Via Norm, Verso are publishing a very silly book by Marc Perelman titled Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague. Norm reports what the publishers promise:
Marc Perelman pulls no punches in this succinct and searing essay against the global phenomenon of sport, which he describes as both a "recent form of savagery" and "the opium of the people." The charges leveled against sport are damning and numerous: sport is an instrument for racism and the bolstering of repression, with global events such as the Olympics used to legitimize major political crackdowns; doping must be understood as an imperative rather than an aberration of sport. Most ominously, with its location at the very center of the society of the spectacle, globalization, and the liberal-capitalist system, the phenomenon of sport has become a new world power and an immense destructive force, a steamroller of decadent modernity.
Mr Perelman may "pull no punches" but I doubt he lands many either. Blaming sport for all the world’s ills is akin to suggesting George Stephenson is resposible for the Holocaust. A nonsense. No-one sensible disputes that sport can be "used" in unfortunate ways. But for Perelman to prove his case he’d have to demonstrate that racism or repression or political crackdowns would be lesser parts of the human condition without sport. I doubt he can do this.
Anyway, all this seems Spartist nonsense of the type that would embarrass an undergraduate newspaper (but not Verso). I have no idea what a "steamroller of decadent modernity" might be but would quite like to drive one and this "recent form of savagery" [sic] would seem preferable to other, older forms of savagery.
Also: it’s fun.
*This is hyperbole, obviously. There is no conspiracy!Tags: Hackery, Lefties, Olympics, Sports