American Fan: Sports Mania and the Culture that Feeds it

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Spike, 2000 - Sports & Recreation - 230 pages
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There exists in America a peculiar, fascinating subculture. Its exotic rituals include withstanding subzero temperatures with an upper body clad only in brightly colored paint, shouting arcane statistics at talk-show broadcasters, adopting the graphic images of lucrative businesses in bursts of patriotic fervor, and finding a curious but tangible form of self-esteem in the spectacle of overgrown armored men banging each other into unconsciousness. Hello, sports fans, this is a book about you. In fact, about us!

For true fans, sports are close to a religion, a substitute for politics, an outlet for the most violent tendencies, and an excuse to vent primal instincts -- in other words, to act like the maniacs we are. But for the professional leagues and the megacorporations that exploit them, sports is a lot more important than any number of brew-soaked stadium seats. It's a serious business with rules you don't break and customers you don't serve, and it makes a small group of talented and/or connected people very, very, very rich, often at the expense of "home team" taxpayers who never hear the crack of a bat or the swish of a net.

In this scathing, passionate, hilarious book, Dennis Perrin, the acclaimed author of Mr. Mike, examines the species Sportus fannus from the point of view of a lifelong member. But his love of America's great games does not blind him to their routine, often cynical misuse by a sports marketing establishment that goes to absurd lengths to glorify, even deify, professional athletes, just to sell a few more pairs of sneakers to awestruck fans at home.

With wit and vision, the author leads us on a no-holds-barred journey from a Midwestern high schoolbasketball rivalry to the dizzying pinstriped heights of Michael Jordan, Inc.; from the call-in-show sports "media" to the magnificent prose of legendary boxing writer A. J. Liebling; from the outrage of Dennis Rodman to the courage of Muhammad Ali; from the exultant beauty of sport to its slow desecration on the ever shorter stroll from the locker room to the board room, the one that tramples on sports fans every step of the way. Let's cut to the chase: win or lose, love or hate, rain or shine, one thing's for sure -- this book is about to start arguments in living rooms, bars, and broadcasts nationwide. So check it out for yourself. Grab a snack and a beverage, and dig in!

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American fan: sports mania and the culture that feeds it

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Perrin--a writer who has worked for the Chicago Tribune and Politically Incorrect--is on the right track when he discusses how elements like racism, religion, patriotism, and blood lust intertwine ... Read full review



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About the author (2000)

Dennis Perrin is the author of "Mr. Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue, The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous" and "American Fan: Sports Mania and the Culture That Feeds It". His work has appeared in the "Chicago Tribune, The Realist, Huffington Post, Mother Jones", at MSNBC, and in numerous independent weeklies and newspapers. He was a jokewriter for Bill Maher, and has blogged under the name Red State Son.

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