American Fan: Sports Mania and the Culture That Feeds It

Dennis Perrin, Author Spike $23 (230p) ISBN 978-0-380-97732-1
Perrin is quite unhappy with the commercialism of American sports. Focusing primarily on baseball, football and basketball (the big three), he delivers stinging indictments of everyone involved: fans, for their blind allegiances rooted in either patriotism or religious fervor; the leagues and players, for their shameless commercialism and failure to deal with issues of race, violence and drug use; the media, for being obsequious partners in crime; and advertisers, for perfecting the ruin of sports. Perrin hits all the big issues with broad strokes, however, shunning serious investigations of fan loyalty, comparisons between types of fans or sociological perspectives. Sports fans may enjoy the tirade, but they won't walk away with any new insights as Perrin avoids complexity and settles for putdowns. Of political pundit and baseball philosopher George Will's two baseball books, Men at Work and Bunts, he writes: ""They are the kind of volumes seen on middle American bookshelves, pressed against first-editions of Iacocca."" This is nothing compared to what Perrin has to say about Spike Lee, whom he lambastes not just for being in cahoots with the evil Nike but also for being ""perhaps the most obnoxious fan ever seen in Madison Square Garden."" Perrin touches on many good points, but his critique is as wildly undisciplined as it is searing. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-380-80477-1
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