Saturday, August 30, 2008

Barack Obama: Un Dieu Du Stade

The French call their sports superstars "les dieux du stade," gods of the stadium. By delivering his acceptance speech at Invesco Field, home of the NFL Denver Broncos, amid a crowd of 60,000 adoring fans, Barack Obama became a god of the stadium in his own right.

Many commentators referred to the symbolism of Obama speaking on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. But Obama added another layer of symbolism by appropriating the luster of a major sports hero.

This is nothing new. Politicians have frequently tapped into the world of sport in an effort to enhance their popularity or strengthen their political capital. French prime minister Lionel Jospin pointed to the 1998 World Cup champion French team as proof that the French model of immigration worked (the team was made up of a number of black and north African players). U.S. presidents frequently throw out the first pitch at important baseball games. And politicians clearly use the Olympics as a means to demonstrate national strength. Etc., etc....

So let's give Obama and McCain sports scores for their national conventions.

Doing the math, the NFL is by far the most popular sport in the U.S. (2 points for speaking at Invesco Field). Obama also appeared and spoke at the Pepsi Center where the Nuggets and Avalanche play. The NBA is one of the big three (1 pt.) and the NHL is usually considered the one-half in America's "big three and a half," but we are talking about the home of the famed Denver Avalanche so I'll give him another 1 pt.

McCain will be speaking at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis... home of the NHL's Minnesota Wild. I think I've heard of them: 1/2 pt.

Final sports symbolism tally for the political conventions: Obama 4, McCain 1/2.


Wow... our political analysis is as insightful as CNN's...

1 comment:

marc said...

You've got the best &$#!^$# news team on the net! Just one mistake--you should add at least one more point for the nostalgic sports factor of Hillary (I'm thinkin' East German women's swim team circa 1970s).