This Is Not A Form Of Brainwashing

G — May 28, 2011

A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbours.
William Ralph Inge

In this time of hockey fever, I can’t help but see the parallels between ‘the local team’ and nationalism.  The two are obviously different: one is fealty to individuals who claim some sort of authority over you; the other is supporting individuals on their quest to glory.  But when I hear those around town saying things like “we’re going to win this year” and “we are doing great” tied up with “I’ll support any Canadian team” or “Canada is going to kick some ***”, the parallels become fundamentally clear.  Being a fanatic of some sports (in particular, hockey in Canada), like nationalism, is about reward without effort.  It’s about living vicariously through a dream created by someone else (instead of creating your own) and getting caught up in group hysteria.  I’ll admit, it can be fun to watch the game, but when the message is repeated over and over and tied in with a sense of unearned pride, it can give one pause for wonder if ‘the local team’ is all we are cheering for.

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