Monday, February 04, 2013

The New Age of Contact Sport

Super Bowl Sunday comes and goes with reminders of how violent American life has become in 2013.

Before the Game, “Meet the Press” unwittingly juxtaposes a parallel between politics and sport as outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta anguishes about the Tea Party threat of automatic budget cuts by sequester, “Why in God’s name would members of Congress elected by the American people take a step that would badly damage our national defense? But more importantly, undermine the support for our men and women in uniform. Why would you do that?”

In another segment, sportscaster Bob Costas bewails how “dangerous” and “barbaric” football has become to the point that President Obama tells an interviewer, “If I had a son, I’d think long and hard before I let him play football.”

Hard-fought but clean competition is long gone in a time when winning isn’t enough—-there are bounties to “splatter” opponents and knock them out of the game. (In the Hagel hearings, McCain attacks like an obsessed linebacker.)

Elsewhere in the news, public shooting deaths proliferate as Congress wavers on even small steps toward gun control and fights every attempt to ease the plight of Baby Boomers who see their expected retirement melt away in a continuing recession.

On this day of cold pizza and reheated chili, the aches and pains of Super Sunday will be felt by millions more than the players who were on the field. 

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