Regardless of your political persuasion, it is hard to dismiss a lot of what Noam Chomsky has to say. The MIT professor’s work on the dynamics of political and economic power is pretty breath taking, and to some, his revelations are life changing.
After reading the works of Chomsky and the Dalai Lama, Former Denver Bronco’s offensive guard John Moffitt decided to pack his million dollar career in, telling the AP that, “It’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money.”
“I just want to be happy,” he continued, “And I find that people that have the least in life are sometimes the happiest. And I don’t have the least in life. I have enough in life. And I won’t sacrifice my health for that.”
Chomsky’s view of professional sports in particular may have put things in perspective for Moffitt, who regularly risked his health on the field for the entertainment of others. Here’s the professor on the role sports have in society:
“Take, say, sports — that’s another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it — you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that’s of no importance. That keeps them from worrying about…keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it’s striking to see the intelligence that’s used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in — they have the most exotic information and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.
You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know? I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn’t mean any — it doesn’t make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements — in fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on.”
Do you agree with Moffitt’s decision? Get bantering below people.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.