Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Strange Silence: Omission Explosion

No one is commenting on the kind of activities I am proposing instead of consuming the spectacle of football. Everyone is weighing in on football. That is telling in itself.

What about the alternatives proposed? They were supposed to be provocative and edifying.

25 comments:

David & Marian Sloss said...

Doug,

I am convinced that there are few who share the disciplined life particularly in our NA context. We have become soft Christians, couch potatoes in a sense allowing ourselves exposure to any and all media without the filter of asking what is good - sad to say but probably an honest appraisal!

I appreciated the 15 refusals of late 2006 and have a copy on my desk so that they are reviewed regularly!

Let's keep true to that which is beneficial for us physically, emotionally, relationally, and most of all spiritually. Few seem to connect the constant flood of media as a way of conforming to the world about which Paul speaks so specifically.

Living in another culture other than the usual Canadian one, I find TV not the least temptation due to its Greek context here in Cyprus. But oh the liberation to spend more time in constructive, educational ways books, travel, study . . .!

When home during Christmas time, I observed that so many cannot carry on intelligent conversations any longer - too much opinion and too little thought! I refuse to play second fiddle to some media called TV while others feel it is more important than discussions with humans!

Blessings and enjoy the day knowing at least one couple here in Cyprus at the Lord's calling will nto be watching the TV at all! You will have His shalom!

Dr. David Sloss

Beyond Words said...

I issued challenge to my readers to predict what kind of syncrestic holiday Superbowl Sunday might become in the coming centuries.
I got no comments either. :(

Sir Fab said...

Superbowl Sunday comes once a year, like Christmas. Besides, the activities you propose are not mutually exclusive with watching the Superbowl (in your scenario they are, but not in absolute terms.) And they can be performed any day of the year. Are you suggesting that it is bad for Christians to watch the Superbowl instead of doing any one of the other 23 things in your list?

OneYearBibleBlog.com said...

Doug - I think I'm going to do my taxes during the game... and maybe clean the house. Not exactly worshipful activities, but some necessary ones. I'd rather do something productive than watch the game or TV - which I confess I don't ever watch TV, so it is easy for me to do something else. Great posts on this topic!!

Cole M. Winans said...

Football can be enjoying for some... despite not being expedient. It's certainly dissapointing to see the idolization of football and the things that tend to accompany it, particularly on T.V.

The list of activities you presented was great... I'm curious, however, if 23 and 12 could be combined in the case that one is single. Kidding... :-)

Kevin Winters said...

I would add one to the list: "Lighten up."

Fletcher said...

Doug:

Your alternative ideas are great ones for football fans to partake in during all other times of today other than the time we will spend watching the game itself and socializing with friends and family.

I agree that there are more edifying ways to spend our time (of course), but sometimes we ought to just "have fun!"

To the uneducated observer football might seem to be pure barbarism being played out by a bunch of baffoons bent on the destruction of what is wonderfully and perfectly made. The reality, though, is that it is not a bunch of evildoers bent on the injury of the opponent. In contrast, there are many Christian players and coaches in the NFL who focus much of their lives on serving their communities and using the stage of professional sports to share their testimony and bring the lost home. As an ardent observer of the game, I can tell you that instances of itentional innjury are very rare - that is not why these guys are on the gridiron. When a player is seriously injured, you will always see a huddled mass of players joining hands in prayer for the injured player.

Further, football is an intensely cerebral game - every bit as much as baseball, and even moreso in many aspects. Just listen to the play the quarterback brings into the huddle for example. He is givinng 11 people specific instructions that must be executed concurrently and then they must also read what the defense is doing and react to that... often times by audibilizing (which is changing the play, and hence the instructions for 11 players at the line of scrimmage, just a second or two before the snap of the ball).

It would take a fair amount of exposure to the game to unnderstand and appreciate its' many intricacies, just like baseball. As an educated baseball observer, I find it a boring game to watch... but I know there is much more to the game than what I realize.

Douglas Groothuis said...

F:

Believe it or not, I used to follow football and understand something of the strategy.

The essential problem is the intrinsic, inexorable, and horrific violence, whether intended or not. NFL players usually last only a few years and are permanently crippled in one way or another after that in many cases.

Baseball is not intrinsically violent and is more heady on strategy. There is less brute force and more intelligence. But even professional baseball has gone south now: ruined by TV, huge salaries, no home-town loyalty of players, and more. I don't even follow it any more.

