About the Manliest Sport

Last night’s Super Bowl, in which the the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots by 21 to 17, was one of the most exciting of the XLVI games so far. From the improbable first score — a two-point safety ruled against the Patriots’ Tom Brady on a technical violation — to Ahmad Bradshaw’s turn-around-and-sit-down touchdown with 57 seconds remaining, the Giants’ four-point win was almost enough to blot out the image of 53-year-old Madonna strutting and fretting upon a stage that looked as if it had been left over from an Obama rally.

Three years ago, after the heart-pounding finish to an earlier Super Bowl, I wondered why there are not more American football novels. Not much is new or changed since then. Eli Manning, last night’s winning quarterback, collaborated with his brother Peyton Manning and their father Archie Manning — all three of them signal callers in the NFL — to produce a children’s book called Family Huddle (“Archie was in the front yard in New Orleans, playing with his three sons, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli. It was Peyton’s turn at their favorite game: Amazing catches.”) Ex-players like Tiki and Ronde Barber and Jason Elam also turned out disposable popular titles.

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About the Manliest Sport

Must-Reads from Magazine

So Now We’re Killing Russians

The stuff of nightmares.

Americans no longer have the luxury of throwing up their hands in frustration over the confused situation on the ground in Syria. As the Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov demonstrated, unpacking the bewildering complexity of the conditions that prevail on the ground now that the ISIS threat has receded leaves observers with the terrifying realization that great power conflict is not so difficult to imagine.

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Responding to Parkland: Amend the Second Amendment?

Podcast: How to respond to mass murder.

For those who want radical changes in the way the United States handles guns and shooters, what else can be done but amending the Constitution to supplant the Second Amendment? That’s the question I ask Noah Rothman and Abe Greenwald on this edition of the COMMENTARY Magazine podcast, which also addresses rising Republican fortunes in national polling. Give a listen.

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The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism

Fear for the future.

When conservatives and conscience-addled liberals fret about the rising influence of censorious students on college campuses, the overwhelming response they get from skeptics is “who cares?” Those who do not outright defend creeping radicalism on campus are prone to minimize the threat of violence and fanaticism. While obtuse, this approach does have some immediate political utility. Dismissing events on campus as the antics of a few misguided kids casts those who care about such affairs as obsessive cranks who fixate on matters of no objective consequences. It goes without saying that not everyone is sincere who wonders aloud about the relevance of maximalist rhetoric, racial intolerance, and even violence on campus, but some are. They deserve an answer. Why should we care about rigidly enforced intellectual cloistering on campuses?

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Now, More than Ever, Holocaust Memory Matters

Memory and Judaism are inseparable.

Yes. That’s the answer to a question posed by the headline of Shmuel Rosner’s latest piece in the New York Times. Yes: Israeli students need to visit Auschwitz. All Jewish students should. Plenty of non-Jews, too.

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Mr. Ellison Goes to Dinner

Collusion of a different sort.

My former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently unearthed what should be a major political scandal. It involves an anti-American government, a prominent member of Congress, and a far-right group that traffics in anti-Semitism, homophobia, and conspiracy theories. In the current climate of anxiety about “collusion” and the alt-right, you would think the liberal media would give this story top billing.

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