Baseball: Rot at the Center of the Empire (March 9, 2006)
I don't follow baseball much, but it's clear that Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa are frauds and liars, and that the institution of baseball is shielding their chicanery in the name of profit. This is yet another example of the rot at the core of American society. The hollowness of a record being broken by a drug-enhanced athlete is so blatant that it defies belief that major league baseball has the chutzpah to ignore the drug scandal at its very heart.
This is, sadly, the "All American Game" in its truest sense--a game in which deceit and deception a la Enron et. al. are actively encouraged by a culture of unmitigated greed and corruption. From the lobbying scandals rocking Congress to the bizarrely bloated bodies of American athletes to the deceptions and cover-ups of Pat Tillman's tragic death by friendly fire in Afganistan, the rot at the center of American society is painfully obvious.
Is this really nothing more than "business as usual"? That is the apologists' line, that the corruption in Congress is standard operating procedure, that friendly fire deaths have always been covered up, and that sports has always had a seamy, sleazy underbelly of gambling fixes and other frauds.
While it's easy to make the case that all this is merely business as usual, I see this complacency as evidence of a much deeper and more pervasive rot than the ills of greed, deception and corruption. Even as our tottering financial empire rests precariously on the shifting sands of rapidly mounting debt, this same complacency--it's "business as usual," nothing alarming here, move along folks--reigns supreme.
As Social Security and Medicare head toward inevitable insolvancy, complacency reigns supreme. As our enormously wasteful lifestyle rests ever more precariously on dwindling oil served up by despots, complacency reigns supreme. These issues have no ideological label--they will affect us all. Yet complacency reigns supreme.
Let's be clear about one thing. Barry Bond's bulky body has the same resemblance to his physique 10 years ago as Michael Jackson's face has to his teenage features. Yet we as a people are swallowing the lies at the heart of baseball whole, still ponying up $60 or more to see a parade of drugged-out millionaires chase a "record." As long as we're gullible enough to enrich the fraudsters and liars by watching their silly antics, and paying big money to do so, the liars and cheats have every incentive to keep up the charade.
Want to do something useful this summer? Don't watch baseball and don't attend any games. What an easy and painless boycott it will be.
copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
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