This week’s guest is DAVE ZIRIN. Dave is the first sports editor for The Nation magazine. He has for years in books, columns, and commentaries examined both the politics of sports as well as the intersection of the two.
Howard Cosell said “rule number one of the jockocracy” was that sports and politics don’t mix. In his newest book, Game Over, Zirin asserts that modern professional athletes are breaking that rule like never before. From the NFL lockout and the role of soccer in the Arab Spring to the Penn State sexual abuse scandals and Tim Tebow’s on-field genuflections, Dave reveals how our most important debates about class, race, religion, sex, and political power are being played out both on and off the field.
I’ve left my overzealous interest in sports out of the studio for years, but this week — a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, not long after Lance Armstrong finally admits to doping, and a few hours before the NBA All Star game – I break that barrier. Dave Zirin and I will talk about specific events and athletes, but we’ll also examine the role sports plays in our individual lives and in society.
Both Ira Glass and Malcolm Gladwell say today’s guest is their favorite storyteller. In his books and magazine articles, Lewis writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, fatherhood. Stuff that matters to a lot of people. He’s smart and he has a sense of humor.
Lewis was a trader at Salomon Brothers before he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR’S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street during the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with his last two books, a column for Bloomberg, and articles in Vanity Fair.
His newest book BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World is made up of articles originally published in Vanity Fair and picks up where 2010’s THE BIG SHORT left off. What happens after the meltdown of 07-08? Governments are the focus of this book. Mostly because they have taken on the bad debts of the too big to fail banks, so now they are themselves at risk. Now politics and culture become much more important as to how they will deal with that risk. Then there’s the story of California which as a state ran up unsustainable debts during a series of bubbles and can’t raise the taxes to pay for them.
We’ll also talk about the twisted path taken to get MONEYBALL into theatres. The film based on his 2003 book is now a popular and critical success.
MICHAEL LEWIS received a BA in art history from Princeton University and a Masters in economics from the London School of Economics. He contributes to bloomberg.com and Vanity Fair. His other books include The Blind Side, Panic, The New New Thing, and Home Game.