February 24, 2018

Tex Cobb and T.S. Eliot

Read something recently (an oral history of the short-lived magazine Inside Sports, familiar to only those of us of a "certain age") that created a sudden and almost holy interest in the boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb. Felt a reverence for the otherworldly story of a throwback.

Cobb was physically courageous and a practitioner of Stoic virtue when it came to taking a punch. He got in the ring with better, quicker (quicker a euphemism for “African-American”) boxers and took a beating but would not go down. And he won a fair amount of the time so he was no hack.

But more impressive was how he came to the rescue of a sportswriter - yes, a writer - who’d found himself in a predicament in a bad part of Philly. The writer was nearly killed, but Cobb came to his rescue against a mob of twenty or thirty and for his trouble received a broken arm via a tire iron. It cost him the chance to box Mike Weaver. In other words, an athlete risked a big payday to save a writer. Greater love hath no athlete...

*

T.S. Eliot, prophet of Twitter:
With slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
...
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.
...

Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.


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