Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 52: James LaFond – Sports – Ritual Hegemony

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Adam Smith, Hans Lander, Alex Nicholson with special guest James LaFond


Sports are a multi-billion industry, commanding their own television networks, smart apps, clothing line endorsements, and even their own dedicated majors in universities. But what is largely a spectator pastime for most today, sports in the past were much more local community activities that one might take part in as an informal gathering, or going back to more ancient times, as part of a tribalistic ritual based on their ultimate origins in warfare, hand to hand combat, and hunting. The very term ‘athlete’ has taken on very materialistic meaning in the age of multi-million dollar player contracts, whereas it has roots in the Hellenic word prize-seeker, awarded only to those whose acts of courage, bravery and heroism credit them with honor. How much a society has advanced, and in many ways declined, can be traced to what degree sports are regarded as heroic to that of merely spectacle.


– Cinderella Man, Howard (2005) –
– Miracle, O’Connor (2004) –
– Harvard prof: Public pays 80% of stadium costs, DeMause (2007) –
– Moneyball, Miller (2011) –
– Finally, a history of stadium subsidies in animated GIF form, DeMause (2012) –
– Retired NFL Players Claim League Illegally Used Drugs to Cover Up Injuries, Dockterman (2012) –
– The NFL’s Dirty Secret, Bauder (2012) –
– Field Hockey America Vs. Rodeo America: Mapping The Faultlines Of America’s Regional Sports, Fischer-Baum (2012) –
Baseball ProGUESTus: The Secret History of Sabermetrics, Jack Moore (2013) –
– Which Sports Have the Whitest/Richest/Oldest Fans?, Derek Thompson (2014) –
– Growth Effects of Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Arenas: 15 Years Later, Coates (2015) –
– America’s Priciest National Pastime, Farren (2017) –
– Demographics of Sports Fans in U.S. (2017) –
– A Guide to Sabermetric Research –

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  1. Who was song at end ♬


    1. Chiraqi Insurgent January 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      Rammstein, Let Me See You Stripped


  2. Chiraqi Insurgent January 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I could listen to LaFond talk about this stuff all day. Great episode. One thing I have noticed is that until about 10 or 15 years ago you never saw the Chicago flag except on a city building Downtown. Now it’s everywhere and especially intertwined with sports apparel and memorabilia. It’s an attempt to get highly segregated neighborhoods/communities to identify with each other because in their daily lives they don’t. Also of note is the Blackhawks organization trying to reach out to black and Latino communities, and it’s so superficial and forced. The Hawks recently opened their new practice facility near the stadium, across from none other than Malcom X College. Can we just leave hockey alone, and keep it white? Seriously.


    1. Rabbi High Comma January 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      @Chiraqi – If you monitor the policy papers coming out of the World Economic Forum and UN in the last few years, the focus on cities vs. nation states is unmistakable. The global governance crowd knows that civic politicians are much more reliably leftist/globalist. WEF goes so far as to announce the death of the nation state, and that the new model is cities ruled by the UN. Expect more “sanctuary city” type defiance of national governments from leftist cities, and willingness to join international pacts. These factors may be an additional causative factor for the city flag’s increasing usage.

      @ Hosts/James – one of the best shows you guys have done. A+


  3. I know a prison guard, he sees prisoners over in the corner practicing taking body hits.


  4. Fantastic episode guys! James is a great guest and it was a good round table discussion. Well done. It made me want to hit the gym. Look forward to more like this.


    1. Agreed. Just started the episode, but I remember the previous episode with James, and I really liked the discussion, and his wisdom.


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