Bully for Analogies
| M2 Essays |
: curated Mashups of a Micro nature :
Unconsciously Violently Riffing
In the parlance of sport, Malik Jackson of the Jacksonville Jaguars was simply responding (after the game) to the "trash talk" emanating from a few Pittsburgh Steelers (in the run-up to the game). With NFL-sized bravado, Jackson laid down his riff: "We're bullies. We don't need to say we're bullies. We don't need to talk like we're bullies. We're not going to tell you what we're going to do. We're just going to smack you in the mouth."
I thought, Is "We're gonna smack you in the mouth" the new "It's gonna be war out there"? OK, let's not get carried away. Football and war are here to stay.
Nonetheless, I rather like Jackson's depth of metaphorical awareness: "[Pittsburgh] talked. They said they were going to do this. They didn't do anything. They're waiting for the teacher to come break everything up. We stood there, and we smacked them in the mouth."
But surely there must exist other creative metaphors perfectly able to capture the confrontation and collision that is American football.
President Donald J. Trump wears No. 45. Malik Jackson wears No. 97. And that's the least of the one thousand significant differences between them.
But to the point, one guy undoubtedly likes the NFL. (Hint: His last name doubles as the last name of a 19th-century president that No. 45 actually admires!) Meanwhile, the other guy "embarked on a multi-week effort [this fall] to shore up political support from his base by attacking the political expression of NFL players protesting police violence."
Sometimes even irony fails us.
Notwithstanding, principally No. 45 and No. 97 can agree on this: Whatever the game, bullying is a necessary means to show strength.
It's the culture, stupid.
You might be asking how the NFL—concerned as it is with players using PEDs, instances of sexual assault or domestic violence by its players, and determining once and for all what actually constitutes a catch—has the time to address a culture of ill-suited analogies. Well, it had the time for those dancing sharks accompanying Katy Perry's mini-concert during halftime of Super Bowl XLIX.
Football is indeed a violent game, sure. However, often its culture can violently suppress other values (e.g. anti-bullying). And I suppose here is exactly where we must continue our wrestling with a game so many of us love—and with the connotations of strength that animate and support its culture.