Marx Was Right, Sort Of

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx described the periodic crisis of capitalism in terms of “the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces.” Marx argued that the productive forces unleashed by capitalism eventually get out of hand and the result is excess, thus collapsing the value of the means of production. The capital classes remedy this by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces, the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of existing markets.

Marx gets blamed for the 100 million or so murders committed in his name, but he did make a few insightful observations. For instance, the nature of business to ruthlessly exploit existing markets in pursuit of growth, even when it becomes self-defeating, is still true today. Similarly, business will bankrupt itself in pursuit of new markets, all in the name of growth. Much of what plagues us these days is the result of global business desperately searching for a new market to exploit. It is also at the heart of what is ailing the NFL.

A lot of people are blaming the idiotic and offensive antics of the players for the sudden drop in ratings. Football players have short careers and most end up broke soon after leaving the game, but most men envy them anyway. Boys grow up wanting to be a sports star and that admiration carries over into adulthood, long after we know the reality of sport. Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the fans and the country by kneeling during the anthem grates on people. Normal people think he is an ungrateful prick.

That may be part of the problem the NFL is facing, but my sense is the impact is trivial. Maybe it is the last straw for some people, but if you are a sports fan, you are willing to overlook the antics of the meat heads wearing your team’s colors. The individual players are not all that important to the drama. The point of professional sport is to simulate the tribal warfare for which all of us were born. Instead of defeating the neighboring tribe’s men and stealing their women, we watch our team beat their team at a ball game.

The real issue that is plaguing the NFL is they have run out of ways to separate their customers from their money. In fact, they ran out of sensible ways to do that a long time ago. That’s why they have started holding games in foreign countries. They think they can maybe find new customers to exploit. The games they hold in London, for example, cost the league millions, but they hope that Brits will get hooked on the narcotic of the NFL and cough up millions for the product. So far, no good.

As Marx observed, they are also ruthlessly trying to exploit their existing market. Go to an NFL game and you come away feeling like you have just been mugged. It’s not the absurd prices for everything. They constantly bombard the fan with marketing, because they expect the fan to commit his life to the corporate entity known as his team. Go to a Dallas Cowboy game, for example, and you are treated to a long pre-game ceremony about how you are not just a fan, you are soldier in the army of the Dallas Cowboys.

Of course, most people consume their sports via the television and that’s where you see the ravenous appetite of the NFL as they ruthlessly exploit their market. It used to be that the NFL games were played at one o’clock on Sunday afternoon. Now, there are games all day on Sunday. There’s a game on Sunday night and Monday night. Now we have a game on Thursday night. If that is not enough, there’s the NFL package for your phone, tablet and whatever else you use to consume media.

The games are now more advertising than games. As the linked article points out, the games themselves are only about 10-15 minutes of action. The rest of the presentation is fluff and most of that is advertising. There’s a play and then the refs have to hold a meeting about it. That means a break to sell product for three or four minutes. They get back to the game for a few plays and then it is time to have a break for more commercials. It’s why the Red Zone Channel is so popular. It has no ads.

The NFL is in many ways emblematic of the modern credit economy. Rich guys buy the teams on borrowed money at artificially low interest rates. They don’t really care that much about the cash flow, like a normal business. Their game is to inflate the value of the franchise over the duration of their investment. To do that means maximizing the “brand” and that costs money, which is why they load up their product with ads to the point where it is more ads than product. The NFL is a big bust out.

What’s happening to the NFL is their endless pursuit of growth has put the live product out of reach for most people. The TV version is exhausting the viewers with marketing and advertising. In an effort to fully exploit its market, it is destroying the desirability of the product. This is not exactly as Marx imagined the crisis of capitalism, but it is a good lesson on the fantasy of endless growth. The whole point of the NFL as a business is to get bigger and that cannot go on forever.

This does not mean the NFL is about to go out of business, but it serves as a useful lesson about the limits of the asset model. The modern credit economy is based on the idea that asset values can grow forever, therefore the credit base can grow forever. The NFL is based on the same premise. In both cases, the effort to keep the fantasy alive in the face of objective reality, is doing more harm than good. The question is how long does it take the people in charge to figure it out.


73 thoughts on “Marx Was Right, Sort Of

  1. I’m going to disagree with this statement: “Their game is to inflate the value of the franchise over the duration of their investment. To do that means maximizing the “brand” and that costs money,”

    If this were really true, Tim Tebow would be playing somewhere in the NFL. He is not. He would put butts in the seats for sure, and that cannot be argued with. However, they don’t want him. Why?

