Baseball vs. Football (George Carlin)

| 3 Comments


We discussed early in our course the relationship between football and the military. We focused on the similarities between the sport and military culture in general. I agree that football is militaristic by nature, and I found an old stand-up piece by one of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, to reinforce this notion. View the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om_yq4L3M_I

George Carlin does a wonderful job of juxtaposing baseball and football as the antithesis of each other. The clip illustrates the power of nomenclature in sports. More specifically, Carlin deconstructs the naming and framing of specific rules/goals of football in contrast to the more lackadaisical nature of baseball. Carlin uses language like "gridiron, aerial assaults, and dropping bombs" to demonstrate how a sport like football is rooted in military jargon. By crafting his comedic message in such a demeanor, he aids the viewer in understanding the aggressive tendencies of football. We are in turn to believe these values are instilled by the military as well. It is the entire point of the joke because if we as the audience or society did not think to ourselves, "Hey, he's right. This joke is funny because it's kind of true," then he failed as a comedian.

I believe Carlin's most poignant example supporting the militaristic perspective is his analysis of the objectives in baseball and football. He blasts off on a riff about the quarterback decimating the defenses and "launching a sustained ground attack into the enemy wall". The final punch line comes with the contrast of baseball's objective - to go home. My interpretation is the two sports become manifestos of the political ideals espoused by pro-war and anti-war supporters, a product of his generation (Carlin was a vocal pacifist during the Vietnam War).

Another way to perceive the content of the clip is from an aggressive vs. passive stance. Was he simply trying to show that one sport is aggressive, while another is a passive, and that's it? Or was there some sort of greater meaning to the skit in general? How do you guys feel about the nature of nationalism in sports today, specifically in football?

3 Comments

George Carlin does make some interesting distinctions between baseball and football in his stand up, I find the distinctions to be not necessarily focused in militarism and nationalism, but more so in the contrasting gender roles that either sport takes up. He is constantly constructing football in a masculine light, where there are men fighting a war, the fans are rigorous and violent, and the game is played regardless of weather. Contrastingly, he paints baseball as being much less masculine and at times even feminine by saying baseball fans go to a picnic, they have a seventh inning stretch (vs. a 2 minute warning), with the slightest rain they refuse to play, and the object is to be safe at home (almost as a domestic mother would or “stay at home mom”).

I think the humour of Carlin’s joke is not in the fact that we think his joke to be true, but that he is painting these absurd illustrations of baseball with football as the contrasting background. He invokes ideas of baseball being somehow feminine as compared to football. This gives the audience a laughable image of baseball because sports are typically constructed with a masculine air. In my opinion it is the absurd image of a feminine sport played by male athletes that is the root of Carlin’s joke.
-MicahG

First off, I thought that was hilarious! I like your posting, and these two sports do seem semi opposite in a way looking at it in the views Carlin stated, but I feel that baseball and football are still kind of the same. The terminology is different, but the point is to get the highest score and play with a ball on a field. Each team almost has the same amount of players also. The clip was showing the opposites of the sports, but I think they are still fairly similar in a way. Football may be more aggressive since there is tackling of players, but baseball can get aggressive also (hit by pitches, running into walls going for a catch, sliding into other players). Its easy to see the differences of the sports, but that's why they are both unique. Looking at similarities can be good sometimes too. But football is more aggressive and I would have to say baseball is more passive, but both sports show a great deal of athleticism and devotion in their own ways.

First off, I thought that was hilarious! I like your posting, and these two sports do seem semi opposite in a way looking at it in the views Carlin stated, but I feel that baseball and football are still kind of the same. The terminology is different, but the point is to get the highest score and play with a ball on a field. Each team almost has the same amount of players also. The clip was showing the opposites of the sports, but I think they are still fairly similar in a way. Football may be more aggressive since there is tackling of players, but baseball can get aggressive also (hit by pitches, running into walls going for a catch, sliding into other players). Its easy to see the differences of the sports, but that's why they are both unique. Looking at similarities can be good sometimes too. But football is more aggressive and I would have to say baseball is more passive, but both sports show a great deal of athleticism and devotion in their own ways.

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This page contains a single entry by flate027 published on June 7, 2011 11:10 PM.

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