Germane words from Orwell on the biggest, most obscene day in sports

A non-sports fan of the most unreconstructed order, I found this bit in an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times so very fitting on whatever today is, some big sports thingamajig I hear people give a disproportionate bleep about (bold-faced italics mine):

(George) Orwell noted that sports faded in prominence after the fall of Rome, only to surge again in the 19th century, in England and the United States, where games became “a heavily financed activity, capable of attracting vast crowds and rousing savage passions.”

For Orwell, the rise of sports was bound up with the rise of nationalism, both of them examples of “the lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige.”

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Really?

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