1. Three-Sided Soccer. Seriously, what will those crazy Situationists think of next? I like the idea, I like the transcendence of what is most problematic about sports: the referee-state. Much as I love American Football, I can only love it as I love to watch shitty television. Brett Favre is a great athlete and a hero to many of us Wisconsinites, but his game has no liberatory potential. American Football is a complex web of rules that are irrational and unchangeable, interpretable only by referees. Perhaps that's why the working class in the U.S. loves it so much: it corresponds to the morass of rules and laws that the capitalist system places over us, but we feel as though we have no agency over.
It brings to mind Bakunin's statement in God and the State about Protestantism: "In this respect Protestantism is much more advantageous. It is the bourgeois religion par excellence. It accords just as much liberty as is necessary to the bourgeois, and finds a way of reconciling celestial aspirations with the respect which terrestrial conditions demand." Catholicism is, by the other token, the perfect religion of the working class because it gives no liberty, subsumes all worship under the watchful eye of the official Church. Which is why it has been such a popular faith, traditionally. (Note that this has changed remarkably around the world in the last few decades. There's something important about evangelical Christianity and the working class imagination. I wonder if Marx's words about religion in the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right may be worth considering: "Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering.")
Three-sided soccer, and other liberatory sports, aim to transcend these traditional roles. American Football, like traditional Catholicism, is rooted in confusing tradition, not freedom. Soccer, like traditional Protestantism, is based on what appears to be freedom, but is in fact simply a new form of control.
This is not to denigrate either sport, because I love them dearly. But in our search for the creation of new modes of organizing, an exploration into new modes of play is integral. If we wish to create a better society, we must place play in a key role. As someone (Breton, I think? Or Franklin Rosemont maybe?) said, and my friend Joe is fond of reminding me, "You can't fight alienation with alienated means."
2. Did you know that Rimbaud basically stopped writing poetry by the time he was twenty-one? But in the few years that he did so, he wrote some of the finest poetry that I've ever read. No wonder the Surrealists were so inspired by him. He's the quintessential bohemian poet. Ambiguous sexuality, anti-social behavior, aimless traveler: he's about as cool as they come.
His early poem about the French Revolution, "The Blacksmith" is so laden with righteous violence that you can't help but cackle. The blacksmith torments the captured King with descriptions of the oppressed people, ready to rise up and rend him limb from limb. A few particularly great lines:
To fake laws, and stick bills out of jars
Full of pretty pink decrees and sugar-coated pills,
To amuse themselves by cutting down a few sizes,
Then holding their noses when we walk near them,
-Our kind representatives who find us dirty!-
In order to fear nothing, nothing, save bayonets...
That is fine. Let's get ride of their humbug speeches!
We have had enough of these flat-heads
And these belly-gods. Ah! Those are the dishes
You bourgeois serve us, when we are in a frenzy,
When we are already breaking sceptres and croziers!...
Yeah, it's sweet.