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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Modern Opium of the Masses

So-called "Reality TV" is the modern opium of the masses, used by the rich to sedate the poor and distract them from actual reality. They figured out long ago that this would work. The first "Reality TV" was professional sports, now exemplified by that massive waste of money called the Olympics.

Truly "amateur" sports are valuable for exercise, entertainment and building community. Professional sports generate laziness, drinking, and conflict. They fill heads with useless statistics that are meaningless while encouraging fanaticism. A bunch of millionaires play a game for a bunch of billionaires and the common people have to foot the bill for their stadiums. Only the millionaires and billionaires benefit. The rest of us waste time, energy and money. Why? It all comes down to betting and selling ads. It has nothing to do with "love of the game". 

And why should we care if someone loves a game? Why should it be admirable? If you want to be obsessed with running fast, I say go for it, on your own dime and time. And the media (who has promoted this for their owners since media began) calls them heroes. They aren't heroes, they're idols.

Dedication and perseverance is admirable, but only when done for something of intrinsic value. Teachers do this and we don't pay them millions, nor soldiers, nor struggling single moms, nor any of the rest of us who persevere through harsh reality and dedicate ourselves to helping improve society for not only ourselves and our loved ones, but everyone.

Professional athletes are nothing more than modern racehorses, bred , trained, and programmed from early childhood to perform for their masters. They get them to do this, and us to care, by cloaking it in patriotism, nationalism and pride. Using completion to encourage irrational rivalries between people who should be cooperating to make society better. The race horses are paraded about and we're told to worship them, that if we work hard we can be like them. The lucky race horses get put out to stud. The others become glue. They owners exploit them and us and we cheer for it.

The Olympics is a private corporation which actually gets nations to bid for the privilege of hosting their semi-annual parties, while requiring the host cities to pay huge sums of money remodelling their themselves to appear respectable for the party guests, laving the city with debt and useless sports venues. And for what? Supposedly a celebration of human excellence and achievement. Actually it’s just for bragging rights.

Pro-sports are all about bragging rights. That's the only reason they exist. Countries and athletes are cheating more and more, and what does it really matter? There's nothing pure there to protect in the first place. The bragging rights get tarnished, big deal. From the beginning, in Ancient Greece, it was a contest between cities for bragging rights. At least then the athletes were actual warriors and being in such perfect physical shape had a real purpose. Now its for personal glory. Bragging rights. Or national glory. Bragging rights. Bragging is a show of pride and supposed superiority, harmful ideas in societies where equality is supposed to exist. And we all know that "Pride cometh before the fall." And pride, as opposed to satisfaction with accomplishment, is one of the deadly sins.

Pro sports and gambling have coexisted forever. More and more governments rely on gambling revenues. Gambling is a vice, not an economic plan. It robs from the poor. Quick gains through gambling, or a potential career ion sports with big signing bonuses which amount to the same thing, are dangled before the poor so they invest themselves in false hope rather than thir own hard work and effort. It is dangled as the only way out of poverty, when a just society with reduced inequality is what is really needed. Not "hoop dreams".

As long as the poor thing they have a chance, even one smaller than say getting hit by lightning three times on three consecutive days, they remain addicted. All you need to form an addiction is a small reward that comes at unpredictable times. That's why Facebook and email can be so addictive. At any time something interesting or valuable might show up, might. At any time, you just might by the winning ticket. Or your team might make the play-offs (not that it improves your life any, and the team you like today won't even have the same players tomorrow). The little jolts of a good game (marked of course by meaningless stats) or a free ticket, or a few hundred buckets, gets you hooked and keeps you that way. At least drugs guarantee the hit. The results are the same, wasted money, wasted time, and wasted minds. False hope and false community are what these things survive on. And in the case of pro sports false rivalries and the belief that the watcher has some effect on the team and the team actually cares about the watchers.

It's all a lie. "Reality TV" is nothing more than a set of contrived circumstances and artificial conflicts. There's nothing real about it. It is glamour, illusion, lies. You can tell for certain because of the way it is hyped and how dramas beyond the game (his mother's in the hospital, she sacrificed her spare time, etc.) have become more important than the games themselves, which weren't important to begin with. More people follow their teams and know their stats than keep track of what is actually happening in the world around them. Voting helps determines reality, but more people want to watch people playing games. They'd rather invest themselves in fantasy football than in reality. Then they complain that they have no voice or influence on politics and the running of the country.

 It's not apathy that's harming democracy, it's distraction. Adults wanting to be kids, dreaming they could be a race horse too. Just like most conservatives belief they could be rich if it wasn't for the free-loading poor dragging them down.  Or darn bad luck.

It’s all fantasy, and not the good kind. Not the kind that uses creativity to expand our minds and souls, just the kind that teaches that there is always somebody to hate.

And we wonder why reality is falling apart. No one lives there anymore.