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Posted by on May 9, 2008 in Media, Politics | 1 comment

A high, hard one for Faludi

Why the heck does Susan Faludi think the sports metaphor is “a particularly lamentable white male construct” (New York Times, May 9)?

For that matter, why assign it to white males? I know black males, white women, black women, and athletes of all ethnicities who use sports metaphors effectively, some as early as third grade, without impairing their worthier values.

All else being equal, I would consistently prefer a sports metaphor to a conflict reality. There are so many conflict realities, and declarative nouns to describe them. War. Economy. Gas prices. Globalization. Global warming. Violence. Murder. Myanmar. Rush Limbaugh’s “chaos.” Racism. Gender wars. Divorce. Politics. Karl Rove politics. George W. Bush.

I cry for relief. Toss me a sports metaphor, please. Quick, somebody, hit one out of the park. That’s what sports and their metaphors are for. Relief. The nominative realities are never going to go away. Humans came to accept this several thousand years ago. I am no anthropologist, but the acceptance of nominative conflict realities may have directly preceded the invention of games and game metaphors. In fact I would be willing to contend that human awareness of games metaphors occurred not too long after the discovery of infidelity and long before the discovery of fire.

Sports provides all the conflict with none of the realities, and no one really loses in the end. Doesn’t anybody realize that sports is nothing more than a multi-billion-dollar business based on not knowing who is going to win? In the media business, it’s called the “threat to the status quo,” which is one of the two definitions of news: “News is anything that changes, or threatens to change, the status quo.” It’s a dynamic, infinitely renewable definition. The Giants, third and long, two minutes left. Classic threat to the status quo. Memorable, even. They converted, scored, and New England didn’t make it to 19-0. Maybe next year.

This political campaign is another classic of the same threat. Lord have mercy, Ms. Faludi, if you want metaphors about who is going to win, listen to “Hardball” for an hour. Oops. “Hardball” must mean that Chris Matthews and his cohorts must make sense only to white males who know what it means to play hardball.

Do I sound a tad hot? I guess I am. I’m tired of being assigned white male constructs. For three minutes, I wish I was Don Newcombe on the mound, and Susan Faludi was at bat. Do you know how to spell chin music?

Lamentably, Faludi just grasped the idea of the sports metaphor and assigned it to white males to try to make a point about Hillary Clinton. How convenient. And then she closed her argument, not with a reality, but a metaphor. Glass floor. See how useful they are?

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