The spectacle of the Super Bowl and NFL and college football is the acme of ideology, for in its full flower it exposes and manifests the essence of all ideological systems. It is the impoverishment, enslavement and negation of real life. The spectacle, just like the ancient Roman arena of bread and circus is the expression of estrangement, the alienation between human beings. This represents the extreme stage of the expansion that has turned necessity against life.
I opted out of the infotainment-industrial complex quite a while ago when I found the classic works of philosophy, fiction, and even religion (OK the last is a subset of the second, I know) back in the eighties. Although largely immunized against the idiocy of television, I gave that up entirely about a dozen years ago. I had long before given up following balls through hoops and over lines. The real tragedy of the American experience is that experiencing The Enlightenment means opting out of American “culture” in the first place. The founders sought to make The Enlightenment the cornerstone of American principles. The love of money has rewarded all sorts of buffoonery to proliferate throughout society to the point where rational thought is an anomaly. Having realized that I can’t really do much about this from a societal point of view I keep my efforts to helping those who genuinely want to unplug from the idiocy and plug into their own higher plane. I hope upon hope that my last breath is a rational one.
Basically, We the People are being used by the .0001% to fund their every whim.
And, We just say, (spoken in a Cockney accent) "May I please have some more Sir?"
Lest the wisdom of this piece be missed, please note that we are born into cultures now, where it has been long accepted, that “life is a game”. Just like football, the game has no redeeming philosophy other than to win. Winning at all costs becomes fully legitimized. Being a “team player”, bizarrely valorized, means conforming and participating in whatever role you are expected to perform. “Giving it your all”, in this dark context, means only to delegitimize any life that would actually mean winning for all by working for socially constructive objectives. Feeding this narcissism and sensory hunger for spectacle, coliseum like, this well established culture converts millions into fans who spend most of their cognitive resources on stats, standings and further conforming to the regime. Any critique of this debacle of humanity is swiftly and thoroughly ridiculed. For those who would be like Kaepernick (regards to the man) , we know how this turns out. The power of spectacle and the culture of sports bares its aggressive, nasty fangs. With hands over hearts, the anthem blaring, the soldiers marching, . . . . .
PS We all can choose to play for a different team with completely different meanings for winning, team work and social value. Maybe the logo for that team should be a pair of glasses on a good heart.
Wow. Brilliant essay. Spot-on Marxian analysis and rousing polemic! What need be added to this?
Please add that during the past forty years professional sports has been solidly planted in the ever expanding military industrial media infotainment complex (MIMIC) portfolio.
To the author, who is quite erudite and philosophically sophisticated, I would like to introduce yet another cause to the mindless adoration of sports spectacle, shopping mania (have smart phone will buy, buy, buy!) and endless entertainment. It is the mandatory vaccination of our youth with everything from tetanus to flu shots.
These shots are polluted with mercury compounds which leads to permanent brain damage, aluminum compounds which leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia, formaldehyde compounds which are highly toxic to the nervous system, and msg which causes migraine headaches in about 30% of those getting their annual flu shots.
In ancient Rome people drank from lead contaminated cups and were driven crazy enough to swallow the spectacle of bread and circuses because they did not know any better. Today, thanks to the vaccinations and immunizations required from birth onward our people are afflicted with greater levels of brain, vital organ, and other diseases than ever before by those who are supposed to be caring for our health. Why do they do it?
They do it because the only thing that makes more money than caring for constantly sick people is endless war. Think about that as you indulge your own personal favorite time waster. You are not that stupid-you were made that way by those who want you to be more easily controlled.
Today, conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s, and dementia are much more common than prior to mandatory immunizations and vaccinations. And so we shop, shop, shop or scream for spectacles like the super bowl, or put up with the current political leadership we presently have throughout the land.
Why limit this to just college and professional sports? Do yourself a favor and attend a high school football game, sometime, and then watch and listen to the behavior of everyone in the stands, including students, parents, teachers and administrators. See how the adults, even teachers and administrators, sometime scream and yell obscenities at the refs, the opposing team and even their own players when the kids don’t live up to their expectations. Notice the language of violence in the scripted cheers from the sidelines. Notice, too, that those very same student players often have the very best in uniforms and equipment, even if it means cutting the budgets in the classroom to supply it.
