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October 22, 2009

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How can so many enjoy its brutal form and look past its grievous impact on the players? What does this say about its parent culture?

It says nothing good. American football is a war game. America is a war loving nation - unless you are whipping an enemy nation somewhere abroad, you need to do it at home against an opposing athletic team. And you pay an almost comparable price in terms of losing your compassion, decency and in incurring life changing physical injuries.

But a culture, however repugnant, when it is widespread, can creep up on you and make a chink in one's rational defenses. See what happened to me after living in Nebraska for eleven years although I must note that Nebraskans are a class by themselves when it comes to football and I am almost over that peculiar thrall.

Interesting post, thanks. I think early socialization decidedly shapes one's attitude to sports (or what may be acquired second-hand via one's kids, as in your case). Early socialization makes it easier for even sensible people to subconsciously tune out many dubious aspects of a sport, or to accept them as normative (how many find the whole cheerleader business bizarre, as I do?). Perhaps I have my blind spots with cricket, though I am not a big cricket fan. Since I didn't grow up or raise kids in the US, I tend to approach football with anthropological interest, which has pros and cons. In a way, it's probably best that cultural insiders (such as Gladwell?) critique football rather than folks like me.

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