different from the Other Kids -- so I was bullied pretty severely both in my neighborhood and at school for much of my youth. Maybe it would have been different if I'd ever played for a league team or a school team?)

Come to pass that a few years ago, even before all these studies came out, I was watching a QB I don't even particularly like as a person because of some ridiculous off-field behavior on his part get repeatedly driven into the ground by the pass rushers. Over and over again, his head bouncing off the ground each time. I realized that if I had been at that game and he were my son, I would have been down on the field telling everyone to stay the hell away from my boy.

I'm firmly on Team No Tackle Football now. I play in a flag league, and we've certainly had our share of injuries, including some heads knocking together and some knees on the older guys getting shredded. But nuts to this whole smashmouth/Valhalla thing. I hope we can change it enough to keep people safer -- not completely risk-free, of course, since that's part of the thrill for player and watcher -- but I'm increasingly leaning toward feeling like "Well, if it disappears, there are other worlds to explore."
posted by lord_wolf at 11:32 AM on December 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


klarck, you forgot about kick-offs and punters.
posted by omegar at 11:49 AM on December 2, 2013


And don't forget their own snobbery, talking about "real Americans" who love huntin' and shootin' and prayin' and terminatin' their gerunds with Gs.

See that? Right there? It's snobbery against ignorance of correct pronounciation, much of that ignorance coming from areas without functional schools. It is class snobbery at its finest. The fact that it's only being practiced against people who are pigeonholed into the "Conservative" box enables a thin pretense that it's not intellectual elitism, but by god, that's certainly what it is.

I say this as someone who used to embrace it. I grew up a typical NYC liberal. I was just as snobbish. As a teen, I was freaked out when I learned that someone I was dating had gone hunting. I was a self-confessed Grammar Nazi. My high school may have had a football team, but no one knew who they were or had ever seen a game, and we were all excited about the fencers instead. I used to swear, like many others I knew, that I'd "never go south of the Mason-Dixon line."

And I was wrong. And probably a bit of a snobbish jerk.

Yes, there is factionalization and partisanship and "not real Americans" "not like us" in both camps. But hasn't it gone on fucking long enough? It is an unequivocal bad, and maybe we could all try to do it a little less and listen to each other more.

In terms of science, yes, ignoring the effects of concussions is unequivocally bad science, just as assuming vaccinations are evil or all nuclear power is bad or every GMO is going to cause terrible ruin are all bad science. We sometimes accept bad science when it confirms existing biases - but attacking the biases is not the way to get us to accept the science.
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on December 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have never heard a liberal pontificate about who is a "real" American or not. Small data point, and I agree the sniping is tiresome.
posted by agregoli at 12:28 PM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Beyond any rule changes the NFL makes, if it makes them, an overall change is culture is needed from the ground up.

My coach-all-the-things step-father is of the opinion that Pop Warner shouldn't exist - not necessarily due to the danger to the kids but because of the way overzealous parents try to establish bloodlust in their kids. Screaming at a ten year old to "Kill the bastard!" is not a good way to start.

High school football is, well, high school. On top of raging hormones you get what are often good old boy networks running the show as coaches, principles and school board members who see a football program as being a path to their personal glory (and other benefits). In many school the football players are trained to be monsters.

College take all this and adds more of everything.

When players get to the NFL you get shit like coaches putting out hit lists and the whole Incognito thing. A culture of entitled machismo like a hyper-inflated fraternity.

Obviously there are exceptions to this but as long as it remains the major path of things then the NFL can implement all the rules in the world and players will try to get away with shit as best they can. "Because that's just how it is."

It's a damn shame, too. I love football, even after watching my Browns play in person yesterday. I wouldn't care if all the hard hits went away as long as the underlying strategy remained. But it's getting harder and harder to watch in ways that doesn't involve Brandon Weeden.
posted by charred husk at 12:33 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]



And don't forget their own snobbery, talking about "real Americans" who love huntin' and shootin' and prayin' and terminatin' their gerunds with Gs.

See that? Right there? It's snobbery against ignorance of correct pronounciation, much of that ignorance coming from areas without functional schools. It is class snobbery at its finest. The fact that it's only being practiced against people who are pigeonholed into the "Conservative" box enables a thin pretense that it's not intellectual elitism, but by god, that's certainly what it is.


What are you on about? tonycpsu's comment, to me at least, was clearly a mockery of right-wing media types tendency to feign affectations of the lower class in attempt to hide their own upper class upbringing.

And really, a lot of this 'snobbery' talk resembles tone arguments.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:34 PM on December 2, 2013 [23 favorites]


See that? Right there? It's snobbery against ignorance of correct pronounciation

It's spelled "pronunciation" or is it a crime against humanity to point that out?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:39 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread would seem to support Flynn's thesis.

This thread is not a war on football, it's a war on Flynn being a dumbass.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:40 PM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's not so much a a problem with tone as it is a problem with the FPP's framing, which encourages culture war counter-attacks.

