The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #18: Sports

The music this week, at Nathan Gilmour’s request, is John Fogerty’s “Center Field.” What squadron is Fogerty’s favorite?

General Introduction
– A tribute to the Internet Monk
– What’s on the blog?
– Buy our merchandise!

Our Experiences
– Nathan’s seminary basketball league
– The saddest story you’ve ever heard
– What do we like now?
– Why we miss Dennis Miller

Why Do People Like Sports?
– Defining our terms
– Baseline aesthetic pleasure
– Sports and youth
– Having it either way

Sports vs. Art
– Is it right to call sports an art form?
– Active life vs. contemplative life
– English-department disdain
– A glimpse into the Grubbs marriage
– Sports as a cure for melancholy

Is It More Noble to Play Than to Watch?
– Second-hand transcendence
– Looking for narratives
– David waxes poetic
– Why Nathan doesn’t watch sports

Let’s Talk Walter Benjamin
– Stage acting vs. screen acting
– How producers control the narrative
– Why do people go to games?
– The intellectual detachment of minor-league baseball

A New Kind of Battlefield
– Wrestling and boxing
– The line between a race and a fight
– Olympics as sabre-rattling
– Competition without hatred

Music and Sports
– The long heritage of baseball songs
– Old man baseball
– Ease of translation
– “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”
– Leisurely pace
– What do you call a three-voice rant?
– Self-selecting stereotyping

Sports and Literature
– Chivalric romances
– Icelandic sagas and their football/baseball blend
– Homer and sports
– Jewish-American fiction
– Robert Coover kills imaginary imaginary characters
Rabbit, Run’s groping for transcendence

Hometown Pride
– Loyalty, rivalry, and why New York, California, and Texas are evil
– Sports as regional definition
– Why we need detachment
– Hereditary rivalries
– David roots for the referees
– Your Zemeckis bash of the week
– Oh, those sophisticated Brits!

Closing Thoughts
– David makes his peace with sports
– Nathan hates sports video games
– (Michial plays Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball while editing this show.)
– Take it more seriously. Or less seriously.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings. Ed. Michael W. Jennings, et al. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 2008.

Burton, Robert. The Anatomy of Melancholy. Fairford, U.K.: Echo, 2007. Two volumes.

Coover, Robert. The Universal Baseball Association Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. New York: Minerva, 1992.

Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Peter Jones. New York: Penguin, 2003.

—. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Malamud, Bernard. The Natural. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.

Updike, John. Rabbit, Run. New York: Knopf, 1996.

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