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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Group Mind

From Slate:

The Most Ignored Dynasty in Sports
The NBA’s most successful franchise reveals that America is a nation of hypocrites.
America—at least in its own imagination—stands for certain things. For the idea that hard work and sound judgment bring success, and that success deserves celebration. That winners should be celebrated as long as they play by the rules. That teamwork, leadership, loyalty, and excellence all count for something. And that’s why the San Antonio Spurs, currently riding a stupendous run of 19 straight victories, are America’s favorite professional basketball team.
Except, of course, they aren’t. Not this year when they tied for the best record in the league, and not last year when they were the best in the West. Not in their 1999 championship run or the follow-ups in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Not for a single moment amid the glorious 15-year run with coach Gregg Popovich and big man Tim Duncan have the Spurs captured the imaginations of the American people or even its basketball fans. That’s because we are, ultimately, a nation of hypocrites that prefers drama queens, bad boys, and flukes to simple competence and success.
Now I would have to re-cast the sub-title as "...reveals that America is a hypocritical nation." for I have the notion that the individuals of America are honorable men and women, but together as groups, conventions, or parties, they are hideous; it is the amalgamation of sports viewers that creates the hypocrisy, not the individuals... it certainly is not a process wherein each and every sports-minded individual antes up a black chip of hypocrisy to get into the game.

Why, then? If we accept the author's point thus far, why should individual sports fans value the Protestant Work ethic, yet the whole room or stadium or nation of them turn into Caligulas at the Colosseum?
 Maybe alcohol and emotions just go better with friends watching sports TV, while sober-sided sermons about Industry and Honor are best left to Tales from the Woodshed, where we singularly received our instructions in probity.

The propaganda of our Imagination has been usurped by the Murdochs of the world, and we esteem the Kardashian Marriage of 50 Days over the old-timey Marriage of 50 Years. We are corrupt. In the old days of Sports, the sportswriters wrote differently and their propaganda reflected hard work and diligence and honor. Nowadays, we are fortunate to find a sportswriter who can spell. When we do, they have bought into the wave of self-contempt which drives mass propaganda.

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