Cyberspace Web





Enter the web.


American football constitutes a set of cultural codes. Just like a good narrative, with gripping suspense, visually appealing motifs, palpable characters and a strong sense of consistency (which is a remarkable feat considering the nature of the game) football conveniently lends itself to explication under Barthes' five codes.

The more plural the text, the less it is written before I read it; I do not make it undergo a predicative operation, consequent upon its being, an operation known as reading, and I is not an innocent subject, anterior to the text, one which will subsequently deal with the text as it would an object to dismantle or a site to occupy.

As Barthes notes above, a (hyper)text originates with the reader rather than with the author, the same holds for the game of football. On one level is the players' approach - although the rules of the game are set, there are an infinite number of ways to excel at it, and even more ways that the game may turn out depending on which strategy either side chooses to play the game with, assuming that they ever settle with one single strategy, which they may well find limiting. Furthermore, the audience's views of the game hold even more importance, since football is first and foremost a spectator sport. The game would not exist, certainly not as its current incarnation, if it were limited to being a self-indulgent activity which blocked out the interests of the public, much like graduate level research in seventeen-dimensional topology where only the experts who are involved with the enterprise show any interest.

Objectivity and subjectivity are of course forces which can take over the text, but they are forces which have no affinity with it. ..... Reading involves risks of objectivity or subjectivity (both are imaginary) only insofar as we define the text as an expressive object (presented for our own expression), sublimated under a morality of trut, in one instance laxist; in the other, ascetic.

The game, then, is what the spectators make of it - however, here we encounter yet another paradox. A single individual's views about the game matter little to the current structure of the game, unless said individual happens to possess significant financial or administrative power. However, that would contradict the equality of lexia which defines a good hypertext, so we will, for the sake of argument, assume that that is not the case here. The person's views about the game, then, can only contribute to his or her own world view, and do little else. However, the totality of all such views within the society forms a force so strong that it may well overcome any infrastructure the game might have started off with.

Football, in this regard, displays a network structure. A group of nodes achieves what each node, in and of itself, could never have even hoped to achieve: The rearrangement of a structure similar to its own. The active nodes in this case are the individuals within the society, the passive nodes the cultural codes embedded within football. However, the roles may well be reversed when the audience is watching the game.

Barthes' five codes may well offer a sorely needed explanation at this point.