A People’s Historian of Sports

A Conversation with Dave Zirin

(Dave Zirin’s new book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down, is out, and it’s great. Here’s an interview I did with him that was originally published by In These Times on August 2, 2008.)

It’s easy to see sports today as nothing more than an escapist distraction, an uncomfortable marriage of commercialism and entertainment. But progressive journalist and rabid sports fan Dave Zirin has a different take. Sports, he shows us, can be, and always have been a stage of social conflict, too.

Zirin “tackles” the notion shared by many left-wingers like author Noam Chomsky, who once observed that “sports keeps people from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about.”

But Chomsky, Zirin counters, fails to understand “how the very passion we invest in sports can transform it from a kind of mindless escape into a site of resistance. Sports can become an arena where the ideas of our society are not just presented but also challenged. Just as sports can reflect the dominant ideas of our society,” Zirin contends, “they can also reflect struggle.”

Read on at In These Times

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