Abstract

Abstract:

This essay explains the role of sports media entertainment in habituating audiences to a logic of conservative populism, which connects justifications for racialized and gendered violence with a sense of anxiety and humiliation. The essay develops the concept of antagonistic sports fandom, a mode of engagement in which verbal duels become the dominant way that fans and media figures engage with sports. It argues that one of the crucial roles of antagonistic sports fandom is to provide a public forum where the pleasure of subjugating bodies can be justified via the invocation of victimization and humiliation, presented as apolitical fun. The essay develops these points by examining the sports media company Barstool Sports, the FX television series The League, and the 2009 film Big Fan.

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