Friday, November 29, 2013

Nov. 29: To hell with the Times and Transcript

"Christmas tree season is in full swing.  Wow! Who woulda guessed it?

Tha't the front page headline in today's TandT. Below is the same story as yesterday in the same spot. "Take a tour of New York with TandT.".  On page A12, this "news story"  has the longest two pages of tourist hype I have ever seen, with Brent Mazerolle telling us nothing significant or insightful. And with five dreadfully meaningless and ugly pictures.

This is really dreadful journalism. - an airline ad posing as a news item. Can you imagine Norbert's reaction if CBC were to begin its evening news with, "In tonight's major news, Pinkie's  coffee shop is offering free donuts just for tonight. Out on the spot news analyst has this to say about it...."

There's a half page of photos of the 2013 Grant Thornton Velvet Gala. What is it? Why should I care? Why did they take pictures of these people? Who are they?

Then, in NewsToday, the government sleazes who ignored Dr. Cleary's report on fracking are now asking her to sit on the Energy Institute. That's because they've created a chaos for themselves with their lying and manipulating, and now they need Dr. Cleary to help them out.

Tough call. If she says no, they blame her for being unwilling to help. But if she says yes, they try to steer her into taking blame for the dumb and greedy things they want to do.

Then my computer died, and now, at 6 p.m. I'm starting all over again. That's when I decided to hell with the Times and Transcript. Let's  take a break from it and, instead, take a look at the situation we're in, and how we got  here and, maybe, how we can get out.  And maybe the best place to do that is with the modern Olympic Games which began in the 1890s.

Seriously.

The modern Olympic Games were intended to be for amateurs only.  That tells you a lot about the social structure of New Brunswick.

The aristocrats of Europe ruled Europe for centuries. They did it by pure force. They could afford the weapons and armour. Us peasants couldn't. But, like aristocrats throughout history and up to the present day, they never admitted, even to themselves, that they owed their leadership to wealth and brutality.

Those who have power always have to invent nice reasons for how they got it, and why they are entitled to use it. Some, like Roman emperors, claimed to be Gods. Later kings, more modest, said they were entitled to rule because that's the way  God wanted it. (Elizabeth, by the grace of God.....)

Now, the aristocrats of Europe were not, for the most part, a brainy lot. No, they preferred outdoor sports like bashing each other over the head with spiked clubs. And it was useful for them to keep in shape for bashing peasants who got out of line.

But, well, that really didn't sound like a good reason for entitlement. They needed something with more character to it. Yes. That was it. Their sports built character. It was superior character that entitled them to rule, and that required lesser folk to obey them.

That's why, over the years, a tradition developed that only the better class of people were permitted to play certain sports. And the better class of course, was made up of the rich ones. Ordinary people were not allowed to play, say cricket or rugby because a) they were not born with the character to rule b)they would get ideas above their station c) the might develop silly ideas about being equal.

Oh, peasant women could have walking races. The peasant men could shoot arrows because that was training them for the army without the need to pay for their training. But it was understood that walking races and bows and arrows had no character building qualities in them.

Baseball was understood to be for the lower orders only. Originating from a whole series of ball games in Britain, its roots had always been among the common people - and was therefore acceptable because it had no character building power.

Hockey began as an upper class game only. Alas! It professionalized very early in its North American life. That professoinalizing meant that poor people who couldn't afford to join a sports club could play hockey because it would cost them nothing - and they would be paid for it.

Luckily for football, it didn't professonalize until much later. So it became established in North America as a character building sport for the rich. To this day in North America, almost all football players are university graduates - and most hockey players are not.

The founder of the modern Olympics specified the games were for amateurs only. That was because he wanted only those athletes from the moneyed class, the ruling class. Fearful of the war that would come to Europe in 1914, he wanted to assure France of an officer class (drawn from the ruling, moneyed class) that was strong of character. Ordinary people mixing in the games would just be in the way.

That attitude is still retained in sports like cricket and polo and, indeed, the basic oganization of the Olympics. In fact, as a general rule, the belief that there is a link between sport and character and leadership remains a central myth of support.

That connection between power and social class and character remains a central factor in New Brunswick life. We still retain the connection between these and entitlcment to rule. However, another myth has been added to the mix.

I'lll write about that tomorrow.

5 comments:

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  2. What kind of computer are you using? You have way too many computer problems. Is there something I (or anyone) can do to help?

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  3. Thanks Stephen. It's been admitted for intense medical care at Moncton Computer exchange.

    The problem affects only my blog site.

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  4. I think your computer must be responsible for the frequent spelling mistakes! Not much has changed in 30 years, Graeme.....still love you anyway. MJN

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  5. You must be mistaken. I wasn't old enough to go out with girls thirty years ago.

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