Don't Mess With Our Bread & Circuses

Why the national anthem protests in the USA are causing cognative dissonance the sheeple can't handle

Anyone in the West not living under a rock, along with an incredible amount of the populous ranging far outside the United States, have watched, transfixed, as the runaway freight train called the National Football League has careened, full tilt, off the rails, and is teetering on the edge of a ratings cliff.

Cause of derailment? Messing with the narrative fans call “sports.”

Why are these politically-charged anthem protests ruining athletics, and quite frankly, now disrupting society on a larger scale?

It’s not about “the flag,” or “blue vs red states”, or any of the other pogroms we’ve recently witnessed being fomented on the US, from Cal to Charlottesville, masquerading as some sort of “defense of human rights” nonsense.

In a nutshell, the primary reason that NFL viewership has imploded to levels not seen this century, (as of this past weekend, off another 11% since just last season) and the underlying current keeping stadiums more than half empty for professional games, is because in-game “I’m exercising my free speech rights and protesting to kick off the game” are destroying the theatre for the hoi polloi.

When folks tune in to watch “Sunday/Monday Night Football” with their favorite horse-swill “Proud-to-be-‘Merican adult beverage” and their HFCS/MSG-filled chips/dips/sodas, they’re suspending disbelief, and escaping the daily misery of their own lives.

They don’t want to hear that 110 of 111 NFL brains studied this past year had CTE. Nope, their heroes are going to probably live forever!

They don’t care that to a man, every single one of those guys is doped up on a zillion pain killers and all kinds of synthetics to make them “so athletic” (ok, TB12 gets a pass on this one – crazy-@** freak that he is, and terrible pun intentional, of course).

No, “our team” (or more and more, “my fantasy team” – now how’s that for escaping into second-level fantasy?) are “absolute warriors” that are “going into battle on the gridiron”, and somehow, I the viewer am swept away into some other dimension – temporarily, of course – and momentarily transmogrified into something greater than my piss-poor, shrinking-PPP life embodies the rest of the week.

The last thing that already miserable subconscious wants to have interrupting this lovely fantasy and escape are these interchangeable “hero warriors” taking a political stand (as it were) and reminding the viewers that this entire “gametime escape experience” is a charade!

DirectTV NFL Pass apparently gets it – they elected to “refund those upset by the protests” at $285 a pop. Ouch. Think they’re being altruistic? Of course not – they’re triaging the gusher to save their company from cable cutters.

The outcry regarding in-game protests is not about race. It wouldn’t matter if Denzel’s character in “The Equalizer” or Paul Walker’s character in the “Furious” series decided – mid-movie, and not scripted – to start protesting whatever social cause burned their psyche.

Either way, the audience would experience massive cognitive dissonance and a resounding group “WTF” moment, because, simply put, off-script protesting doesn’t happen when you suspend disbelief and escape into the movie, even though automotive feats that defy the laws of physics are embraced unblinkingly.

The “hollywood elite” can beat whatever political drums they wish outside their character roles, and, by and large, the world just shrugs. After all, that doesn’t mess up the fantasy of escapism. If it did, how would it be possible for the same actors and actresses to play multiple roles in various movies?

Thus, it’s just another movie they’re acting in that fans may or may not like as much as the viewer’s favorite feature film, depending on the viewer’s political bent and how it coincides with that of the actor/actress.

In an nutshell, when these athletes interrupt the suspension of disbelief during the performance, it causes subconscious angst, and thus, the unwashed masses – largely without knowing exactly why – run for the exits and tune out.

C’est la vie.

About Me – Peter von Irle

I'm a globetrotting maverick (ad)-Venture Capitalist with a lifelong passion for adventure, health and longevity. My educational background is initially as an international tax attorney, and I've had a string of successful startups and exits over the past 15 years. You'll likely find me sourcing new investment deals in Emerging Markets, riding on my ranch, or any other place where the sun shines warm on my face.

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