I swam to that island and climbed to the church, America and sports

June 20th, 2012

Music that takes away from writing

Music that talks too much makes it harder to write for me at least. I can’t listen to music with too much yammering. Rock music is right out, I might want to get up and dance. I like listening to orchestral music mostly. The piece of music I have heard the most times in my entire life is without a doubt, Handel’s Messiah. At my best, I could sing the whole “Hallulujah Chorus,” as an alto. We sang the whole Messiah in four part harmony many times when I was growing up. Choral music was a big thing. My kids never studied choral music and they didn’t go to church so they didn’t get those church hymns either. But my son has done some lead singing in bands and is working on developing his voice. I think music should be taught in all schools like another language. But then, I’m a fan of art, theatre and dance as well, all of which have been deleted from most American programs. But football doesn’t get eliminated. No sir, we must needs have big guys running into each other over and over. That’s important. It’s American.

I like understanding the evolution of the American consciousness through sports. In the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, the primary American sport was baseball. Baseball is slow, it happens on green fields. It requires skill, running, throwing, it’s a bit of gentleman’s game, a pastoral sport. The spectators drink beer, eat hotdogs and popcorn and get the 7th inning stretch.

Then World War II comes and the U.S. becomes obsessed with empire. With fighting non stop, with being a country always at war. Enter football, a sport that’s about smashing things down. Not sportsmanship but bone crushing warlike crunch man to man.

End of the 20th century. America doesn’t need to declare war any more. We can rent an army when we need one and rent we do. The rise of the private military companies who fight America’s wars while the boys sit at home and play video games. We become a game obsessed, screen obsessed country, a country of players, of whiners, of ADD kids who all have allergies. Why do we all have to have these stupid allergies? We can’t ride horses or be near animals or be near grass. We have to be indoors. Watching fast indoor sports that don’t bore us. Enter basketball. The ultimate game for a wheezing indoor population who likes everything to happen fast. Brave New World predicted this and here we are. Sucking down Soma/Zoloft. All looking the same age. All Los Angeles women look 30-40. Greek women age properly. They start wearing black; they have wrinkles, they become grandmothers. We aren’t allowed to age. Wear black as long as you look sleek. But no aging. Not in Los Angeles or New York. You weren’t thinking of growing old, were you?

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