I’ve been enjoying Chuck Klosterman’s Super Blog this week. I haven’t read any of his books; I’ve only read the occasional article on espn.com’s page2 and his columns in the 2 issues of Esquire magazine that I have received so far (dad’s xmas gift subscription), but he seems to be a clever, if slightly pompous, writer with a good grasp on music, sports, etc. Reminds me of what the Sports Guy used to write like before he started referencing Jimmy Kimmel and the Killers in every other article. Shades of Nick Horby with a touch of the Dave Eggers’ self consciousness? Anyways, these from the most recent post:
“I eventually left the restaurant in good spirits, only to be verbally confronted by two mooks in a 4x4 Chevy Silverado; they were both about 22 years old and appeared to be looking for potential rape victims who might enjoy listening to The Cult. "Go steal!" yelled the unshaven chap in the passenger's seat, pointing his sausage-like index finger in the general direction of my jowls. "Go steal! Go steal!" His command seemed wildly incendiary: Why did is fellow want me to commit a crime? Was this an attempt to foster chaos? Was he unconsciously asking me to join their pick-up posse (and to likewise embrace their shoplifting bloodlust)? Were these the kind of insurgents who initiated the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle? What could this mean for the future of Detroit?
It was at this point that I noticed their truck was covered with hydrocycloids decals, and that one of them was a wearing Jack Lambert throwback jersey, and that their truck had Pennsylvania license plates, and that the unshaven ruffian was actually yelling, "Go Steel! Go Steel!" But this is an important lesson for all of us: There is nothing in this world more dangerous than homonyms.”
“In his excellent book "Among the Thugs," American writer Bill Buford explains a conversation he had with a man named R. McAllister, the superintendent of police in Sutherland, England. They were talking about European soccer hooliganism, but McAllister had a lot of questions about NFL games in the U.S. "Am I mistaken," he asked, "or is it the case that there is seating for everyone at every American football match?" He was also shocked to learn that football games last three hours without police interference, and that no one ever dies watching a football game. In England, soccer is a "lifestyle-driven" sport, so lower-class troglodytes use the games as an excuse for weekly, temporary revolution. In even crazier countries, soccer matches are "game-driven" events, where the outcome on the scoreboard means everything: this is why Columbian soccer player Andres Escobar was shot 12 times in 1994 after scoring an accidental goal for the United States in a 2-1 World Cup loss. But here, things are different. The Super Bowl is an "event-driven" event, which means people care less about its symbolism and its result; they mostly just care that it exists. That want to see what it looks like, and they want to be around when it happens -- but they're ultimately passive. They don't want to disrupt the event, because the event is everything.”
These remind me of two stories of my own: a tale of gross misunderstanding and a tale of a chaotic South American soccer match I went to with my brother and cousin. I don’t have time to relay both of them right now so, I’ll give you the gross misunderstanding and save the chaotic soccer crowd story for later.
I was hanging out at one of those cheesy Faneuil Hall bars a few years back with Adam and a few friends, when we ran into a friend of Adam’s from UMass. I had never met the guy before, but he seemed like a nice enough guy, the kind of bespectacled dork that we were/would hang out with. We were all shootin the shit for a while, but it was a bit loud in the bar. So this guy, we’ll call him Ed, so Ed leaned towards me and apropos of nothing asked if it’s wrong to be attracted to a girl with a black guy. I turned and looked over at the bar and there was a girl standing there next to a black guy. Now I didn’t know this guy at all but, being a former Freud scholar, I’m always up for fielding random psychosexualethical questions like this so I replied with something to the effect of “well, no I guess not. It‘s probably some sort of subconscious penis size envy thing, where you imagine yourself fucking her with a big dick”. To which he responded, after a genuinely confused and introspective pause, “wow, that’s fascinating that you went there with that. I don’t know man, I gotta tell you, I have a pretty big dick.” At this point, I was thinking alright, that’s great, pal. Don’t look at me like I’m the weird one. You’re the one who asked me. I’m just throwing theories out there. But I said, “hmm. Ok. Well, maybe it’s not a direct penis size envy thing, but more like a societal construct thing; like society has built up this image of black men as being well-hung sex machines and you’re attracted to the image of a black man, who you are not, with that white woman, who you would normally be expected to be a possible mate for…” Again with the confused, thoughtful pause, and then, “god, this is really interesting. I have no idea what you’re talking about …” At this point, I did interrupt and say, “listen, I’m just throwing ideas out there. You’re the one who brought it up”. He replied with “no no, yeah, it’s cool. I just find it intriguing that you read all that into me being attracted to a girl with a black eye.”
Ah. I see. I looked back over at the bar and the black guy was gone and the girl was now facing us, sporting a choice shiner. “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You said black eye!! I thought you said black guy. Oh, ok. That makes sense now… So, um, yes. It is wrong to be attracted to a girl with a black eye.”
Now that’s what I call a gross misunderstanding.