Because there are multiple decades of jazz, it’s almost impossible to pick the top 10 albums of all time; the hip cats with their canes and cool shades will throw their used saxophone reeds in my direction and call me a young whippersnapper.
But so many people out there, young or even a bit older, are curious about jazz, and they’re not exactly sure where to start. Think of this as a jazz bucket list, filled with masterpieces of a true American music.
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Some of Borges’ critiques are valid and relevant today. The nationalism generated by football does result in the fanaticism, hatred, racism, and xenophobia displayed by fans all over the world. Also, how the game is used by politicians and dictators for their own self-interest and to support their political objectives.
These are all undeniable realities that are still an ugly part of football.
But even a genius like Borges can be wrong.
The flow and artistry of the game is beautiful and timeless. It is not mind boggling that Borges was not able to understand and recognize the aesthetic wonder that is football.
His own prejudices brought out the blinders.
Soccer is popular,” Jorge Luis Borges observed, “because stupidity is popular.”
At first glance, the Argentine writer’s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of today’s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I can’t stand the fake injuries.
And it’s true: Borges did call soccer “aesthetically ugly.”
He did say, “Soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.”
“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
- Chinua Achebe
The start of the World Cup in Brazil is just 24 hours away. The next best thing to watching the games is reading about this great sport.
There are several books on this list that I recommend.
Football Against the Enemy – The first book to analyze the social and political aspects that are connected to football around the world. It paved the way for other books that have been written on the same subject.
Soccer in Sun and Shadow – Full of anecdotes about the players, games, goals, and moments of glory and infamy that are all a part of football’s history.
Fever Pitch – What it means to be a football fan. Brilliantly told in this book.
With the 2014 World Cup commencing this week, there’s never been a better time to delve into the complexities of the world’s game. For more insight into what is (and is not) football, and why so many people care so very much, here are some titles to guide you through the coming month of games:
A few years ago I found a used, first-edition hardcover of Dr. Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins’s 1975 book, Coltrane: A Biography, online for $150. I had long admired its feverish, street-pulpy story about the saxophonist John Coltrane, whose powerful music increasingly seemed capable of altering one’s consciousness before he died in 1967, at age forty. Posthumously, the mythology and exaltation of Coltrane, as well as his musical influence, only grew. But by that point, Simpkins had already researched and written Coltrane’s story, expressing an uncompromising, unapologetic black voice rarely found in the annals of jazz before or since.
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