Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Prepping Our Young For Militarization By Using Sports

Source: NewsSportsLogos.net An example of the camo uniforms turning up on major league baseball teams.
My good friend and Veterans for Peace member Bruce Gagnon wrote a thoughtful blog post recently about the increasing militarization of baseball. As I've watched school and professional sports balloon and consume budgets, air time, and the minds of even girls and women over the course of my lifetime, I've thought about this quite a bit. I was inspired to post this comment:
With all due respect to you, Bruce, and others who have constantly re-examined their beliefs as we made our way through the 20th and now 21st century versions of culture in the US of A...school level and professional sports have always been in the service of nationalism and militaristic chauvinism. 
They teach very young citizens to believe in false dichotomy. They teach them to pick a side, a side to cheer and a side to revile. They teach them to wear uniforms and wave flags. 
In the 20th century, professional sporting events began to be used as a primary platform to deliver the hyper masculine view of the world that says: it's a jungle out there, eat or be eaten, only the strong survive. This messaging came not so much through the athletic contest as through the advertising.
I've been a sports fan myself in younger years, and I still know intelligent, thoughtful peace activists who are rabid fans, and also a lot of not so bright regular USAians who seem to think their fan-ness defines them. You did a good job of explaining what the Orioles mean to you emotionally. I suspect for a lot of people it's not the roots they are yearning for but the adrenaline rush -- even ecstasy -- that accompany passionate involvement with watching their team. Rooting for their team makes them feel good.
This feeling is also what the Hitlers of history have used to gain adherents. 
So far we in the peace movement have failed to use this, at least in the 21st century. Occupy Wall St. and allies did and are using the bliss that comes with coming together -- and that is why tear gas and water cannons are used to destroy their peaceful encampments. 
We are the 99%. Play ball!
Source: NBC news coverage of demonstrations at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey this week.

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