Monday, April 11, 2011

David B. Hart on Sport

In the last year David Bentley Hart wrote two articles on sport that I think should be treated as companion pieces. The first is his article on the essential goodness of baseball, in which Hart explains why baseball is the pinnacle of sport. The second is an article on the inherent evil of golf. Not to ruin the fun, but be careful not to read the pieces too seriously. Judging from the comments at First Things and elsewhere many took Hart's arguments to be made in complete earnest, when I think they clearly were intended to be taken lightly.

Certainly he does posses a genuine, deep, abiding love for the game of baseball, as well as a severe disdain for golf, but he is clearly being intentionally hyperbolic when utilizing his theological and philosophical skills to analyze their merits in moral terms, in order to lend weight to what are really not much more than his own personal preferences.

We Americans are very adept at recognizing sarcasm relative to other countries. We deal with it profusely. On the other hand satire and (as in this case) hyperbole often seem to elude many of us. Why this is the case, I'm not sure. In any case, these pieces are doubly interesting to me because, in addition to the genius of the actual pieces themselves, the responses to them illuminate something about us which is entirely unrelated to sport.

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