    I think the feminists have taken over the board rooms of the NFL. They have ruined the game with pink uniforms, homosexual glorification and other social justice crap, along with politically correct re-education of players, etc.

    I saw all this three years ago and I haven’t watched an NFL game since.

  2. Well, I was turned off by the NFL because of its cultural and political qualities, and I stopped watching and caring about it long before Kaepernick’s capers.

    Players who dance around and beat their chests after every single play is not something I enjoy in the slightest. In fact, their behavior is often obscene and always disgusting. When I was a kid, if a player behaved that way, not only would opposing players physically punish him during the next play, but his own teammates were likely to punish him in various ways. Sportsmanship seems to have almost disappeared though, and what we have now in place of it is very ugly.

    Pink shoes and other promotions by the NFL on behalf of the latest GroupThink trend are also disgusting. I disliked the loud marketing and the piling on of more advertising time, but the behavior and politicization were the worst aspects for me.

  3. I and several friends, long time fans, have pretty much stopped watching. They’ve ruined the game, the players are acting like morons, and thus its just a waste of time. Now I see Monday Night Football viewers are down 24%…

  4. Interesting that you select a legal monopoly as an example of the contradictions of capitalism. By act of Congress, the NFL is exempt from Antitrust concerns. All monopolies treat their customers like crap. There is no where else to go. Better examples of capitalism are smartphones, computers, oil production, freelance design and coding, uber (low cost high quality rides), Kmart-Amazon-Costco-Trader Joe’s. Wherever capitalism florishes prices go down and quality goes up.

  5. Kaepernick may simply be the stimulus that triggers the preference cascade. All of the negatives have been building for years, but the fans felt obligated to devote their lives to the cause of FOOTBALL!!!!! Kaepernick managed to attack the team a lot of fans support more than sports, i.e the Country. He made the mistake of giving people who were gritting their teeth to endure another four hour marathon of commercials a reason to go, “I’m not watching any more.”

  6. In addition to the observations below, I’d add another. In its efforts to maximize growth, the NFL leadership has tried ever so hard to make the game attractive to female viewers in a number of ways. Before 2008, I don’t recall an entire month of NFL teams wearing pink anything for “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Now every season we see the teams wearing pink hand towels or something else dyed pink for an entire month. Not that I have a problem with bringing awareness of a medical issue like breast cancer to the general populace’s attention. But the NFL audience is the least likely audience to really care about such a message because over 67% of the core audience is male. And starting last year, the television commercials for NFL jerseys and other stuff took on a decidedly obvious pitch toward female viewers. Given that over 2/3 of the viewership is male and many male viewers think of watching football as a fantasy replacement for actually participating in strenuous physical activities on their own, the large number of commercials drives disinterest within the core viewership. Then there is that whole “concussion crisis”, which I regard as a made up crisis but one with the very real potential to limit the future growth of the game as parents steer their children to other sports. I wrote “made up” because EVERY aspiring college football player with half a brain over the last six decades knew that playing football at the professional level would lead one to risk severe, possibly life-threatening, injuries. Football players have suffered debilitating concussions, concussion-related injuries, neck injuries, knee injuries and other crippling injuries for decades. Add in the recent political hijinks by players making tens of millions of dollars a year while bad-mouthing the political beliefs of their core audience, and you get the impression that the core audience is no longer of importance to the stake holders of the NFL. All these things together make the NFL’s growth look a lot less than a given, as shown by the decline in viewing numbers so far this season.

  7. I just wish I could find horse-racing on TV. THAT I would watch. But unfortunately we only get a few minutes before, during and after the Kentucky Derby, and a short snippet on the news about who won the Preakness and Belmont.

