Thursday, October 09, 2003

Off My Chest
Well, Jordan says he will not play for Phil if he gets the call. But that is easy to say, since Phil hasn't called. I wan tot talk more about this, I really do, but something else has come up. It seems, as two of my professors have illustrated, there is a prevailing thought in academia that one cannot be both intelligent and sport savvy. Of course, as most my readers would attest, I am fairly sport savvy. Using that argument, then, I am not intelligent. This, of course, upsets my personal beliefs that I am, indeed both. And, I might add, I am not willing to dismiss one in lieu of the other.

You see, most people look at the issue like this:
Sports fanatic<------------------------------------------------------>great thinker
And they place themselves somewhere on that line. Of course, the relationship is not linear at all. In fact, I am finding most literary critiques will run a similar course. For example, disponents of pop culture will see a relationship like this:
Now, of the first, I could cite numerous examples, dating back to Batiste, of people who were both great thinkers and sports fanatics. The Greeks, it seemed, found a place in society for the man who enjoyed the ancient texts as well as the Games. In fact, some of today's writers, of which at least one is a Harvard graduate, have chosen to extol the merits of sports. I will, with more vigilant study, cite specific examples and post them when they are made apparent to me. This, of course, just being a preliminary rant.
Of the second, I like to cite Shakespeare, and the globe theatre. Shakespeare was both widely popular (and untouchably so by Marxist critique) and, it is hardly arguable, among the greatest of writers in any period. However, there has, at least in America ( I will not speak for countries I know little about) come to fruition a popular thought that anything which is touted as "popular" must sacrifice greatness in the process. I can, of course, think of many examples which prove this line of thinking true, from rap music to sit-coms, from melodramatic soap operas to Danielle Steele. But, fortunately for me, I must only find one example of something that is both popular and great, or at least an example in which that relationship is less linear. To wit, it seems I have but to open my ears. I am now listening to Dave Matthew's new CD, and it sees to me this is a prime example. Here is a band which has endured the test of time, if such a thing still exists in modern culture (a separate, but in this case, pertinent, case study in and of itself), and which has not sacrificed quality to do so. There are no references to sex or nudity in the efforts to sell CD's, nor profanity, nor racy music-videos. In fact, as far as arrangement goes (professedly, I know little about this, as well) it seems they are on a track which has not been heard in some time. The band employs a violin, as well as a horn section, and a singer who can accurately bend notes. Many of their contemporaries would not even know those things could be used in a modern context. And yet, Dave Matthew's enjoys immense success. One could be dismissive of this idea as a fluke, and that exception does not disprove the rule. But, it stands to reason, logically, that if one example can be found so readily, others exist (this does not follow necessarily, but is inductive, and quite strong, as well).

I don't know how this debate will end. And in fact, it may never. I also do not know its origin, whether it be a social cop-out or a legitimate matter of dedication. I do, however, feel there is room for the possibility of a coexistence between these thoughts, and the avenues should be explored. As I think on them more, and listen to my contemporaries, I will try and explore and answer this tough question.

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