Bread and circuses


iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.

(Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81)

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

Juvenal, the Roman satirist, who lived circa 200 CE has given us a memorable phrase: bread and circuses, a sardonic expression which says that people have surrendered their birthright as citizens for cheap entertainment.

We heard a lot of nonsense of this type in Detroit recently. The baseball Tigers as a team were dedicated millionaires who swore to run out all grounders and do their working class best for the battered folks of Motor City.

And yes let us not forget the hockey Red Wings.

In theory their failure to capture the Stanley Cup was a psychological blow to the suffering citizens. They needed something to be proud of after the Big 3 auto makers and Bernie Madoff and crowd so badly let them down.

Sports as “bread and circuses.” Sports as a poor substitue for critical thinking and an engaged citizenry.

Poor Toronto I guess is in a permanent funk. Our side has let us down too often.

We are depressed and hurting.


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