Ode to early 90s lit crit and football

Cup of hot tea, four piles of journal articles fanned around me, pocket full of tape flags, and this on a foggy October’s Sunday morning:

“A grunting, crunching ballet of repressed homoeroticism, football, Ms. Steeply, on my view. The exaggerated breadth of the shoulders, the masked eradication of facial personality, the emphasis on contact-vs.-avoidance-of-contact. The gains in terms of penetration and resistance. The tight pants that accentuate the gluteals and hamstrings and what look for all the world like codpieces. The gradual slow shift of venue to ‘artificial surface,’ ‘artificial turf.’ Don’t the pants; fronts look fitted with codpieces? And have a look at these men whacking each other’s asses after a play. It is like Swinburne sat down on his soul’s darkest night and designed an organized sport. And pay no attention to Orin’s defense of football as a ritualized substitute for armed conflict. Armed conflict is plenty ritualized on its own, and since we have real armed conflict (take a spin through Boston’s Roxbury and Mattapan districts some evening) there is no need or purpose for a substitute. Football is pure homophobically repressed nancy-ism, and do not let O. tell you different.”
–Infinite Jest p.1047

It’s like straight out of a pop culture and critical theory class in 1992, except they tended to deconstruct wrestling more often. Good, good times.
Happy American homoeroticism day, football fans.

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7 thoughts on “Ode to early 90s lit crit and football

  1. Forgot it was National Coming Out Day and now regret quoting the offensive OCD character Marlon Bain using disparaging terms like “nancy-ism.” But interesting coincidence, no? Point is still that the more you deny it the more you’re probably hiding something; here’s hoping that something is no longer anything to hide! National equality now!

  2. Codpieces–yes!!! Although they don’t, alas, have the jewels in them like they used to!

    Hilarious, since all my man has done this weekend is watch the codpieces slap each others’ butts.

  3. I like the oversized shoulders note, myself. Used together with an analysis of women’s 80s fashion…sheer Butler bliss, no?
    Ah, good, clean, hyperintellectualizing, power-structure-dismembering fun. I heart pop culture studies.

  4. I don’t know if Naptimewriting has an Official Gay Commenter, but if not, can I nominate myself?

    My first act in office would be to absolve you of any guilt related to using the term “nancy-ism” on National Coming Out Day. A) It’s from “Infinite Jest,” and I’m willing to forgive anything if it comes from my favorite book, and B) I think we should all have a sense of humor about it. (To burnish my OGC credentials, I once came out to the entirety of Kansas City by calling in to a popular Top 40 morning radio show when I lived there. It was the sort of thing I did then.)

    Anyhow, moving right along, can I also contribute a “hell, yes” to the football-as-sublimated-homoeroticism question? Because there is no need for those pants to be that tight, otherwise. Which I hope they never change, because it is the only reason I enjoy watching football in those rare occasions when it can’t be avoided.

  5. @Dan lol. i have no question footballis homoerotic. It’s all wrestling is. Geez. Ever watch that gay soap opera called WWE?
    And as I said to all of my friends who posted how they came out as their facebook status, I am impressed with how brave you are to be yourself in a society that’s just turning the corner on knowing how great that is, and I hope some day an entire generation of people can realize who they are, whatever they feel, and be completely honest about it because the whole nation knows that some people like red wine and some people like white wine.
    And some people like a cold foamer while watching football. Like, say, you, Avril Incandenza, and John (no relation) Wayne ;-)

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