No one on this cursed earth cares what a professional athlete thinks about race relations. And not a single blunted soul cares what Trump thinks about the behavior of professional athletes. But none of us have anything better to do. Culture wars are easy and fun to fight so we pretend there are stakes to the conflict.
It’s pure simulation. Spectacular nothingness. Flickering, wispy opposition. Professional sports and politics are Vaseline smeared mirror images of each other, complimentary realms of theatrical combat distracting a hollowed out country from its alienation.
Politics is supposed to be serious and sports are supposed to be entertainment. Politics is about running the world, preserving order and improving our condition, limiting greed, violence and channeling destructive impulses toward socially constructive ends. It’s a craft, an art in search of its science.
Sports are an escape. An outlet. Reality is heavy, it’s sad and it hurts. People get sick, they destroy themselves and each other, they struggle over resources and recognition. Disaster is man made and natural, and the second we stop killing each other a tornado or plague or avalanche comes along to increase the body count.
The natural world is fraught with danger, pitfalls, poisonous creatures and ravenous beasts. The social environment is dense with petty resentment and murderous rage. People don’t like each other, they notice minor differences and exploit weakness and stupidity. We need illusions, entertainment and diversion to maintain a tenuous peace. Every society stages mock combat and every individual fantasizes about violence and disorder.
These fantasies and illusions increase cohesion, maintain stability and reinforce community. And sometimes they intensify real animosity and amplify discord. Their function is inherently ambiguous. Sometimes a sporting event is a release valve and sometimes it’s a pressure cooker. Fantasizing about violence and taking pleasure in its imaginary performance satisfies bloodlust as well as exacerbates it.
But we live in an age of churning confusion and injudicious blending. Lines are becoming fuzzy, colors are washing out, biology and nature are slipping into the social. Ideologues are turning bedrocks into putty and concrete into clay. The real and virtual are changing hands and no one knows what’s important and what’s trivial. It doesn’t seem to matter either way. We want to know what entertainers think of politics and what politicians think of entertainers. We want them to be the same thing.
So when NFL athletes hijack a ceremony to protest an imaginary problem, people take it seriously. They want to have conversations about it means when these performers kneel for the anthem and what it all says about our country. And when a reality television star turned president condemns the athletes, people take that seriously as well. They want to have a conversation about what the president means and what his behavior says about our country.
Also, inviting people to have a conversation, a national conversation, is a euphemism. A real conversation with equal participates and respect for differing opinions is not the objective. When someone calls for a conversation, what they want is capitulation. We’ll tell you what to think, we’ll control what you say and punish you for saying the wrong thing. We want to draw out our enemies and force them to expose themselves. But a conversation sounds mature and reasonable. Who wouldn’t want to have a good discussion?
Two separate sides. Fantasy and reality, levity and gravity drawn together. A subliterate freak of nature paid millions of dollars to throw a ball running on the fumes of his empty intellect tripping over his own lips trying to make an incoherent, factually incorrect point about injussiss and raycissism in an evil, oppressive country so vile and nasty it lavishly rewards its academically underperforming and socially dysfunctional minorities to do the one or two things they can do well, like performing athletic feats and singing and dancing.
Then the leader of the free world says, in his own vulgar way, what most decent people are thinking. When you say something that most normal, well adjusted people would naturally think you cause an earthquake of outrage, an ineffectual chain reaction of pantomimed petulance and hysteria.
A pampered gladiator tarnishing a symbol of American goodness and disrupting a ritual of unity is a protected, sacred right, a brave and courageous act. But saying that these freaks of nature should be respectful towards a public that pays their salaries is divisive.
Divisive is another euphemism. It’s divisive to disagree with the hive mind directive. The left has abandoned any pretense to consistency. They flail about in the storehouse of values, grabbing whatever they find when they need a new weapon to attack their enemies. Suddenly they care about unity and denounce Trump for his divisive comments. They belch hot gas about diversity and difference when they want to undermine white American cohesion and then burn their heels pivoting to favor unity and agreement when their malicious, destructive agenda is challenged.
