Shadi Hamid is an author, Atlantic writer, and Brookings fellow with a particular skill for pointing out the flaws in comforting popular assumptions. I’m a fan of Hamid’s work, including his latest book, The Problem of Democracy: America, the Middle East, and the Rise and Fall of an Idea.
Three weeks ago, Shadi had a stray tweet about football fandom that drummed up some outrage at sports media sites. That’s not exactly why we’re talking, even if it is, in a roundabout way, how we came into contact. The anti NFL fan sentiment is a good jumping off point, though, to a broader discussion about sports, culture and whether it’s a force for good in society.
Our conversation touches on, but is not limited to:
Football: Good for America?
Is football uniquely American?
How football in America is like hookah in the Middle East
The allure of nervous crowd energy
Shadi’s book on how liberalism and democracy are not synonymous
The difficulty of accepting a system in which you can lose, big time
The Cathedral, Yarvin, and the democracy-skeptical rightists