The Trouble With America Is The N.F.L.

Well, to be more correct, the trouble is not only the NFL, but the MLB and NBA as well. It’s the way they and the networks present themselves to us. The way they — their cameras, their instant playbacks, their announcers, their color men — have now become a dazzling virtual reality in contrast to the actual reality out on the field. You doubt it…? Watch the fans in the stands watching the game on their portable TV sets…!

When 50 years ago Marshall McLuhan told us the medium-is-the-message, lot of us didn’t get it. Today, we’re getting it 24/7. Not only do we watch games via the multi-million-dollar virtual reality of network sportscasting…we’ve taken to watching our entire world this way. And if you doubt it, well that shows just how much you now assume the virtual is the actual.

Don’t get me wrong. I like zoom cameras, closeup shots, instant replays and expert coverage from the booth just like the next fan. Only now — may I impute just like you — now I’m totally addicted to this version of reality. Going to a game these days, I miss the replays and especially the explanations.

Notice, though, how this has become the way we experience almost everything.

A president gives an address, and off camera “experts” are there to tell us what he’s about to say, what he just said, and what he really meant to say but couldn’t so that’s why we have a super-special Washington insider in the booth to tell us!

Then there’s Congress. CNN and C-SPAN will let you see the actual action, but hey, that takes time and effort. Better to see the 5:30 news clips where the news anchors can tell me what I might have seen and how I should think about what I might seen but didn’t because I was waiting till 5:30 for some “expert” to take me by the brain and walk me along the path to truth.

Lets face it, my fellow-sheep, today’s virtual reality makes actual reality far more interesting! more convenient! more bite-sized! more pre-digested!

You know what’s big these days on television and in the movies…? That’s right: Zombies. And do you know why…? Here’s my theory: We like looking at ourselves.

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  • As far as Congress is concerned, it's the inaction they analyze for infinitum.

  • Aquinas ~ Painfully true. Watching paint peel is usually more interesting than watching Congress wasting our time and taxes. 'Tis been so since the very first Congress. How do we escape the madness???

  • In reply to Jack Spatafora:

    shut off the cameras

  • In reply to Curtis Shaw Flagg:

    Great idea! This will of course leave 100 million men with nothing to do on Sundays...

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