Peter Gent is one of the great overlooked political writers of the 20th century.
That’s probably because his novels weren’t outwardly about politics; Gent wrote about big-time college and professional sports from the perspective of someone who knew. He had been a successful basketball player at Michigan State University and played five years of pro football for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s.
His first and best-known book, “North Dallas Forty,” was a thinly disguised autobiography of his own experience with the team, which was basically run like a fascist organization.
The reason I mention him now — in a political blog — is a passage I recently reread that says so much about the country we were becoming even in 1973.
“Man, this is where America is headed. A combination of Richard Nixon and B.F. Skinner, operating inside a Charles Manson morality. Everything is all right as long as it feels good and doesn’t pollute the environment.”
Sound like a country we know?
Of course the bad news is that most places in the world aren’t any better. Western Europe may not be afflicted by the capitalisme sauvage of our Ayn Rand-worshipping United States, but what it gains there it loses in its contempt for marriage and religion.
Yup, we’ve got Nixon’s paranoia, Skinner’s operant conditioning and maybe even less morality in some areas than Manson had.
My country tis of thee?
More like my country used to be.