And here we are.
posted by notyou at 12:41 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's spelled "pronunciation" or is it a crime against humanity to point that out?

Crime against humanity? Certainly not. Dickish move to attempt to shame someone in a public forum for a spelling mistake because you happen to disagree with them? Probably.
posted by corb at 12:42 PM on December 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


The fact that it's only being practiced against people who are pigeonholed into the "Conservative" box...

I hear what you are saying, but I think the pronunciation snobbishness is by no means confined to political differences. Every region, every economic and socio-policatial divide that exists has within it a tendency to mock (sometime sin jest, sometimes in meanness) how other people talk.

See any regional dialect vs another regional dialect. Fargo vs. New York vs. Ebonics vs. Vally Girl vs. Canadian vs. Southern vs. Bostonian vs. Southwestern vs. Uzbecks vs. Indian vs....

We are, most nearly all of us, really a bunch of juvenile assholes when it comes down to it. Certainly we rise above that (often), but it is so easy to get dragged back into the crab bucket.
posted by edgeways at 12:43 PM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know if I'm Metafilter's resident Leader on the War on Pot, but sometimes it feels that way. It happens. *shrug*

Gotta be honest: 'if only Obama played football instead of smoked pot' is among the stupidest things ever implied, like, ever. Wow.
posted by andreaazure at 12:43 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gotta be honest: 'if only Obama played football instead of smoked pot' is among the stupidest things ever implied, like, ever. Wow.

Read this weekend that Obama didn't really have any children... it's all a scam.

Comparatively the idiotic pot vs football almost seems reasonable. Really gotta nail that Overton window in place before Swift becomes a how-to guide.
posted by edgeways at 12:49 PM on December 2, 2013


corb: " Crime against humanity? Certainly not. Dickish move to attempt to shame someone in a public forum for a spelling mistake because you happen to disagree with them? Probably."

I don't know who you think I was talking about or what you think I was saying, but MisantropicPainForest got the correct message, and you didn't.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:50 PM on December 2, 2013


[Rhetorical aside]

Yeah, just to agree with agregoli — very good points, corb, but on the one issue of calling other people "not real Americans": that's done by tons of Republican politicians (Vice Presidential nominees even, if I remember right) and conservative activists, and precious few lefites (I can't think of one off the bat).

It's just one phrase, and I certainly don't believe that invalidates the rest of what you said, but I think it's such an exemplar of what is currently crap in American civil society that it's worth making a big deal over it. Anyone who says it should immediately get a shit storm poured on them, and anyone falsely accused of it is right to take massive offense at it.

[Back to the football]
posted by benito.strauss at 12:50 PM on December 2, 2013


Why is it that the right wing have these "Values Voters" events that high profile, possible presidential candidates show up to? Does the "left" have anything like this? It seems like these are highly useful in changing the debates surrounding policies, whether it's at a local level or national level.
posted by gucci mane at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


All the NFL has to do is hold out until robot and human-brain interface technology takes off to the point where they can just replace the players with humanoid robots controlled by real people away from the action. Should be no problem!
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dickish move to attempt to shame someone in a public forum for a spelling mistake because you happen to disagree with them?

Oh, now I'm to blame for your inability to spell? You poor spellers have been coddled long enough if you ask me and it's about time someone had the balls to tell it like it is!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:53 PM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


How about we all take a step back from the HURF DURF straw man shit?
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps in the absence of football CBT could serve a similar developmental function.
posted by exit at 12:56 PM on December 2, 2013


corb: See that? Right there? It's snobbery against ignorance of correct pronounciation, much of that ignorance coming from areas without functional schools. It is class snobbery at its finest. The fact that it's only being practiced against people who are pigeonholed into the "Conservative" box enables a thin pretense that it's not intellectual elitism, but by god, that's certainly what it is. "

The problem isn't the "huntin' and shootin' and prayin' and terminatin' their gerunds with Gs". The problem is the idea that those things are what make someone a "real American."
posted by brundlefly at 1:14 PM on December 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


The whole deal about football causing guaranteed transient brain injury even at the HS level and below that reduces academic achievement needs to be driven into the national consciousness.

And to think in college I believed the arrow of causation went the other direction.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:15 PM on December 2, 2013


In terms of science, yes, ignoring the effects of concussions is unequivocally bad science, just as assuming vaccinations are evil or all nuclear power is bad or every GMO is going to cause terrible ruin are all bad science. We sometimes accept bad science when it confirms existing biases - but attacking the biases is not the way to get us to accept the science.

