RARA-AVIS: A great sports noir

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 21 Feb 2008

Setting: At about 6PM on Sun. Feb. 3 FOX Noise network offered a noir story about football, in some ways rivaling HBO's _The Wire_. It began with a view of a stadium in the middle of Arizona, a location that was an empty field just 5 years ago. This stadium was named after a campus that did not exist except in various high rise corporate complexes around the country: the University of Phoenix, which does not field a football team. This stadium was built with taxpayers' money, money that could have been used for local businesses that do exist in Glendale, AZ, where the stadium is located. Tickets to this game were about $700, and out of reach for all but the most affluent10% of citizens not only of Glendale, but of the whole country. The allusions to noir urban novels are many faceted.

Plot: The New England team has been stealing their opponents' signals for years, and the records were ordered destroyed. Fate, however, could not be cheated. With their opponents three points ahead and time left for their great QB to get in position for a tying field goal, he had an unaccountable brain fart and threw long hail Mary balloons. The religious undertones were fitting, and in fact scintillating, regarding Divine Retribution.

Sex and violence: cheerleaders, pats on the butt, dancing hotties, a man clad in nothing but a striped hat and fake penis (a MacGuffin perhaps), vicious strikes with hard plastic weapons, gang violence. Despite the half-time pulp entertainment, effort to prevent any showing of female nipples were successful. The implications to sensitive readers are multi-leveled.

The author: unknown, uncredited, completely underground. Thus a unique observer of the underside of the American dream. Some critics think there had to be not one but a whole set of anonymous authors of this Chinese box of dramas-within-dramas.

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