There is one simple reason we have Mayor Rob Ford and former mayor Mel Lastman and the US had GW Bush and Ronald Reagan twice. It is advanced capitalism. Never underesimate the power of wealth and advertising to suborn good intentions and decent orientations. On any Saturday in the USA watch the real liturgy—hordes of fans heading to the stadium to watch their favourite college teams play. Sport obsession is a powerful seducer of dreams, a terrible substitute for authentic living. In the words of the great cultural critic Lewis Mumford, “one of the least effective weapons against the machine.”
Dave Zirin writes below about March Madness, the annual basketball tournament to name a number one team. The time and energy which goes into sporting events like this and US pro football is shocking. People phone in to talk radio and with amazing analyses tell you what is wrong with their local teams. It seems to be , given the time expended, of ultimate concern.The sport fanatics are not stupid but as Thomas Frank brilliantly wrote in What’s the Matter with Kansas: How is it that poor people vote against their own interests? How do blue collars line up with the corporate bandits of Wall Street and the Republican Party? The manipulation is mindboggling and so very injurious to the common good.
Fantasy sport leagues are treated with utmost seriousness and leach critical time from the needed analyis of our common life. Time wasted here is time not used to analyze societal ills or cut through the awful propaganda which paints ambitious politicos as friends of the commons when in fact they are tools of corporate ideology.Ronald Reagan was the biggest robber of the common purse in US history, an affable spokesperson for the corporatocracy.
Zirin writes :
You most have to tip your cap: no non-profit does buccaneer profiteering quite like the NCAA. What other institution would see a tibia snap through a 20-year-old’s skin on national television and see dollar signs—Kevin Ware tee shirts at 24,99 with the meaningless quoation, “Rise to the Occasion”? In accordance with their rules aimed at preserving the sanctity of amateurism, not one dime from these shirts will go to Kevin Ware or his family. Not one dime will go toward Kevin Ware’s medical bills if his rehab ends up beneath the $90,000 deductible necessary to access the NCAA’s catastrophic injury medical coverage.
How sick is the American college system where athletics wag the educational dog? The coach at Louisville University Rick Pitino makes $4 million a year. I wonder what the profs make at this elite university.
The point is the sick rule of money, in this case, sport promotion. All of this in the best entertained and least informed nation on earth.
Now in Toronto we are supposed to be hyped about having a winning team with the Blue Jays this year.
But we’ll still have a mayor like Rob Ford.
Both Jesus and Buddha had great advice: Stay awake!”