The difference is that anti-vax is not a particularly partisan issue, nuclear power is far from being a universal evil on the left, and the majority of the GMO hatred stems from shitty business practices. Meanwhile, the right has an entire industry set up not only to deceive, but to celebrate anti-intellectualism and decry science. It's not a new thing, either, seeing as how Hofstadter's Anti-intellectualism in American Life came out in 1963, a time of intense hatred and tribalism eerily similar to post-2008 conservatism.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:15 PM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


nuclear power is far from being a universal evil on the left

And the problems with nuclear power are nowhere near entirely made up, unlike the other things listed.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:18 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, there is factionalization and partisanship and "not real Americans" "not like us" in both camps.

What's with all the projection?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:19 PM on December 2, 2013


corb: " Yes, there is factionalization and partisanship and "not real Americans" "not like us" in both camps."

The American left has consistently for many decades offered an expansive, inclusive definition of what it means to be American, while the American right has offered a restrictive, exclusive definition that uses terminology such as "Real Americans" and "war on (this supposedly Real American thing)" to rally their base against their political enemies.

Edgeways cites a few of these upthread, and these aren't things the media invented, they are actual examples of pandering to the population you like to think of yourself as defending by the panderers that you're actually defending with your "both sides do it" claptrap. Please show me anything similar perpetrated by liberals seeking to undermine the American-ness of the other side.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:19 PM on December 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's not so much a a problem with tone as it is a problem with the FPP's framing, which encourages culture war counter-attacks.

And here we are.


I wouldn't say it's a problem with the framing, the FPP is about Daniel Flynn and his framing of the discussion. He jumped into a serious discussion to cherry-pick studies and drum up some culture war outrage for profit and/or to make a shallow, dramatic culture war argument against change. The only way that Flynn even relates to a serious discussion on football and CTE is that he's trying to twist that existing conversation into the one he would rather have by reframing it, and the FPP's about him doing just that, so really any discussion in the thread that's not about Flynn's culture war framing is actually kind of a sidebar.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:20 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The difference is that anti-vax is not a particularly partisan issue, nuclear power is far from being a universal evil on the left, and the majority of the GMO hatred stems from shitty business practices.

Sure, but even if these things aren't partisan issues, they're still junk science practiced broadly. I'm not trying to pull a "Ah-ha!" thing, but more to say that dividing ourselves into little camps that believe different things make people more likely to accept junk science, not less. If "the other side" broadly despises you, then why wouldn't they be deceiving you? Why wouldn't their information be wrong? So I'd wager you could only approach people who'd already identified with camps by approaching them from their respective sides - left educating the left and right educating the right, because it doesn't come with a slab of defensiveness on either side.

The American left has consistently for many decades offered an expansive, inclusive definition of what it means to be American

The American left has not consistently done anything as a monolithic body for many decades except fight with each other and argue about ideological purity.
posted by corb at 1:27 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll take that as you declining to offer me examples of the left doing the thing that you insist both sides do, then.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:28 PM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Another major difference between the right and the left is that I can't think of a single liberal or Democrat official who's an anti-vaxxer, wants to destroy all nuclear power, or hates GMOs entirely, let alone one at the highest levels of government. On the other hand conservatives and/or Republicans that chair the scientific subcommittees in Congress or run several large state governments (such as North Carolina) not only routinely deny the existence of things like anthropogenic climate change, vaccinations, evolution, or the utility of alternate power, but have often been quite successful at limiting or eliminating support for researching it. Obama routinely promotes all of those things; can you imagine Romney or Perry or Gingrich or Santorum doing that? Hint: Doing so was the main contributor to John Huntsman leaving the race.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:29 PM on December 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can certainly do what you like. You should take that as me leaving work in two minutes and wanting to finish my comment before heading underground for an hour or two, rather than staying late at work simply to play Google-Fu. But the choice is, as ever, yours.
posted by corb at 1:29 PM on December 2, 2013


If it requires googling to cite an instance of something you insist both sides do (and by implication, do in relatively equal amounts) then you really don't have much of a case.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:30 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought goalpost-shifting was illegal in the NFL? Or did they change that rule when I wasn't paying attention.
posted by rtha at 1:30 PM on December 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


And yet, it's a message that clearly resonates with its target

On a marginally more serious note, it's a message that resonates because to a greater or lesser degree nearly everyone is susceptible to being told that they're the chosen people and it's a goddamned outrage that they aren't getting the respect and deference they deserve, not necessarily because it's actually true.

(I will say that listening to a weekend of Fox News at a rarely visited relative's house was a bit revelatory. Not because of what was said, which I expected, but because I was unprepared for the level of totally off-the-rails bughouse hysteria accompanying every pronouncement. That kind of hysteria has nothing to do with how sufferable or insufferable any real persons might be.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, but even if these things aren't partisan issues, they're still junk science practiced broadly. I'm not trying to pull a "Ah-ha!" thing, but more to say that dividing ourselves into little camps that believe different things make people more likely to accept junk science, not less.

