Dateline: 21 November 2008
The world as we have known it is changing. Or, perhaps, it could be said that we are now seeing The End Of The World As We Have Known It.
For example, a man I know recently lamented to me that, as a result of the current economic crisis, auto companies and other corporations may pull their sponsorship of events like golf tournaments and NASCAR. This lack of funding, and other economic shortfalls, would certainly result in the decline of these popular sports. He further opined that a lot of good jobs would be lost.
I must admit that, in the midst of The End Of The World As We Have Known It, with dire financial news rolling in like ever-bigger storm waves on the seashore, I have totally neglected to consider the very serious ramifications all of this may have on golf tournaments and NASCAR.
This whole financial mess is clearly getting very serious now. How can I possibly continue to pursue my Constitutional right to happiness if I can no longer watch people play golf and drive race cars around a track? And, to make matters worse, I just bought myself a deluxe, 60-inch, digital, plasma flat screen television. Have you seen a golf tournament on one of those things? Really impressive.
Yes, of course, I am being facetious. I do not own a fancy new television. I do not watch television. I loathe television. And, as far as golf tournaments and NASCAR, I am indifferent to the fate of such popular culture sporting/entertainment industries.
For that matter, I feel the same about professional football, baseball, basketball, and any other ball games. They mean nothing to me. I care not for their troubles and ultimate fate. Please, don’t make me laugh.
I could continue on down the list, but I’m sure you get the idea. It isn’t that I don’t like sports. I just don’t like watching sports. Neither do I like the hype and hooey and absurdity of professional sports. Why would I waste my time watching these “opiates of the masses.” Spectator sports and vicarious thrills don't do anything for me. And I never encouraged my sons to be involved in organized sports. There is too much else of real substance to do and learn.
Uh oh. Now I’ve probably offended a fair share of my readership. That is no way to make one’s site meter spin. I hope you don’t take my comments personally.
For me, occasionally pointing out the frivolity and excessiveness of modern culture is far more fun than getting involved in it. Which goes to prove that we industrial world contrarians, busy as we are with so much of practical value, aren’t against having fun.
We all know that the rise and popularity of mass-market sports has paralleled the rise of industrialism. Said industrialism brought unprecedented prosperity to We the Masses who were born into the industrial paradigm. Monetary prosperity has provided us with excesses of time and money with which to indulge ourselves in so many vacuous pursuits and amusements, like watching golf and NASCAR, to name but two.
Do you think these things would have risen to prominence apart from material prosperity? And do you think these things can maintain their positions of cultural prominence as America’s material prosperity wanes? Methinks not.
As America slowly, grudgingly, sullenly, slouches away from prosperity, towards what it dares not fully contemplate, it is only natural for so many inane amusements to be left in the dust. They, like consumptive industrialism itself, will simply become unsustainable. Such sporting events will suffer decline and maybe even fade into oblivion.
Hmmm, perhaps The End Of The World As We Have Known It won’t be all that bad.
P.S. Might we see a government bailout of professional sports someday in the future?
P.P.S. Will NASCAR racers have to go back to their hooch-hauling, revenuer-evading beginnings to make ends meet?