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March 1994


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Jonathan Beasley Murray <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 2 Mar 1994 15:50:33 -0600
text/plain (33 lines)
Your assumption seems to be that sports are (is?) news.  Which seems to beg
the question.
Another point: as with celebrity generally, with sports stars you have the
problem as to whether these people are "special" or just "one of us" and
"human interest" stories continue to confuse the issue: Bayoul is special
not just because she is a good skater, but because she is an orphan--though
there but for the grace of God go we--and is thus especially special because
she has overcome the impediment of being an orphan by becoming a good
skater--which is an example to us all--but this is the only way she could
have overcome.
Moreover, with sports stars we (?) demand that they retain more traces of
their ordinariness than, I think, film or (other kinds of) TV stars.  Hence
the emphasis on amateurism etc.--and also the demand that they should be
drug-free.  After all, Ben Johnson (say) is a souped up human being through
all the training he puts in; why has he crossed some new boundary by taking
a drug which merely makes him a little more souped up--and which, in any
case, doesn't directly affect performance, but enables him to train a little
more and a little harder, and thus to soup himself up in the same way that
he was doing in the first place.
I know these things happen with other stars: who are both girl/boy next door
and out of our leagues etc.  My suggestion is, however, that the
tensions/contradictions are perhaps particularly acute when it comes to
sports.  Perhaps, to return to my first point, because it is never clear
whether sports are "real"--news, documentary, human achievement--or
"fiction"--entertainment, spectacle, production etc.