American Fan: Sports Mania and the Culture That Feeds It

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9780380804771: American Fan: Sports Mania and the Culture That Feeds It

There exists in America a peculiar, fascinating subculture. Its exotic rituals include withstanding subzero temperatures with an upper body clad only in brightly colored paint, shouting arcane statistics at talk-show broadcasters, adopting the graphic images of lucrative businesses in bursts of patriotic fervor, and finding a curious but tangible form of self-esteem in the spectacle of overgrown armored men banging each other into unconsciousness. Hello, sports fans, this is a book about you. In fact, about us!

For true fans, sports are close to religion, a substitute for politics, an outlet for the most violent tendencies, and an excuse to vent primal instincts--in other words, to act like the maniacs we are. But for the professional leagues and the megacorporations that exploit them, sports is a lot more important than any number of brew-soaked stadium seats. It's a serious business with rules you don't break and customers you don't serve, and it makes a small group of talented and/or connected people very, very, very rich, often at the expense of "home team" taxpayers who never hear the crack of a bat or the swish of a net.

In this scathing, passionate, hilarious book, Dennis Perrin, the acclaimed author of Mr. Mike, examines the species Sportus fannus from the point of view of a life-long member. But his love of America's great games does not blind him to their routine, often cynical misuse by a sports marketing establishment that goes to absurd lengths to glorify, even deify, professional athletes, just to sell a few more pairs of sneakers to awestruck fans at home.

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From the Publisher:

Praise for Dennis Perrin's Mr. Mike

"Michael O'Donoghue was the most innovative satirist of his generation. Thankfully, this book forsakes the tabloid sensationalism of so many less show-business biographies, and honestly captures its subject and his unique creativity. I loved it." --- Chevy Chase

"Fascinating." --- The New York Times Book Review

"Laughter is a faculty that supposedly separates us from the beasts. But there is such a thing as a comedy animal, and Dennis Perrin has netted him with great aplomb. Humor, in the right hands, is no laughing matter." --- Christopher Hitchens

"Awfully entertaining...Perrin is savvy enough to give us large helpings of the man's work, both long-remembered sketches and never-performed gems." ---The Boston Phoenix

"A must-read for anyone interested in the history of comedy and satire in pop culture." --- Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

About the Author:

Dennis Perrin has written about pop culture and politics for a variety of publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Spin, and Mother Jones, and has contributed to "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher." He has appeared on CNN, C-Span, CNBC, and NPR, and at many leading universities. His biography of Michael O'Donoghue, Mr. Mike, appeared in 1998. Mr. Perrin lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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