Professional sports in America is not a zone for virtue, but vice--more often than not. Let us put our limited energies elsewhere, pursuing the things that matter most, that last forever, that change lives for eternity.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Kevin:

You suffer from the unbearable lightness of being, being a postmodernist. Reality is different.

There is gravitas, eternity, virtue and vice, heaven and hell. These cannot be deconstructed or dissolved into incommensurate narratival ambiguities that keep nihilistic professors in business.

Manners are morals writ small and they matter for character formation, families, cultures, and civilization. Football is a sign of cultural bone rot. Endorsing it or excusing it promotes this skeletal breakdown. Remember the Roman games, the bread and the circuses.

creese_100 said...

Although watching the Super Bowl may not be using your time wisely, entertainment every now and then is OK. Although obsessing about football, tv, sports in general can be bad, watching the championship game cannot be that bad, can it?

Sir Fab said...

Fourteen seconds into the game, and I already feel sorry for those who have chosen to read a book in one session. Could have started tomorrow, you know? :-)

Ed Darrell said...

On the other hand, if one wishes to spend this time in other productivity, one might send a note to Pat Boone, who is spreading hoary old hoaxes about Darwin over at WorldNet Daily: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54083

One could stand up for truth and the facts, or one could do any of 23 other things . . .

nancy said...

...enjoying the warmth of an increadibly beautiful fireplace (hotel in Montreal), did 50 situps earlier (modification of #14), writing software and modifying curriculum for a class I teach tomorrow (not quite poetry, but should be poetic - software can be beautiful too- see #21), drinking a nice French white wine, listening to the sounds of the fire and the cars driving by outside (not plugged into a mp3 device). Yes, I'm working, but it is an increadibly peaceful and refreshing place. Work is good for the soul!

Fletcher said...

Dr. G:

I must say that since meeting you I put dramatically less emphasis on football, and your points are valid and impossible to disagree with. Here's one that will get you: If it weren't for football, I am not so sure I would even own a TV. :-)

We differ primarily on the extremities of the objections to the game. I no longer get upset when "my" team loses, but I do become glad when they win. it's fun! But in reality, what are the fans celebrating? Do THEY (we) really have anything to do with the successes of the teams or players?

Nonetheless, it's obvious that there are endless things more important to spend our limited (as you point out - which stung) time on, but I also believe that balance strengthens us, or at least me. I need to just "get away" from the hard work of life sometimes in order to recharge and come back harder next time, and football fanism is one of the ways I do this, albeit one of many.

All sports fans should be moderate and keep their eyes on the prize.

Good evening Curmudgeon readers.

Peace be with you.

Douglas Groothuis said...

F:

If you have become reflective and somewhat detached about football, I count that a victory for truth. And you have. However (!), there are still better was to recreate or "get away" or relax.

Your comment about fans and "their team" was astute. It is a strange sense of victory when the team one roots for wins. What did one contribute? One is reacting to facts one has no role in creating or fulfilling. Moreover, why, logically, root for one team over another? Is one side morally better? Not usually.

I don't root for my students. I teach them; I pray for them; I listen to them. My hope takes the shape of action, not reaction.

Well, enough. The Super Bowl is over; the BBC had one or two sentences on it. In the overall scheme of things in this poor world--given the rape, slavery, sexism, racism, poverty, violence, bigotry and more--the Super Bowl fades into insignificance...

Yossman said...

I have been following the discussion with interest and... amusement. Dr. G. said two posts earlier that his version of the Super Bowl would include not talking about it. Yet no other topic seems to engender as much emotion and talk as football does. (I didn't see any comment on the Schaeffer post, which was truly beautiful.)

Sport doesn't mean much to me, yet I understand that it is a very emotional thing for some. It's maybe not as bad as Dr. G suggests though it dawned on me that inspite of its intricacies this particular sport can be quite violent.

May I as an outsider suggest another sport that is less violent? Football... the rest of the world plays it ;-)

Douglas Groothuis said...

Yo:

I didn't talk about the details of the Super Bowl, only reasons to avoid it. So, in that way, I didn't talk about it as in, "What a great pass that was..."

I have nothing against soccer, as we barbarians call it.

Sir Fab said...

