Gore Porn: 'Cause Football and War and Blood and Go USA!

by
Abby Zimet

Northwestern University's football team is celebrating its big upcoming game against Michigan by dressing its players in fake-blood-spattered-flag-bedecked uniforms that read "Courage" and "Duty" to pay tribute to and raise (a little) money for the Wounded Warrior Project, representing real-life veterans grievously injured in jingoistic wars often waged in the same misguided mindless ra ra spirit as football games. The image has been criticized by some as bloodthirsty, but a spokesman called that "a misinterpretation" and defended it as a "distressed pattern...inspired by the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time." Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald suggested the jerseys will also provide perspective for players in “mourning mode” after dropping their fifth straight game. Billy Lynn, come home.

From the Ben Fountain novel, "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," in which veterans visiting a Dallas Cowboys football game are "passed around like everyone's favorite bong" by "tag teams of grateful citizens":  "(They) go a little bit out of their heads. They do! They mash in close, push and shove, grab at his arms and talk too loud…There's something harsh in his fellow Americans, avid, ecstatic, a burning that comes of the deepest need. That's his sense of it, they all need something from him, this pack of half-rich lawyers, dentists, soccer moms, and corporate VPs, they're all gnashing for a piece of a barely grown grunt making $14,800 a year." 

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