A great deal what we teach in schools takes place outside the classroom. Do check your neighborhood Roman Coliseum.
Wow! Great essay, Tim Duff!
…and I wonder, just how many private jets will fly there this year …will it too late year’s 1,100?
…oh and. .all the commercial flights…and pickups and cars traveling also…it would be interesting g to see just how much co2 is emitted by just one Suoer Bowl…or any other professional sports
American football is stupid. It is the most war-like of sports where commanding officer quarterbacks step back while linebackers brutalize each other to steal the ball from the other team and take it across a field for points. You have to be built like an ape to play and part chimpanzee to enjoy watching it. Football is indoctrinated into our psyche in high school and college where we honor the physical attributes of athletes with sexual connotations. We are led to cheer the home team and despise the rival. Everyone drinks, cheers, jeers and wakes up the next day satisfied with nothing but prepared to gloat a win or bemoan a loss. American football is demeaning mind control.
Ape and chimpanzee references are bad when commenting on players or fans and sporting events. Just sayin’.
Children, as soon as they can run, are indoctrinated into athletics. The same thing is true with musical training ( no running ), ballet, gymnastics, soccer, baseball, et al.
While sports are certainly overemphasized at an early age, the participants are shown to have better grades, health and a whole host of other benefits.
My friends may prefer fishing, riding bikes, hiking or hobbies like cooking and woodworking and don’t care about professional spectacles. Only about 1/2 of American adults care about the Super Bowl or the World Series or Olympic events, many are just supporting the interest of their kids, etc. And, actually I’d rather my children running around kicking a soccer ball than using computers constantly for entertainment and socialization.
Chimpanzee spectators idolizing big ape football players is meant as a metaphor for those who conform to authoritarian rule and those who benefit from ruling class exploitation. Yes it’s insulting, but deservedly so. Awhile back, some Midwest town was recovering from a devastating tornado and the lead story was the oh so charitable rebuilding of some high school sports field and new uniforms. The absurdity of it all.
After watching the calls last week, I came to the conclusion that the extremely wealthy cheat on everything that we know about, why would they not cheat in their sports teams? Gee an east coast team vs a west coast team; what a great revenue generator.
Mass sporting venues have had their purpose since the days of the Roman Colosseum and it worked well to keep people engaged. Give the sheeple something to entertain them while not toiling away and you have successfully pacified them, and they didn’t even notice.
No, they didn’t even notice. Are we unsure of our gullibility? We shouldn’t be. Just look at what we the people have put in the White House.
Other than the super bowl the Saints played in a few years back (it was their first, a historic event, and I live about 75 miles from N.O.),I haven’t watched pro sports since the 1985? NFL strike. I was a lowly firefighter at the time, and realized I was risking my life at my job (not that I didn’t love it) for a tiny fraction of the money these pro athletes were making playing a game for part of the year, and they still weren’t satisfied. I do still watch college football and baseball, believing it’s somewhat more pure, and applaud the new rule changes to make football safer.
That being said, I know many here would like to see them abolished, but in our present economy, many poor see pro sports as their only way out of generational poverty. That’s the sad truth. No doubt, with a more inclusive economy this belief could be overcome.
First the Gillette ad, and now this! I’m gonna take my toxic masculinity, call PJ and Squee, and go find a safe space!
We must understand then that our culture is primitive.
How would a more evolved culture be different from our own.
I think they would not compete.
They realize that when one loses,everyone loses.
They therefore would not create sports and games which teach children ( and perpetuate in adults) the extraordinary thought that someone “winning” while another is “losing” is entertainment.
Really? Antivaxer? Here, have polio with a side of measles. I hear they do a body good.
Did you know you can play sports without worshiping the warriors at battle? Have you noticed that the arts are gone from education, but not the three major sports?
This isn’t an “all sides” do it.