In Defense of Liking Things

It used to bother me that people got all excited about the color shirt that was being worn by a particular person holding (or throwing, or tossing, or avoiding) a small round object. Then I read the Onion article “Walking Sports Database Scorns Walking Sci-Fi Database:”

A self-described “sports fanatic” who experiences vicarious thrills through such idols as Mike Piazza and Tiki Barber, Moreland said he can’t understand science-fiction fans’ obsession with make-believe characters like Captain Kirk and Boba Fett.

Of course I liked the article when I first found it because it exposed the sports fan’s derision as pointless, but as one would expect of good satire, the article poked just as much fun at the underdog.

“Like I care what some big, fat, stupid sports fan thinks of me,” said Dansby, watching Moreland exit the mall, Jason Sehorn jersey in tow. “I bet the last book that guy read was called The Michael Jordan Story or something. Quite a literary masterwork, I’m sure.”

While we, the readers of the article, can benefit from the observation that fandom, however it’s expressed, fulfills a basic human need to belong, the imaginary science-fiction fan has not learned that lesson. When he mocks the sports fan, we see evidence that it’s not just sports fans who judge.

And that leads me to this insightful “Sportsball!!!” cartoon.

 

 

Not everything that exists in the time of Donald Trump has to be a metaphor for Donald Trump, and not every silly trinket produced by capitalism is evidence of our decline in intellectual vigor. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. (Although in Freud’s case, the cigar was a penis.) Cultural critics often display an unfortunate tendency toward “Zeitgeistism,” the borderline-paranoid belief that there are Zeitgeists everywhere, massive social and historical essences to be found in all kinds of everyday practices and objects. One problem is that the kind of theorizing done by Bogost and Mead amounts to the telling of “just so stories,” unfalsifiable narratives that merely confirm the theorist’s already-existing worldview. —Current Affairs