Thursday, September 02, 2004

Miller and Chaney Gone Completely Unhinged. These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

But you already knew that.

Into the teeth of what tonight will almost certainly be a torrent of elisions and imprecisions from He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken Except in Tones of Scorn, I will counterprogram. I will divert myself from things that matter profoundly but about which I can do little other than send a few donations to progressive politicians, make a few phone calls to faithful anti-Bush voters and speak my piece to undecided friends, trying not to scream.

Instead, I will complain about something about which I am even more powerless, but which REALLY DOESN'T MATTER. I will complain about the basketball uniforms worn by female players in the United States and in much -- but not all -- of the rest of the world.

Impersonating the men -- who seem disinclined to appear to emphasize their genitals in what I assume is an act of reverse psychology -- women wear shapeless sacks. Really, they look as if they were caught hiding behind the curtains and then tried to wrestle their way out. I'm surprised they don't play in veils and headscarves.

I have pointed this out to my sister, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, and who has season tickets for Lady Vols basketball. Lady Vols basketball is not just a game, it's a dynasty. She sits under one of the baskets and baits the referees and heckles the weakest ballhandler on the opposing team. She understands basketball and she concedes that the women's limp uniforms probably impede their athleticism and certainly disguise it.

This is an issue, since the women's professional league, the WNBA, is also limp, at least in terms of drawing beyond hardcore fans. It would seem to be a dying enterprise, possibly reinvigorated by the victory of the American women in the Olympics this year, but that has happened after previous Olympic victories, and interest has subsided. Men's basketball is so athletic that the play triumphs over uniforms that hide the bodies of the players as effectively as the sheets did in an old Doris Day-Rock Hudson sex farce. The women don't soar and drive the way the men do, so they have much less margin for perceptual error, as it were.

"Women's game is an athletic game," my sister says.

"Yeah," I say, "and if the fog weren't there we could see the Golden Gate Bridge."

Sometimes you need to see what you know.

But my sister says American women -- she says she has talked to the players -- won't accept more revealing uniforms because some of them would feel embarrassed, apparently not the girls who are lean and muscular but the ones with thicker, blockier bodies.

Hmmmm. I see some of USF's female basketball players walking around campus when the weather is warm and if they were to start dressing off court in the style I want them to dress on-court, they would be putting more clothes on, not taking clothes off.

Well, these are just wordswordswords. Let's go to the pictures! Oh, yes there are pictures. I didn't watch any of the Olympics this year -- it would have cut into my Bush hating, which has many different aspects, all of which need to be isolated and worked on everyday, as if they were muscle groups. But I did follow the U.S. women's basketball team in print and wanted them to win. I noted that they beat Australia in the gold medal game. When we were in Australia several years ago, I observed the uniforms the women wore in their professional league. I went on line for documentary evidence of the Significant Difference.

Here is Picture A: Women in flour sacks challenging woman in modest but form-fitting uniform.

You may reply, "Oh, sure. Lean women look good -- but what of our more substantial woman?"

Several remarks suggest themselves. First, look at Serena Williams, who is conspicuously strong and who looks both powerful and physically attractive. There is harmony between the nature of her activity and the functionality of her costume. She is not flaunting herself. She is acknowledging that her costume should mesh, both practically and aesthetically, with the physical requirements of the game she plays. Even if female basketball players do not want to appear powerful, athletic and physically attractive, they should accept the burden for the good of the sport. They can wear chadors off court to hide their shame.

And here is picture B in which a powerful, athletic woman is wearing a modest but form-fitting basketball uniform.

I am exhausted by the intellectual rigor required to make this argument. I will now turn away from this issue and devote myself to the defeat of George Bush, always careful to dress appropriately for the nature and difficulty of that task.


G Pabst said...

The big uniforms are a reflection of hip-hop culture.

The rest of the world will catch it.

Or we'll get over it.

That's the fun in watching history swallow us all.

Anonymous said...

I'm a girl and I say bring on the tight uniforms for male basketball players! Yeah!!!!!!!! They may be young and beautiful, but who can tell? Comment by GP "right on,' but in a world of fat, why not let those perfect bodies shine forth?