Kudos, Dr. Groothuis, for having nothing against soccer, and for recognizing your nation's barbarism (as it comes to football, of the rest-of-the-world kind).

:-)

r_erick said...

Dr. Groothuis-
As a note of encouragement: I discussed with a number of people your proposed alternatives to watching the football game. Most responses were similar to Kevin's, saying something to this extent: "lighten up..." or "Is he being serious??" or "Sometimes you just need to relax..." (as a side note TV is not relaxing) Your post reminds me of that statement from Walden that speaks of how one cannot waste time without injuring eternity.

Kevin Winters said...

Douglas,

I have long wished to disabuse you of the mistakes that riddle your discussions of so-called "postmodernism" (like in your response to me). The very fact that you reduce my response to so-called postmodernism's influence on me is one demonstration (among many) of the one-sided and, indeed, one-dimensional nature of your understanding. If you ever want to move beyond your stereotypes and over-generalizations, let me know. Till then it's obvious you are not open to discussion, only derision and false stereotypes based on inadequate understanding.

Douglas Groothuis said...

"Your post reminds me of that statement from Walden that speaks of how one cannot waste time without injuring eternity."

Yes, one of my favorite quotes of all time,

gimmepascal said...

Once I tried # 2 on the list--"Inspect your soul in silence for one hour"--and all I could focus on was death. Death and Hell. I tried to think of something more positive, but it would always be fleeting. I would think "But look how amazing and undeserved God's mercy is, I'm saved from--death and hell." It always comes back. Really, every introspective moment I have comes back to me thinking of death and the horrifying fact that some people will end up in Hell one day. Does anyone else find this to be the case when they meditate or "inspect" their soul? Do you always have a certain foundational thing you tend to focus on, no matter how hard you try otherwise?

As for the superbowl, I watched part of it, and read a book through part of it as well. By the way, Peyton Manning might turn out to be the second best quarterback of all time--a long 2nd place behind Dan "The Man" Marino. (Yes, I'm still a die hard Dolphin fan).

As for violence in football, of course, its there. But I have a bad scar on my shin caused by the baseball cleat of an opponent sliding into second as I covered the bag from my position at shorstop. In highschool I also broke a bone in my right hand when a pitcher from our arch rival deliberately threw at me while I was batting, and smashed my hand. I also saw a guy get his cheekbone shattered with a baseball. Baseball can very violent indeed. In football I've seen injuries too, of course, but I've seen them in all sports. At least in football they wear pads to protect themselves.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Jedd:

1. Football is intrinsically violent; it cannot be avoided--tackling is essential to it.

Baseball is not instrinsically violent; there is nothing like tackling required.

2. You should memorize more Scripture; that will focus your soul on things other than death and hell. The Scripture will bubble up and break out. Perhaps you should also receive prayer for spiritual deliverance, given all your time in Uganda.

MJ said...

I must agree with Jedd here...I hurt a fair number of folks in HS baseball on the pitcher's mound. I think there is something intrinsically violent about a teenager's 83 mph fastball from a non full-developed arm! Partially in jest, but I have applied more pain to folks in the batter's box than at Center or Defensive End.

For what it is worth, for a project in epidemiology while in grad school, I analyzed the data of sports injuries in children using 1996 - 2000 CDC data. Between football and baseball, there is less than 1 sigma variance (ie, no statistical correlation)in injuries among children 18 and younger in the USA. Of course I agree football is more "violent" in the visual sense, but comments regarding more injuries in football leans anecdotal at best.

Your analysis and distaste for football is easy to follow and difficult to challenge, though I keep waiting to hear your analysis as to why violence qua violence is always an evil virtue. It's sort of the pink elephant of all your football posting. Just a thought.

gimmepascal said...

Thanks for the backup M.J.

While it is true that football appears to be more violent than most sports when observed from the stands, serious injuries are not necessarily more common in football. Yes, football is probably one of the most consistently bone-jarring sports, but if you get elbowed in the mouth playing basketball, you're probably going to need stiches and and you might lose some teeth. In football, you have a helmet, face guard and mouthpieces to protect you. I have always felt more vulnerable to injury and violent agression in baseball, basketball and soccer because you are not completely covered with ten pounds of thick, strategically placed padding.

I think the reasons for not watching the Super Bowl have nothing to do with the supposedly inherent violence of football.