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Sat Dec 17, 2011, 05:05 AM

When Cults Collide: How Big Sports & CEO Worship Threaten Societies

AlterNet / By Lynn Parramore

When Cults Collide: How Big Sports and CEO Worship Threaten Societies

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Big Sports in America, along with the corporate religion of CEO-worship, exhibits cult-like features that make the tolerance of criminal activity something we should expect. When cults collide, conditions emerge that are poisonous to healthy, law-abiding, open societies.

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In his essay “The Sporting Spirit,” George Orwell outed the cult-like aspect of large-scale sports, which arose in the 19th century in England and the U.S. in a way the world had not seen since Roman times. He debunked the myth that serious sports was nothing more than good clean fun. Sure, it’s possible for to play harmless games, but when losing means shame for the whole group, barbaric instincts surface. The competition takes on the character of warfare, where winning is the virtue, and getting in the way of winning is the vice. Intense rivalries beget a culture of cheating. Serious sports aren’t about fair play, concludes Orwell, but rather “hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”

Along with the rise of nationalism, big time sports grew as heavily financed activities that could draw huge crowds and inspire extreme loyalty. People learned to identify with larger power units and to view everything in terms of competitive clout. Organized games flourished in urban communities where workers lived sedentary and confined lives without much chance of creativity or physical release. Cursing the other team on game day was an outlet for pent-up sadistic impulses.

In Understanding Power, Noam Chomsky notes that large-scale sports encourages anti-social human psychology and passive acceptance of traits like aggression. “It’s hard to imagine anything,” he observes, “that contributes more fundamentally to authoritarian attitudes than this does.” (See this video).

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Reply When Cults Collide: How Big Sports & CEO Worship Threaten Societies (Original post)
Hissyspit Dec 2011 OP
OKNancy Dec 2011 #1
drm604 Dec 2011 #2
supernova Dec 2011 #3
Odin2005 Dec 2011 #4
Fumesucker Dec 2011 #5
canoeist52 Dec 2011 #6
yurbud Dec 2011 #7

Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 05:56 AM

1. Here is the link to the whole article

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 09:06 AM

2. K&R Good Article

I live in PA and the way some people defend Paterno is shocking to me.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 07:10 PM

3. Roman Empire

It's worth noting that in Rome, the chariot racing teams inspired crowd loyalty the way big time professional sports do today. In fact, one of the factions (the Blues) rioted angainst an emperor candidate in Constantinople in 518.

he events of the election were described in detail by Peter the Patrician, extracts of whose work survive in the 10th-century De Ceremoniis. On the morning of the election the Excubitors at first put forward the tribune John as a candidate. He was raised on the shield in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. But the Blues, an influential chariot racing faction, rioted against this candidate. The guardsmen of the Scholae Palatinae then attempted to proclaim their own candidate, but the Excubitors almost killed that unnamed man. The Excubitors then allegedly put forward Justinian, nephew of Justin, as their second candidate for the day, but he refused the crown. The Byzantine Senate supposedly settled the matter by electing Justin himself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theocritus_(comes_domesticorum)

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 11:48 PM

4. Professional sports and college football disgusts me.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 04:52 AM

5. Looking at it from the outside much of the behavior seems very strange..

Of course the word fan is derived from fanatic so it's not particularly surprising that they would act in strange ways.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 11:24 AM

6. This is also a good description of Politics in the USA.

"heavily financed activities that could draw huge crowds and inspire extreme loyalty"

"winning is the virtue, and getting in the way of winning is the vice"

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 02:57 PM

7. I could not agree more. There are good people who watch sports

but they are not good because of it.

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