Art follows life

Posted on February 13, 2010

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Some of us like sports for the same reason we like, say, movies. For the drama. I am often mildly troubled by the fact that spoiler-alerts are even more important in sports than they are in movies. Why does the drama depend so heavily on our ignorance of the outcome?

I typically record games rather than watch them live. Often I will start watching the recording even before the game has finished, since this way of viewing gives me an extra hour to get stuff done before the game, and then to skip over the advertisements and the intermissions between halves, periods, or quarters. So when my father phones me enthusiastically in the middle of a game we might both be watching I have to pick up the phone and bellow out: “Hi — don’t tell me what’s happening in the game, I’m on tape-delay!!” If I’ve recorded a game and find out the result in advance, I’m much less likely to end up watching it.

As someone who is willing to argue that the dramatic qualities of a live sporting match — the clash of wills, the real emotion in the faces of the “actors,” the morality plays hanging in the balance, the fear and hope for the future — are as aesthetically powerful as those in good theatre, the need to avoid plot-spoilers at all costs is disconcerting. After all, I know what’s going to happen to Oedipus or Hamlet before I take my seat, and this does not detract from the experience in the slightest. On the contrary.

I’m sure I’ll come back to this. In the meantime, the gathering drama of the Super Bowl in two days seems more interesting than the fact that I have no desire whatsoever to sit down and watch a recording of last year’s Super Bowl.

All of this is an introduction to a brilliant and deservedly-viral video by Andrew Bouvé on how some famous directors would shoot the Super Bowl if they could script it as a movie.

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