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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

EBT and Football aka Pānis et Circēnsēs

The upcoming 2016 election determines America's fate. It seems all but a foregone conclusion that Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton has the Democratic nomination sewn up. As for the Republicans, it looks like Trump is the favorite. Everybody likes the Mexican purchased wall, and everybody likes the idea of deporting all the illegals in their many millions. Additionally, it also looks like the media is turning their attacks against Trump, now that he's finally being taken seriously. Here are a few recent articles, but there are thousands more. Well .... you know what? Who cares! Go get a couple of 40s and flip on the boob tube. I bet there's a football game on right now. And you know, that's WAAAAAY more important than who leads the country for the next four to eight years. Hey, don't believe me? Check out this profanity laced screed by a serious Eagles fan.


Okay, okay, this guy goes on and on in an angry rant because his favorite team "The Eagles" lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He seemed to be seriously upset, one might even say he's completely unhinged! But at the end of the day, what has he lost? Now it's possible that he lost a bet and has to pay somebody a lot of money. The thing is, in all that ranting and raving he never says that he lost any money, and I think we all know that his fury is not based on personal loss. Somehow his life is so wrapped around the fate of his favorite professional football team, that their loss is his catastrophe.

This guy is in tears because South Carolina lost. I'm not exaggerating when I say that, somewhere in America, there's a homeless guy raging—not because he's unemployed, or homeless, or all alone, not because he's probably going to freeze to death in the bleak winter weather forecast on the horizon—but simply because his football team lost a game. You really can't make this stuff up! A man has cancer, but his dying wish isn't to see his son graduate from Stanford University, no it's to meet Peyton Manning or Tony Romo, or maybe it's Tim Tebow! You see, if only his wish was granted he could die happily. If only he gets to shake so-and-so's hand and tell so-and-so to beat the living shit out of rival team X then his meaning in life will be fulfilled!

That's the circus in bread and circuses by the way. Fans completely subsume themselves in imagined glory, linking their own fate to that of their football gods. When their team does well their own miserable fate is immaterial. Who cares if they're homeless and starving, when their football team is going to the playoffs?

It is insanity in point of fact, and anybody who could step back and simply take an objective look at the phenomenon would quickly label it what is is ... an obsession.

Maybe you're a football fan, or a basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer fan. You have your favorite team and that's it. You probably also have your hated team. You hate them because all your team's fans hate this one team. Maybe you like the San Francisco 49ers, and therefore you hate The Dallas Cowboys. Maybe you like the Georgia Bulldogs and therefore hate the Clemson Tigers. Every team has its traditional rival just like Luke Skywalker has Darth Vader. It's all so clichéd and predictable, that I for one, am blown aside—as my 49er loving, Cowboy hating brother would say. (Blown aside is almost—but not quite—as amazing as blown away.)

Sometimes I just want to scream WAKE UP!!!! The world is disintegrating around us, and so many of you seem to care about nothing but who just won or lost a meaningless football game. Okay, so your team won! That means you get a raise? No, you don't work for the Eagles. You don't get a raise. You don't get a bonus. You don't get squat, except for something called "bragging rights."

Okay BRAG! Tell me how awesome "your team" is, and and how sorry and pathetic "my team" is. Tomorrow when your daughter gets sick and you don't have medical insurance—because your company downsized you to part time and doesn't offer medical insurance to part timers—I hope the glow and the glory of your recent win, allows you to feel happy as you watch your daughter suffer.

No, I don't really wish that on you. I hope your daughter stays perfectly healthy so that you won't need the insurance which you lost because of Obamacare. Please, wish me the same luck, as I cope with exactly that same problem.
"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the generation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative." Its originator, Juvenal, used the phrase to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.
It's hard to believe that we're reliving the same history all over again. Rome fell. The most powerful empire on Earth fell apart from within because of short-sighted policies and the pursuit of the trivial over the exigent. Here's the relevant Bible verse:
Ecclesiates 1:9

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Why don't we ever learn? It's all so absurdly comical. Watch your football game while America flushes itself down the toilet. Go to the store and get your "free" lunch with your EBT card. You've got nothing to worry about. Life is great! Drink your beer and forget about everything. I feel certain tomorrow's football game will solve all of your problems!

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