America’s escape into sports is increasingly an escape from political correctness. The contrast between the objectivity of the one and the subjectivity of the other could not be clearer — or more welcome to ever-growing crowds. Sport has always been a retreat from life’s drudgery, and that drudgery has never been more comprised of self-conscious societal censorship than it is today.
The Super Bowl is closing its two-week reign as America’s undisputed sovereign of spectacle. Nothing comes close. Other television broadcasts cannot rival it, and have not for years. Yet in its ascendancy, it is easy to overlook that while the Super Bowl is king, there is a large aristocracy of athletics surrounding it.
Americans have a seemingly insatiable desire to watch sports. Professional or amateur, it differs only by degrees, but the trend is the same: More. It dominates television with more channels than most thumbs can endure clicking through. It is the same on radio and in print. The internet offers only more opportunities for America to partake.
So great is demand that America races to repackage it into even more exciting offerings. We slice and dice the old sports, adding fantasy leagues and Nobel-level statistical analysis, to wring more enjoyment from them. And we add new ones — MMA and made-to-order individual competitions. America always wants more.
How can demand still rise? It does because the need is growing. No society is as “pretzeled” by political correctness as America. And no escape from political correctness is as quick or complete as sports.
Sport demands objectivity. It yields a definitive outcome, and does so in a manner all — participant and spectator — accept and understand. Political correctness is subjectivity itself. Having a goal of no winners or losers — only victims — its rules are ever-changing and written by an “elite” who do not play by them.
Sport is clear-cut. Its outcomes are immediately known. A stadium instantly groans over a bad play by their team — even as they wish it otherwise — because they know and implicitly accept the consequences. Political correctness is only relative. What is permissible in one circumstance is not in another, for one group but not another, in one moment but not the next. Tomorrow its rules will be rewritten.
Sport is ever the unknown. Sports’ biggest story is “the upset.” It proves that, however much we think we know, we don’t — “it’s why they play the game” and “on any given Sunday.” Because “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Political correctness is predetermined. We know the accepted answer — even as we know it’s wrong — before the question is asked. And that answer will eventually be extracted by hook or crook. It is not about discovering how events will turn out, but about arranging them as to how they “should” turn out.
Sport is about proper process. As much as it may be hated, a loss is accepted so long as the game was fair. And in their depths, no one wants to win by a bad call — and even less by cheating. Political correctness is about proper outcomes. Only the accepted outcome will be allowed. However much the process must be manipulated to attain it is acceptable. Its only “rules” are the moment’s means that ensure it happens.
Little wonder Americans love sports — they are called “fans,” short for fanatics, for a reason. They increasingly yearn for a clear-cut outcome with which they agree. There is a winner and a loser — they can tell which is which, and celebrate a contest by which it is fairly, quickly, and clearly determined. And no, they do not abandon the losers — at least half of every sporting event is comprised of them — but continue cheering for them and eagerly await the next event.
Of course some will argue that there is political correctness in sports. Yes, it intrudes, but it remains the exception. It is the awkward interruption of the reason Americans flock to sports. There is a “get it over with” quality when it interlopes.
To appreciate sports’ attitude toward political correctness, compare it to the arts. There social commentary’s absence is the exception. Almost every performance is a “Where’s Waldo” exercise to find it — and you do not have to look hard, because it amounts to one of Waldo’s weakest efforts. No, avoiding it is the difficult part. Little wonder so many Americans do.
The comparison between sports and the arts could not be starker. While the arts go hat-in-hand in search of “public” support to fund themselves, sports are actually supported by the public. American sports do not need its performances subsidized by patrons or have government dollars channeled to the media to get themselves broadcast.
Nor do sports then turn back on those who foot its bills and insult them and their preferences. When Meryl Streep recently turned her broadside on Trump and threw down the threat — “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts” — it was an empty one to most. Not watching “the arts” is the choice Americans overwhelmingly make — and in large part because of such performances as Streep’s emoting.
Americans instead hunger for objective excellence, not political correctness’ subjective substitute. Innately, Americans do not care who produces excellence. They simply love it being clearly determined, and they find those qualities less and less reflected in a society ruled by remote elites.
In a society increasingly being pushed toward becoming one without winners and losers, Americans are desperate to seek asylum in a sanctuary where there is nothing else.