The point is that just following science most certainly has become partisan, junk science doubly so.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:32 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The American left has consistently for many decades offered an expansive, inclusive definition of what it means to be American, while the American right has offered a restrictive, exclusive definition that uses terminology such as "Real Americans" and "war on (this supposedly Real American thing)" to rally their base against their political enemies.

Edgeways cites a few of these upthread, and these aren't things the media invented, they are actual examples of pandering to the population you like to think of yourself as defending by the panderers that you're actually defending with your "both sides do it" claptrap. Please show me anything similar perpetrated by liberals seeking to undermine the American-ness of the other side.


Look, it's simple: American-ness is a finite resource and if you give it to some people, you have to take it away from others. You know, like marriage and civil rights. It's just not special anymore if you have to share, and that is how liberals undermine the American-ness of the other side: deflation.

I'm not trying to pull a "Ah-ha!" thing, but more to say that dividing ourselves into little camps that believe different things make people more likely to accept junk science, not less. If "the other side" broadly despises you, then why wouldn't they be deceiving you? Why wouldn't their information be wrong?

It's never, ever been easier to verify any suspect information to ensure that it's not incorrect or deceitful.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:35 PM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you think that both sides do something unequivocally bad, you're going to have more success convincing your usual allies to stop doing it than convincing your usual opponents to do so.
posted by burden at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, corb's taking the goalposts with her on the subway. I'm excited to see where they resurface. Hopefully we'll get a play-by-play. After a word from our sponsors, of course.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:39 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Victory laps are even more tiresome than HURF DURF straw man shit.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on December 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Victory laps are even more tiresome than HURF DURF straw man shit.

Please, keep it on-topic. It's not a victory lap, it's a spike and some dancing in the end zone.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:46 PM on December 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


Look, all I wanted from this thread was some naked football.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:48 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unsportsmanlike conduct. Excessive celebration in the endzone. The touchdown stands, the penalty will be assessed at the kickoff.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:49 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stop objectifying Turks, Turkic people, and people of Turkish descent as hot, oily, leather-clad, muscular martial artists!


Nah just kidding, keep objectifying us.
posted by Mister_A at 1:57 PM on December 2, 2013


Though if players were naked AND greased, how the hell can they grip the football? We need to get our best scientists working on this!
posted by emjaybee at 2:01 PM on December 2, 2013


What if we kept the tackling, but required players to wear Ram Man-style head protection that prevents any movement of the skull or upper spine?
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:03 PM on December 2, 2013


I can think of at least one player who's glad he wasn't playing naked on Sunday. (Not Safe For Wangs)
posted by tonycpsu at 2:05 PM on December 2, 2013


Though if players were naked AND greased, how the hell can they grip the football? We need to get our best scientists working on this!

Ditch the ball, make the field a giant slip 'n slide, and you score goals by sliding bodily into the end zone.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:06 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The further away you start your slide the more points for reaching the posts
posted by edgeways at 2:09 PM on December 2, 2013


I feel like this new sport would just naturally eat all of football's ratings and hey, problem solved.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:13 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Though if players were naked AND greased, how the hell can they grip the football?

Velcro.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:22 PM on December 2, 2013


you score goals by sliding bodily into the end zone

the name of this game is buttsex i think
posted by elizardbits at 2:45 PM on December 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


edgeways: " War on Christmas"

The 2013 campaign has begun in earnest.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:50 PM on December 2, 2013


AFA is calling for a limited one-month boycott of Radio Shack over the company's censorship of the word "Christmas."

I've been boycotting Radio Shack for 30 years over the company's "What the Hell, Radio Shack still exists?" policy.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:55 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps in the absence of football CBT could serve a similar developmental function.

It's pretty awesome that the same abbreviation is shared by cognitive behavioral therapy and cock and ball torture.
posted by box at 2:56 PM on December 2, 2013


If we do away with football, it will destroy the Ameican economy because management will be unable to communciate. No more level playing field, no more sales blitzes, no more running interference, no more being on the same page, no more throwing away the playbook, no more sticking to the game plan. No number of Hail Mary's will be able to save American business. Maybe we should consider the consequences and take a hit for the team.

Nah, we'll just use them like all the other figures of speech we don't understand. Soon they will go the way of "for all intensive purposes".
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:05 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


grrrrrrrrr!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:06 PM on December 2, 2013


"On the same page" comes from football?
posted by brundlefly at 3:27 PM on December 2, 2013


Thought that came from Congress.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:34 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


*rim shot*
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on December 2, 2013


box: Despair my beautiful joke, lost amidst a sea of futile and hyperbolic arguments between the digital representaions of people ostensibly on the same side of an issue.
posted by exit at 3:37 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that Drew Brees is getting all preachy when he plays for a team who paid bounties for the injuring of opposing players.
posted by 4ster at 4:14 PM on December 2, 2013


until robot and human-brain interface technology

I can't wait to root for teams in the Pacific Rim Conference. On the downside, those stadiums will need to be pretty big.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:22 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Team newt forever.
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on December 2, 2013


