Sunday, June 20, 2010

panis et circenses

I was just on the phone with grandma. She wondered if people here in America were going home in the middle of the day to watch the World Cup games.
No, they are not. Neither do I have the right to go home to watch Brazil play.
I have a hard time getting used to the fact that the whole country does not come to a halt because of the World Cup games.
My whole life it has always been like that - every four years, banks, grocery stores, bus services, schools - everything that can be stopped stops for four hours (enough time for people to get home, watch the game and then go back to work), during every single Brazilian game in the World Cup.
Do I have a hard time getting used to the idea that the world cup is not a national event? Heck I do! It does not even seem real that anyone would consider not halting the country for 4 hours. t does not seem real.
But do I think this practice is worthy of a respectable country? No. I don't think any respectable country should halt all of its activities because of a sports event. The rational part of me does not believe that any country who takes itself seriously should voluntarily desert its streets, lock themselves inside theirs houses and forget there's anything else in the world that's worth anything for a month, just so they can cheer for Brazil in the World Cup.
Unfortunately, our politicians know that nothing else but soccer will make it to the news during that time, so, like children left alone in the house, they play at will will our precious assets. The best example ever of the Roman poet's panis et circenses (bread and circus). Keep the people busy with other thins than what really matters.
yes, it feels weird, it just does not feel real that any country can be living their lives as if nothing was really going on during the world cup. But rationally speaking, it feels right.

No comments: