Fanaticus Dramaticus: The Rage Page

Fanaticus Dramaticus: The Rage Page

September 15, 2015



I’ll be signing books (you can purchase on site) this Sunday at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse  33 West Kinzie 11:30am-2pm and I’d love to meet the Bears fan on my cover.  Can you help?  If so, email me here


September 12, 2015

Must be because football season is upon us!

I spent an hour with KGO’s Pat Thurston this week.  The highlight of  the interview besides Pat’s fun and provocative questions was that KGO’s creative team scored the interview.  When we came back from break, they’d play a different sports themed song.  It was a blast.

First we rocked out to Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and its baseball interlude.

Great background here from on how former Yankee announcer Phil Rizutto came to participate in the track.

Next tune up was  Cheech and Chong doing “Basketball Jones,” a song  about hoops obsession that would go on to be covered by Barry White and Chris Rock.  Rock sang it in the  1996 movie “Space Jam.”

Speaking of a love of basketball, Pat Williams, Senior Vice President  of the NBA’s Orlando Magic is a fan of Fanaticus. Williams says “Justine Gubar has written a most unusual sports book. Her research is thorough, her writing is precise, and the end result is a book that will keep you thoroughly engaged. Get FANATICUS now and thank me later.”

For my readers in central Florida, I’ll join Williams on his Sunday radio show Oct. 4th at 1pm est.
on Orlando’s WORL AM 660 & FM 105.5
It will stream here.

Meanwhile, I’m still recovering how early the alarm went off for me to join Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio. The early call time was worth it.  Cardin’s a terrific interviewer.

I also did KFOG, my favorite Bay Area morning show with host’s Irish Greg, No Name and Renee.




September 10, 2015

newsletter imageFor the fall, my tour rolls on with stops on both coasts and in the Midwest. Events will trend festive and social as most take place in bars and with one at a ballpark! Here’s a list of where I’ll be. I hope you’ll turn out and also spread the word to your friends who wear the face paint and jersey and to your friends who just wonder about those who do.

Saturday September 12th, 2015 6pm
Babylon Salon literary series at Cantina SF
580 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA

Sunday September 20, 2015 11:30am-2:00pm
Signing at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse
33 W. Kinzie St.
Chicago, IL

Thursday October 1st, 2015 7pm
In conversation with Pablo Torre at McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
New York City, NY

Wednesday October 7th, 2015 7pm
Reading at A Great Good Place for Books
6120 LaSalle Ave.
Oakland, CA

Wednesday October 14th, 2015 7pm
Litquake Festival “Going the Distance” Group Reading
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA
Note: This is a ticketed event so plan ahead.

Saturday October 17th, 2015 6pm
Litquake Festival Litcrawl
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA

Monday November 9th, 2015 7pm
Author Talk at Fifth Third Field––– Home of the Mud Hens
406 Washington St.
Toledo, OH


September 01, 2015

August 31, 2015


I’ll be reading Saturday September 12th at Babylon Salon with several other authors including Janis Cooke Newman, Lori Ostlund and Chris Ballard.  All the fun (the series is named after Babylon after all) starts at 6:30pm at Cantina SF 580 Sutter Street and there is no entrance fee.  You can expect an all new selection from Fanaticus. SF/Arts featured us here as a literary event to check out!


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August 24, 2015

Best headline yet of all media coverage about Fanaticus, don’t you think?

Columnist Joe Blundo of  the Columbus Dispatch weighs on on Fanaticus.  That of course, is the home of Ohio State.

He writes:

Guess which football team’s most unhinged supporters helped inspire sports journalist Justine Gubar to write a book about the excesses of fans? Yes, it was Ohio State.  When rabid Buckeyes fans learned that Gubar, an ESPN producer, was visiting Columbus in 2011 to dig into the football program in the wake of the scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job, they responded with threats, hatred and misogyny.  Many insulted her appearance. Someone posted her home phone number in California online, resulting in a flood of nasty voice mails.

To read Blundo’s entire piece, click here.


