Spectator Sports and the State

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Award-winning author and journalist Chris Hedges brilliantly illustrates in “Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War,” how spectator sports have become the establishment’s release valve or recreational outlet for the masses to both project their aggressive instincts away from rebellious or seditious behaviors, and to instill an artificial sense of camaraderie and loyalty to their rival tribal teams which act as surrogates for the State.

I have always viewed the modern State’s promotion of competitive team sports (such as football, tennis, cricket, baseball, basketball, or soccer) as an insidious reintroduction of the ancient Roman concept of “bread and circuses,” a diversionary endeavor to manipulate the masses by enhancing their primal aggressive instincts with false loyalties or allegiances to manufactured idols and tribal teams.

This is the theme of the classic film, Rollerball, one of my favorites.

That the introduction and promotion of such sports is contemporaneous with the introduction of mass compulsory government schooling is not incidental or accidental. Elite English public schools such as Eton, Rugby, Harrow, Charterhouse, Shrewsbury, Westminster and Winchester, etc. which engaged in training the future leadership cadre of the British Empire, recognized the value of instilling certain cultural norms regarding oligarchical domination and coercion via sports.

This ethos was quickly picked up by their trans-Atlantic anglophile brethren at Groton, Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover, St. Paul’s, etc. and passed onto their Ivy League institutions attended upon completing their larval exercises in rigor, mastery and self-control.

Over the course of time, this ubiquitous statolatry has filtered down to virtually every sacrilegious Sunday church service or competitive sporting event where gaping crowds gather in emotional and unreflective adulation to “Support the Troops” and give obeisance to the American empire’s preemptive wars of aggression and its over 900 military bases circling the globe.

2:58 am on July 11, 2014