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02 Jul 16:02

On the Genealogy of Rivalries

by Ninety-Plus of Blue

Nietzche und Fußball

What kind of rivalry are we going to have, and how will our first two humiliating losses determine the nature of that rivalry? You know what, screw that: why does rivalry have to feel this way? As with most things, Friedrich Nietzsche has some opinions about it.

How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor! In contrast to this, picture "the enemy" as the man of ressentiment conceives him—and here precisely is his deed, his creation: he has conceived "the evil enemy," "the Evil One," and this in fact is his basic concept, from which he then evolves, as an afterthought and pendant, a "good one"—himself!

— Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

I've never felt a rivalry like this. I don't mean I don't know of any, or I've never seen one: I mean I've never felt it. "Rivalry" even feels like an inadequate term for what is much more bilious and far less sportsmanlike. What it's like for the players, I'll never know. But for a fan, seeing a Harrison Red Bull supporter becomes like seeing a version of yourself who has made a horrible error and who persists in mocking you for not having made the same one yourself. It's like Freud's "narcissism of minor differences," in which the other who disturbs you most, pushes you deepest into fits of disgust, is the one who differs from you only very slightly—or in the case of a derby, only plays a few miles away. Harrison downplays the extent to which we are rivals, which is, of course, merely a tactic in pursuit of the very rivalry they disown. And in all probability the players on either team can't be bothered about who is based in New York and who in New Jersey, the foundation on which much of the banter is built. You sort of have to assume that, for them, it's all about the history on the pitch. But even that history is building, and fast. Pick your poison: Liverpool-Everton, Brazil-Uruguay, Catholic-Protestant; we're on our way.

This kind of rivalry is a feeling that is as hard to shake as it is hard to explain, as visceral as it is inexplicable. And it has all the arbitrary intensity of a moral system—though let's hope not quite as many atrocities will be committed in its name.

Nietzsche tells us (to reduce it) that moral systems arise from some act of definition by rejection: the good, the holy, the clean is always us; the bad, the evil, the dirty is always them. Assuming he's right, the reasons to be wary of this tendency are clear and numerous. Racism, religious persecution, homophobia—about every strike against the human race you can think of but Nicholas Cage, the explanation for whom continues to elude.

What's worse, and what I personally find so disturbing about The Genealogy of Morals, is that in Nietzsche's hands this type of moral self-definition is naturalized. Like the hunting instinct in the bird of prey, it's an act that's hard-wired into us on the level of species, and is thus very difficult to condemn as simply as we want to. At worst these instincts are with us still as "bad conscience," a kind of self-loathing in which these instincts, unable to unleash themselves in the wilderness, are turned against the self in the guise of a moral self-condemnation.

I say "at worst," because although the cultural and deep-psychological expressions of "bad conscience" may be inevitable, there are workarounds for the less subliminal expressions of these instincts. I'd hardly be the first to suggest either that sports are just a legitimization of the violence we'd otherwise condemn, or (what amounts to the same thing) that sports are an acceptable container for competition and violence that prevents them from spilling over into real life. But the spectator doesn't have any place in that schema: violence committed by a spectator is still just violence. And this is where rivalry comes in. Instead of acting as a container for violence, sporting spectatorship cordons off the kind of unthinking condemnation of an entire swath of people that, outside of an arena, is monstrous. It's catharsis for our baser instincts scaled up to encompass entire fan communities.

The baser instincts, though, also give rise to certain foundational aspects of culture—but containing rather than eliminating those instincts (which would anyway be impossible) allows us to hang on to the cultural self-definition we gain from concepts like "good" and "evil." Note the ending of this week's passage: inventing "the Evil One" is a route to inventing the "good one," which in context means inventing our conception of ourselves. This is hardly a cause for celebration in Nietzsche's view, but in a sporting or spectatorial context we can find room to reclaim what we want to.

For one, it's a way of building community; an arbitrary community, but we're in an age when pretty much every community is arbitrary. To put it slightly more optimistically, it's one way of finding a community in a city as big as New York, in which community is often lost because of sheer scale.

But rivalry, and supporting a club generally, also makes it uniquely justifiable to pick a side without thinking too hard about the consequences. Rivalry lets you say without complication, "This is good, that's bad, we're us and you're out in the cold, twerp." It exposes the arbitrariness of picking a side and revels in it, but it does so without allowing any harm to come of doing so. Outside of arena, uncontained, that's called nationalism and it's dangerous; but since you don't have to reckon with the draconian immigration laws or criminal foreign policy of a football club, saying "I'm with you no matter what" is a reasonable act. Sport spectatorship is unique in that it allows for uncomplicated partisanship regarding what happens on the field. And rivalry is just the ultimate expression of uncomplicated partisanship.