Buy Nothing Day is an elite form of consumption

Not consuming is the elitest form of consuming
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:31 PM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Naught consuming is the 1337357 form of consuming.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


actually, there are other reasons for football's decline in high school

1 - less students

2 - ability of stronger players to transfer to better schools

3 - more activities teens can do

4 - lack of willingness to commit the time and energy to it

yes, concern about concussions is part of it - but thanks to declining numbers of students, it's just about impossible for a small high school to field an effective football team
posted by pyramid termite at 5:05 PM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


a personal note - i was a water boy for my junior high school football team - i broke an arm on a bike and couldn't go out for the team

at that time, late 60s - early 70s, my school system had a junior high team, junior varsity and senior team, as did galesburg augusta, who we played on a yearly basis

now my school system's history and galesburg, according to the article, can barely field a senior team and the middle school team's been dropped

times have really changed
posted by pyramid termite at 5:14 PM on December 2, 2013


This is all Lynn Swann's fault for taking ballet lessons in the '70s.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:59 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]




Jameis Winston, and the Overlapping of Football Culture and Rape Culture

Incoherent nonsense. It's exactly this kind of shit that makes people think that liberals just hate their favorite sport. There is no reason - absolutely none - to suspect that college football players commit rape at higher rates than other young men, or that society's penchant for making excuses for creeps and rapists who happen to be "stars" at something is limited to the sport of football (see: Hugo Schwyzer).
posted by downing street memo at 7:19 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's exactly this kind of shit that makes people think that liberals just hate their favorite sport.

Without taking a position on the linked piece, I think your mistake is believing that people (and one big network) need reasons to think that liberals just hate their favorite sport. If Daniel Flynn demonstrates anything, it's that if a reason can't be found it will be invented.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:02 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think your mistake is believing that people (and one big network) need reasons to think that liberals just hate their favorite sport.

If you're playing against Peyton Manning, you don't just give up on pass defense. Similarly, regardless of how good the right is at manufacturing outrage, feeding them big fat obvious "See, they hate you -- just look at this" essays doesn't help.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2013


It's exactly this kind of shit that makes people think that liberals just hate their favorite sport. There is no reason - absolutely none - to suspect that college football players commit rape at higher rates than other young men, or that society's penchant for making excuses for creeps and rapists who happen to be "stars" at something is limited to the sport of football (see: Hugo Schwyzer).

On the one hand, her focus on football to the exclusion of everything else is puzzling. The article from the Dave Zirin at The Nation she links to and quotes from several times referred to sports (or "jock culture") in general. On the other hand, that very same article made some very good points about the prevalence of rape and possible links between how college and even high school sports operate:
On colleges, there is reason to believe that the same teamwork, camaraderie and “specialness” produced by sports can be violently perverted to create a pack mentality that either spurs sexual violence or makes players fear turning in their teammates. A groundbreaking 1994 study showed that college athletes make up 3.3 percent of male students but 19 percent of those accused of sexual assault. One of the studies authors, Jeff Benedict, said, “Does this study say participation in college sports causes this? Clearly, no. We’re not saying that. We just think that at some point there is an association between sports and sexual assault…. the farther you go up, the more entitlements there are. And one of those entitlements is women.”

That was two decades ago but there is no indication that anything has changed. In a February 2012 Boston Globe article about sexual assault charges levied against members of the Boston University hockey team, reporter Mary Carmichael wrote about the findings of Sarah McMahon, “a Rutgers University researcher who studies violence against women.” McMahon “said it is unclear whether college athletes are more likely to commit sexual crimes than other students. But she said her work had found a unique sense of entitlement, sexual and otherwise, among some male college athletes, especially those in high-profile or revenue-producing sports like BU hockey.”
[...]
If people think that this doesn’t translate to high school, they’re wrong. I spoke with Jon Greenberg, an ESPN journalist and also a graduate of Steubenville High. He describes a school “with a pretty high poverty rate” that was still able to get state funds to build “a swimming pool, a new on-campus gym, cafeteria and more.” The dynastic “Big Red” football program drove those changes. As Greenberg says, “The football players themselves, at least in my experience, weren’t treated as heroes or above the law, but the team itself was put on a pedestal, especially when they were good…. There are some very good people who played Big Red football and coached football. But there needs to be some changes, most importantly a very serious seminar, for all male students, on the definition of rape and similar curriculum.”
And there's certainly a lot to be said about the closing of the ranks among fans of sports or those inclined to discount rape and domestic violence accounts:
What has been shown in research is that professional athletes are much less likely to be convicted of intimate violence crimes than are non-athletes. In a 1997 study, Northeastern University’s Jeffrey Benedict and Alan Klein found that the athletes in their sample who were charged with sexual assault were only convicted 31 percent of the time, compared with a 54 percent conviction rate for the general population. In 1995, Maryann Hudson at the Los Angeles Times found that athletes charged with domestic violence were only convicted 36 percent of the time, compared with a 77 percent general conviction rate. In a 2010 Harvard Law Review article, Bethany Withers wrote that “conviction rates for athletes are astonishingly low compared to the arrest statistics. Though there is evidence that the responsiveness of police and prosecution to sexual assault complaints involving athletes is favorable, there is an off-setting pro-athlete bias on the part of juries.”

