Sports and Olympics

by Penny on August 6, 2012

Engagement in Bread and Circuses – Olympic Games

I really thought I was over the Olympics, but they are addictive and we are so proud.  I am loving them.   With 8 different channels of different sport I can watch anything I like at any time.

It is wonderful to see our Gold Medal winners they are at the peak of perfection and the rowing was so really beautiful.

Watching the running around London places I have walked is just magic.

I can’t help worrying about how close this is to the way the concept of providing Bread and Circuses.  This phrase taken from Rome in Satire X of the Roman satirist and poet Juvenal (circa 100 C.E.). In context, the Latin metaphor panem et circenses (bread and circuses) identifies the only remaining cares of a new Roman populace which cares not for its historical birthright of political involvement. Here Juvenal displays his contempt for the declining heroism of his contemporary Romans.  Roman politicians devised a plan in 140 B.C.E. to win the votes of these new citizens: giving out cheap food and entertainment, “bread and circuses”, would be the most effective way to rise to power.  This quote from Wikipedia – but I note that now it is also noting that if the population are totally absorbed in sport, they don’t worry about what the government is doing?

We also enjoyed the Chiefs winning the Super 15.  Loved the action and loved seeing Waikato win both last week and this week.

But more importantly Sport, like the Arts and Culture does demonstrate there are special values that come from engagement in sport that contribute to the well-being of a society.     It is also about well-being generally.   We love it when New Zealand wins, even when it is really an individual that has won for us.

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