When Brian Phillips said that he was going to save my life and he claimed to change the way I lived in the world, I have to admit I was quite skeptical. I mean, he writes about soccer and though I do enjoy watching a match here or there, I do not feel any particular dedication to the sport. Needless to say, it was a little difficult to see how my life would be saved.
On the surface, his essay, Your Stupid Rage, addresses the angry soccer fan, although it could be applied to any sport fan. He describes how rage is not only a knee jerk reaction to a sports happening –whether it be a loss or rage at another team– but it becomes a necessity in order to be an “authentic” sports fan.
So here I am, a few paragraphs into the essay and yes I am interested in what he has to say, but I still don’t feel saved. The latter part of his essay takes this common sense idea of rage being part of the sporting world and shows the overall effects of a rage filled society. He notes this effect as hyperpartisanship, in which there is a huge divide in society caused by rage, Phillips writes, “Hyperpartisanship promises to give everything a clear meaning, because it gives you a single, simple principle to test all meanings against.”
And finally, I had a sense of what his first statement meant. Sure this is an issue within the sports world, but it is something that is applicable all over. We saw it within the last election, in which we are in an incredibly divided time. And for us as a whole society, it has become completely accepted to express our rage at the “other”. The problem with this is, as Phillips notes, is that we few the world with a narrow scope in which “reality and other explanations are irritants.”
The essay moves beyond this common sense idea of sports rage and urges the reader to assess the ridiculousness that comes from viewing this world in a perpetual rage against the “other”. The essay ends with a simple solution to this issue, “You can be a crazy tattooed ultra and still be fine, for that matter. You just can’t be an idiot.”