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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Three items for light reading and listening

Two unconnected items I found interesting.

1) David Sims of The Atlantic on the 20th anniversary of Saving Private Ryan and the sense of bitterness and pointlessness reflected in that and other of Spielberg's later movies. One of my early Prawfs post asks whether Private Ryan "earned" the sacrifices made for him and this ties into that.

2) Howard Bryant on the objections by some veterans to the commercialized faux patriotism and militarization of sports. (Bryant is the author of The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism and the article is outgrowth of some of the interviews he did for the book). Bryant is the guest in the first segment of this week's Hang Up and Listen podcast.

3) Slate's Christina Cauterucci criticizes the decision of the US Women's Soccer team to call up Jaelene Hinkle for an upcoming tournament. Two years ago, Hinkle declined a spot on the team for "personal reasons," which this spring she revealed to be objections to wearing a kit with rainbow-colored numbers to mark Pride Month, consistent with Hinkle's opposition to LGBT rights. Cauterucci argues that US Soccer "sold out" its LGBT players and fan base. Cauterucci is in the second segment of the podcast. Unfortunately left unsaid in this article and in the podcast segment is that it is impossible to adopt Cauterucci's argument and argue that NFL players should not have to stand for the anthem, without engaging in some pretty blatant viewpoint discrimination.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 24, 2018 at 04:46 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


For a great satire on patriotism at a Dallas Cowboys game, as seen by Iraq war veterans, see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Lynns-Long-Halftime-Walk/dp/0060885610

Posted by: Jack Preis | Jul 25, 2018 12:24:40 PM


I really don't like the analogy to Kafka or Orwell because quite frankly neither one of them were imaginative enough to foresee the society we actually got. Both of them assumed that people would be reluctant to give up the private/public distinction and that some greater power would force them too do so when in fact people are more than happy to toss it aside.

Everything is public now...
We are all advocates now...

Posted by: James | Jul 24, 2018 10:00:39 PM

Hear, hear on the NFL being entertainment. In my opinion, it stopped being a sport a few years ago. Now, it's simply a show. I was overseas visiting my in-laws a few years ago, and was excited to watch a football game (started in 3 am their time). They stayed up to watch some of it with me, because they were curious. As the game progressed through the first quarter I became ashamed and embarrassed at the--frankly--grotesque commercialism and nauseating nationalist displays. That was when I became hyper aware of how NFL isn't a sport at all. Play a few seconds and then there's a five minute "media timeout" so that the gargantuan players can catch their breaths and someone can sell you a car.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Jul 24, 2018 8:33:54 PM

RE Spielberg: I just happened to be considering 2 days ago whether his movies will stand the test of time - I suppose that is more taste than an objective judgement but I'm not sure they will. Jaws perhaps an exception not that I loved it. My issue is that the actors are too polished "characters" - there isn't that slightly alienating aspect of observing humanity in a bit too raw form: few of us speak in complete sentences - the actors too often are acting purposefully in a 'scene' - while film artists can certainly abstract reality with poetic license his pieces just seem too connected to modern sensibilities too. Somehow with a Kubrik I can taste and smell the era , and feel the rawness of humans. Not to say there wasn't a lot great about Spielberg's selection of content - what he chooses to portray is great storytelling, just not jarring enough to our modern realities (yes the d-day scenes and concentration scenes were memorably difficult and I learned a lot ) I was never really into Spielberg visual framing as art frame by frame either ( a masterpiece in that regard might be Breakfast at Tiffany's )

RE: Sports politics - Off the field statements are times and places separate than on the field statements AND, perhaps most importantly, past statements are not the same as current on camera statements.

I don't think the analogy here is Kaperick at all. First, NFL is entertainment - circus figures attracting viewers to sell Automobiles and $20,000 a season sky boxes, a national team is about sport only ostensibly. There are employment contract issues with forcing expression but that would be more a matter of whether or not Hinkle could be kicked out in the future for saying something during events to fit. The RIGHT analogy might be the NFL banning players for off-field spousal abuse - and I really don't get that personally, because while there are very serious societal issues with that, we have courts and law and social workers to handle those things and I am not comfortable with non-fans pressuring the NFL or publicizing off-field failures of players... they are just workers - but yes, once publicized at some point it might hit the NFL bottom line then they could hire whatever sells them more ads or seats. (somehow I do not believe it is fan driven but a political effort to deny employment to people who are not very savory but which would hardly be known enough to deter audiences without small attack mobs)

The whole notion of denying people from employment for things there employer would have no knowledge of without a morality police calling up the employer really scares me as authoritarian in Kafka or Orwellian type ways.

Posted by: Mike | Jul 24, 2018 6:17:06 PM

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