Friday, February 15, 2008

There's something about Favre, and postmodernism

Last night, Valentine's Day, Rowan had to teach late, so we didn't do dinner. Instead, we watched Lost, and then started watching I Have Found It, which is a Bollywood movie based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. For some reason, she thought I would like it (perhaps because I was amused by Bride and Prejudice, also based on a Jane Austen novel--bet you can't guess which one--but that was written in English, not Hindi, or whatever they speak over there).

I couldn't get myself involved in the movie, partially because I didn't sleep well the night before and was therefore tired and didn't want to focus on subtitles and the plot meaning of intricate dance numbers.

So we plugged in Something About Mary instead, and it amused me thoroughly. I was even more amused when Brett Favre showed up at the end of the movie and Rowan had no idea who he was.

Post-movie, I made a comment that Brett's appearance (us Wisconsinites are on a first-name basis with the man) was very postmodern, backing it up with references to the movie's self-referentiality, particularly when Matt Dillon's character says, "What the hell is Brett Favre doing here?"

Rowan didn't agree with me--perhaps understandably--and then asked why they had used Brett instead of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, which led to a discussion of how old the movie is. (It's from 1998; can you believe it?)

I then stood up and proclaimed, "Anyway, Brett Favre is the most postmodern of quarterbacks," and strode purposefully out of the room.

While I was taking the ensuing leak, in the bathroom, I thought about the answer to such a question, but came up with nothing satisfactory. Given time to think about it, Brett Favre seemed very un-postmodern.

After a day of thought, however, I have the following postulations for postmodern QBs:

Peyton Manning: His persona--with TV ads and everything--extends him far beyond the playing field, but everything is referential to his performance on that playing field. He isn't attractive, but his face is known even to non-football fans. He transcends the concept of athlete into media entity, sort of the football version of Michael Jordan.

Brady Quinn: Even though he rides the pine for his team, he has an endorsement deal for protein product maker EAS, and therefore shows up in advertisements during sporting events where he can be found standing or sitting around instead of actively participating. He is a quarterback who hasn't thrown many footballs. He is not viewed in popular culture so much a quarterback, but just some generic concept of athlete. He somewhat subscends (I'm using that as the opposite of transcends) the concept of football player into something more basic, and much less usefull.

Michael Vick: If his story were a fictional story, it would probably seem too unbelievable. By his actions of moderating dogfights--which some of his defenders in the aftermath considered a subculture--he failed to embrace his identity as a professional athlete and instead went too far in trying to "keep it real," which had the paradoxical--or, darest I say it, ironic--effect of playing out in an amazingly unreal way.

Other than those examples, I can't think of any other quarterback who could be considered postmodern.

And I can't comprehend why I've spent so much time thinking about this, or why it matters, or if it matters, or why I have a nagging feeling that it matters.

Really, isn't the only way to be postmodern to be aware that you're trying to be postmodern? Isn't awareness the main part of the concept? Are they aware? Does Brad Quinn know the word "postmodern"? Do I?

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