  8. Yeah, I couldn’t say for sure about Karl, but Tolstoy had it all down pretty good. And surprisingly relevant, still.

  9. Pingback: Marx Was Right, Sort Of | IowaDawg Musings & More

  10. As a Brit talking about gridiron it will seem that I am out of my depth, which is almost right but… I have attended both NFL games in both London and New York and also, at Wembley, went to a few of the old ill-fated London Monarchs games. So yes, I have seen it without looking solely through the lens of the TV camera (and I suspect the size of the States means a lot of fans can’t get to see an NFL game ever.) Oh yes, I was also chairman of an American football team here in the UK and bizarrely, even wrote for a British magazine dedicated to the game. Sadly my interview at being editor of the publication didn’t work out. Oh well…

    Does this make me any sort of expert? Not at all, but it interests me. What is also interesting for me as a long-time soccer fan is how sports either struggle to make ends meet or get so much money their whole raison d’être is to make even more money at any cost. Most sports in the UK can barely make ends meet and only attract small crowds (if any) in unlikely places. I used to watch a motorcycle sport called Speedway which had virtually minimal representation in a handful of large population centres and relied on its up-and-coming stars emerging from what was no more than a dirt-and-cinder track in a field in small towns. It took a tremendous dedication for anyone to make progress in that sport and naturally, never got much more than an absolutely minimal media coverage.

    Oddly, cricket, which is played on a county rather than city basis (though increasingly the county game has shed some of its smaller venues and concentrated on just one or two grounds) gets lots of media attention but attracts only small crowds at county level. Cricket tries to attract people by playing floodlit, high-scoring blasts that are over in a few hours, rather than a few days. But it still struggles for money, and no doubt envies the wealth of soccer which has both media attention and huge TV and sponsorship monies coming into the game, which allow the teams to ensure their own elevated security by spending tens of millions on foreign-born players who have despite their vast wages, zero loyalty to the places that host the teams. Sure, they kiss the team badge and make heart-shaped gestures to the fans but when their contract is up they are gone. Most spectator sports in any country rely on tribal identity, yet the ‘warriors’ of the tribes are (despite many fine words of love) just there for the loot.

    One of the gripes of footy fans here is that foreign buyers take over the clubs by borrowing money on the strength of them one day owning the club and then paying off their debts from the fans who attend along with all the TV cash that floods in. In other words, it is a circular ‘success’ and in no way connected with reality. If it was real, the fan base would — as it used to be before TV — have to build and maintain the club. Perhaps no wonder that so many people secretly yearn for a misty-eyed return to an older era, even if it had its problems back then. It won’t happen, but in the meantime there will be an over-saturation of coverage with games on the box virtually every night, yet most of them demanding a large subscription fee to watch. Slowly, there will either be a grass-roots return to the basics of the game (I get far more pleasure watching my grandson play on a Sunday morning in a park than watching my somewhat uneven professional footy team) or there will simply be no real audience at all and people will do other things entirely.

    I do get to watch some televised American Football from time to time still, but yes, the constant interruptions, ads and endless chatter from ‘experts’ puts me off. Still, can’t complain. I am watching for free, for now, even if I don’t feel as connected to the sport as I used to. Yes, I even gave away all my old NFL Yearbooks, too…

    • I’m one of the LFC fans that stood up and walked out last season in protest at price rise…it worked for now which is good.For family reasons I’ve always followed NFL as well but in spite of countless promotions and ch4 it has never taken off and never will which is goo also as I like its Americanism.

  11. It occurs to me that in a simpler time, say pre-1975, that the level of play in all sports, including football, was just as high as it is now, but the athletes were earning orders of magnitude less than subsequent generations have. And yet, if you ask any of them now, even those who ended up crippled or demented from the injuries they sustained all those years ago, if they would go back and do it all again, the answer back is variably a hearty “HELL YES”!

    Which indicates strongly that what makes sports imp[important to both the participant and the fan is factors much larger than money. Factors like excellence, and manliness, and dominance, and winning, and glory.

    It’s safe to say that there are thousands of less fortunate athletes who would gladly go out and take a snap in the NFL FOR FREE if they could just experience the glory of being there.

    But, just as our country has been destroyed by the insatiable thirst for cash, so too have our sports.So much so that an afternoon at a Bears game for a family of four, add a few beers, some hot dogs, some parking fees, and some souvenirs, and you’re looking at the cost of several car payments down the tubes. All to watch some human growth hormone riddled man-boys do something that, in that simpler time, they woulda done for basically free.

    Insanity. Like everything else anymore, insanity.

  12. I see team sports the same way I see a committee or a collective. It’s mindless and boring like Hillary rallies. I never watch any team sports. I do occasionally enjoy some one on one sports such as tennis or boxing. That is real competition. You can’t be a bench warmer in those sports. It’s all up to you.

  13. A couple of years ago I realized I was watching a bunch of thugs that turned their football skills into something big, but they were still a bunch of thugs preening for the audience with all of the canned dances and gestures. Turned it off and never looked back. Football was a different sport altogether back when I was a kid, 40 and 50 years ago.