Return one more time to the passage. Note that the construction of the good/bad or good/evil binary depends on the relative positions of the two groups: the dominant group defines its opposites as "bad" or "lowly," the dominated group of ressentiment defines its opposite as "evil." City's been swatted this year, and the final meeting will, at best, only let us save face—they've taken two out of three. But we're in a unique position in relation to our own rivalry as a new team: the terms are being established over the next few seasons. What kind of shape is this eventually going to take? Are we going to be the "good one" to their "Evil One"? Or the "good" to their "bad"? Is this the start of our frustrating inability to overcome them, or their one moment in the sun before we come into our own and usurp the New York throne?

Remember, I'm a partisan, so I have my theories. I just hope we can think of our own equivalent of St. Totteringham's Day in time for the end of next season.


Every week, Ninety-Plus of Blue discusses one NYCFC match by way of one literary quotation. The goal each time is the same: to say something true about both and, hopefully, to understand both better as a result. In tracing NYCFC from its first kickoff, this blog is developing an (admittedly bizarre) hybrid genre that combines literary analysis with sports writing. Put another way, it's what happens when aesthetics meets aesthetic football.

02 Jul 13:24

bird and moon



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01 Jul 02:36


01 Jul 05:14

Kay now that this is posted I really gotta trim’em. Naturally...

Kay now that this is posted I really gotta trim’em. Naturally this strip only happened because I’ve been playing Twilight Struggle with my brother. 

29 Jun 22:29

yondaanaconda: In case you dont understand, when LGBT people...




In case you dont understand, when LGBT people say they feel uncomfortable with people posting rainbows over their icons whilst not being supportive of LGBT people in the least this is exactly what they mean

29 Jun 23:25

ithelpstodream: In Nepal they have a festival that honours dogs...


In Nepal they have a festival that honours dogs and thanks them for being our loyal furry friends.

29 Jun 11:00


by John martinez

nsfw fairy wang


27 Jun 05:09

shebebutlittlesheisfierce: Natasha Lyonne’s outfits on “Slums...


Natasha Lyonne’s outfits on “Slums of Beverly Hills” appreciation post.

27 Jun 05:27

kidsinthehallpics:Where do you wanna eat?


Where do you wanna eat?

27 Jun 21:54

"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life."

“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”

- Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
(via loveage-moondream)
27 Jun 19:20

Today’s Gender of the day is: Anti-Cornbread sentiment

Today’s Gender of the day is: Anti-Cornbread sentiment

27 Jun 18:00

Just Me

by Freiya

i really like this photo, i have no idea why.

Submitted by M, the model and photographer.

“Trying out some new androgynous ear jewellery without having to permanently change my ears!”

27 Jun 11:22

(847): New drinking game idea:...


hash tag alcohol poisoning
actually my feed was pretty happy, which was much appreciated

(847): New drinking game idea: Take a shot for every republican you see on facebook bitching about the ruling.
26 Jun 19:40

liartownusa: Shameful Dawn by United States Supreme Court...




Shameful Dawn by United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

“A terrifying look at America’s slick, glistening future…"—American Conservative

26 Jun 21:50


25 Jun 17:00

Cisgender Added To Oxford Dictionary

by Monica Roberts
Our TERF haters love to flap their gums and claim cisgender not only isn't a word, but weakly try to claim the word is a slur.

As we say in the Lone Star State, that dog won't hunt,

Because the English language is one that is constantly evolving, the Oxford English Dictionary adds words to it every year,  This year, one of the words added to the volume that is considered the definitive and authoritative volume when it comes to English in addition to twerk was cisgender.

That sound you just heard was TERF heads exploding,

Yep,  cisgender is now officially an English laguage word, so  you can stop telling that lie that it isn't.   It will be not only included in the 2015 edition of the Oxford dictionary, but will soon be included in other online and offline dictionaries tat loook to the Oxford one as their standard for decidding what words do and don't get included,

25 Jun 19:38

The joy of reading role-playing games

Great flights of fantasy ... a still from the 2000 film Dungeons and Dragons.
Great flights of fantasy ... a still from the 2000 film Dungeons and Dragons. Photograph: Sportsphoto/Allstar/Cinetext Collection

I’m a lifelong fan of role-playing games, but I rarely play them. Dungeons & Dragons. Call of Cthulhu. Vampire: The Masquerade. Cyberpunk 2013. Traveller. I’ve been enchanted by the words and illustrations, and drawn into the imaginary worlds of as many RPGs as novels. So I’m always surprised, and a little dismayed, when RPGs are left out of the popular discussion about books and reading.

Though the term didn’t exist back when I was a teenager, squatting on comic-book floors to thumb through expensive hardback editions, RPGs are an example of the kind of literature described by Espen J Aarseth as “ergodic”. These are books, like digital literature, computer-generated poetry and MUDs, where a “nontrivial effort is required to allow the reader to traverse the text”. And they are more common than you might think, especially in geek culture. Game books that allow you to “choose your own adventure” are ergodic, as are fantasy novels with extensive maps and world-building notes. But the RPG handbook pushes ergodic reading to its limit.

