One of the best-known critics of political correctness (btw while Shapiro et. al. are past praying for, when is one of the liberal critics of PC culture going to step up and admit that the PC critique of American culture was and is, um, correct?) doesn’t feel safe watching sports any more because people are saying and doing things that offend him. What sort of things? Political things!
Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro criticised American sports for being overly political and said he will no longer watch them.
“It does make me wonder whether, inevitably, we are going to end up with two sports leagues,” he said during the Ben Shapiro Show on Monday, saying that player’s outspoken ‘political’ views are putting fans off.
“Whether at some point people are going to want a sport league that does not allow this sort of [political] stuff to impede the play or get on the field and people are just gonna view that.”
Discussing his love of Sports Illustrated magazine, he said that he was unhappy when the publication chose to put Caitlyn Jenner on the cover: ‘All of a sudden I’m reading about transgenderism in Sports Illustrated… this has nothing to do with sports.”
During his rant, Shapiro referenced his disdain for what he called NBA star Lebron James‘ “virtue signalling” as well as the long-running case of Colin Kaepernick — who was dismissed from the NFL after “taking a knee” during the national anthem in silent protest in 2016. This form of protest has taken on renewed significance during protests over the killing of George Floyd.
The Cool Kid’s Philosopher is of course a dum dum of the first order, but his blindness on this particular point is so generalized that it’s worth noting. Here’s something from a book I’m writing on the meaning of sports in America:
The last major sports event that took place before all the games suddenly went away was, appropriately enough, American sports’ ultimate Big Game. The Super Bowl represents almost everything that’s most obnoxious about big time sports in this country. A grotesque amalgam of pomposity (each game is assigned a Roman numeral, and the coin flip alone is accompanied by a level of ceremony appropriate to the investiture of a pope), commercialism (the media breathlessly “rank” the commercials broadcast during the game, at a cost of eleven million dollars per minute), militaristic nationalism (a flag approximately the size of Rhode Island is usually unfurled before kickoff, while a screaming comes across the sky in the form of a couple billion dollars of Air Force equipment), and unabashed worship of the celebrity-entertainment complex (the halftime show invariably makes a Las Vegas revue seem tastefully understated), the whole thing is an advertisement for so many awful things about a culture which specializes in advertising its awfulness in the most garish ways possible.
I watched it though. Why? Because on some level, despite all their undeniable awfulness, I still care about sports, and everything they’ve meant and still mean to me after a half century of caring about them.
Nationalism, militarism, consumer capitalism on steroids, celebrity worship: none of that is “politics” to the Ben Shapiros out there in TV land. All that is just regular people saying and doing regular patriotic and profitable things in a totally normal way. ETA: Thanks to commenter P. Tape for noting that three days ago Shapiro was praising Drew Brees’s comments about how kneeling during the national anthem was “disrespectful,” and upbraiding “leftists” for objecting to those comments. This illustrates the functional value of sheer stupidity to the conservative intellectual: Standing during the national anthem is simply patriotism, which isn’t political, while kneeling is unpatriotic, which is political..
For conservatives the world is just a bunch of unmarked categories, and the worst thing in the world is to mark those categories, because doing so makes them feel uncomfortable. Marking those categories is what “political correctness” has always been about, and that’s one reason why it has always, despite it’s occasional excesses and absurdities, been a good thing.