Let’s face it, reading a baseball site like FanGraphs (but not NotGraphs, of course!) is pretty nerdy. If you want to double down on being a baseball nerd, the best route is fantasy baseball. But what if you want to triple your nerdity?
Honestly, I do not post this as a joke. Well, not completely. I am told that a large number of smart people read this site (probably not my posts, but you never know). Thus I post this panel proposal so that those of our readers who are interested have a chance to mull it over and submit an abstract. Although I doubt I have the necessary qualifications, I will admit that I am tempted to submit something. And if I can think of something to submit, surely those among our multitudes of smart readers can, too. Let me be clear: this is not a call to mockery or joke abstracts, there is no need to Sokal the panel organizer.
I am genuinely curious to see how the panel shapes up, and it would be great if one of you were on it. Will there be a mix of papers? Will there be an anthropological bent, from “inside” the world of fantasy sports as a “subculture?” Will it be critical of fantasy sports as a late capitalist and/or phallo-logocentric ideology to be unmasked? Or will it be a celebration of fantasy sports, one that, as so often in this sort of work, “celebrates” those aspects of the group investigated just to the same extent that group reflects the researcher’s own work? Perhaps one of you can help it be something more…
Hopefully, we will have updates as the panel unfolds (and feel free to leave relevant comments below), and perhaps as our readers attend or even participate. A perspective “inside” fantasy sports nerd-dom would be welcome, rather than simply another excuse to rattle off a bunch of jargon from Badiou, Agamben, earlier Continental imports such as Baudrillaud or Žižek (I assume Žižek is passé by now in the latest-and-greatest world of North American “cultural theory”), or one of their American equivalents like Frederic Jameson (if you think my posts are badly written, try opening any of Jameson’s works at random). I can see it now: “The Transition from Traditional Rotisserie to Head-to-Head Linear Weight Leagues: Truth Procedure or Ideological State Apparatus?” Rather than these subtle (and not-so-subtle) attempts to revive the spirit of Louis Althusser, a.k.a. The Paris Strangler, it would be nice if someone with a first-person, detailed knowledge of fantasy sports and analysis offered an informed perspective.
Maybe that is asking too much. Let us know of your plans and what you think. Will any of you be submitting an abstract? Have you already? Are you one of the organizers? Jokes and snarky remarks aside, I am genuinely interested in the possibilities here. If you know of any similar events, please shoot me a line on Twitter or email NotGraphs’ Hot Hotline.
A hearty hat-tip to Eitan Kensky for bringing this posting to my attention. You can read some from Mr. Kensky’s collected wisdom here. For the more baseball-oriented, here is a recent essay of Kensky’s on Hank Greenberg.