Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: "Is football any better than dogfighting?" -Malcolm Gladwell from Oct. 19 New Yorker

a) The goal of a dogfight is for one dog to hurt the other. The goal of a U.S. football game is for a human to carry the ball over there. A dog might possibly carry the ball over there, but one has yet to make an NFL starting line.

b) Related to a), American Football is played by human beings, who possess a degree of intelligence and sentience such that they can consciously consent to play.

c) Also related to a), more people die installing toasters than die in the NFL and U.S. collegiate leagues. The same cannot be said of the toaster-people-to-dogfighting-dogs ratio.

d) The NFL and U.S. collegiate leagues are stringently governed for the safety of their players and every game has medical staff on hand.

e) If a player appears injured, the game is not stopped by a gunshot so that the player’s owner can drag him to his car and euthanize him. Rather the game pauses, and if the player is indeed injured, he is helped off the field and examined by medical professionals.

f) The dogs in a dogfight do not wear several pounds of state-of-the-art protective gear including helmets that could stop a machete.

g) In American Football, a player that purposefully injures another can be penalized or thrown out of the game. In a curious relation to e), this player is also not dragged to his owner’s car and euthanized.

h) The loser of the first football game of the season still has to play at least fifteen more.


  1. Paul, I actually like Gladwell's writing a lot, and he's a smart guy. That New Yorker article, though, was a little too much New Economics comparative silliness for me. The title begged for a little mockery. Nothing to sever my interest in the man. His "Blink" is on my reading list.


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