words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Our Super Admiration and Grandiose Celebration of Violence American Style

It's a Super Bowl football thing

On a recent Sunday most Americans found themselves glued to a television set with friends and family, at home, in bars, and in parking lots to watch a game called football.
I was NOT one of them.
Of course I am not talking about any football game. I am talking about the highly revered Super Bowl. It’s a day when America will stop virtually everything to watch a game. The Church will cancel its evening services, the NBA will make sure it does not schedule any night games which may come in conflict with its consumer viewing, government dignitaries will stop serving the people to attend, weekend workers won’t show up at work, and kids won’t go out to play.
And drunk drivers will kill people on the roads of America.
I can never understand this fascination for a game that, for lack of better expression, celebrates violence.
But then America does love its violence….
We love war, guns and the death penalty. I have to chuckle just a little bit when I think of the millions of Texans, in particular, who just love the fact, and can boast that this monumental testimony to violence was being played in their home state. All hail Texas, the death penalty and the right to carry a gun!
What is it about men, dressed as Gladiators, running into each other at full speed with the single intent to “knock the other person unconscious”, or to “knock the %*$# out of the other player” that brings so much pleasure, so much delight, to a cheering fan? What is it about this over exaggerated state of machismo that fuels the imagination of so many people?
Have we lost our minds?
Well, there is a certain awakening or awareness in my mind. Needless to say it does not engage in, nor feel, nor know, nor need the connection to this or any celebratory and fortuitous act of violence. Am I immune to rising thoughts of violence or distraction? Of course I am not. However, I’ve come to understand through innate intuition, a daily practice in mindfulness, and structured study—the need for love, compassion and non-violence….
In a world, that often celebrates violence fortuitously, as people simultaneously struggle against tyranny, in which to build their own democracies, there is a need to step back for a moment and ask ourselves honestly….
Does this make any sense?
I say … NO, it does not.
Now, it should be noted, that I am not against sport or competition. I too have a love for athleticism that brings out the best in us. Some of my more recent posts via my blog explore my own love for athleticism (biking) and the sense of achievement that can be found in the mastery of self in athletic pursuit.  I think we all have our reasons for challenging ourselves. Maybe a closer scrutiny of the “why” is needed.
But our admiration for violence in and out of sport leaves me puzzled, and to this final question….
Is this REALLY the America we TRULY want?

2 responses

  1. I don’t see the connection quite this way Walter… there is violence around us but not in the Superbowl… Perhaps a metaphor for the obsession people have in general with aggressive sports. I might add, it was a great game! 🙂

    February 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    • Hi Liz,
      Thank you for the comment on the post,and I must agree with you. I really meant to address the obsession people have with violence. This is what I was aiming at on the post. I think that sometimes I get a little “obsessed” with my own views and run with it. I have a difficult time with joining in with mass hysteria when it comes to “super events”. I think this is what I was rejecting, not so much the game itself. I know the game was a good one and I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂 During the game, I was watching European Football, the Italian Serie A. I know there is a history of violence and racism that haunts this game as well in Europe and in Africa. Most notably in Italy and in England.Once again thanks for being here on my blog.


      February 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm

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