This sentence could come from a contemporary American commentary on the Kaplanization of our once-great universities; or it could come from a contemporary American commentary on the NFLization of our once-great universities.
This particular sentence happens to be about the sporty arm of the pincer movement; and coming as it does from Texas, of all places, it tells you something. It tells you something about why immense new Adzillatronned university football and basketball stadiums are full of gaping holes during even the biggest games… Why a growing branch of the digital and design industries is now devoted to making an empty silence look like a crowded blow-out on network tv…
The author of this commentary is telling you why people are leaving the American university stadium, but you don’t want to listen because you know that the problems are too basic to fix.
If college football is just entertainment, and entertainment is just a product, and products are created to make money, then I start to feel a little silly investing emotional energy in the A&M – LSU game. More and more the institution carries the distracting odor of a swindle. It’s hard to tell whether I’m the mark or whether I’m in on the grift.
… It’s hard to say what should happen with college football. Paying the players would certainly be fairer, but it would finish off whatever remains of an institution that once meant far more than money. The arcane rules put in place to protect college athletics from market forces have spawned a densely complex culture of cheating, a tradition almost as old as the sport. How long can Universities, bastions of enlightened rational values, continue this charade? What toll is it taking on the wider goals of those institutions?
College football may be a necessary casualty of a freer, more prosperous world. We are all likely to cling to the remains at least a little while longer. Maybe someday (next year?), when the Longhorns’ helmets are sporting a giant BestBuy logo and the program is playing two additional highly-paid exhibition games each year against the likes of Abilene Christian and the fighting Javelinas of A&M Kingsville we’ll finally have to give it up.
Try his first paragraph this way:
If a college education is just entertainment, and entertainment is just a product, and products are created to make money, then I start to feel a little silly investing emotional energy in the game. More and more the institution carries the distracting odor of a swindle. It’s hard to tell whether I’m the mark or whether I’m in on the grift.
Except that in the Kaplanization case, it’s not just emotional energy that’s lacking when the professor is a coached happy face on a jiggly screen full of funny little games. It’s also of course intellectual energy.
Stadium seats will go the same way as classroom seats: Eventually all university activity will jiggle on-screen. Imagine the University of Phoenix with a sports channel.