Thank you, James for your honest reprisal of the NFL and the brutal game of football in general. (HOW LONG FOOTBALL? – Issue: 9/11/19) What parents don’t know about the long-term and in some cases short-term negative effects on the human brain, especially a child’s brain, through this “game” is alarming…. This is equal to our complete disregard for scientific evidence that our behavior is destroying the Earth and leading to this environmental catastrophe that is already upon us. This will be the destruction of America, not terrorists or politicians or the economy—it is our blatant disregard for scientific fact. We embrace denial as a country. Whether it is our diets, our general health, our morals, or these risks we take for money and fame or a goddamn sport! We need to wake up to the facts. But at least people like yourself writing this [will] add to voices at least [a] warning. We must warn of the danger to our children that is football.
Been saying this for a while: the NFL is pro boxing in the 1950s. How many kids you know of your daughter’s age are taking boxing lessons? Not sure pro football has any valid escape plan, other than maybe turning into some form of rugby.
A friend of mine was obsessed with getting my kid into football from the day he was born (I’m rather tall, and because of the brain damage thing, always said that no kids of mine would ever [play football]). It’s been 11 straight years of crushing that dream for him, and my kid could not care less about football. We don’t even watch it, and he always has stories about other kids who hate their parents because they’re psychos at the local pee-wee leagues. One family we’re friends with went into the program once and said it was a long season of intense punishment and psychological warfare on the part of the handful of coaches to the 9-year-old boys, and that most of the other parents were absolute dicks to both their kids and the rest. Increasingly, the word-of-mouth campaign by factions within the local league is “Get your son a football before he’s wearing a dress and votes Democrat.” Ahh, Ocean County. It’s hard to achieve the duality of best and worst place to live, but our county does it in stride.
Football is our national sickness. A symptom of our darkest side. It promotes violence. It promotes viscous behavior among young adult men. It promotes a form of war that is centralized in what amounts to a bullshit concept of heroism. It promotes a false sense of patriotism and machismo. It promotes gambling. It promotes alcohol. It undermines the integrity of the university experience for students. It is about money. Nothing else. This is how people turn the other way when a lying, conniving, mean-spirited idiot criminal runs the country and say, “Hey, the economy is doing well.” The justification of immoral activity for profit is what this country is all about and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Football and Donald Trump stand hand-in-hand with our inbred ignorant hubris.
Football was never going to be an option for my two kids. Luckily, they have no interest in it, so there was no power struggle. Brain injuries aside, the NFL just seems so toxic on so many levels.
Truth is I lost interest in football as soon as teams began choreographing their dance routines. The game really became a joke. Even if your child escapes without a massive head injury he’s probably going to have knee and back problems. Just not worth it.
The struggle with youth playing football today is coming to the realization that your child has to make a certain weight class in order to get a spot on a team. What child wants to be told, “Hey, you better slim down or fatten up or you can’t play this season”? Let them be kids, let them grow up without limits on them. They’re young once, and baseball is always an option for all sizes.
What a wonderful piece on the passing of Daniel Johnston, one of our most cherished underground artists. (DANIEL JOHNSTON – 1961 – 2019 – Issue: 9/18/19) His kind are rare, and you captured that beautifully. I forgot so much of his later musical work and I went back this past week to discover it. He was so bountiful and open and honest with his songs and his paintings and his heart. I am crushed by his passing. Thank you for remembering him and reminding us all the importance of artistic expression all of kinds.
I recently heard Eddie Vedder talking about he and the late Chris Cornell sitting up past the dawn for hours listening to Daniel’s early tapes from Austin and laughing and crying and then sitting silently for a moment. They both looked at each other and said, “This guy is way better than both of us.” And that is the central theme of Daniel’s life. He was always a purer artist and musical expressionist than many of our musical heroes. And they knew it! We all knew what he meant to the canon of great American song. He languished in obscurity but fought and fought and fought to get his music out. The fact that you and so many others got those lo-fi tapes and marveled at them and parsed their greatness and shared them is part of the most endearing story of creative energy I have every known. I too am a big fan of all of Daniel’s work and I too cherish those times when Daniel totally floored us. That first weird listen. What is this? Who is this? We were lucky to be touched by his brilliance. He will be missed by so many, but for those of us, as you wrote, “…there was something in Daniel Johnston that speaks to and for the goofy outcast making something for the sake of making it and to better reflect you into the world.” He continues to inspire the spirit of creativity in anyone who tries to express. Amen.
We are all artists.