Henry Rollins: Football, Violence, and America
It is instilled in thousands of American males from an early age that one of their requirements is to be able to both dish out and take a lot of pain. They are taught the rules of this road in gyms, rings, backyards and fields all over America.
This is part of our collective identity. If it were not, the Super Bowl would not be as popular as it is. This single event encapsulates and crystallizes the America of America. You have it all. Men in peak physical condition, highly trained, with a single objective; beautiful women to cheer them on; and an audience of millions that take all of this in with an incredible amount of seriousness. An audience that literally roars with approval when a man is hit so hard his helmet flies off. Men will limp off the field at either the zenith or nadir of their lives up to that point. Adults who have no relation to any of the players will actually cry if they don't get the result they wanted.
"It's just a game" is what you tell children to prepare them for loss and to promote good sportsmanship. I would not suggest expressing this point of view to a man wearing face paint in the colors of his favorite team. Many adults are far too immature to handle the information.
And could such adults be the ones who are holding up the arrival of the future?! Why, could it be that there are those so deeply invested in the past that the mere mention of a different way of going about things sends them into fits? Well, now, we could be onto something. We've already discussed Commissioner Goodell, who can't handle causality, but to strengthen the case we'll need more examples. So little time; so spoiled for choice.
NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre was OK with background checks at gun shows in 1999. Not so much anymore, however. You can check his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime from May of that year. It's a quick read -- go for it. Then you can check his new opinion on the same topic in his horn-lock with Sen. Patrick Leahy last month. Guns for everybody! No tyranny on his watch. Hey, all you pistol-packin' mamas and papas, don't get any blood on your new threads!