Demolition Derby Affect (New York State Fair 2014)

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Every year, the last day of the New York State Fair is on Labor Day, and Demolition Derby is the highlight four-hour event at the grandstand. It’s more violent than football, but no one seems to get hurt. I like the sound and smell of grinding engine parts, crushed metal, shredded rubber, burnt oil, the loud pop of white water vapor when the radiators blow, the small engine fires and sooty smoke. A rush of adrenalin rushes through the crowd as it cheers from some visceral place when one car hits another car hard and and the other car flips on its side or roof.  Up on their feet, the crowd waits in silence while a crew goes out to pull out the driver and to make sure that he or she’s okay. There’s another cheer, expressing relief and appreciation, as the driver gives the crowd a thumbs up. The car gets flipped back upright and the driver climb back into the cab and into fray. There’s no more exciting contact sport. The last two cars that can move win the match.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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