Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

AND NOW FOR THE NFL

I played football in high school and followed it for many years on TV thereafter but gave it up in the 1980s when it seemed to become more about corporate profits than sports and also started to become more brutal. When I played smashing your head directly into another player's head was considered a bad move, not because you could get a concussion, because the newer helmets supposedly prevented that, but because it was a move that could too easily be avoided and/or might miss stopping the other player. You were supposed to use your arms and shoulders for tackling and blocking and etc...

I've been the same weight since I was fifteen, between 145 and 150, but there was a brief period in my Hollywood years when someone convinced me I'd get more work as an actor if I beefed up and got muscular so I worked with a trainer five days a week, a combination of aerobics and weights and ate a body builder's diet (a pile of pancakes with eight scrambled egg yolks and a half a chicken was the breakfast) and as a result put on fifteen pounds of pure muscle.

I hated the way it made me feel, my upper arms seemed too tight against my torso etc., but the women seemed to like it. It didn't lead to what was predicted and I eventually injured myself when the weights got too heavy and went back to my old style not worrying about it and back to my natural weight (doctors would always tell me, as they have my two sons over the course of our lives, that we're underweight until I say I've been this weight since I was fifteen as my boys have also been very slim but toned and strong, ant men I call us, and then the docs would say, never mind).

The reason I bring this up is because the trainer, an Eastern European body builder who claimed to have worked for the CIA, would warn me after every session that the workout had increased my testosterone so I should be careful when I left the gym because if someone bumped into me accidentally I might overreact.

Point being, the violence in football, particularly in the NFL, that I noticed began increasing in the '80s and has grown, like the players, to unheard of proportions, which is obviously encouraged and promoted and even enhanced with drugs etc. also produces men whose testosterone is out of control so that they overreact to the slightest provocation, like a woman giving them a problem or even striking them, a la Ray Rice.

But like too many cops in this country—as so many Internet videos and photos show—instead of being trained to recognize the potential for violent outbursts as a result of their physical training, these football players have been instead too often protected from their overreactions by corporate NFL money and power, until the Ray Rice scandal.

My friend RJ Eskow has a great column that connects all that to the ridiculousness of the NFL being a "non profit" corporate entity that doesn't have to pay taxes and in which the economic inequality between the bosses and workers is more extreme than in the rest of the economy. Check his post out here.

As for football the way it's run and played now, especially in the NFL, somewhere in the future people will look back, hopefully, and wonder what the feck "Americans" were thinking, or else just figure like the Roman Empire and its gladiators, we weren't thinking but instead were being distracted while the rulers took all the money and power until the empire collapsed on itself...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CLIMATE MARCH NYC

So the first thing we noticed when we arrived on 72nd Street to join the climate march maybe ten or fifteen minutes before it was supposed to start was that there were already many hundreds of people stopped a ways before Central Park West, the street the parade was starting from. And hundreds more walking with us, and hundreds more coming behind us that over the next while became well over a thousand...

So when the Wall Street Journal and local network news shows and other media outlets said later today that "thousands" had marched, they must have been talking about the people we were among on 72nd Street and forgetting about the people packed like sardines into Central Park West from 59th Street to 87th Street waiting for the march to start, let alone the thousands like us waiting to feed into the march on many other cross streets...

We also noticed that the helicopter(s) that flew overhead every now and then that caused the crowd to wave their banners and hands at whoever was in them, most people assuming they were news helicopters, actually seemed to be police copters, which I would guess is correct since the news stations that covered the march, and most of them pretty cursorily, had no shots from above, which would have laid to rest any doubts about the march only containing "thousands" pretty quickly...

Fortunately there were other news outlets that called the crowd at closer to a hundred thousand...also off but at least more honest than most...and then there were the ones that said it was the biggest climate march in history, over three hundred thousand, which sounded much closer...

...if you were in that crowd from 59th to 87th (or for all I know even further north given the size of the crowds lower down Central Park West) with the pressure of the feeder street crowds making the crowd at that time packed solid, you could count for yourself...or just notice that it took two hours for the march to move on 72nd Street after it began moving at 59th Street, because there were that many people flowing in from the feeder cross streets, and that many packed into those thirteen city blocks...

(You can see just from the shot above of the beginning of the march how many people were there, that doesn't even show the width of the street and yet I can count close to forty people across and right behind them, pressing in on them at that point is another forty to fifty, and so on, every foot or so for almost thirty city blocks, and that doesn't count the thousands on each feeder street...I know entire families that left before they even got onto Central Park West because they'd been waiting so long, and many more who dropped out once they got to 59th from twenty or more blocks away after waiting for many hours and then slowly making their way down the parade route, etc.)...

But that wouldn't be what you'd most likely be paying attention to, that would be the jubilant and determined spirit of the crowd, of all ages and ethnicities and sizes and shapes and styles and etc. yet united in the belief that the time for talking is over and there needs to be action taken to stop the corporate and government abuse of the planet and it's atmosphere...(with so many great handmade signs—like "THERE IS NO PLANET B"—and costumes and musical instruments etc...)

...I know, easier said than done, but if history is any indicator, the next step will be to not just march in a festive if committed-to-the-cause spirit on a foggy, humid, but lovely last day of summer Sunday when the city is mostly at rest, but instead to march on a week day when it will disrupt the business of the city and the state, of the country and the world...tough thing to pull off but it will be necessary if things continue as they are...

For now, today's demonstration showing how many people care enough about the earth and what corporate greed is doing to it and all on it (though the 1% do get to avoid some of the worst effects of climate change and all that contributes to it, i.e. drought, fracking, factory farms, etc....) to get together to protest the lack of urgency in governments and corporations that thrive on the profits of the very industries that are destroying the earth and the atmosphere....

...and who came even from other countries, or joined equally committed and determined protesters in cities all around the globe (something every news report I watched tonight ignored) or just traveled longer distances than me and my teenage son and his mother and some friends did from Jersey (there were native Americans from reservations in the far and mid West, as well as poverty activists from urban centers in the East, etc.)....

...just to be among so many like-minded and like-spirited people was a joy and a privilege, for which I will be always grateful...just to have experienced the moment when every one of those more than three hundred thousand people stood in silence to mark all of our concern for the earth and its atmosphere and then to hear the distant roar of the crowd slowly moving up from 59th Street to where we were on 72nd until it passed right through us as we joined in it and could hear it moving further up the parade route...

...it's too late and I'm too tired, or my brain is, to describe that experience as accurately as I'd like, but it's an experience I have never had quite like that but would love to again...only next time let's make it a million people...

[PS: For a great shot of some of the march, from high up in a building on Central Park West, click here... and scroll to the bottom]