  14. Happily, capitalism has bankruptcy for when business does stupid things. Consumers may be slow to react, but when they do it’s all over.

    Except of course for the crony capitalists who cleverly manipulate idiot politicians into subsidizing them.

    New stadium, anyone?

  15. check out <= URL they have (free) live streams for almost every pro and collegiate sports events. i will have rd zone in one window, and two different games in 2 other windows.

  16. I am in my mid 70s and Football has much less appeal than it had earlier in my life. Is it me or is it the game? At any rate I find that I can not watch a game in real time but for a few minutes as the ads unsettle me. So what doI do? I record all the games on a DVR and watch selected games or part of games using the jump buttons and fast forward feature. Most games I watch now only waste half an hour instead of the bulk of the afternoon. Actually, most games recorded are erased without watching.

    Baseball is dead to me even though I played it as a kid. I adored the game during the years I played. As a spectator I never was able to develop an interest much and as time passed only antipathy toward the game remains. I hear that the World Series still is played and Hell must have frozen over because the Cubs are reportedly involved.

    Dan Kurt

    • Oddly, as I get older, I find that baseball and hockey are about the only team sports I can get interested in anymore, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. But yeah, I’m degrees of magnitude less interested in sports than I was in my teens, 20’s and 30’s.

  17. In business 30 or so years ago we called it the greater fool theory. Worked pretty well until you ran out of fools.

  18. No one is compelled to attend or watch any NFL game or to buy any NFL mugs (or a Ford or GM car, or a specific brand of cereal or coffee, etc.) .
    If someone does not like watching 2 hours and 45 minutes of advertising to glimpse 15 minutes of action watching an NFL game, here is an idea; don’t watch the F’n game .
    Don’t like spending 5 bucks for watered down stadium beer? Then don’t buy it or don’t go to the game.
    I do not have to read the US Constitution to know that watching a sport is not mentioned in that document.
    People still have the right (fast disappearing) to make their own choices.

    Companies come and go, rise and fall, start or fail for all sorts of reasons; it has always been that way. How many companies that were in the original Dow Jones Industrial Average are still extant (GE for sure, and …?). Look what happened to those iconic, Nifty Fifty firms like Xerox, Kodak, Polaroid, etc. Railroads used to be the Googles and Apples of their day. Pan Am Airlines used to be the primo airline company. What happened to Nash and Pierce Arrow and Dusenberg automobiles? Where are the McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed commercial aircraft?

    Consumers and/or other customers, over the long haul, decide the fate of companies (unless our criminal, tyrannical, illegitimate Federal govt. intervenes and shuts down a company or an entire industry by edict or imposing it’s brilliant trade deals).

    As for the NFL, something is going on. It’s one thing to max out their revenues (not accompanied by a decline in revenue), and quite another to experience a downward trend in revenues. My guess it that the average fan – white guys – see millionaire black players bitching about how white america is screwing them over, when, at it’s most basic level, it is the white male football fan is literally paying that millionaire black player’s salary,

    Maybe the average white male football fan is exercising his white privilege by not watching football on TV as often. If a few black players can exercise their Constitutional Rights ( a document written by rich, white guys) then maybe football fans – mostly white males – can also exercise their own white privilege by watching less black football (after all, the NFL and the NBA are essentially black leagues).

    • “5 bucks for watered down stadium beer”

      Haven’t been to a game for a while have you? Last time I was at the a stadium, swill like Coors lite was $9. Sam Adams and such was $12. I decided I wasn’t thirsty.

      What really pissed me off was the parking fee – after I paid a couple hundred dollars for tickets, I got to the Meadowlands and was extorted for another $20 (for a college game!) for the privilege of parking my car.

      • Amen. When I went to a 49er’s pre-season game, the prices made me feel like I had to take out a second mortgage to afford the experience. If people are willing to pay for it, go be it. But not for this guy. That is ridiculous.

        And the thing about legacy ticket owners also left a bad taste in my mouth with people on waiting lists for season tickets forever.

    • I think you could be missing an important point. (And I’m thinking about baseball here, rather than football). Going to a game was one of the ways that people of all sorts came together. We used to have a lot of ways to do that. You could see a game, go to watch a movie, attend a social club like the Masons, even attend a political rally. All of those things help build community. Sitting at home, staring at a screen builds isolation.

