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Scott McKay is a Toronto writer, creative director, brand response specialist, relatively patient manager, half-baked photographer and forcibly retired playwright.

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    "They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket."

          – George Orwell

     

     

     

     

     

    "Advertising – a judicious mix of flattery and threats."

          – Northrop Frye

     

     

     

     

     

    "Chess is as an elaborate a waste of time as has ever been devised outside an advertising agency."

          – Raymond Chandler

     

    « if it's a race Douglas MacArthur wants, it's a race he'll get | Main | virtually all of us decide to value stuff that's not real »
    Tuesday
    Jul062010

    "you gotta play this game with fear and arrogance"

    What makes Bull Durham such a good movie for me, let alone maybe the best sports movies ever made (sorry, Bill, I don't care what Tim Robbins looks like pitching), is that it's about failure. And there aren't very many movies that deal with that.

    In most movies, the protagonists tend to win at something in the end. And yes, Crash Davis and Annie end up together, but as much as both of them are driven by desire, they're both haunted by their fear of aging and the future. She's still teaching part time, and he'll become a manager at Visalia, and maybe he'll have a shot in the bigs as a manager.

    But it's punk-ass Nuke Laloosh who ends up with what everyone wants – the major league career, the success, a life in The Show.

    When Crash gets the "this is the toughest job a manager has" speech, your heart fails as you watch his life instantly constrict. This man is good at what he does, has a certain competence and a certain reputation, but the time comes and he can no longer do his job. His life is gone. What's next? What purpose can he grasp?

    It's a movie about "meaningless" records like the most home runs ever hit in the minor leagues. It's a movie for the vast majority of us who claw our way to the middle. It's a movie for grown ups who know that the ladder can be kicked out from underneath them. It's about the fear and arrogance we all bring to our jobs every day, aware that we can't be weak but knowing we need to be wary and watchful of everything around us.

    Maybe baseball "will repair our losses and be a blessing to us" but the movie is about people who love something more than it loves them. And that's hard.

    You could look it up.

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