Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slouching Away From Prosperity: Dan's Perspective

A blogger I follow, Herrick Kimball - the Deliberate Agrarian, recently posted some thoughts about the effect of the current economic situation on the world of pro sports. Another blogger followed up with some thoughts that included not only sports, but actors as well.
Here's the low down. You see, none of the people in our country are gonna make it if the current landslide continues. Sports, movies, or any other entertainment that relies on corporate sponsorship to keep it up and running. Here's why:
Of course all of NASCAR is corporate sponsored. I mean, look at their cars, they're rolling billboards, for crying out loud. Football teams, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis... they all get corporate sponsorship. Now, companies are beginning to hurt, there just isn't as much extra money going around for them to throw at these things, so they begin to pull out. As a result, events get cancelled, or at least aren't aired on the boob-tube (tv), the fans get frustrated and everything goes to pot. Movies are about the same. It takes a lot of money to make a movie, and many actors are just so WAY stupid over-paid (like their sporting counterparts), it isn't funny. Many of them could run a small nation on what they make for one movie. Fortunately, I'm not red-neck enough for NASCAR woes to bother me any.
I've never been a sport fan. That's not to say that I hate or loathe sports. I have been known to enjoy a day at the baseball game (Indianapolis Indians - minor league). But when you're actually at the game, you don't have to watch the game if you get bored. You can laugh at the drunk making a fool of himself three rows down. That said, my motto has always been "Football fields were made for band practice". So the potential demise of sports franchises doesn't really bother me. As a matter of fact, there have been some years that I've deliberately kept myself ignorant of the names of the teams playing in that greatest of sporting worship services, the Superbowl. Last year, I couldn't have cared less that the Colts won. And that's nearly heresy living here in Terre Haute, where the big boys come to camp each summer. (Yeah, that's a lot of fun... a whole month of nonsense).
Movies, I like. But not enough to be all upset if they slow down making them. It's been more than six months since I went to a movie, and that was "Prince Caspian". They're in the theater such a short time now anyway, it's like you'd have to go every week to see them all, if there were actually that many worth seeing - which there aren't. Fact is, I usually rent movies, and rarely a movie that I've not seen before, or at least heard good reviews for. So, I wouldn't be hurt if Brad, or Tom, or Angelina, or Julia, or George... couldn't afford their bazillion dollar house in the hills (if it hasn't burned down yet). I don't begrudge them their lives. But excess in anything is never good - we call it gluttony.
I've always kind of resented professional athletes for their often money grubbing ways, threatening to strike if they don't get so many more millions, etc. Actors and actresses that make millions per movie, for what? Play acting! And some of them not that well. Yes, you can argue that each of them, athletes or actors, have taken their skills to a higher level and should be compensated in kind. But at what expense? What about America's educators? I home school, but I still think that teachers should be paid a lot more for their work. There's just no arguing that. What about the homeless shelters and free clinics that take care of thousands of poor and needy every year? Some of those places barely keep their doors open. What about ministries and organizations STILL working to rebuild homes and lives after Hurricane Katrina, and now in Texas after this summer's hurricane?
Here's an idea.... How about we make a rule that caps the salary of all actors and athletes (of whatever flavor you like) at $1 million a year. I think that's being pretty doggone generous. If they want more money to live on, they can go get a job in the off season and work like the rest of us. Any money they generate over that goes to charity. Yes, that's way oversimplified, but you get my meaning.
So what will Americans do if their favorite team isn't on tv each week (sorry Keetha and Greg)? Some may go back to other forms of entertainment - bootlegging, cock-fighting... eh, maybe not. But perhaps more people will discover the library. Maybe folks will decide to learn a new craft, plant a garden, spend time with family... Well, that's probably being too hopeful. I'm sure the TV gurus will find more inane blather to fill the time with. But I can hope.
For anyone offended and wonder just what I do for fun... I read books, garden, knit, cook, preserve food, listen to music, and watch movies from time to time. On a less frequent basis, I go camping and hiking, fishing, and spend time outdoors. I'm not saying we shouldn't have pro sports or movies, not saying that at all. But there's just too much real living to do to pay someone else to watch them do it for me. If I wanted sports, I could go play a pick-up game myself.
I suppose the summary of all of this is: Everything in moderation. What does it say about us as a nation that the potential for the economy to really hurt pro sports makes us so upset?
To read the original posts, go here, or here. As an aside, I know the pic at the top of the page is from Norway. But I thought it just looked funny... NASCARs sliding down a ski slope.


rob said...

What are 'the Colts' ? ;)
Great post. I added you to the spinoff series. You can take a look over at;

Great job, I hope this catches on, it has been very fun so far.

Melonie said...

Came across your blog via Wildcraft. Just had to say I SO agree with you here. I think we'd be a lot further away from a gazillion dollar bailout if the actors and singers and athletes dumped their millions into the kitty. But that leads me into wondering - how much are they actually *paid* and how much do they actually *keep*? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that their millions are actually in credit lines and what isn't is locked in real estate and luxury vehicles that nobody can afford but other actors, singers and athletes.

Great blog. I'll be back!!! (No actor-turned-politician pun there, I promise.)