      When my late husband was a boy in Vallejo, his folks let him take the bus to Candlestick Park. He could even stay for double-headers. It was a safe place for a kid and inexpensive. Now, the owners care less if average Americans can afford to go. Back in the day, the owners understood that you wanted to grow that future audience. I don’t see that television has the same effect.

      • A possibly apocryphal story: Sherry Robertson, Calvin Griffith’s brother, was head of stadium operations for the Twins in the pre-Metrodome days. It was reported to him that there were kids sneaking into the park through the CF fence. His response was something like “there should be a place in every ballpark for where kids can sneak in”. That was when Calvin ran the club, and was widely derided for his cheapness. I can’t imagine anyone in a position of authority in pro sports saying that today.

    • It’s very true that companies rise and fall, and it’s a natural process. But the companies you list were replaced by others, who did what they did better or cheaper, or because they had something newer that made the old products obsolete. What is replacing major league football? There isn’t a new game sweeping the nation, people haven’t turned to other football producers who can provide a better, cheaper game. It’s just… withering. Things can change: populations age, demographics alter, and things that once were popular cease to be so, but that usually takes time. This is much faster, which is why it’s noticeable. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression, it feels like something has changed abruptly,

      • The young are kinder and gentler. They don’t drive, and they don’t really watch sportsball because it’s mean and dangerous. Video games.are the new football.

        Now that consumer virtual reality rigs are becoming available, they will soon essentially displace all broadcast sportsball. No danger of concussion and best of all girls can play!

      • I go to my son’s High School games (Varsity on Friday night or Saturday / JV on Monday) then maybe catch some college football. By Sunday I’ve had enough. I find the High School and college far more interesting than the slow / soulless NFL games.

        • My boys are out of the house- but I live down the street from the stadium of a good D III team. Quite enjoyable.

    • what is so stupid about their antics is that “they” are not being screwed over as you say, but they are supposedly upset about things that happened some 150 years ago up until the Civil Rights Act that game them special status. Maybe it is the “special” status that grates on them. That in itself is racist.

  19. I remember the movie BASEketball lampooning the downfall of professional sports and it made many of the same points. The NFL like many other successful enterprises (countries?) before has believed that their growth trend is permanent. It isn’t.

  20. IMHO, the ‘cult of growth’ in business really took off when ‘professional’ (i.e. not owner) management became widespread in the ’60’s. This happened because founders’ children, many of them having no skills, yet hoping to become trustafarians, realized that they could cash out their ownership for vast credit-money fortunes by taking the firm public via IPO.

    The stock price multiplier of reported earnings is driven by earnings’ (hence sales) growth rates. Despite the mathematical absurdity that most of the exchange-traded firms’ sales would exceed the entire GDP within the lifetime of a person now living were they able to maintain their stockmarket-projected growth rates, this just is. And while multiples move up and down there is no sign of this fundamental relationship changing.

    The obvious ‘principle-agent problem’ inherent in non-owner professional management was supposed to be solved by giving them stock options, magically inducing founder-type long-term outlook. However, short-term growth drives up stock multiples, hence option values, hence manager wealth. Guess what happens_? No prizes if you said growth at all costs.

    AND Crony Socialism seeks to eliminate the prospect of failure if you’re ‘in the cloud’. Look for a replay of ’08.

  21. I remember 7 or 8 years ago, Rush Limbaugh was getting involved in a plan to buy a pro football team, when he was very noisily dumped for PC reasons. He was mad at the time, but maybe now he’s figuring they dindus did him a favor.

  22. In the 80’s, teams often ran completely different schemes. The 49ers were totally different from the Bears on both sides of the ball – and both were great teams.

    Now they all do exactly the same thing on both sides of the ball – BORING! College is more fun to watch.

    • Football is also dumbing down aspects to account for the lack of quarterbacks. College has done the same thing, but the vast differences in talent make it less obvious. The league truly believes fans want to see Cam Newton running all over the field, rather than Tom Brady running a complex passing attack. I think they are very wrong.

      • I would prefer to watch Newton run around – it’s fun to guess when he’ll try cutting back at the wrong time and a linebacker breaks all his ribs.

        Watching a mediocre QB do a Tom Brady impression is boring as hell. My eyes glaze over after a half-dozen 5-yard passes.

  23. “the effort to keep the fantasy alive in the face of objective reality, is doing more harm than good.”