August 12, 2015

August 11, 2015

deflategate hats

A judge again ordered the NFL and NFLPA to try to settle  in advance of Wednesday’s hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET in Manhattan. The NFL and NFLPA have asked for an expedited decision in the case, to try to get the matter resolved by Sept. 4 — six days before the Patriots’ season-opener.  While the legal skirmishing continues, fans are getting ready for the season regardless. One new item–– Deflategate hats which are sure to be a hit in stadiums across the country.

Hilarious. Two college friends started the company, one a diehard Colts fan and one the spouse of a Patriots fan.  Go figure. Order them here.


August 04, 2015

A friend just finished Fanaticus and told me he was reminded of the song “Get Drunk and Be Somebody” by Toby Keith.  What do you think? Here are the lyrics.

“Get Drunk And Be Somebody” by Toby Keith

Yeah the big boss man, he likes to crack that whip
I ain’t nothing but a number on his timecard slip,
I give him 40 hours and a piece of my soul,
Puts me somewhere at the bottom of his totem pole,
Hell I don’t even think he knows my name…

Well all week long I’m a real nobody,
But I just punched out and its paycheck Friday,
Weekends here, good God almighty,
I’m going to get drunk and be somebody
Yeah, yeah, yeah…

My baby cuts hair at a beauty boutique,
Just blowin’ and goin’ till she dead on her feet,
They walk right in and sit right down,
She gives them what they want and then she spins them around,
Hey I don’t think they even know her name…

All week long she’s a real nobody,
but I just picked her up and its paycheck Friday,
Weekends here, good God almighty,
Baby lets get drunk and be somebody
Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Well just average people, in an everyday bar,
driving from work in our ordinary cars,
and I like to come here with the regular Joes,
drink all you want, be the star of the star
of the show

All week long bunch of real nobodies,
but we just punched out and its paycheck Friday,
Weekends here, good God almighty,
People lets get drunk (lets get drunk!)
All week long we’re some real nobodies,
but we just punched out and its paycheck Friday,
Weekends here, good God almighty,
People lets get drunk and be somebody
Yeah, yeah, yeah…


August 02, 2015

Forbes3Why Sports Fans Misbehave, And The Worst Group Of All by Jerry Barca

The trolls came out in full force to attack Justine Gubar. She was less than a prostitute, they told her. They published her home phone number on the internet. They skewered her physical appearance. All this from the Ohio State fan base because she was reporting on the scandal that eventually led to the resignation of the school’s head football coach Jim Tressel.

Gubar, an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist at ESPN, used this experience as the starting point in her recently released book Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness In the Modern Sports Fan. The book is a deeply reported, fast-paced read delving into the psychology, sociology, history and future of sports fans’ behavior. It has the outrageous fan anecdotes you know and plenty of others that you probably can’t believe actually exist. There is also the cringe-worthy, awkward interaction when Gubar knocked on the door of one of the Ohio State fans who had sent abuse her way.

If you’ve ever attended a sporting event – be it a youth game or something in the pro ranks – Fanaticus will tell you more about your experience.

In this Q/A Gubar answered questions about the root cause of fan misbehavior, who the worst fans are and what solutions, if any, exist.

Jerry Barca: Sports present an interesting setting because you can share these moments of joy – the high-five after a touchdown – with total strangers and it feels real. How much is being a fan wanting to connect to something and somebody emotionally?

Justine Gubar: Fandom is a natural social currency. There’s a story in Fanaticus about two Red Sox fans who bond over their team on Twitter and wind up getting married. Another person I meet in Fanaticus is a woman who grew up in Germany running with a gang of soccer hooligans. She describes their organized thuggery as an activity that brought meaning to disconnected lives, a substitute for family unity. Fandom allows people to connect to something greater than themselves. Who doesn’t want that?
Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness In the Modern Sports Fan is written Justine Gubar, a four-time Emmy winning investigative journalist at ESPN.

Barca: There is this tension that arises at events. You have the guy who wants to revel in the atmosphere throughout the game. Then you also have the guy asking that loud fan to sit down and this leads to fights. What can be done about the conflict between the guy who lives his life for game day in the stands and the guy who attends the game, but wants the comforts of being at home on his couch?

Gubar: Even the guys who live for game day are losing patience with the atmosphere. I interviewed “Fireman Ed,” a well-known Jets fan who used to spend his Sundays leading the entire stadium in the J-E-T-S chant. You could always count on seeing Ed on TV. But “Fireman Ed” grew exasperated with unruly fans and the fighting and retired his super-fan persona.

