On Seeking a Truer Sense of Naismith (for @DanR)
(Author here/RIP DFW: this post was triggered by @DanR’s remark that James Naismith may have worked some at managing his image.)
Interesting points about scripting that radio appearance on Gabriel Heater’s interview, and Naismith image management. Naismith needs a new biographer. The man apparently had more sophistication and savvy than is generally understood.
Consider the following:
Stellar athlete at McGill, Canada’s Oxford/Harvard, a long time generator of culture managers including academics, government bureaucrats, Media officials and Intel assets and informants.
Physical education degree in late 1800s at a time when physical education and sport were beginning to be used jointly and systematically by GB/USA private oligarchy as vital tools for conditioning a stronger, healthier, more militarized and more manageable officer corps and managerial class to advance and maintain empire.
Doctor of Osteopathy degree, which remains path to being a practicing physician today.
YMCA employee assigned to center of Quaker peace and Congregationalist abolitionist/racial reform movements of Springfield, Massachusetts., at a time when the YMCA was apparently being appropriated and augmented to become an infrastructure for preparing the American culture for fitness, health, and teamwork needed for empire advancement and maintenance.
He invented a game that was within ten years being played in YMCAs, universities, high schools and by at least two professional leagues.
A student and young academic and YMCA employee coming of age in the John Dewey social engineering movement that sought to rationalize American culture through social engineering and eugenics at the time that private oligarchies of GB and USA were preparing USA to join GB in the advancement and maintenance of global empire via central banking based hegemony.
Naismith started his career amidst globalization 1.0 and left Springfield for University of Denver, a nascent elite private school for his doctor of osteopathy degree, then went to KU at the peak of the Kansas Populist Party and Populist Movement uprising that was just then being systematically strangled by Private Oligarchy in preparation for the Spanish American War and globalization 1.0.
With three degrees from respected elitist private schools, at a time when few had even been to college, this son of poor farmers in Ontario, Canada, who was prepared to practice medicine or ministry, James Naismith, picked a teaching job in PE at KU in tiny Lawrence, KS, which since the Civil War had been a center for the Congregationalist progressive social and racial agendas in the town settled significantly by Congregationalists, Quakers and abolitionists from Springfield, Massachusetts, where he had previously worked in the YMCA.
Naismith became a PE teacher, then coach, then athletic director presiding over one of the most successful athletic departments in USA including THE most successful basketball program, a remarkable football/track stadium modeled on an early Olympic Stadium, the enabler of the KU relays, one of the then Crown Jewels of track and field competition feeding into the Olympic Movement and a football team producing Walter Camp All Americans as early as the late 1890s and his athletic department along with former All American John Outland, M.D., also eventually yielded the Outland Trophy for best college lineman.
He taught the US Army his physical education and calisthenic ideas, while serving during WWI.
Along the way he and Kansas City businessmen started the NAIA as an alternative to the NCAA that was racially more progressive than the NCAA.
He was reputedly a 32rd Order Mason, same as FDR, Harry Truman, George Marshall, Ernest King, and many leading figures of his time
Despite his apparently managed simplistic image, he was a jock with a brain and some savvy about how the world really worked and ties to influential persons and to the apparatus of the dominant private oligarchy of his time.
Those that reduce him to an egg head that never grew rich from his prolific endeavors may misread his agenda significantly.
He appears a product of an Anglo-American private oligarchy that was mobilizing a British, Canadian, Australian and American academy to help it rationalize an empire. And the reward for service was a safe, secure life of pursuing what seemed to academics of those times noble, progressive ends, whether in retrospect we find them so, or no (and some engaged in some pretty awful stuff). Great Britain, Australia, and America brimmed with such developed men once, back when empire builders invested in staffing the provinces with its best and brightest enobled, rather than enriched, philosophically/ideologically motivated, instead of incentivized into epistemic whores scrambling mostly to capitalize on intellectual property rights they generate, or steal from colleagues and grad students.
Totally enjoyed the read! Thanks!
@jaybate-1.0 Great stuff on Naismith, JB! I’ve read Rob Rains’ book on Naismith, and he was ahead of his time in many ways. Hell, he was ahead of our time in a lot of ways.
I’ve always been an admirer of Naismith as a person who acted on his Christian Faith. He once sent out a letter that the sport was becoming too physical and un Christ like and urged the game to be cleaned up. I think his plea worked, but it apparently didn’t apply to Syracuse, Louisville, Georgetown, and, ahem, my beloved Big1G!