Deconstructionist at the Super Bowl

Football, still in bad odor among thinkers, needs a fancier mystique. Try this one

Intellectuals love baseball, and they read sweet meanings into it. The game "has a mythic quality," Bernard Malamud thought--the myths being innocent democracy, recovered childhood, a harmless, universal cast of heroes (from Ruth and DiMaggio long ago to McGwire and Sosa in last year's memorable season) and a sentimental reconciliation, over peanuts and Crackerjacks, between the college-educated and the working man.

Overeducated fans turn baseball into "text." One historian sees the game as an American fertility rite. A professor of English at the University of Rochester, George Grella, has written that "while (baseball) radiates a spiritual transcendence, it also expresses a...

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