Monday, January 3, 2011


This is a comment on a post GZ deleted. No record of it now, but I want to save my comments for the hell of it. He was responding to a post by Geoff Roes. Roes is wondering if the U.S. can host a mountain running event with all the spirit typical of some of the big races in Europe.

Hi, George! Nice crack at me in your intro (re: credibility). Sorry, that's what I do for a living, how I see people, especially in that context: discourse.

The previous posters are on the money.
I should've copied and pasted Tim's response. The most prominent version of American ideology (big business/financial wealth) is especially troubling, which is what I was ranting about with you and Mt.runner, Happytrails, etc. I just think that drive to grow, expand, use, use, use . . . and accelerate the dismantling (footfeathers) of our world's cultures is gross. That was my point.

As for the mountain running culture and how Americans' laziness contributes to our inability to embrace such an approach to lifestyle. . . I guess. But it would be a little more specific than "lazy."

I think mountain running is even more sub-culture than soccer and we don't have the stomach/attention span/history for that. It's not our "culture," a broad term for sure, but that's what it boils down to. Are these values debatable? Is their culture better than ours? Who the hell knows.

I wouldn't say it's necessarily accurate to say this is a spectator culture (U.S) vs. a participatory culture (Euro). We all love to watch sports. They love to watch their sports, too.

However, the TV does play a major role in our culture. I do think the sports bar is pretty indicative of the role of TV in our culture and the sports we're interested in. Those sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WWE, UFC) have a lot of production involved. I've read some critics' ideas of the role "visual fascination" plays in television, and how this affects "cultural reinforcement" (see: robert scholes). These are made for TV sports, events. There's music, fireworks, post-production, editing, directing. I think TV is a big factor.

Of course, TV is what keeps the consumerism machine turning as well via advertising which is more than a Raisin Bran commercial. What shows do your kids watch (do MOST kids watch)? what types of stories do news shows cover?

So, yes, in a round about way, I've pinned much of the difference in culture on TV.

Can trail/mountain running become more mainstream and usurp some of our already loaded viewing schedule? Doubtful. It's too pure (for now), too grass roots. Not enough money in it (for now) for big business to make a production out of it and televise it.

And I know Roes' question is can a town get behind those kinds of events here in the U.S.? I think, again, we don't really rally like that for a footrace, with great beers and wines in hand, waving flags, etc. It's just not who we are.

Having said that, some of the big ironman events do have a lot of glimmer. I don't think it's a coincidence that Kona has become more and more of a TV oriented event.

In conclusion, we are a television-oriented culture, which affects the sports we follow. Europe much less so. Mountain running has a longer history and therefore more natural place in some of the European cultures. They have UTMB/Sierre Zinal, etc. We have the Super Bowl.
They have le Tour (only more recently TV usable), we have UFC 123.


  1. Hi Matt, got here from GZ's. Enjoyed your discourse and comments about TV/culture...and some refreshing pics of San Diego (lived there 2002-06).

    Anyway, good stuff. Carry on!

  2. Hey Mike,
    thanks for stopping by. Come by more often :)
    Hopefully I'll make it back to CO one of these days. Let's encourage these guys to keep hitting the topics of discussion.

    See you around.

  3. Solid (both your running and commentary).

    Now go donate any run shoes older than 18 months and treat yourself to another new pair to go along with the fuel xcs!

  4. I was at a Christmas party and at the food table there was this really obnoxious girl who was even more annoying after her 2-3 drinks. She was hovering around the veggie plate drowning her broccoli in Ranch dressing and saying "I love broccoli."