By putting aside simple narrative storytelling and replacing it with detailed description, the RPG offers the total immersion in an imaginary world so valued by geek readers. The elaboration of leading characters, political factions and major historical events is sometimes a very dry exercise in world building, but done with enough skill it can spark a deeply satisfying response.

For writers such as Junot Díaz, who often played Dungeon Master, RPGs were “a sort of storytelling apprenticeship”, where he “learned a lot of important essentials about storytelling, about giving the reader enough room to play”. China Miéville talks about a childhood playing RPGs – which gave him a “mania for cataloguing the fantastic” and a “weird fetish for systematisation”. For Miéville, the best weird fiction is at “the intersection of the traditions of surrealism with those of pulp”.

“I don’t start with the graph paper and the calculators like a particular kind of D&D dungeonmaster,” Miéville explains: “I start with an image, as unreal and affecting as possible, just like the surrealists. But then I systematise it, and move into a different kind of tradition.”

First published in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons became the first globally successful RPG because it encapsulated the genre of heroic fantasy. Stories of Robert E Howard, Fritz Lieber and Jack Vance were little-read in the 1970s, but Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson used them to provide the character archetypes and world for their game. In turn Dungeons & Dragons spawned a revival of heroic fantasy fiction and also inspired the video game makers who would create a swathe of massively successful computer RPGs.

Great RPG writers give players a sophisticated narrative framework, with which they too can be great storytellers. Epidiah Ravachol’s indie RPG Swords Without Master is a brilliant example of such expert game making. In just a few dozen pages Ravachol dissects the structure of heroic fantasy narrative into its archetypal parts. Swords Without Master is a very different game to D&D, reflecting the shift within RPG design away from rules and dice rolls, towards pure storytelling. As Ravachol says:

You do not take up sword and spell to tag along with someone else’s adventure. You do it to change the course of your destiny. To mould the world to your wants and desires.”

But the pleasures of reading Ravachol are not entirely abstract. The reader is drawn in to a world of “strange sorceries, brutal violence and astounding wonder” right from the first page:

Gather writing implements, scraps of paper, three or four of your cohorts, and two six-sided dice that you can easily tell apart to a table. A mahogany table adorned with thick, greasy candles and five human skulls. Failing that, a stout oaken table near a glowing hearth, replete with ale-filled steins and a succulent roast. Or, if you prefer, a tabletop chipped whole from a single obsidian stone, placed on the back of a coiled serpent of silver in a room high in a lonely tower shrouded in a prismatic fog.

You emerge from reading Swords Without Master not only convinced you understand every nuance of heroic fantasy, but also with the impression of having spent time in a world very different from our own.

Shock : Social Science Fiction by Joshua AC Newman performs a similar trick with the complex beast that is science fiction. Writers and critics of SF have argued for decades about what defines the genre, a Gordian Knot that Newman cuts through like a 21st-century Alexander the Great. Shock allows players to explore near future worlds which have been disrupted by “Shocks”. But what makes a shock a “Shock”?

It’s something big. Something that changes the world. It can be loud or quiet, but it can’t be meaningless. ‘Some people are androids’ is a Shock because, even though the world looks and sounds like the one we know, something different is going on that the players know about, whether or not the *Tagonists do. ‘Mind Transfer’ is a Shock because it’s a fundamental difference between the way we think of identity and the way it works in the story.

As players build *tagonists and conflicts are resolved, the reader’s head starts whirling with all the stories spinning off in every direction.

A gunfight breaks out. An emotional argument threatens a family. A worker decides whether to join the Revolution or feed his family. A priest’s faith is shaken.

It’s a fascinating, ambitious game I’d recommend to any SF fan, either to play or just to read.

These gems of indie RPG design are only the tip of what is now a very sizable industry. When the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Guide was published in 2014 it took the No 1 spot on

Pulp adventure RPG Planet Mercenary recently became the latest in a long line of RPG-related Kickstarters to achieve success on a similar scale. And of course, RPGs continue to dominate the world of video games, expanding their audience into billions, far beyond the scope of any single novel.

Can the novel itself learn a few lessons from RPGs? The ergodic reading experience broke into the literary mainstream with Mark Z Danielski’s House of Leaves. But the novel remains stubbornly attached to traditional narrative structure. For all their pop culture aesthetic and emphasis on escapism, in these days of the mega-novel innovative reading experiences are to be found in the mysterious worlds of the RPG.

24 Jun 01:09

Lost in The Outback

by Scandinavia and the World

me irl

Lost in The Outback

Lost in The Outback

View Comic!

22 Jun 03:58

bloodmilk: Tsutomu Kawakami sculpture that @audkawa turned me...


