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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 12:25 pm    Post subject: Is auto racing the new joust?         Reply with quote

I saw an article in the Wall Street journal drawing parallels between jousting in the middle ages and auto racing today as social event/spectacle. I don't know that I buy the premise and the university professor positing the theory is speaking in very broad generalities (at best) about both Nascar and jousting.

I thought I'd throw a link up there for those interested: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124217657692813363.html .

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Brian Hook





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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The fact the "expert" in the article compares Nascar events fan behavior and diet to that of Ren Faire fan behavior and diet as an attempt to compare it to the actual reality of the medieval joust ruins any creditably or point the article may have had. She could have cited the crowd chanting, “We will rock you” in a Knights Tale as a better “historical comparison”. Laughing Out Loud .
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Dan P




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think NASCAR is more like chariot racing.

And English football is like the Nika riots.
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Jo Thomas




Location: Doncaster, England
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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan P wrote:
And English football is like the Nika riots.

That's just the fans. Big Grin Although I shouldn't say that as technically they're getting better behaved.

If you think football (soccer) is a riot, what do you make of rugby (league, union or sevens), gaelic football and australian football?

In Britain, it's often quoted that "Football is a gentleman's game played by ruffians and rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen." Or words to that effect. Although it has nothing on the traditional forms such as "Uppies and Downies" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uppies_and_Downies) - which the Health & Safety people have managed to tone down from the days of the main street shops getting smashed up and tens of players ending up in A&E. I've watched it a few times and it's basically a scrum for hours at a time with the odd fast break.

Jo Thomas
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Darryl Aoki





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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Reading through the article, I also found myself thinking more of the Byzantine hippodrome than of the joust, especially in the bits where the article spoke of fans wearing their team's colors.

Now, if people start ascribing particular political and religious beliefs to me based on the NASCAR team I support, then I'd say the parallels were a lot more blatant.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't want to bash the original author, since we don't really know what the reporter did or did not leave out that may have lent more or less credibility to the story. So let's not go down that road.

What's interesting to think about is the comparison of modern sports (not just racing) to jousting. Both are/were spectacles appreciated by people of many social classes. Both are/were important social events, regardless of class.

Racing may have been chosen as the example because many fans camp out for the weekend and a festival atmosphere predominates. There are passionate American football fans, too, but the "feasting" and partying is often just limited to the day of the event.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we are talking about public entertainment to the fans, I would be more tempted to lump all modern sports (wrestling, football types, etc.) into a group as serving a similar outlet for public festivity and spectacle that the high medieval jousts and melee tournaments once did.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Douglas G.





Joined: 30 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If motor racing is being compared to jousting I think that F-1 would be a better analogy than Nascar. These guys
are arguably the best drivers in the world and are avidly followed world wide, much as the best tournament knights
were in the day. I don't know about the diet analogy except in F-1 the cuisine is as global as the venues. Don't get
me wrong, I take great comfort in the fact that at any Nascar track the corn dogs w/ yellow mustard and cold Bud
will be the same.
And Jo, when I played Rugby (back when not so old that compound fractures could heal) we all had a bumper
sticker that read "Rugby players eat their dead"

Doug G.

"Cogito ergo Zoom" David E. Davis, when editor of Car and Driver
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Allen Gallo





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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 11:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I race motorcycles and also love medieval reenactment and, although I can't see that many similarities between NASCAR and the joust (?), I see quite a few between something like World Superbike or Moto Grand Prix and jousting. It's always hit me that these are my two passions in life, and they share so many appeals.

Not only the obvious imagery of athletes in personalized helmets and armor facing death aboard a "horse":



but the umbrella girl tradition, the representation of nation (Especially the Italians) and armorer, the nicknames given to riders by the fans, and the brand of chivalry which has evolved in a sport where we unfortunately lose several professional riders a year and death is quite common... etc
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Stephen Renico




Location: Detroit
Joined: 01 Feb 2009

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PostPosted: Sat 16 May, 2009 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say that it's much closer to the Circus Maximus than it is a joust. After all, there's no one-on-one combat involved in auto or motorcycle racing and they all travel in the same direction.

Sounds like that professor is trying to make his research fit his theory. Confused

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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