    This almost rises to the status of an axiom in the modern world. This desire for expensive play-acting certainly brought down the Soviet Union, as the were still pouring billions of rubles into dead-end shitholes like Cuba and North Korea, and gangs of losers like the FMLN and CPUSA in the name of a fantasy “World Revolution”, even as their country was going bankrupt. It also played a role in the fall of the British Empire as well. It very obviously destroyed the Republican Party, and is in the process of driving the Democrats mad, as we all see. The Deng Reforms in China can be seen as a sudden, partial return to the reality principle after China was almost destroyed by the deadly fantasies of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. A very interesting observation, indeed.

  24. 1. I’m a Patriots fan and I tried to watch the game on Sunday against the Steelers. The ads were overwhelming as the linked article described. Since I own a remote control, I often turned to other channels during the endless commercials and forgot to turn back for the brief segments of action.

    If I can’t stick with a game I care about, how could they expect me to watch a game I don’t care about just for entertainment?

    2. Smart businesses realize there is a limit to growth. At a certain point, management should replace growth targets with operating margin targets. The hyper-aggressive guys leave in a huff and find another business while shareholders get bigger dividend payments rather than capital appreciation.

    • This is what happens to me. I’ll turn on a game and then drift away during the endless commercials and forget to come back. When I do flip back, it’s another commercial. I now just put the Red Zone on and listen while doing other things.

      • I play a game of trying to judge when a commercial is over and then flip back. I’m pretty good at it and can watch a few things at once. Sometimes I can watch ten to twelve plays in a row without ever seeing them huddle up, which is just down time while the announcers blab. Then I get bored and forget to flip back or realize that it’s pretty much all commercials all the time and go back to reading something, or daydreaming which is a lost art and I think very healthy.

      • I bought a Tivo box a few years back and it has saved me to watch OTA golf or baseball or football. I record it and go do other things… then start watching about an hour in.. usually works for football to zap all commercial breaks. But for football, I only watch the Cowboys this season. Maybe they’ll continue to win? heh.

    • Also a Pats fan. I must confess that my favorite bit is coach Belichick’s post-game interview. The contempt he dispalys toward the media is both an inspiration and a comfort to me.

  25. I recently came across the Chinese Arena Football League on a cable channel. Apparently the NFL wants to expand into the Chinese market.

  26. The question is how long does it take the people in charge to figure it out.

    The old guys I started out with in business would have “taken a bath” years ago. You’re right. Low interest credit plus quasi-legal crap like what went on at Enron have made this go on way too long. It won’t be pretty when it ends. When we’re digging out of the financial rubble, will we have businessmen and policy makers that have a real understanding of risk anymore?

    • The fact that credit is now used as collateral suggests the end game is a mass, universal default where everyone starts at zero again.

        • Probably. While we’re on Marx…his term for bankers (“the roving cavaliers of credit”) was spot on.

  27. It was the baseball strike that was my wake up call…that was the end of any interest in commercial organized team sports for me. As much as I dislike TV and rarely watch, I do appreciate being able to watch incredible individual feats of human skill and daring in alternate activities like…..most of Red Bulls endeavors….and having been a huge fan of boxing in its heyday I’m REALLY happy that Dana White and the UFC elevated the “no holds barred” fight game…from the gutter. For me its the quintescence of what we are subconsciously after, instead of using the analogs of “competitive” team sports as Z pointed out.
    Not to mention that I just can’t figure out where I can find the 4 hours to plop down and watch a 1 hour “game”….. OR, multiple games……that being said, in all fairness, I’ve also envied and been somewhat incredulous as to how someone was able to sit on their porch and read the Sunday papers or a book all afternoon……Of course maybe my Phd level A.D.D has something to do with that…….

  28. Marx was right about history being the history of class struggle, too. I’m not sure the people in charge actually will ever figure it out, as something like “false consciousness” takes over lots of people when they get hooked on a lifestyle. Cf. the Kevin Williamsons of the world – he worked so hard to get into (what he thinks is the) Tastemaking Class that he’ll be preaching Diversity and Equality even as the dindus are putting a gasoline-soaked tire around his neck. And since we’re giving scumbag Lefties credit for the one thing they got right, Barack Obama had some words of wisdom, too: “At some point, I think you’ve made enough money.” If Goodell et al could realize that they’ve got three yachts already and nobody has ever needed a fourth, they could live like kings forever. But they’ll end up living under a bridge (or dangling from a lamppost) because they couldn’t stop going after that fourth one. Call it “income-induced dementia” and put it in the DSM…. then lock up politicians, pundits, and academia in the psych ward.

