Athletes in the political vanguard against Trump? Well, live and learn.
In case you’ve been living under a rock the past week, here’s a recap of events since the orange clown decided that instead of focusing on bringing relief to the recent victims of natural disasters, it’s much more important to go to twitter war with (mostly) nonwhite athletes and call them sons of bitches for not, in his view, showing enough respect for the American flag. The problems with macho bullshitting aside, I have to admit I enjoyed NBA athlete Chris Paul’s response to Trump.
I don’t have any earth-shatteringly original insights into the whole melee but for professional reasons (you know, being a masculinities scholar and so on) I do tend to pay attention when athletes who normally stay out of politics, get involved.
I thought it was quite a coincidence that I had just found this book on the local library’s book swap section and started reading it. Seeing this book up for grabs for free and liking Krakauer’s previous work like Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, and Eiger Dreams, it was an easy decision to take the book. Besides, the topic was again related to my research interests. The book tells the story of NFL player Pat Tillman who gave up on a multimillion dollar deal and instead joined the Army Rangers and was subsequently accidentally killed by his own platoon comrades in Afghanistan. When Trump tried to harness Tillman’s positive image to bolster his own agenda, Tillman’s wife basically told Trump to shove it.
I’ve recently been thinking hard on whether athletes can have any meaningful, positive impact in the world, especially when it comes to issues like respecting the natural environment, gender equality, etc. Even though this has been a central part of my research for the past couple of years, I still can’t give a conclusive answer. More research needed, I guess?
Anyway, the example set by these multimillion dollar mainstream athletes is kinda encouraging (although, I admit, calling them the “political vanguard” like I just did may be exaggerating a little). At least a little bit, and especially if this momentum leads to something. We’ll see.
I also read these couple of cli-fi novels this past week. I thought Maggie Gee’s The Ice People was quite good in a Margaret Atwood-Maddaddam kinda way. Liz Jensen’s The Rapture was OK, too, but some of the silly jealousy drama and such detracted from the overall quality. An OK page-turner kinda read, though. I will say (even at the risk of sounding like an elitist) that I do really usually get more enjoyment out of more “serious” literature but, again, reading genre fiction like this kinda goes with being an ecocritic, so it’s a good excuse to read entertaining literature while still being able to think that I’m kinda, almost, “working” while doing so.
OK so that’s about it for athletes, politics, cli-fi, and so on, but I guess since I did mention my health in the last post, a quick update is in place: I am, at least now, feeling better than I was at my worst. The diagnosis for why I was in pain and generally feeling like shit, was that I was/am suffering from kidney hypofunction. The docs don’t yet know why my kidneys all of a sudden started acting up but I’m hoping that next week’s tests shed some light on the matter. In any case, I am right now feeling much better, so I’m optimistic that things will soon return to normal (knock on wood, and so on). I haven’t taken any sick days because of this but obviously, focusing on work has been rather difficult, so would be nice to be back to normal soon. Here’s hoping!
Featured image credit: discogs.com