Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Sporting Socialism

When considering the old chestnut of BBC bias, much debate is had on its news and current affairs output. Yet if we are to truly appreciate the unintentional institutional nature of the bias, you have to look beyond that, and Mihir Bose’s feature on the Superbowl last night was a good example.

I am a rare viewer of the BBC’s evening news output – my PVR favourites list excludes BBC News in favour of Sky, but we stumbled upon BBC1 at the wrong moment.

Describing the funding for NFL teams, which is distributed equally(ish) to each team, we were helpfully presented with a bullet point screen headed – and yes, I did a double take as well – “Sporting Socialism”.

I kid you not. I wasn’t quick enough to take any sort of screenshot, but he has repeated the idea in the depths of his blog post on the subject.

It says a lot about the mindset of Bose and his colleagues that in order to paint a positive picture of something as benign a subject as funding in sport, they think it appropriate to label it “socialism”. You know: the same political doctrine that, in extremis, has claimed millions of lives through its totalitarian practitioners, condemned many other millions to starvation at the hands of its adherents in the developing world, and is doing its best right now, through the befuddled and incompetent stewardship of Gordon Brown, to send the UK back to the door of the IMF of the first time in over thirty years.

Funnily enough, I’ve always thought that a true socialist sport would be an achingly dull affair: you’d have to have everyone in the same strip, on the same side, playing in the same direction, making sure that everyone looked busy, but where no-one was allowed to actually “win”. There wouldn’t be many spectators, because everyone would have a role on the field – as long as they were in the right trade union. Come to think of it, a socialist sport would be bankrupt, because the few spectators left would have been charged so much for their season tickets (“cos they can afford it cos they’re rich innit”) they would have defected to the elitist competitive haven of something like cricket.


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