Stephen Jay Gould's The Creation Myths of Cooperstown and Edward O. Wilson's The Serpent

Stephen Jay Gould's The Creation Myths of Cooperstown and Edward O. Wilson's The Serpent

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Stephen Jay Gould's The Creation Myths of Cooperstown and Edward O. Wilson's The Serpent


If only I could have seen the blinding light before I complacently tagged along to Cooperstown with my Bazooka-chewing siblings and sunflower seed-spitting father. I would have loved to have known about the Cardiff Giant and the myth about the origin of baseball during our family vacation, but it was their moment of ignorant bliss and my moment to relish the songs of Helen Reddy.

At the time, I was not impressed with the “American” sport, but now that I have read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay, “The Creation Myths of Cooperstown,” I will have something to say when the subject arises. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t like America’s baseball then and I don’t like it now. I do, however, enjoy thinking critically and so I, too, am drawn to that great wad of spit we call baseball because the heterosexual ego and rabid patriotism hiding behind its dirty, sweaty disposition have appeared on my radar screen. Thanks to Gould, I now have the ability to let go of my hostility toward an innocent sport and see the hostility for what it really is: anger towards the males who use baseball as an excuse to unleash their violent hormonal urges.

When it comes to sports, I have a natural tendency to zone out. Until the fourth paragraph of his essay, Gould nearly lost my attention with his references to Turin, Edwardian Piltdown Man and the Cardiff Giant. When multiple figures were lost on me at such an early stage, I felt young and hopelessly naïve. Feeling intimidated, I said to my partner, hoping her advanced age wouldn’t prove helpful, “I’m reading this article and it’s supposed to be understandable to the general audience, but I don’t k...


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...ake such a cruel test knowing she (God) is irresistible. This theory makes sense, especially if you consider Wilson’s description of the serpent as something “life-promising and life-threatening, seductive and treacherous” (712 Wilson). If God and the serpent are one, then it would further explain the general appeal for the serpent, as well as the charm of this article.

Wilson’s essay made me think about my personal relationship with “The Serpent.” I have had many encounters with figurative serpents, but have yet to realize the image of a serpent invading my dreams. Even so, I can’t deny any of the important meanings associated with serpents that Wilson mentions. Perhaps it was the power of his subject matter, but I found Wilson’s essay to be thoroughly engaging. This may have been due to disgust and fascination in me, but whatever it was, it worked.

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