Does the NFL have a domestic violence problem? Perhaps not, if you strictly interpret that question to mean, Can you prove conclusively that the rate of domestic violence charges against NFL players exceed the national average? But that’s an excessively narrow interpretation. The NFL does have a problem in the inconsistency with which it treats offenders and minimizes their alleged crimes.
That being said, using a single article to say that suspicions about a War on Football is justified is not particularly useful here.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


feeding them big fat obvious "See, they hate you -- just look at this" essays doesn't help.

The notion of a "war on football," like the notion of a "war on Christmas" is such an absurd thing to believe that attributing it—even in some minor way—to the behavior of some other is like telling someone hounded by a clinical paranoid to "Just try not to look at him, okay?"
posted by octobersurprise at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2013


The notion of a "war on football," like the notion of a "war on Christmas" is such an absurd thing to believe that attributing it—even in some minor way—to the behavior of some other is like telling someone hounded by a clinical paranoid to "Just try not to look at him, okay?"

Neither of us believes in a War on Football, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't say about poorly reasoned rants by people who pretty clearly actually do hate football, "This is a poorly reasoned rant, and it looks like the author's motivation is a dislike of football, and that's not helping."
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2013


To me, institutions (all institutions, not just athletic programs) are just vehicles for channeling the works of many toward a set of institutional goals, and have no positive or negative value in and of themselves. It's the people who set the goals, and the people who build and contribute to the institutions that imbue them with intentions and tendencies that can make them work for good or bad.

We see it with churches that save millions from hunger but also materially worsen the lives of millions more with their ability to engage in politics. We see it with corporations that build services that make our lives more productive and more interesting, but also mine our data so they can take advantage of us. We see it with governments of us, for us, and by us that can sometimes be moral beacons for other natinos to follow, and at other times engage in acts that shock our conscience.

With respect to "football" or "jock culture", I think athletic programs have a lot of positive features at lower levels in terms of giving kids something fun to do, giving them a chance to learn about working with others, improving themselves, etc. Once the kids and programs begin to differentiate themselves and become economic engines and/or culturally important, I feel like there's kind of a weird phenomenon where the parents and the communities are living somewhat vicariously through what the kids are doing on the field, and perhaps that's something we should try to assess the value of and correct for if it gets out of hand.

At the college level, given the structure of "student athletics" in general, I've come around to the conclusion that there's probably more bad than good, and that it has to do more with money than anything inherently good or bad about sports. I can see the case for divorcing athletics entirely from the mission of educating kids, but I'm not sure doing so would be necessary or sufficient for saving either the universities or the programs.

I saw the "closing of the ranks" phenomenon up close throughout the post-Sandusky fallout at Penn State, and I've definitely distanced myself emotionally from the idea of the football program as an institution that has any inherent moral value, good or bad. It's just a group of people who are encouraged to row in the same direction, and if that direction is a bad one, it can get bad very fast.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


that doesn't mean we shouldn't say about poorly reasoned rants by people who pretty clearly actually do hate football, "This is a poorly reasoned rant

That linked piece may be absolute nonsense! And some liberals may actually be insufferable! Object to them on those grounds, by all means. What's mistaken, I think, is the sentiment voiced in a few instances here and more regularly in the media that absurdities like "the war on football" or the "war on Christmas" have anything at all to do with the actual behavior of people these so-called defenders view as opponents.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no reason - absolutely none - to suspect that college football players commit rape at higher rates than other young men

Male Student Athletes and Violence Against Women

google, 20 seconds.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:48 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love football, but it seems like there are at least two or three serious injuries in just about every game I watch. It is truly insane, and it's probably not just football. I'm sure baseball, La Crosse, hockey, and other sports are very risky as well. At the professional level, I understand it. These guys are getting paid $M and are hopefully well insured. They are adults and they know (or at least now they are starting to know) the risks they are taking. I suspect in grade school up to middle school there are far less injuries because kids are smaller and weaker, but I wouldn't be surprised if over time less and less high school and college kids decide to risk their future quality of life to play sports like football. College football players should be paid and heavily insured, imo.


We see it with churches that save millions from hunger but also materially worsen the lives of millions more with their ability to engage in politics.

Or improve the lives of millions more. See the American Civil Rights movement.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2013


the man of twists and turns: " google, 20 seconds."

"However, it needs to be emphasized that it is uncertain whether the association between athletic affiliation and violence against women is casual or the result of behavior only indirectly related to sport."

