07 February 2011

Jerry Kramer on Vince Lombardi on Aristotle

Attending to the annual Super Bowl spectacle can be a tough workout for the attention span. The highlight this week was listening to the sports talk radio show and they were interviewing Jerry Kramer and the dude quotes Vince Lombardi quoting Aristotle!

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Which is great stuff, except Aristotle never said that. It is a misattribution as they describe it on the wikiquote page. That was not Aristotle, but Will Durant paraphrasing Aristotle. The other sound bit which Kramer enjoyed telling us was that "we can achieve excellence by pursuing perfection." This was sourced as a Lombardi original. Looking up the Aristotle quotation I was reminded of that great Yogi Berra title: I Really Didn't Say Everything I said. We have a bunch of crosstalk in the library between proverbs and thinkers and I have a few of my own; somehow they got stashed into my memory and I cannot document them, but I have this conviction that certain great truths derived from certain other great thinkers. I have one I am sure belongs to Faulkner but I cannot place it, and another that I would bet came from Gandhi but I cannot tie that one down either.

The word for one of those is agrapha (or singular agraphon), Greek, not written. It makes a lot more sense for Gandi than it does for Faulkner. Faulkner was paid to write things down--you would think every memorable thing he ever came up with got written down someplace. The word for the Faulkner thing might be unindexed or not-hashed--it is there in the 70 000 or so pages of his complete works but nobody else ever took note of it, and if I want to find it again I will have to sit down and go through the 70 000 pages one by one with my fingers crossed and hoping.

The other thing which Kramer botched was his date of Aristotle. He said it came from 5000 years ago. His intentions were OK. Except that he spent most of the interview talking about how he isn't in the Hall of Fame. And this was THE HIGHLIGHT of Super Bowl week in the media I was exposed to.

The New York Times informed me: 1.) neurologists are rooting for the Packers because they are more concerned about the concussion issue than the Steelers; 2.) neither the Packers nor the Steelers have cheerleaders, which is odd for a game in Cowboys' stadium in a state where parents "all want their boys to be quarterback and their girls to be head cheerleader" (This was presented as an actual quotation from an actual resident of Texas chosen by the New York Times to speak for all the millions who live here.); 3.) there is a suburb of Dallas spending 60 million to build a high school football stadium; 4.) the stunning observation that some women are attracted to these hyper masculine behemoths. (Links: 1, 2, 3, 4).

The Packers were favored. Since the Steelers apparently think concussed players ought to walk it off and get back into action, I wonder if the bettors were reading the same press I was reading. I would naively guess the playing field would favor the recklessly abandoned.

I entertained myself by timing the extravaganza. The kickoff was at 5:34 and the final second ticked off at 9:06 (CST). The box score showed there were 119 plays. If you generously chalk up six seconds per play, that means there was twelve minutes of action in a three hour, thirty-two minute period; the other three hours and twenty minutes were advertising, show business, ceremonies, and talking heads telling us how great all of this was. I suppose I could have just tuned it all out when Jerry Kramer started his spiel about his Hall of Fame campaign.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.