There exist desires which fall and feed beyond the boundaries of normative polite society. Football, in many ways, a dehumanizing livestock show, the skilled commodity is an intersection, as the Penn State scandal shows, where the erotic topic of the athletic body and male dominance, hierarchy and race intersect. A commodity culture where the toxic values of white, middle-class male superiority and patriarchy are present and its almost existential necessity for a sexual underclass, part of a broader national context of symbolism and political coherence. Is football based not on sportsmanship or even a business model of entertainment but on erotic desire? Is football an erotic problem where the adoration of the male body circulates like a beauty pageant at a gay roast. A cage aux folles?
Perversion may have been implicit in football from the beginning with the fetishism of the body being the model of all perversions. The Penn State scandal, and its young Nittany cubs, is ostensibly shocking to white middle-class values, but this same segment has always had a perverse underside. Here the little boys and young men are just part of ” the anal universe” which the pervert creates; a world in which individuals are as meaningless as shit, disposable worthless end products and the victims no better than a toilet of discharge for chronic need for ejaculation.
So, Penn has to be looked at as a homoerotic commentary within the long context of American white supremacy, slavery, property rights, in
order to explain why football players here were subjected to this kind of assessment, particularly in light of the injunction against homosexual desire, incest and pedophilia that suffuse the culture of football as well as other male-centric activities with a hierarchy in place; inter-male dominance where the body is a legitimate object of desire which sustains the erotic subtext and reinforces white male power structures. Just another incarnation of white supremacy?
In America, erotic desire often gravitates towards the bodies of black men, like Bell Hook’s Outlaw Culture, a place for white males to work out identity problems. The placement of black men as the object of desire is quite subtle and sophisticated, based as it is on asserting white supremacy in the “gatekeeper” role; a cultural entitlement to gaze judge, and admire the merchandise and ironically forcing this “other” into the same misogyny and perversion as a means of acceding up the ladder, then taking the rap and fulfilling the stereotype. Very clever indeed. As Oates so correctly put it, the commodification of bodies and the desire that it mobilizes satisfies more than deeply submerged erotic wants. The process of transforming human beings into something that can be bought, sold, and possessed can increase the desire for more conventional types of commodity accumulation….
…There is always a temptation to perverse, forbidden sexual acts. As Freud writes in Civilization and Its Discontents (1929), “the irresistibility of perverse instincts, and perhaps the attraction in general of forbidden things,” can be explained by the fact that “the feeling of happiness derived from the satisfaction of a wild instinctual impulse untamed by the ego is incomparably more intense than that derived from sating an instinct that has been tamed.” Perverse impulses, by their very nature, and by the fact that they have been seriously inhibited by socialization — from weaning and toilet-training on — thus depriving one of deep pleasure, all the more so because it is instantaneous, can never be completely satisfied.
However held in abeyance — as they are by the self-righteous bourgeois males who fancy themselves the pre-ordained rulers of society — perverse impulses are addictive, which is why many high class bourgeois men are addicted to low class prostitutes, with whom they can satisfy their perverse impulses, at a price (undoubtedly emotional as well as economic).Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/FEATURES/kuspit/kuspit6-10-02.asp
The problem when you become a national institution is that the nation’s legions of incredibly well organised and hyperactive born-again Christian smother-mummies become the most vocal part of your audience. And the NFL – purveyors of brute violence and animal sexuality – dare not annoy these sniffy, hypersensitive, idiotically priggish and dementedly superstitious nitpickers….
…Thus the moral outrage over Jackson’s nipple and Prince’s alleged penis is all part of the disconnect between the reality of the NFL’s product – steroids, antiquated gender roles, screamingly obvious homoeroticism, barbaric violence, hideous injuries, the cheesy semi-pornography of cheerleading – and the image it promotes of itself as the all-American family values sport. The NFL wants to have its cultural cake and eat it. And it does.
For when hypocrisy prospers, who dares call it hypocrisy? Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2009/feb/02/super-bowl-steven-wells
Oates:In addition to these rather straightforward attempts to commodify the mostly black bodies of prospects, the draft further domesticates blacks by positioning them as objects of the desiring gaze. In doing so, this way of seeing places black men in positions usually occupied by women*under the control of white men. Consider the examples provided below. All are comments on African American prospects and
are drawn from material constituting the annual media blitz that surrounds the draft. Note that these analyses focus on cosmetic features of the athletes. None assess the usefulness of a player’s corporeality. Large hands, which are useful for catching the ball, are not the focus here; nor are sturdy legs that make a player difficult to tackle; nor height, nor weight, nor upper-body strength, all of which can be practical assets in a number of ways….
…Given the extensive testing and analysis each player goes through in the draft process (recorded weightlifting accomplishments, a scientific
analysis of musculature, and extensive physicals), one might suspect that considerations of appearance would be rare and infrequent in published analyses, but they are not. Aesthetic considerations of the male form are commonplace in the draft. This suggests that there is more in play here than the professed goal of identifying potential productivity. Similar comments about white players are occasional* Justin Smith is ‘‘a workout warrior who can play football’’but are much rarer, in part because so many of the prospects are black (and perhaps due to the widespread belief that such discrepancies are due to natural genetic advantages), and partly because assessments of white prospects beyond their athletic abilities are much more likely to be described in terms of ‘‘work ethic,’’ ‘‘intelligence,’’ or ‘‘leadership’’ (or all three). Black prospects, by contrast, find their bodies’ attractiveness the subject of frequent evaluation. Read More:http://vertr.com/misc/School%20Archive/Spring%2008/Comm%20416/Readings/Oates%20-%20The%20Erotic%20Gaze%20in%20the%20NFL%20Draft.pdf