Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From the makers of "Restrepo" - The Sal Giunta story

The Sal Giunta Story from SebastianJunger/TimHetherington on Vimeo.

If you've seen Restrepo, you'll recognize some folks.

General Petraeus and flyovers "infect the game [American football] with the idea that sports is somehow war."

According to some guy named Dave Zirin, being interviewed here in the Washington area on National Public Radio as reported by Jamie McIntyre at his blog "Line of Departure"

I was listening to sportswriter Dave Zirin today on the Kojo Nnamdi show on my local NPR affiliate, WAMU radio here in Washington, and he was making some great points about the misguided efforts of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to drive a local paper out of business with a frivolous libel suit, because of his displeasure with a unflattering profile that ran in the paper. I was agreeing with him 100%, when suddenly, at the prompting of the host, Zirin veered off topic, and lost me completely.

Zirin, an author who also host his own sports show on Sirius XM radio, began promoting a pet cause, the “Non-militarism Super Bowl Party” he will be attending with a group called “Iraq Vets Against the War.”

Hmm. This isn't even a good chicken and egg question. Hasn't the game of American Football been "infected" with military metaphor since its freaking DAWN, back in TR's time? Let's consult noted cultural commentator, the late George Carlin:

Seriously. Get a clue Dave. More of Zirin's complaint/penetrating analysis is reported by McIntyre:

That went relatively unchallenged until a caller got through to complain that Zirin was tarring the entire military. “What’s wrong with some F-15s, F-16’s flying over the Super Bowl? What’s wrong with that?” the caller asked.

Zirin upped the inflammatory anti-military rhetoric. “I think the bigger question is what’s right about that?” he countered. “I mean it’s a game, and when you do that what you start to do is infect the game with the idea that sports is somehow war, and so what that also ends up doing is painting a very false view of what war actually is. War is not football it’s a very serious business.”

Poor benighted public watches football game. See's flyover. Sees General Petraeus flip the coin. Thinks: "Gee... football is war...and...and...war is just a's not SERIOUS business at all."

Donthcha see, sez Dave, the inclusion of the U.S. military in the proceedings causes the game to become a "commercial for war." Drooling slack-jawed zombies on their couches can't even tell the difference between a game and war. Evil propaganda of some sort must be goin' on. Miltary Entertainment complex er sumthin.

Like I said, PENETRATING analysis.

Ok Dave. Maybe you are right. I'm sure you, like all right thinking people, agree that political rhetoric needs cleaning up, a scrubbing of all military metaphor. So too, we should probably dispense with military metaphor in the world of NFL football. Let's start with that highly militaristic song we start things off with...what's it called? You know, the one Aguillera flubbed..that one. Get rid of it. Can't have those bombs bursting in air. Gotta go.

And, we should probably dispense with the guys that march the colors on for that know..those guys in uniform, that are not generals. Can't have that solemn moment in any way associated with war. Naw.

And you know what else? Now that I'm cogitatin' on this, and a watchin' that Carlin fellah, we should reform the entire vocabulary that revolves around the game. Much too much if it is military.

Precision strikes,
end run,
running attack,
ground attack,
passing attack,
field generals,
gridiron gladiators,
aerial assault,
defensive line,
offensive line,
probing the defense,
neutral zone infraction,
epic battle,
pitched battle,
unnecessary roughness...

[OK, maybe not that last one.]

And NFL films needs to get rid of all that martial music, some of it I hear was even from the civil war...shudder... That Raiders theme. Snare Drums! Snare Drums. Marches for goodness sakes. Marches! Gotta go. Gotta go.

Thanks for the reminder Dave. We were almost led down that primrose path.

Dave's solution to the "infection"? Why a sort of innoculation. Let's get the NFL or someone to BAN participation of the military in any aspect of NFL's championship. Nope. I ain't kiddin' kiddies. When in doubt, BAN:

Zirin believes the military should be banned from formal participation in the Super Bowl festivities.

To quote Slim Pickens once again:

What in the Wide Wide World of Sports is a-goin' on here?