Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Books | Sports

August 31, 2009

Football Isn't Everything, It's the Only Thing

For NFL blogger and Steelers die-hard fan Michael Tunison, the gridiron contains the answers to life and the universe.

Justin Adler

Atop the cover of Michael Tunison's The Football Fan's Manifesto is a blurb from Will Leitch reading, "If you think football is the only thing that matters on earth, this is your book."

Leitch might be understating it. "If you live and die for football and don't give a fuck about anything else in life" would give potential readers a better idea of the type of book they are getting into.

Michael Tunison. Photograph by Candice Bloch.
"There's something to be said for a steady monthly income and company-provided health insurance. But it's a fair trade-off if instead I'm doing something I love."

Michael Tunison. Photograph by Candice Bloch.

Michael Tunison, aka Christmas Ape of Kissing Suzy Kolber, has penned a manifesto providing readers with a metric system for the football IQ of your girlfriend, an in-depth analysis of which drugs can enhance game day, and countless points of etiquette for playing fantasy football and Madden NFL. Tunison also breaks down every other aspect of life that can be remotely linked to gridiron fandom.

If you enjoy the high-minded vulgarity of KSK and would trade your soul for a Lombardi trophy, you'll love The Football Fan's Manifesto. If you don't own at least 10 pieces of your team's paraphernalia and you aren't comfortable telling greedy team owners to "choke on our dicks," then you probably should find another book, and stay far away from the KSK comment section while you're at it.

In the following email interview, edited for clarity, Gelf Magazine's resident Arizona Cardinals fan attempts to psychoanalyze everyone's favorite holiday-themed, sports-blogging primate via, and to once again tell him to "fuck off" for being a Steelers fan.

Gelf Magazine: First things first: In your last interview with Gelf, you said Hines Ward is your favorite player because he's a "non-white Brett Favre." Before we get any further, I'm giving you the chance to update that comparison.

Michael Tunison: How about a bald Tony Jaa who smiles a lot?

Gelf Magazine: What was your inspiration for the book? Did you really feel there needed to be a 312-page rulebook for football fans? Was there a tiny Goodell on your shoulder telling you the game needed more rules?

Michael Tunison: Well, that's an unfair comparison. By creating defined lessons for fans, I'm committing a decidedly anti-Goodell act. He's all about punishing people after the fact for crossing boundaries that are never clearly delineated in the first place. And without the book, how would you know that ketamine is a relatively poor drug to abuse while watching football? As for inspiration, a lot of the themes prevalent in the book have been circulating online and through word of mouth for years, yet there was never one singular work that encapsulated them into one overarching viewpoint for the modern fan.

Gelf Magazine: Did you consciously try to fill every page with at least one "pussybasket" or "cuntwich," or did that just happen by accident?

Michael Tunison: Accident? Hardly. It was all part of HarperCollins's innovative pay-per-compound-swear-word contract that they entered into with me. Cockwallet.

Gelf Magazine: On that note, has your mother read the book? If so, what were her thoughts?

Michael Tunison: She has a copy and claims that she'll read it. We'll see about that. The football arcana may actually be a greater impediment to that happening than the outlandish language. She's not the biggest football fan in the world. For example, she had to ask me what an onside kick was last year.

Gelf Magazine: Do any of your family members read KSK?

Michael Tunison: My father has told me that he reads it frequently, a fact that I try my best to forget. His reading of the site caused him to ask me about the meaning of bukkake, which was, uh, a special moment. But then I punished him for messing with my head by filming him discussing his beloved 49ers in a short video that was posted on the site.

Gelf Magazine: When you go to a game or sports bar, what outrages you most about other fans?

Michael Tunison: Complacency. Certainly people with things like jerseys with their name on the back are an annoyance, but it's mainly the folks who turn out to a sports bar to shush others or who go to the stadium, sit all game, and get irritated when the people in front of them stand because they're reacting to the game.

Gelf Magazine: Has there ever been a moment where you thought you were taking being a fan too far (assuming you were not blacked-out drunk for this moment)?

Michael Tunison: See, this is what Big Fan is going to do to America: "Oh no, all sports fans are deep down emotionally bankrupt sociopaths!" I've had people tell me I get intense while watching games, but it's a controlled insanity. That said, that time I torched that housing community because that one home had a Ravens flag might have been a little rash. (Editor's note: Andre Rison and Donovan McNabb do not condone such behavior.)

Gelf Magazine: Are there any sports fans who you think take their team pride and role of being a fan too seriously? Has any other fan personally disgusted you?

Michael Tunison: People who go to games for the specific reason to get in fights. But that has nothing to do with fandom. You're just a dick.

Gelf Magazine: Describe your week after your Steelers won the Super Bowl. Being from Arizona, I personally don't want to hear it, and I'd like to offer a belated, "Fuck you." But maybe somebody cares.

Michael Tunison: Let's see… there were the unbroken days of pure elation. That was pretty good—a happiness so profound and unshakeable that gleeful yelling would do nothing to assuage it. Then there was the gloating. Oh, was there gloating. So much gloating. Buying new Super Bowl champions gear. Fucking in new Super Bowl champions gear. Followed by coke-and-hooker parties. Spontaneous orgasms. Calls from the president. But don't sweat it. I'm sure the Cards will get back soon. After all, every team goes to the Super Bowl every few years, right?

Gelf Magazine: In retrospect, do you feel that getting fired from the Washington Post and the resulting publicity was the best thing to happen to your career?

Michael Tunison: Things have gone well since then, better than I could have anticipated. Which is nice because it was a risk knowing that coming out on the blog could mean serious reprimand from them, much less summary dismissal. Hard to argue with a scenario that enabled me to get a book published by the time I turned 27. That said, there's something to be said for a steady monthly income and company-provided health insurance. But I think it's a fair trade-off if instead I'm doing something I love.

Gelf Magazine: Do you ever wake up and say, "You know, I am just not in the mood to write 500 words filled with dick jokes today?"

Michael Tunison: Those are the days I write 400 words.

Gelf Magazine: Who else are you freelancing for? Are you still trying to find a traditional journalism job?

Michael Tunison: I'm contributing daily posts for the Sporting Blog, mostly about the NFL, and for NBC Washington, covering local news in the D.C. area. The Sporting Blog gig, which is a job I just recently started, offers a lot of chances to travel for stories, which is something I seldom got to do for the Post.

Gelf Magazine: Describe your proudest moment with KSK.

Michael Tunison: When hip-hop group Educated Consumers sent us, unsolicited, a track they produced about the blog. And it was actually well done. Inspiring actual working musicians to rap about your blog is probably a safe sign you're doing something right.

Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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Article by Justin Adler

Justin Adler is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He blogs here.

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