Roland Dürre
Thursday June 18th, 2015

Heroes, Gladiators and Consumers.

220px-Weltmeister_autograph_1954On one of the early PM Camps in Dornbirn, Eberhard Huber initiated a really great session about “cultural onions”. I wrote about it.

The “cultural onion” describes of such social systems as, for instance, the Federal Republic of Germany in the form of a model. For instance, the peel of the “onion” are its symbols, rituals, basic beliefs, certainties, values, … And, in particular, the “heroes” of a system also play a role.
This session motivated me to look for a “German” hero. I was thinking of the great classics of literature (Goethe, Schiller, … ), modern authors (Brecht, Grass …) and philosophers (Kant, Nietzsche …). Also, I wondered if politicians (Erhard, Brandt …), people who resisted (Scholl, Staufenberg), composers (Bach, Beethoven …) and musicians (Lindenberg, Nina) and many more might be candidates for the role of my personal hero.

None of them was good enough to meet my requirements for a “German Hero”. Since I am a passionate soccer player, I continued my search there. However, Beckenbauer, Haller and Uwe Seeler (although he came pretty close), too, fell short.

And then I had an idea:
The soccer world champion team of 1954 – the heroes of Bern – they meet the bill! This is the team I consider just about good enough to be my “German Heroes”

But then, this was 61 years ago. We now live in the 21st century. A short time ago, I watched the Champions League Final Match   Juventus against Barcelona 2015 in Berlin on TV. And again, I was surprised to see how excessively all the stars of today are tattooed. I also wondered why they all had such strange hairstyles.

And then it immediately dawned on me:
The soccer players of today are the gladiators of our times. The tattoos and dyed red-Indian and other hairstyles are part of their war outfit. They serve the clubs and, behind those, the concerns. That is who they fight for and that is who pays them for it. Along with extensive marketing, this is how the consumers are kept dependent and motivated to buy more and more. Said consumers will cheer “their” gladiators and obediently buy the products advertised by those gentlemen.

Thus, the contests of our gladiators are the biggest spectacles of our times. If the “right team” wins, the people will go crazy, if they lose, the fans (the consumer population) are sad and wish to die, burning their banners.

Soccer players are the modern mercenaries in our times. They “play” for those who pay best. But above all, they fight for mass consumption. This is no longer about panem et circenses in order to distract and entertain the people, as was customary in ancient Rome. Instead, this is all about turnover and profit, e.g. about “the money” of the masses.

As I see it, this development is an indicator of the decadence of our times. Decadence which, in prospering social systems, can be observed as the preliminary stage of the end shortly before the downfall.

However, we know that innovation is creative destruction and I already look forward to what will come next. And we relish the morbid joy witnessing the downfall of all those who are responsible for this development.. Except that this concerns all of us!

There is also a kind of exploitation and insurance organization for the gladiators. It is called FIFA and earns a lot of money with the new games.

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