Weekend Reading

The perspective of pain is what this story is about. For fans, injuries are like commercials, the price of watching the game as well as harrowing advertisements for the humanity of the armored giants who play it. For gamblers and fantasy-football enthusiasts, they are data, a reason to vet the arcane shorthand (knee, doubtful) of the injury report the NFL issues every week; for sportswriters they are kernels of reliable narrative. For players, though, injuries are a day-to-day reality, indeed both the central reality of their lives and an alternate reality that turns life into a theater of pain. Experienced in public and endured almost entirely in private, injuries are what players think about and try to put out of their minds; what they talk about to one another and what they make a point to suffer without complaint; what they’re proud of and what they’re ashamed by; what they are never able to count and always able to remember.

Obama called the declaration “that all of us are created equal” the “star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…” That’s not what you would have heard in a Mitt Romney Inaugural Address. But Obama’s celebration of collective action was also noteworthy for the proper nouns he didn’t name: Lowell. Pullman. Flint. Memphis. Delano. Obama’s speech celebrated feminist activism, civil rights activism, and LGBT activism, but didn’t mention labor activism. That’s a noteworthy omission, not an accident of alliteration.

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