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Posts Tagged ‘spectatorship’

My favorite team lost the Super Bowl last season. Plaxico Burress hauled in the game winning pass for the Giants, doused the flames of New England’s flawless season, and I felt nothing. It sucked for maybe ten seconds. Then I remembered wars were being fought, U.S. soldiers killing and dying in battles sponsored by our ignorance. It just seemed tacky to fret about whether or not Randy Moss and Junior Seau finally got their Super Bowl rings.

Sports are at best a guilty pleasure for me now, mindless amusement to fall asleep to on nights when the unbearable main attraction keeps me tossing & turning.

Years ago, sports brought us all together. My frat brothers enjoyed my tantrums whenever one of my teams choked. And I enjoyed talking shit about their home region, the Midwest, where sports fans are about as loyal as a Democrat to his wife, or a Republican to his country.

But while they kept watching the sideshow, the glint behind the certain curtain caught my eye. Now I’m underwhelmed by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, only mildly amused by the act of gloating about someone else’s team’s misfortunes.

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(Previously posted at Jonestown)

George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society brings to light an alarming trend in our country. The new United States is a land of generic shortcuts, where efficiency and knowable responses have displaced the authenticity that once made the American dream seem possible. We want to live convenient and predictable lives, like a Super-Sized Extra Value Meal.

McDonaldization is not limited to the products we buy or the food we eat. Its greasy sluggishness bleeds into our civic arena, too, clogging the channels that once energized a free-flowing democracy, polluting the deep waters where healthy dissent once swam. Now shallow sound bites wade through the sticky swamps of public dialog, salting over sovereignty with shimmering distractions.

Enter the McDonaldized the citizen.

As everyone grows more apathetic, apathy itself becomes the stylish norm. (more…)

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