Every Sunday, America settles in front of the TV for a long day of NFL action. When I settle in front of the TV for a long Sunday watching NFL action, all I want to do is watch a game of football, as well as the massive ceremony beforehand highlighting and showcasing uniformed members of the United States armed services, and put all my everyday concerns about the economy and healthcare and what have you to one side for a few hours. Nowadays, though, even that seems like too much to ask. On Sunday, we saw NFL players across the country kneel during the regularly-scheduled, stadium-spanning pregame displays of our nation’s regalia we have come to unquestioningly accept, utterly disrespecting everything that these same displays purposefully reinforce as unconditionally deserving of our respect. I’m sick of politics interfering in the sport I love—at least when that politics doesn’t serve the relentless promotion of the United States military and its actions—and I know I’m not the only one. (more…)
Over the last two weeks, I had the privilege of following along as one of my favorite writers unveiled, piece by piece, an extraordinary, ambitious experiment in fiction. Jon Bois’ 17776 is quite something: depicting a distant future crushingly similar to our present; conveyed in writing almost exclusively through conversations between characters, but these conversations supplemented by still images, GIFs, and video; and—here’s the clincher—published via, of all places, the popular sports site SB Nation. I will not offer any sort of synopsis for the piece here. You should read 17776 in its entirety anyway, and you should definitely do so before reading this essay. You won’t regret it: it’s a fantastic, absorbing, and remarkably poignant read.
What it isn’t, however, is all that weird—at least if you’re familiar with Jon Bois’ previous work. 17776 treads very similar thematic ground to several of Bois’ previous projects—which is a strange enough statement, considering that the man is technically a sportswriter, an employee of many years of a major sports website—and in his previous work, we can see the genesis of ideas and themes that eventually manifested themselves more fully in 17776. (more…)