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Noam Chomsky: Why People Love To Talk About Sports

When I’m driving, I sometimes turn on the radio and I find very often that what I’m listening to is a discussion of sports. These are telephone conversations. People call in and have long and intricate discussions, and it’s plain that quite a high degree of thought and analysis is going into that. People know a tremendous amount. They know all sorts of complicated details and enter into far-reaching discussion about whether the coach made the right decision yesterday and so on. These are ordinary people, not professionals, who are applying their intelligence and analytic skills in these areas and accumulating quite a lot of knowledge and, for all I know, understanding. On the other hand, when I hear people talk about, say, international affairs or domestic problems, it’s at a level of superficiality that’s beyond belief.

In part, this reaction may be due to my own areas of interest, but I think it’s quite accurate, basically. And I think that this concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that’s far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that’s in fact what they do. I’m sure they are using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere.

Now it seems to me that the same intellectual skill and capacity for understanding and for accumulating evidence and gaining information and thinking through problems could be used — would be used — under different systems of governance which involve popular participation in important decision-making, in areas that really matter to human life.


Copyright 2016 Noam Chomsky

3 comments on “Noam Chomsky: Why People Love To Talk About Sports

  1. michaelgregoryaz
    January 7, 2017

    As usual, Noam is spot on. One of the questions is, how did we get in this condition. The lack of knowledge about and interest in history is a well-known phenomenon in American society, one that became increasingly prevalent during and after the Reagan era’s deliberate assault on public education and especially those parts of the curriculum that addressed critical thinking and what (in most of the world) is known as political economy.

    One important facet of that is the nearly nonexistent coverage of international news on our mainstream infonews outlets: the American public hears almost nothing about what is going on in other countries except for wars and events said to be potentially threatening to the US economic-military hegemony. And, of course, sports. Consequently we know almost nothing about any but violent or otherwise sensational events in even our closest neighbors, Mexico and Canada. And even sports reporting is spun; for instance, we hear very little about the Olympics except the results achieved by US players. As authority has always known, ignorance breeds both contempt, complacency and conformity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marigold blooms...
    January 7, 2017

    Reblogged this on By the Wayside.


  3. anisioluiz2008
    January 7, 2017

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.


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This entry was posted on January 7, 2017 by in Opinion Leaders, Personal Essays, Social Justice and tagged , .

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