Thursday, February 4, 2010

Testosterone Circuses

It's said that the Roman upper classes controlled the masses by keeping the plebes well-supplied with bread and circuses.  The idea must have been sound, since it seems to work in 21st Century America too.  Give us a bunch of publicly-funded stadiums and a whole lot of football.  

Of course, it's politicians who are greasing our palms with stadium "pork," whereas it's the beer and insurance companies who are buying our favor with the Super Bowl.  Maybe we can lump all the donors together under the umbrella term used in Brave New World--the "Alphas."

Alphas need to stay on top--and they are convinced that we Betas and Deltas and Gammas "need" this as well. So, if my reasoning is sound, here's something that both the lobbyists and the politicos can agree on:  bread (chicken wings and beer) and circuses (televised bowl games) are good for America.  Super Bowl Sunday is a sacrament of fattening, dulling food and rapid, but largely harmless, testosterone release.

Ok, Ok.  I know that this Marxist interpretation is pretty far-fetched.  I don't really believe that the Super Bowl is some monstrous conspiracy perpetrated by the Evil Capitalist Establishment.  (Too bad Glenn Beck is such a demented right-winger; if he were a leftie, he could really make a touchdown with my little conceit.)

So I know, intellectually, that football is not actually a plot against the masses.  "Plots" require premeditation and careful thought.  Clearly, no such thinking ever went into the creation of this inane sport.  Instead, football, I fear, just growed, from the grass (or Astroturf) roots of our evolutionary make-up.  Human beings, especially males, have a built-in need to kill others.  It's as simple as that.  And the human brain has evolved to appreciate "creative" ways of killing.  Hence, football:  a creative enterprise (game) that resembles killing, but substitutes making points for taking scalps.

Winners get the cheerleaders.

As you can guess, I loathe (and fear) this game.  Fat lot of good that does me.  I grew up in a football-obsessed family--a father who was a football coach, a brother who was the star high-school quarterback, a sister who, even today (at age 62) wears Viking jerseys and flies Golden Gopher flags from the window of her Rav-4.

Why?  Why do I WANT to believe that football is a plot and that I am a victim?  I suppose it's a matter of self-defense and self-esteem.  For instance:  I can write blogs like this one suggesting to readers (if there are any) that those of us who despise football are, actually, a kind of more highly-evolved race--a group of the Elect--Ubermenschen, sorta--people whose descendants will inherit our felicitously altered genes...

Of course, I don't have any children... Fail!

1 comment:

  1. I have children and dislike football. I won't let them play it either. Leads to concussions and now some type of early dementia. Since my oldest is probably going to be the size of a ?defenseman? I've already started to tell him that he can't play and if I catch him playing football I'll get really mad. He already tells everyone that when they tell him that he should play football. He is 7 AND we live in the OC. can't imagine how it is in the midwest. That's all.