Tsutomu Kawakami sculpture that @audkawa turned me on to recently. stunning.

21 Jun 23:47

Ice-T Law & Order SVU Part II

Ice-T Law & Order SVU Part II

20 Jun 16:41

The SOME of All Fears

by Justin Pierce

Wonderella is live via satellite from a 1970s newsroom backdrop.

18 Jun 15:30

Redditors Bought A Brett Favre Brick At The New Vikings Stadium

by christmasape

sportzball jokez


It’s become common practice (not to mention another effective revenue stream) for an NFL team with a new stadium to give fans the opportunity to purchase a brick for a couple hundred bucks and have it included in a fan walk or an outdoor plaza. The new Vikings stadium, which has been remarkably easy to break into btw, is no different. Thankfully, some folks at r/NFL seized this trolling opportunity and condemned the Vikings to an association with Brett Favre forever. The sad thing is there are probably some Vikings fans who would not actually be bothered by this.

18 Jun 01:27

ashlynnellis: lmw337:eurotrottest: odditymall: The Defender is...





The Defender is a pepper spray that when sprayed takes a picture of the person you’re spraying and sends it the police along with your GPS location, user information, as well as flashing a bright light in the attackers face and emitting a loud alarm.



Pass it along

I need this In my life.

17 Jun 18:02

How Seeing Earth From Space Changed Everything

by admin
  1. Moon Eating
  2. Life For Granted
  3. Astronaut Gods
  4. Nude Beaches
  5. Paid Speeches
16 Jun 21:58

16 Jun 20:30

Rachel Dolezal Now Claiming to Be Founding Member of Bad Brains

SPOKANE, Wash. – After resigning from her post as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the N.A.A.C.P due to a highly publicized scandal regarding her race, Rachel Dolezal created even more controversy on Monday by claiming to be a founding member of legendary hardcore punk band Bad Brains.

The 37-year-old Dolezal claims to “have been there since day one” when describing her association with the band that formed in 1977 (when Dolezal was less than a year old).

Dolezal’s parents, who are white, have stated publicly that her daughter was no where near Washington D.C.’s punk scene in the late ’70s, or 171-A Studios, and that she has never expressed any interest in punk music until very recently.

“I… don’t understand… why people have a hard time… believing this,” stated a confused Dolezal when confronted by reporters. “Being in the Bad Brains shaped my entire identity, they are like family to me.”

Bad Brains frontman HR has remained relatively quiet on the situation, and refused to comment on a picture Dolezal produced of the two, which she says proves HR is her father.

Article by The Hard Times Staff. Photo courtesy of Rachel Dolezal & Greg Kolls.


16 Jun 18:52


15 Jun 22:52

Today’s Gender of the day is: tabby cat wearing a cabbie...

Today’s Gender of the day is: tabby cat wearing a cabbie hat


16 Jun 07:16

Happy Bloomsday, 2015

by Los

And they are met, face a facing. They are set, force to force. 

And no such Copenhague-Marengo was less so fated for a fall  

since in Glenasmole of Smiling Thrushes Patch Whyte passed  

O'Sheen ascowl.

    Arrest thee, scaldbrother! came the evangelion, sabre accu-  

sant, from all Saint Joan's Wood to kill or maim him, and be  

dumm but ill s'arrested. Et would proffer to his delected one the  

his trifle from the grass.

    A space. Who are you? The cat's mother. A time. What do 

you lack? The look of a queen.

    But what is that which is one going to prehend? Seeks, buzzling 

is brains, the feinder.  

    The howtosayto itiswhatis hemustwhomust worden schall. 

A darktongues, kunning. O theoperil! Ethiaop lore, the poor lie.

He askit of the hoothed fireshield but it was untergone into the

matthued heaven. He soughed it from the luft but that bore ne

mark ne message. He luked upon the bloomingrund where ongly

his corns were growning. At last he listed back to beckline how

she pranked alone so johntily. The skand for schooling.  

    With nought a wired from the wordless either. 

    Item. He was hardset then. He wented to go (somewhere) while 

he was weeting. Utem. He wished to grieve on the good persons, that

is the four gentlemen. Otem. And it was not a long time till he was

feeling true forim he was goodda purssia and it was short after that

he was fooling mehaunt to mehynte he was an injine ruber. Etem.

He was at his thinker's aunts to give (the four gentlemen) the presence

(of a curpse). And this is what he would be willing. He fould the

fourd; they found the hurtled stones; they fell ill with the gravy

duck: and he sod town with the roust of the meast. Atem.

    Towhere byhangs ourtales. 
-- Finnegans Wake

14 Jun 01:52

Poorly Drawn Mammals of the Pacific Northwest by Dwight Uncleroy

Poorly Drawn Mammals of the Pacific Northwest by Dwight Uncleroy