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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"This Is Your Brain on Ice" by Nick Paumgarten - Newyorker.com

Look at the high and mighty New Yorker showing up late to the Poop Reads party. On Monday I posted the following about the Times' much lauded series on Derek Boogard's death and the role fighting in hockey may have played in it:

"...you can't go around pointing fingers at sports like hockey and football and say that's why people do horrific things to themselves. Yes, there is evidence that some of the hits these guys take fuck them up later in life. But also, violent sports, by and large, attract people that are a little bit crazy, guys that "do" first and "think" second. Personalities that live life hard and take things to extremes. It's the same profile of someone who abuses their body until they die.
In short, we love to watch these guys on the ice and the field because they are crazy, and sometimes crazy people do crazy things. So while it's very easy and apparently in vogue to blame the sports for its participants' actions, I think you really need to look at the people who choose to participate in those sports, and see the larger pattern for what happens to them as their lives proceed. Just my two cents. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

And then today along comes probably the most prestigious magazine in the world saying this about the very same Times piece:

"It may be that people who have the aptitude and the appetite to play contact sports at the professional level are those who have a certain disregard for longevity. If risk-aversion, across the population, could be graphed with a bell curve, pro-hockey players, like pro-football players or motocross racers, might be found clustered at one end. The part of society that makes its living sitting at a desk and thinking about the world sometimes finds it hard to believe that there are people out there with a different set of values—people for whom, say, sacrificing their health to make millions of dollars playing the game they love makes perfect sense."

Now I'm not here to imply that maybe the editors at a second highly prestigious magazine are all over Poop Reads jock or anything. I'm just saying that Poop Reads is doling out some of the best commentary on the internet and it's doing it 48 hours before the New Yorker can digest what's really going on in these streets.

Poop Readers, you are in good company.

Oh and here is Paumgarten's piece. It's shorter and less researched than the Times' is, but I think its better too.

p.s. Now seriously, somebody come up with a better name than Poop Reads for me.

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