happy super bowl sunday

by isaac black

Every society has its rituals. US capitalist society has sports. A week doesn’t go by without a pro sports team somewhere drawing crowds to worship collectively the virtue of Competition. It’s a fitting ritual, since late capitalism engenders fervent devotion to the similar conceit of the American Dream. Both rely on the semblance of competition while the real engine of prosperity is state sponsorship of the already wealthy. There are few other industries as heavily subsidized as professional sports. David Cay Johnston estimates that the entirety of pro sports’ profits actually comes from public money. The first cut of state taxes that provide benefits for single mothers and the salaries of public teachers winds up in team owners and investors’ pockets. But US society turns a blind eye and points to the gridiron as a self-evident example of competition. It’s a shadow of the trading floor, where a loophole-ridden tax code, toothless regulation, and the military enforcement of “free” trade agreements worldwide guarantee a pristine arena for Ivy League sociopaths to duke it out with money siphoned from millions just wealthy enough to pay their bills. Go fight win.

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