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Post Nationalism and Sports
Created by John Eipper on 11/15/19 12:23 PM

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Nationalism and Sports (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 11/15/19 12:23 pm)

When I was a boy, my father was a die-hard fan of one of the soccer teams in my hometown. I tried following in his footsteps but basically could not do it because it made no sense. However, when one year Brazil was in the final for the World Cup, I went irrational and felt the fleeting feeling of nationalism and patriotism. But once Brazil won, I knew we would be back to the same situation as before. It was only a temporary rush that had very little to do with getting a good job which allows a family to live comfortably, with good health care, good schools, etc. It was really just like eating a delicious candy bar.

To me nationalism is a similar feeling: Regardless of how miserable one's life is, with unemployment and injustices, nationalism can always thrive under the guidance of a populist leader. Take the US for example, after historically advertising that this is where the masses of disadvantaged immigrants should come for freedom and prosperity, nationalists now want to exclude these pesky minorities, and xenophobia is acceptable. What are we going to do with these undesirables? Put them in concentration camps? How about all the foreigners brought into our country because they helped the US fight wars all over the world? Do they get the same treatment?

JE referenced Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities with a question: "If nations are artificial constructs, why are people willing to die for them?" People are willing to die for things they believe in, no matter how irrational. And remember, people can believe in whatever they want, regardless of facts. Historically, I know of very few people who died for a proven scientific fact, but millions have died for abstract "isms," ideologies, religions, and other superstitions.

JE comments:  Circus is just as important as bread.  For nation-building, even more so.  In Brazil it's soccer, in Venezuela it's the beauty pageant.  Or at least this is the argument of a fascinating documentary, To Be a Miss (2016).  Has anyone in WAISworld seen it?


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  • BRICS Meeting in Brasilia (Tor Guimaraes, USA 11/17/19 3:49 AM)
    JE commented on my post of November 15th: "Circus is just as important as bread. For nation-building, even more so. In Brazil it's soccer, in Venezuela it's the beauty pageant."

    Indeed, but that might be the underlying problem with our democracy. While we engage in circus, others are taking care of business. Almost totally absent from our manipulated media, the BRICS nations are having their 11th summit this time in Brasilia, hosted by the Brazilian government.


    Their agenda seems perfectly benign and constructive for all concerned. However, in our latest circus we have two teams: one with Americans (some Republicans but mostly Democrats with various agendas) with any conscience left are desperately trying to get rid of our mentally deficient, criminally minded President. The other team, protecting the President against mounting evidence about who he really is and his un-presidential behavior, are Christian fundamentalists (can you believe it?) and other unpatriotic individuals.



    If our circus was not so detrimental socially, politically, and economically to the American nation, it could actually be interesting times. But then I looked at the last item for discussion in the BRICS summit: the development of a digital currency which I briefly discussed a few time in the immediate past as a serious threat to the US dollar as a the main reserve currency. Remember, the BRICS nations as a block represent a large portion of the world economy and growing fast as we stagnate.


    I was already worried about the Russia-China-Iran economic partnership; but now we may have to include Brazil, India, and South Africa. If this takes hold, the US dollar will lose its special status and we are toast financially as a nation. If this happens, when? What are the implications for the American people? Another Great Depression? I have no idea about the results at this time, just concerns and prayers to God the Universe to protect my grand children.


    JE comments:  Tor Guimaraes reminds us that "circus" is also slang for frenzied chaos.  Juvenal meant it as a public spectacle, as in chariot races or feeding Christians to lions.  With the impeachment hearings now on TV--the ultimate reality show?--we Americans are experiencing the circus in both senses.


    Two questions:  Is anyone in WAISworld watching the hearings?  And 2):  I hope our colleague David Fleischer in Brasilia will comment on the BRICS summit.  Before we get too rosy an image of the BRICS, we should note that at least three of the five nations are facing major crises at present.

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