In ancient Rome, gladiators fought in the Colosseum to sublimate war and quell a broader societal bloodlust. Today, in the U.S.’s many Colosseum-shaped stadiums, NFL franchises do the same, only in a way that’s a lot less . . . stabby. This might be what Steve Almond is getting at when he refers to America’s true pastime as “symptomatic of our worst and darkest impulses” in his latest book, Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto. Almond can clearly appreciate that a sense of national identity comes out of tossing around the ol’ pigskin as much as, say, rock ’n’ roll or candy bars (both of which he’s written about in past volumes), so we’re curious to hear this cultural critic make his case, as wildly unpopular as it might be in some circles. Tonight, he’s joined by Stephen Elliot, editor in chief at the Rumpus and author of The Adderall Diaries.

Mon., Sept. 15, 7 p.m., 2014