CLR James culture/economics, postmod insurgent intellectualism

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Sat Mar 13 06:11:21 PST 1999


Unfortunately, I don't know enough about cricket. I'd have to try to deconstruct baseball. Seems to me a structure of baseball is peasants(in the field) and proletarians (with the bat as a tool). I'm not sure if the pitcher is the capitalist or not. There is run production. Clearly it is a spectacle. I'll forward your thoughts to Ulhas.


>>> Rob Schaap <rws at> 03/12/99 11:15PM >>>
G'day Chas - and whomever else finds cricket interesting,

Ulhas writes:

>Thus, cricket today is vastly different from what would appear to be the
>case from the posting based on James' book Beyond a Boundary.

I reckon the advertising-friendly, work-day-compatible,all-heat-and-no-light, Jamesonian spectacle-at-the-cost-of-meaning one day game has altered everything most profoundly.

The cut shot is beautiful, but is discouraged nowadays because there is always someone at third-man (that's the relevant defensive fielding position) and because express bowling just outside the off-stump (the primary invitation to attempt a cut) is not tenable in one-day cricket (it's a wicket-taking genre rather than a run-saving one). Instead of the shot that threw James into purple tribute, we now have the deliberately lofted shots over the in-field - not as pretty and not as hard.

All kinds of transformations attend the fact that bowlers exist now not to dismiss batters but to deny them runs.

I think the standard of batting in all modes of cricket has deteriorated (especially on James's aesthetic criteria) as a direct consequence of this commodified form of cricket. Bowling is typically more accurate, but less varied. The bowler has less tactical scope available to him. And bowlers now play so many one-day games their careers are both short and injury-ridden. 'Tis the fielding that has advanced profoundly.

Less complexity, less aesthetics and less significance as forum for intra-commonwealth contention.

>And if there is any class struggle in cricket, then I have not noticed it.

'Tis my firm opinion (and not just mine) that, in England, working class lads and northerners in general (those whose accents do not echo well in the Long Room at Marylebone Cricket Club), have been woefully underselected. Furthermore, black bowlers (typically the fastest bowlers on the English menu) are ever in and out of the side. Mebbe this is why England have so long been so awful ...

And most Pakistani internationals, especially the senior players, do have rather plumby Raj accents, too (Imran and Wasim come to mind).

As for the erstwhile giants from the West Indies; their great desire to vanquish the old rulers on the cricket field has been dissipating for some time. Some speculate it's to do with satellite TV basketball from the US. And mebbe the old ruler just doesn't signify much to today's youngsters.

Cheers, Rob.

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