Reading your link, ten seconds.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2013


Golden Eternity: " Or improve the lives of millions more. See the American Civil Rights movement."

Uh, is that intended as a counterpoint to the notion that churches do both good and bad things?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:51 AM on December 3, 2013


No. Just wanted to point out that churches being involved in politics have also produced one of the greatest things in this country.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2013


"However, it needs to be emphasized that it is uncertain whether the association between athletic affiliation and violence against women is casual or the result of behavior only indirectly related to sport."

Reading your link, ten seconds.


tonycpsu, the challenge was to find evidence that "There is no reason - absolutely none - to suspect that college football players commit rape at higher rates than other young men" is false, which the linked article does. It doesn't say that playing football causes them to do it, but it clearly says

"The findings reveal that male college student-athletes, compared to the rest of the male student population, are responsible for more than their share of the reported battering and sexual assault complaints to judicial affairs offices on the campuses of 10 Division I institutions. "
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:00 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not to be too nitpicky (I do believe that there's a cover-up culture in sports at all levels -- team-building definitely goes too far), but a more visible segment of the population being responsible for more complaints doesn't necessarily mean that they're responsible for more incidents.

This is also not to say that women are more likely to make a false accusation against football players (or athletes in general). Just that they may be -- and I emphasize may be -- more or even less likely to report actual incidents, so these numbers are only slightly indicative.
posted by Etrigan at 9:10 AM on December 3, 2013


We badly need a War on Rape Culture
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:23 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


With respect to "football" or "jock culture", I think athletic programs have a lot of positive features at lower levels in terms of giving kids something fun to do, giving them a chance to learn about working with others, improving themselves, etc.
[...]
At the college level, given the structure of "student athletics" in general, I've come around to the conclusion that there's probably more bad than good, and that it has to do more with money than anything inherently good or bad about sports.
[...]
I saw the "closing of the ranks" phenomenon up close throughout the post-Sandusky fallout at Penn State, and I've definitely distanced myself emotionally from the idea of the football program as an institution that has any inherent moral value, good or bad. It's just a group of people who are encouraged to row in the same direction, and if that direction is a bad one, it can get bad very fast.


This is why I specifically said that the article "made some very good points about the prevalence of rape and possible links between how college and even high school sports operate."

Not to be too nitpicky (I do believe that there's a cover-up culture in sports at all levels -- team-building definitely goes too far), but a more visible segment of the population being responsible for more complaints doesn't necessarily mean that they're responsible for more incidents.

I don't want to get too far into the weeds on this one, but as pointed out, the accusation was that there was "no reason - absolutely none" to think that rape was more prevalent amongst football players than the general population. While I noted that there's nothing definitive on football specifically, I think it's safe to say that accusations nearly 5 times that of the general population are certainly reason enough to suspect that people on sports teams commit rape more often. Same goes for the celebrity culture bit, although I suspect that one is less glaring.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:26 AM on December 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


We badly need a War on Rape Culture

We have one, but the conservative "War on Women" is often dismissed in the same breath that accuses liberals of declaring War on Christmas/Football/Soft Drinks/etc.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:28 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Golden Eternity: "No. Just wanted to point out that churches being involved in politics have also produced one of the greatest things in this country."

I'm unsure how much of that came from the institutional leadership of the churches versus the leaders of the civil rights movement itself, acting independently of the churches they may have come from. My understanding is that pastors made up only a small portion of the leadership of the civil rights movement (some support for that in this piece -- obviously not dispositive proof, though.)

Given Dr. King's prominence in that movement, and the subsequent prominence of other obviously it would be silly to discount the role of religion entirely, and there was obviously a lot of religious rhetoric used, but there were also more conservative clergy leaders who didn't participate in the movement, and some who opposed it. I'm not enough of a a student of history to come down one way or another, and we're very much in derail territory here, so I'm happy to leave it at "organized religion has done a lot of good things and a lot of bad things, both in and outside of politics."
posted by tonycpsu at 10:08 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elementary Penguin: " tonycpsu, the challenge was to find evidence that "There is no reason - absolutely none - to suspect that college football players commit rape at higher rates than other young men" is false, which the linked article does. It doesn't say that playing football causes them to do it, but it clearly says "

Fair enough. I should have taken note that the original claim was of increased prevelance, not of causation.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2013


accusations nearly 5 times that of the general population

A little help here: was this cited earlier? (I'm not saying it wasn't, just that I'm having trouble following along. Maybe the Benedict-Crosset study from 20 years ago?)

Here's a fairly neutral review (PDF) of studies on the topic of violence by male athletes. It seems to say there's a chicken/egg problem inherent in the issue that makes existing studies inconclusive. Note that most of studies are not specific to football.
posted by 0 at 10:13 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


A little help here: was this cited earlier? (I'm not saying it wasn't, just that I'm having trouble following along. Maybe the Benedict-Crosset study from 20 years ago?)

