The intern learned something:

I was an intern in the cubicles of’s San Francisco office, around the time it was shifting from respectable online magazine into inane outrage content mill.

Yes, definitely learned something:

If you’re committed to marketing sports overall, you’re marketing, at the very least, a brand of masculinity. Dominating your opponents isn’t the only way to be a man and doing so isn’t exclusively the province of men, but the act itself is a disproportionately male endeavor, and also something that really appeals to male audiences. The nation that contains more female than male sports fans … doesn’t exist.

14 thoughts on “Wow!”

  1. Really enjoyed that article.

    “ You are having a natural, human response to shitty art.”

    Touché. That’s exactly what it feels like.

  2. I was never much of a sports fan, but I did used to like how much more blokeish sports were. You could indulge in some banter from the terraces, players would behave badly. Players kneeling before games, chasing a few racists, charity stuff. It’s all worthy, but it’s not fun, is it?

  3. All seater stadia took much of the fun out of football.
    The Sheds at Stamford Bridge, Plough Lane and Fratton Park offered comedy gold every Saturday when I was a regular in the 80s.
    Upton Park was a bit scary, though.

  4. Excellent article.

    To quote Charles Barkley on the latter culture, “The locker room is sexist, racist, and homophobic … and it’s fun and I miss it.”

    This is exactly how I remember playing rugby at school.

    Now we have Nike producing ads directly against the kind of “toxic masculinity” that made The Last Dance a runaway hit. In an article titled, “Marcus Rashford boots toxic masculinity out of frame in Nike ad,”

    Marcus Rashford is a crybaby pussy loser, and unlike the great players of the 90’s, there’s nothing fun or interesting or mysterious about him. He’s a forced meme, like supermarkets desperately trying to convince you via their adverts that – ACKSHUALLY, BIGOTS – you’re living in an African country that’s also strangely cool with homosexuality, or something.

    Nike could easily sell the successful American women’s basketball team without denigrating other teams, genders and ancient Mediterranean empires that have nothing to do with this. Could but won’t. The company now conveys an almost visceral need for women to triumph over men because … well, nobody really explains why

    Idk either. There’s a long history of man-hate in feminism, going back (I think?) to its adoption of a kind of bastardised, castrated pseudo-Marxism. Can’t be Marxian without designated class enemies to fight. Even if those penis-having enemies are the people keeping you fed, housed and alive every day – which might actually be a legitimate psychological reason to hate them. Which brings us back to Marcus Rashford:

    “First of all, you’ve got to be greedy! I’m looking for that nasty streak. You don’t ask, you take. You’re either the star of the show or a loser,” the tough Cockney football growls his outdated advice, exemplifying the nasty side of the sport.

    With a kick, the toxic football is booted out of frame before he can voice any more of old-school spiel.

    The only thing that surprises me about this is that the evil Cockney sportball isn’t literally the fleshy CGI’ed white male head of Al Murray, the pub landlord. In Marxism 1.0, you were supposed to hate top-hatted factory owners and (tragicomically, given the ethnic disposition of Marx himself) wealthy Jews.

    In Marxism 2: Woke Boogaloo, the enemy is working class white men with names like “Dave”, the kind of guys who drive Ford Transit vans (white, naturally), laugh at politically incorrect jokes, and enjoy looking at tits.

    And maybe that’s why Gareth Southgate decided (or was told?) to pick those young black penalty missers in the final. They’s the FUTCHA, innit? Surely the Narrative will prevail over bothersome reality (and HM the Queen will kneel for George Floyd during the knighting ceremony and everybody will cheer, or jazz hands, or whatever we’re supposed to do now).

    Except of course it didn’t and never does. Reality is a smirking Italian bastard who steals your dreams and probably shags your girlfriend while you’re crying about free school lunches or whatever the fuck it is Rashford’s droning on about this week.

    Nike once told a story and that story resonated with its audience. Now it’s decided that its audience is the problem. It wouldn’t shock you to learn that Carlos hated the new Nike ads I texted to him. His exact words were, “I don’t want fucking activism from a sweatshop monopoly.” He’ll still buy the gear, though, just not the narrative.

    And that’s the real problem, isn’t it? If you keep giving money to people who hate you, maybe you deserve what you get. You do it to yourself, you do. And that’s what really hurts.

  5. Yep, great article. For all the vaunted tech that’s in sports, it’s the marketing nous that keeps the show on the road…it’s souls not soles. So if they get that wrong for long enough the only way is down.

  6. Has anyone noticed that Gillette are telling us that men are devoted dads now? Apparently representing your customer base as a bunch of poisonous reptiles wasn’t a winning strategy. Although it benefited Harry’s of course.

  7. Stony – Wilkinson Sword or GTFO

    Actually, I hate shaving and would like to have a beard like Gandalf, and also wear a grey cloak like Gandalf, and go around having magical adventures with my midget pals like Gandalf.

    Then I could go up to Carrie and exclaim: YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

    And when the Isengard constabulary tried to nick me for Balrogphobia I’d fly away on the back of a giant eagle that would shit on them while I laughed like a drain.

  8. “Dominating your opponents isn’t the only way to be a man and doing so isn’t exclusively the province of men, but the act itself is a disproportionately male endeavor, and also something that really appeals to male audiences.”

    Ultra masculinity something that also appeals to significant female audiences, how else does one explain the success of 50 Shades of Grey?

  9. I’ll have what Steve’s having. And a packet of crisps, please.

    I second that!

    Made my day, that did.

  10. All sport is mock-combat.

    We should drop the mock and practice for real.

    Combative training, fitness -mental/physical for combat, shooting, tactical driving, bushcraft, survival training–these are things more worth doing than sport.

    Sport provides some pressure but it trains many skills and reactions of little us in practical terms.

    I don’t hold with dictatorship but if I had to issue one dictate it would be the return of middle ages laws obliging combat training –bills/bows as was then–not sport on a Sunday. In modern equivalent. Guns/knives/ empty hands.

    The old strength and courage of England would then rise again.

  11. @ Mr Ecks
    Boxing is a sport that is *actual* combat – civilised, controlled-by-rules, combat, but still *real* combat. Try it one day!
    Athletics is a sport that (apart from some of the throws) has nowt to do with mock combat.

  12. Has anyone noticed that Gillette are telling us that men are devoted dads now?

    Are they really? The discussion of Nike certainly reminded me of Gillette, especially the comment that rather than celebrating their customers, they had decided their customers were the problem. I don’t know about his conclusion that Nike will continue to be profitable based on huge market share and momentum.

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