    • Thanks for the one BO remark that made sense! It struck a chord for me, because I’ve always believed wealth was owning your time, not piling up stuff. I set myself a savings goal while working as an equities trader and when I hit it, I quit the same day (age 51) and never looked back, while colleagues laughed and sneered. Own my house and land outright, drive (seldom) a 16-yr-old car, grow a lot of my own food and seldom spend more than $600/mo in a beautiful spot in South America. Happier than I’ve ever been and would love to be able to live under a bridge like the great Tosui. Stopped watching sports after the Rangers finally won the Stanley Cup (’93?).

      Once one stops wanting stuff, class struggle is left to others. That notwithstanding, I’d love to see the bankers taken down and believe Ellen Brown has the right idea with respect to how it should be done.

    • The problem, the error in Obama’s comments about making too much money , is that you are allowing someone else to decide for you what exactly is too much. Once you forgo the right to decide for yourself what is too much (or what to say, how to think, etc, ), well, you will become a slave of the elites; you will lose your individual rights.
      As far as making too much $$$, please tell me how Steve Jobs becoming a billionaire, impeded or prevented anybody else from striving for and achieving their own goals??
      And who decides what is too much? Why should anybody else have that power?
      Of course, Obama is a liar and a hypocrite; his wife has no problem wearing $10,000 dresses and he has no problem living like royalty. Obama has no right- moral or political – to tell anybody else what they should earn or own.

      As for those folks who own 5 yachts , guess what? They have to pay folks to maintain them and maybe even operate them; which provides employment for others. And they certainly paid for the yachts which were built by carpenters, electricians, etc – who got paid for their services. Yep, building, buying and owning five yachts provides income for a lot of folks.

      You will note that the liberal elite New England blue bloods (e.g., Roosevelt’s) or the Royalty of Europe, never, ever had a problem about their own wealth. After all, they INHERITED their wealth and by virtue of their blood line, education and social standing, they truly believed they DESERVED their wealth.
      What really pissed them off, and IMHO led to the various anti-trust laws of the late 1800s, early 1900s, was the emergence of super wealthy entrepreneurs (Carnegie, Vanderbilt, etc. ) who, by virtue of the “wrong” social standing, wrong blood lines, wrong educational attainment, amassed wealth equal to or far in excess of the elites who “deserved” their wealth. And this really really pissed off the elites.
      And in amassing this wealth, the undeserving, uncouth ruffians disrupted the cozy business / commercial / political regime that allowed the elites to maintain and grow their own wealth and power. After all, ordinary folks could now choose to take Vanderbilt’s sail boat taxi to Manhattan instead of the politically “approved” ferries owned by the elites, and save money doing so.
      God forbid anybody should allow the common man to have choices not mandated by the elites.

      • Jake Gittes: How much are you worth?
        Noah Cross: I have no idea. How much do you want?
        Jake Gittes: I just wanna know what you’re worth. More than 10 million?
        Noah Cross: Oh my, yes!
        Jake Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can’t already afford?
        Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gittes! The future.

    • I’m a fairly short woman, but if the dindus are willing to have Williamson bend a bit, I’ll gladly light the tire. I just hope they bring enough for everyone…

  29. Yesterday I checked to see how much a World Series ticket costs. The cheapest I saw was over $700. I attended all three World Series when they were played in Oakland back in 1972,73 and 74. I don’t recall the exact ticket prices but I never paid more than $20 for a ticket (a box seat cost $4.50 during the regular season back then).

    Baseball doesn’t watch well on TV. Screen too small and doesn’t capture the game well. But the inning breaks are perfect for the advertisers. Pitching changes also work well for ad time. But now they’ve added instant replay to review calls by the umpires and are headed in the same direction as the NFL.

    I don’t watch much sports on TV any more. The NBA is a game of genetic freaks bounding and leaping up and down while stuffing a ball into a hole. Hockey might as well be from Mars as far as I am concerned. AS for the NFL the anthem thing was the last straw for me. Just as you pointed out I became sick and tired of ads running every 5 minutes and the hot-dogging after even routine plays and lack of sportsmanship and grace this demonstrates is disgusting and I found myself quickly looking away from the screen to avoid having to watch such antics. The anthem thing is the last straw. I haven’t watched any NFL games this year and doubt I will watch any in the future.