There’s something fascinating about watching a group of spineless deviants and corrupt elites twisting and turning in the wind, latching on to whatever seems to suit their corrosive causes. If their enemies say something they don’t like then we need to reexamine free speech, hate speech isn’t protected after all. When they face criticism for spouting lies then they’re champions of free speech. America is a country so consistently committed to freedom it will destroy itself to uphold its principles.
They hate America and spit on its history of oppression and theft but then use vaguely construed American values to harass political opponents and pretend to reverence and virtue. The constitution is a document birthed by bigots when it’s defended by white Americans who want to protect and honor their legacy. But when leftists sense an opportunity to pervert a clause or turn a right into a demand for more power then they’re staunch constitutionalists full of admiration for century spanning legislation. The constitution is bad when actual Americans refer to it and good when it’s misdirected to safeguard invading, surly hordes with the gleam of retaking stolen gold in their eyes.
They do this with values and they do it with groups of people as well. Religion is an oppressive power, a set of falsehoods that excuse exploitation and sanction unjust hierarchies, unless it’s islam. Because most muslims are some shade of brown, criticizing islam is bigotry and we must respect and celebrate their way of life. We’re always supposedly on the brink of becoming a Christian theocracy, but the actual threat of an Islamic theocracy is denied and anyone who sounds the alarm is dismissed as a racist.
And your typical leftist loathes sports and organized athletic activity. They are debauched in mind and spirit, weak in body and they resent physical prowess, strength and ability. The mutant performers they now praise for their brave resistance are the jocks and meatheads they use to sneer at for their stupidity. They routinely mock sports and athletes and shudder at physical and athletic competence. But since a pack of overpaid apes started hooting and hollering the left’s favorite platitudes now the sensitive nerds and misfits are locking arms in solidarity with their former subjects of scorn.
Nothing can just be what it is. Everything has to come under the scrutiny of the jaundiced eye of the progressive juggernaut. The NFL is a violent, dangerous game played by violent, dangerous men for the entertainment of slightly less violent, dangerous men. There can’t be anything meant for men, especially white men. We need feminist initiatives, the market must be expanded, we have to change the rules and make everything softer and weaker and more inclusive. Multinational corporations and the leading lights of progressive morality are in perfect, harmonious agreement.
Maybe the greatest of Trump’s talents is inducing people to project their own flaws onto him. The left is, without an inkling of irony or self awareness, accusing Trump of playing the racial angle and engaging in racial demagoguery. The current left is fueled by nothing but pure, unleaded racial demagoguery. They enthusiastically stoke the flames of racial hatred against prosperous, civilized white society and call for the redistribution of wealth to undeserving and noncontributing minorities. They constantly court their own constituents and define their enemies in racial terms. Trump has never mentioned whites by name or condemned any other group for its skin color but because he condemned the bad behavior of a few blacks he’s the racist.
The addled anti-racist fails to understand that Trump and most decent people don’t care about skin color or ethnicity. What matters is behavior. Trump didn’t criticize the nfl and praise nascar because the nfl is black and nascar is white. He criticized the nfl because its players are misbehaving and nascar’s drivers are not. One group is acting respectfully towards its paying fans and the other isn’t. It’s that simple but the left is too stupid not to complicate it to their own detriment.
The draw of a culture war is that no one needs to know anything. There’s no difficult math and no scholarship. No complexity or consideration of policy. It’s all shadow play; weightless, effortless movement. There’s no way to be an expert; no qualifications, tests or roadblocks.
It’s just my experience against yours, my identity with this group against yours. Projection and fantasy have free reign. Everything gets sucked into one whirlwind of politics, economics, entertainment, trivia and philosophy. No one can be wrong but no one can be right either. It’s endlessly renewable conflict that perversely binds a disparate, dying population together. In the end we tolerate each other because it’s invigorating to have someone close by to despise.