Noam Chomsky on Spectator Sports

-- Brandon Bird: "Signifier and Signified", 2006.

Well, in our society, we have things that you might use your intelligence on, like politics, but people really can't get involved in them in a very serious way--so what they do is they put their minds into other things, such as sports. You're trained to be obedient; you don't have an interesting job; there's no work around for you that's creative; in the cultural environment you're a passive observer of usually pretty tawdry stuff; political and social life are out of your range, they're in the hands of the rich folk. So what's left? Well, one thing that's left is sports--so you put a lot of the intelligence and the thought and the self-confidence into that. And I suppose that's also one of the basic functions it serves in the society in general: it occupies the population, and keeps them from trying to get involved with things that really matter. In fact, I presume that's part of the reason why spectator sports are supported to the degree they are by the dominant institutions.

Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky


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