Super Bowl and Election 2012: Panem, Circenses and Brainwashing

Panem and Circenses ( Bread and Circuses) described the methods used by Roman Caesars to exert control on the populace and distract the masses from important matters of public affairs, policies and society by having them feast and watch gladiators fight to the death in Roman arenas. Little has changed in 2,000 years, and if  America can be compared to the Roman empire of today, its rulers and media associates are still using similar ploys and tools to brainwash most people into oblivion.

The Super Bowl, being held today, has higher ratings than any other TV broadcasts. It is truly the quintessence of American “culture”. It is violent, flashy, showcase some sexy cheerleaders during breaks in the game and just like the Roman games has a lot more brawl than brain. In a nutshell, it is a representation of what most Americans would want to be but are not or would want to have but have not. Top football players are on multi-million dollar a year contracts and are huge celebrities. Unlike gladiators, who were expendable slaves, the media and the public adoration has given top athletes almost a god status. After all, they have what most Americans want: fortune and fame, and all the “trimmings” going with it. Even if a large proportion of Americans are barely scrapping by, they still want to be entertained by a bunch of extremely overpaid athletes which achievement in life consist of being big, fast and able to either throw or catch a ball.

This would not be such a problem if  the politics of distraction applied by US mainstream media wasn’t across the board and around the clock. But just like the fascination from the “gods like” football players of today’s super bowl hypnotizes Americans by making them “comfortably numbs”, the US election, getting furiously in gear with the GOP primaries, is part of the same circus. The circus of politics as a farce, as a distraction. I could write an article today and entitle it: Breaking news- Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination. And even so I am not a gambling man, the odds of me losing this kind of bet would be minute. In this sort of  cynical, but realistic, perspective where one can predict American politics way ahead of the “game”, I could also easily lay out, way before November, something called: Breaking news-Obama get reelected for a 2nd term.

In our system which is neither a democracy nor a republic but rather a pluto-oligarchy, politics seem to be pre-ordained, as if going to the polls didn’t really matter that much. Intuitively and unfortunately, Americans have resigned themselves to the fact that their voices would not be heard, yet one more time. Some have managed to stay engaged with the Occupy movement despite a more or less complete blackout from mainstream media, but most would rather get their daily feeding of the talking points that they want to hear. Citizens, and it is not only in the United States, are confusing talking points and news, they are confusing politics with endless charades, and they have been played in such a way for decades. The Super Bowl is a giant circus just like American politics, but at least the outcome is slightly less predictable, and have far less consequences. May be one day, Americans will want more than just be entertained, either by athletes, celebrities or politicians, and instead they will want to get involved and do what needs to be done to take charge of their own destiny.


One Response to Super Bowl and Election 2012: Panem, Circenses and Brainwashing

  1. Tammy Marchand February 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Great article, Gilbert. Unfortunately, Americans have become spectators and the worse kind. They stand still in the middle of the road watching a great big 18 wheeler quickly approaching them. And all that they do – if their eyes are opened – is say, “Wow! Look at that big truck! It’s getting closer and closer!” They won’t move out of the way to save their own butts. They are passengers on the 1%’s American Dream.

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