    • I mostly listen to baseball games. I can then work on something else and perk up when the announcer’s voice ticks up or I hear the crowd roar.

      • Developed a life long affinity for baseball on radio from listening to Cubs games on WGN on my grandparents farm downstate, then we would listen to night games on the clear channel stations like KMOX. Cable TV hadn’t come through and could barely pick up the Chicago stations. That and Paul Harvey at noon “dinner”.

        • Baseball is a great radio sport. The structure of the game makes it easy to create the mental image based on the play-by-play. In the South, people listen to car races on the radio, which sounds crazy at first, but when you think about it makes sense.

    • Desert Rat, ,prices are higher for post season baseball. Inflation since the 70’s in baseball prices is straight up. Your example is really unfair though…. this current series is between to large-market teams who have large fan bases and both are storied. This Cubs / Indians series is a one-off, and likely worth every penny to any long-time fan to go to at whatever price.

      We’re all gonna die and you can’t take your money with you.. attending a great event makes life rich… whatever your interests are. I really enjoy baseball. I listen to it on radio mostly now as I don’t have cable anymore. I enjoy every game I go to, though it’s not more than a few times a year because they are expensive.

      • The reserve clause was still in effect in the early 70’s. Paying even marginal players 6 and 7 figure salaries (and superior players 7 and even 8 figure salaries) has, I suspect, more to do with ticket prices than inflation.

  30. Don’t forget the NFL wants to add 2 more regular season games — on top of the stupid ass pre-season pretend games. Even though half the players in the league are out of action by the time playoffs roll around. One of the things I love about soccer (save your ignorant parochial comments please) is they let the game continue without interruption for the entire half (45 minutes) even on NBC! The top players can put a ball downfield, further, faster, and with more accuracy, than any NFL QB can.

    • My “ignorant parochial comment” is that kickball bores the living shit out of me. My gratitude at being allowed to express it in your august presence is virtually inexpressible.

      • I’m dying….ding, ding, ding! And we have a winner, comeback of the year to Mr. De Witt. Just Glorious.

  31. I used to pay for the Red Zone. Quit that because of some PC crap I can’t even remember now. Went back to watching a few games and trying my best to boycott as much commentary as possible. Kept watching fewer and fewer games. Then Kaepernick. I haven’t watched a down this year even on replay. Not even college, because the universities are even more PC than the NFL (one exception: went to one game I was invited to by friends who worship their school. Clapped for their team, all the while hoping they would lose because the school is one of the most PC in the nation. Their team of universal dinduosity lost to a bunch of slow, but disciplined white guys. You’ll never know how difficult it was not to walk out of the place with a huge grin).
    As far as I’m concerned sporstball is dead. I’m even starting to wonder about MMA. Already dropped UFC. Only reason I watch that is to have something to get my blood up for a workout.
    I think much of the problems with the NFL is not market saturation, but the poison of elite culture. The original reason for sport, a substitute for the combat of champions, remains the biggest reason for its success. It has tribal appeal. And that appeal can cross ethnic boundaries as was illustrated even in Roman times, where barbarian gladiators could be heroes. But those barbarians didn’t go around hating on their Roman fans, either. Or wearing pink grieves.
    As for Marx, once you get past all of the nonsense and hate he says some interesting things. But once you start reading authors like Robert Tucker, Thomas Sowell and Leszek Kolakowski you find that very little is original, most is derivative and that the original stuff is the most nonsensical.

  32. I became disinterested in all professional sports once free agency was introduced. I was no longer expected to root for a team of players as much as i was expected to root for the franchise which now consists of a revolving door of disposable players.

    I was further disinterested when individual players decided that they had to conduct an elaborate celebration of their individual accomplishments during games. They became more self-absorbed entertainers than athletes. And the teams and leagues encouraged this despite the ‘excessive celebration’ penalty.

      • That wasn’t all that bad for me. It was just another bit of fluff added to the already fluff heavy broadcasts. And then there are the commercials required to finance these huge productions.

        For something refreshing and nostalgic, purchase the NFL Films: Legends of Autumn DVD volumes. I saw many of these games years ago and yet I enjoy seeing them repeatedly versus not being able to make it through a single modern sports broadcast.

  33. Here’s to hoping it goes down in flames. In fact, all TV sports should down in flames. (In fact, all TV should go down in flames.) If men want sports, it should be in an active participatory capacity. Meaning a pick-up game of something or other at the nearest field.

    Let’s kill the lobotomy box and make sports real again.

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