Stadiums and arenas have instituted dry sections and family sections with a degree of success. But it comes down to a certain common sense and sense of civility. Does the fan “reveling in the atmosphere,” really need to use NSFW language and act menacing to support his/her team? It’s not really the loudness that turns people off, it’s the tone and belligerence.

Barca: With fans committing acts of violence, did you find they had a predilection for violence or were there other circumstances that dictated their actions?
Justine Gubar is the author of Fanaticus. She is also a producer at ESPN, working mainly for Outside the Lines and SportsCenter.

Gubar: In researching the work of top psychologists in this area, I came away with the sense that the right social circumstances enable people to act out in disturbing and inexplicable ways. Bad behavior is explained by phrases like “bracketed morality,” “cognitive dissonance,” “The Lucifer Effect” and “The Myth of Pure Evil.” What all these point to is an average fan in the wrong situation can turn into a knucklehead and rationalize bad acts like cursing out a kid or vomiting on his neighbor in the stands. With the hyped-up competition, the booze, the drive to stand out in a selfie, sports can provide a welcoming stage for fans to harness aggression, flaunt the usual ethical norms, and act out in obnoxious and sometimes violent ways; a perfect storm if you will.

Barca: Is there a certain group of fans that are worse than others? Did you ever find that they turned on each other? For example, Raider-fan-on-Raider-fan violence?

Gubar: I actually think the worst fans of all may be youth sports parents who threaten refs, berate their children and occasionally let fists fly. When parents exhibit poor sportsmanship on the sidelines, they teach their kids to follow in their disgraceful footsteps. If parents are raising the next generation of sports fans in their own shadow, it doesn’t bode well for those who will be sitting in the stands in coming years.

Barca: If there is one factor that leads to awful fan behavior, what do you think it is?

Gubar: Booze. An executive from one of the top professional leagues in this country tells me in Fanaticus that there is a direct correlation with the amount one drinks and the way one behaves. There’s little reason to think there will be significant change on that front anytime soon. At last year’s World Cup, the Brazilians were forced by FIFA to serve beer inside the stadiums. Even though they generally ban booze during soccer matches there, FIFA insisted on the availability for World Cup because of its lucrative sponsorship with Anheuser-Busch/InBev.

Barca: The book definitely goes international in your search for answers about fan behavior. How did you find the soccer hooligans and, for you, what was the most eye-opening aspect of that subculture?

Gubar: There’s a whole “hit and tell” genre of hooligan memoirs in the U.K. I counted over 100 on Amazon U.K. one day. I chatted with an editor at a publishing house in England who suggested some folks for me to track down. I also reached out to a photographer who spent years documenting Belgian hooligans. The raw violence of his work drew me in. He provided an introduction to one hardcore fan, now in his 40s, whom I met with in Antwerp and who still skirts the edges of acceptable fan behavior.

Barca: So the Ohio State fans have moved on from trolling and harassing you. They win a national title, find happiness and move on. Or is it that fans have this momentary mob mentality on social media and once the case passes, they move on to the next thing to attack?

Gubar: Hey, one Ohio State fan recently reached out on Twitter to Cardale Jones chastising Jones and telling him to stick to football after Jones tweeted about social issues. This is how you treat the guy who just quarterbacked your team to a national championship? Jones lashed out in response, the conversation went viral and that fan wound up deleting his account. Twitter grows each year. The company says they now have 302 million active users. The mob is not going anywhere.

Barca: Fans behaving badly seems to have been happening since fans gathered to watch sports. Did you find anything out there to reverse this trend?

Gubar: The experts see solutions to fan misbehavior in technology, like more closed circuit cameras in stadiums, hi-tech scanning of fans upon entry to stadiums to see if they are on banned lists in any other stadiums in the league and even facial recognition. Be prepared for the stadium experience, particularly how you enter an event, to continue to evolve.

But tech solutions like these only address the symptoms. To make lasting change, you need to address the causes and the cultural piece of the boorishness, the aggressiveness and the disregard for others. I like to say it takes a village to control the village idiot. This type of change requires leadership, coordination and commitment.

See the entire post on here