Sunday, November 15, 2009

Further Notes on the Contemporary American Man

My intellectual life is aimed directly at confronting Hollywood and everything it represents. My whole ideology is set in opposition to the values it represents and helps to indoctrinate. Even on an instinctual, emotional level I am predisposed to hating that which the mainstream. Somehow my life has brought me to this strange place: I have a sustained social interaction with an acquaintance who works in the writing branch of film studio. His day job as I understand it is to make notes and punch up scripts. This is the meal ticket for his freelance work that includes mainstream online publication at a major sports news outlet and selling a romantic comedy to a studio. Our interactions, which take place entirely over the internet, are sometimes polite and tolerant, but often bitter and sardonic. I don't like him, mostly because I have no respect for his work, but my dislike is exacerbated my fear that anything I say against him will be interpreted by others as jealousy.

Part of the problem for me is the self promotion. When he recently posted a link to an article he had written, I was immediately annoyed. The people in our peer group are generally a creative bunch. Most of us write; some of us perform, but none of us fish for compliments and/or brag about our successes save for one. Against my better judgment I followed the link and read. It was pretty typical of everything else on the website, which I may as well reveal is ESPN Page 2. All of it is nonsense more or less, inflating that which barely matters in human existence to life or death proportions. It is the raison d'etre of Page 2 to treat sport as if its shallow emotional resonances were deep, as if its mathematical calculations of statistics were intellect, as if the seriousness with which we look at it is spiritually appropriate. The best stuff on Page 2 has always been by Chuck Klosterman and the late Hunter S. Thompson precisely because they don't love sport. They are more interested in mass love of sport than in personal fandom. Little wonder that they are few and far between at Page 2, and that they were well-established cultural critics in their own right before being invited to contribute to ESPN.

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