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Thursday night, Mr1001Nights with Chomskyan filling in.
Competitive sports are a metaphor for war. They prepare kids to root for the ultimate team (the State) as adults. Defenders will protest that it’s just good clean fun, healthy exercise, builds camaraderie, teaches cooperation, etc. But those do nothing to defend the division of people into teams. The last one is especially wrongheaded: you’re cooperating to defeat another group of your fellow human beings! This is utterly unnecessary. We could have vigorous sports that promote good health, but with only one team (since we’re ultimately all in this game of life together, and the ultimate aim of radical activists is human solidarity). Why not combine both teams and give them a collective task to accomplish as their “opponent.” I’m disappointed to hear radical activists defending competitive sports, and even trying to spin it as somehow the very embodiment of the values of solidarity we espouse. I suspect that it’s a simple matter of not wanting to be completely alienated from popular culture. That’s understandable, but what I do is keep telling myself that if we raised just one generation of kids on (truly) cooperative sports instead of competitive, the impact would be far greater than we might imagine. Those kids would grow up into a generation of adults without the same competitiveness that was ingrained in our generation, and all those before us. I consider this a serious issue with vast potential for social change. If I ever have kids (I’ll adopt; there are more kids in need of parents than parents who want kids; the idea that the children of our loins are somehow “closer” to us in some profound way betrays abject ignorance of basic biology), I won’t withhold competitive sports from them (I’d want them to make as many decisions for themselves as I could safely allow), but I’d explain these issues (as best I could at their level) and encourage them to make different choices. Maybe I’ll even try to get the other parents to work with me to introduce a new cooperative sport into the physical education curriculum!
Hi, actually, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I am not defending most of the competitive sports and what they promote in jingoism and competitiveness, a lot of why I am still into sports is just a residue of my past.
What I am saying is twofold: that working people pay attention to sports for a good reason (they are so atomized and depoliticized), and we ought to meet them where they are at, and not look down on them and pay attention to the “elevated” arts. As a participant in many sports I can see a parallel between certain sports and the arts. So we have to ask what is the role of sports (and art) in a better society. Another thing is that it does have the effect of bringing a community together, like other irrational pursuits too, such as church. So it’s something we ought to tap into.
Obviously I reject the jingoism and violence and competitiveness in the sports…. but I don’t think it is always monolithic. If we strip it down to the core I feel there is a potential for constructiveness there. Like I said, I’ve participated in sports for a long time and it is like anything else, can be frustrating and degrading, but also solidarity and triumph. Depends on how we shape it.
And we can also disagree on it. No harm in that. It’s not a competition about who is more radical and who is not.
I think Call of Duty is the least of the problems relating war videogames (at least the WWII series were good), America’s Army is way worse …
Public funded, the game is sickening and full of americanism, it only shows soldiers against soldiers, what is far from reality and now they are making these arcade centers targeting kids from 12 years up for future recruitment filling their heads with army bullshit …
The economy doesn’t help it either, desperate people is something great for the big guys.
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