Monday, September 7, 2009

What do football and poetry have in common?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but football season has begun again here in Nebraska. Walk down any street near campus, and it seems like everyone is wearing red (see right). Some people say that we focus too much on football here, while others say our sports scene is exciting. But one person might surprise you with her opinion on football:
Willa Cather. She wrote:

“It makes one exceedingly weary to hear people object to football because it is brutal. Of course it is brutal. So is Homer brutal, and Tolstoi; that is, they all alike appeal to the crude savage instincts of men. We have not outgrown all our old animal instincts yet, heaven grant we never shall! The moment that, as a nation, we lose brute force, or an admiration for brute force, from that moment, poetry and art are forever dead for us, and we will have nothing but grammar and mathematics left.”

What do you think? Is Willa right? Is our love for poetry motivated by the same thing that makes us watch football? Or do you think she's giving football too much credit?

Quote: Cather, Willa. Hesperian, November 15, 1893, p. 9

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