Friday, February 05, 2010

David Brooks looks at the quaint natives of Madison and finds a "happy Midwestern cult"

David Brooks has one of his contrarian think pieces in the Times today. He looks at how sports build character and social cohesion and asks whether big-time college sports have grown too big, corrupt and commercial to accomplish this valuable objective. Predictably, being David Brooks, he takes the road less taken and comes down solidly on the side of a platitude favoring bigness.
But bigness has virtues as well as vices. Big-time college sports are absurd, but we would miss them if they were gone.
How does he arrive at this conclusion? Through solid anecdotal personal research involving looking out his taxi window at the curious inhabitants of Madison.
Several years ago, I arrived in Madison, Wis., for a conference. It was Saturday morning, and as my taxi got close to campus, I noticed people dressed in red walking in the same direction. At first it was a trickle, then thousands. It looked like the gathering of a happy Midwestern cult, though, of course, it was the procession to a football game.
Ah, those happy simple folks in the Midwest. Aren't their folk rituals quaint?


Gamma Infinity said...

I think that same cult comes to USC games, though no one dares call them quaint. Most people in L.A. work for them.

thechrisproject said...

Oooh, good quote. I'm going to use that for a project I'm working on.

cathy said...

Good thing he didn't find out that when we get to Camp Randall, we choose one person by lot and stone him or her to death

Anonymous said...

looks like david "bobo" brooks is the winner of the coveted Letter From Here Wanker of the Day award !!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. More painfully obvious proof that Brooks doesn't get out enough. The Times should be embarrassed and send him on an extended vacation. Without a taxi.

Cheezman said...

As someone who was in Camp Randall when Greg Bohlig hit Jeff Mack to beat Nebraska and for many other games, I see nothing wrong with Brooks's observation. In fact, I don't see how you can argue with the conclusion he draws. Badger football is indeed a happy community cult. Bravo for that.

As an ex pat Madisonian completely out of the loop, however, I have a question: Does O still suck?