It's cited in the Nation article I quote from above. It's from that study, but as that article notes, there hasn't been anything to disprove it.

Here's a fairly neutral review (PDF) of studies on the topic of violence by male athletes. It seems to say there's a chicken/egg problem inherent in the issue that makes existing studies inconclusive. Note that most of studies are not specific to football.

Yes, we already went over this several times. The TL;DR is that it's a problem with the encouragement (or lack of discouragement) of rape culture in general, which sports programs (from high school through professional) that have become almost inextricable from the culture due to financial and social pressures do little to dissuade.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the Nation article which cites a 1994 newspaper article about Benedict-Crosset:
Andrea Parrot, a Cornell human-services professor who has studied rape and male athletes, criticized the methodology of the study, which was not done on a random sample and reflected only the rates of reported sexual assaults. Because an estimated 9 of 10 rapes nationwide go unreported, "They're looking at the tip of the iceberg so it's hard to know if it's a skewed sample."
...

"Although athletes may not be prone to this behavior at higher rates, they may be," she said.
Still inconclusive.
posted by 0 at 10:56 AM on December 3, 2013


tonycpsu: "natinos," short for latino nations. This is a great accidental neologism. Thank you.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:58 AM on December 3, 2013


Still inconclusive.

I'm not sure what that disproves. I have specifically and repeatedly said that the study is in regards to accusations. All you're saying is that it's inconclusive regarding the actual incidence of rape, which we've already established. Tthe assertion that kicked off this discussion thread was that there was zero reason for any suspicion, and I don't see anything that has invalidated disagreement with that assertion.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:04 AM on December 3, 2013


Well, yeah, I agree that "zero reason to suspect football players rape more than non-players" is over-stating things. But the fact is we don't really know, so saying 5 times more likely is also over-stating things. downing street memo's main point, I think, was that rape happens too often across our society and that "stars" in numerous endeavors get special consideration, so pointing out rapes by football players as especially noteworthy examples of rape culture becomes a specious argument. One that's more likely to be fueled by dislike of the game than sincere interest in fixing the problem, and thus one that's not going to change any minds.

That same dynamic comes across in many discussions of football and concussion, by the way. And football and money. And football and education. I'm comfortable with and interested in social criticism of football, but when it comes from people who clearly don't know shit about football (and would rather score political points and/or fantasize about naked jocks), well, it doesn't seem like such an absurd idea that those people are engaging a cultural War on Football.
posted by 0 at 11:45 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, it still seems like an absurd idea.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:49 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flynn's original book, A Few Isolated Actions by Unrelated Splinter Groups on Football, didn't sell.
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, I agree that "zero reason to suspect football players rape more than non-players" is over-stating things. But the fact is we don't really know, so saying 5 times more likely is also over-stating things.

I think you're still confusing incidences with accusations. I don't think there's anything disproving that there's 5 times as many accusations than the general population.

downing street memo's main point, I think, was that rape happens too often across our society and that "stars" in numerous endeavors get special consideration, so pointing out rapes by football players as especially noteworthy examples of rape culture becomes a specious argument. One that's more likely to be fueled by dislike of the game than sincere interest in fixing the problem, and thus one that's not going to change any minds.

Perhaps in that one article, but as I pointed out in my first response, that Nation article made the point that it was about sports in general. And there's certainly something there that suggests that sports programs and rape culture have a disturbing level of connection. Perhaps it's a chicken/egg difference as you say, but even if that's true, that is largely besides the point, since the problem is still there.

That same dynamic comes across in many discussions of football and concussion, by the way. And football and money. And football and education. I'm comfortable with and interested in social criticism of football, but when it comes from people who clearly don't know shit about football (and would rather score political points and/or fantasize about naked jocks), well, it doesn't seem like such an absurd idea that those people are engaging a cultural War on Football.

I guess the problem here is that you see the latter as more of a problem, whereas I see most of the critiques of football and CTE, money, education, and sexual violence coming from a pretty cogent place regardless of origin. Certainly the funding (or lack thereof) of non-sports programs is pretty easy to see, as well as the effects that come from that. It's also easy to see an increasingly deleterious effect of the team-at-all-costs mentality for both the teams and their fans. It's one thing when the evidence is fairly slim and from possibly biased sources, but now that we're getting hard evidence (for instance, in the case of CTE, autopsies on player's brains), the idea that it's a culture war gets less and less plausible.

It's also a double-edged sword. In the case of conservatives, it's hard to take the concept of a War on Football very seriously if they claim rape isn't an issue when they'll deny there's a strong anti-woman strain in their ideology. Same goes for medical evidence and funding for non-sports programs (especially the liberal arts bugaboo) when there's a general anti-intellectual strain. Messengers like Flynn and their baseless dismissals of evidence are precisely the reason why a culture war seems ridiculous.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:06 PM on December 3, 2013


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