Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Evolutionary Explanation for "Sports Fans"

Here is a very funny article giving an evolutionary explanation for the primal behavior of sports fans. (Parenthetically note that we now have the emergence of evolutionary explanations for everything. Soon we will have an evolutionary explanation for why we give evolutionary explanations. This of course sets off an infinite regress of explanations. Aristotle and Aquinas would weep ov er this - where are they now when we need some end in sight!)

Here's the opening paragraphs (read and enjoy):

"Marx was wrong: The opiate of the masses isn't religion, but spectator sports. What else explains the astounding fact that millions of seemingly intelligent human beings feel that the athletic exertions of total strangers are somehow consequential for themselves? The real question we should be asking during the madness surrounding this month's collegiate basketball championship season is not who will win, but why anyone cares.

Not that I would try to stop anyone from root, root, rooting to his or her heart's content. It's just that such things are normally done by pigs, in the mud, or by seedlings, lacking a firm grip on reality — fine for them, but I am not at all sure this is something that human beings should do. In desperation, if threatened with starvation, I suppose that I would root — for dinner. But for the home team? Never.

More than a decade ago, a baseball strike canceled the season and the World Series. The first time ever, we were told in hushed tones. A national trauma. Baseball had survived world wars, cold wars, hot dogs — even night games, the designated hitter, and Astroturf — only to succumb to a labor dispute between spoiled millionaire players and even-more-spoiled billionaire owners. How could it be summer without baseball, the pundits pouted? Most portentous, how could we be us without our spectator fix?

But wait. Here is heresy indeed: Was it really such a disaster? Or is it a disaster that our current paragons have been revealed to be hormonally enhanced and ethically challenged? Or if a college team is denied a bowl slot?"