Friday, January 2, 2009

Marxism and Bowl Games

Tonight, the mighty University of Alabama Crimson Tide will destroy Utah in the Sugar Bowl, which is officially the Nokia Sugar Bowl. The rituals of corporate sponsorship inspire Marxist visions from Jonathan Chait:
At every one of these games, the announcers must take five minutes to speak with the CEO of the sponsoring company. . . . And then -- this is what really burns me -- they thank him for sponsoring the game, as if the game wouldn;t be happening without his beneficience. Oh, thank you, sir, for taking this advertising opportunity. Back in the days when this game was called the Florida Citrus Bowl, life was practically unbearable. Now that it is the Capital One Bowl, and giant credit card logos decorate the playing field, we spectators can finally enjoy ourselves.
Of course, these bowl games originated during the Great Depression with Chamber of Commerce schemes to promote their communities. Having the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day was a chance to highlight the mild Southern California climate that enabled roses to be grown year-round. The Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls emulated this approach, each sponsored by local boosters eager to promote Miami, New Orleans and Dallas in the same manner, and so on with the proliferation of minor bowls. Capitalism was always a factor in bowl games, it's just that now the sponsorship is more direct and blatant.

UPDATE (Post-Sugar Bowl): A Marxist would blame Corporate America for the failure of Alabama to establish its running game. I, however, argue that it was a mistake to admit Utah to the Union.

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