There’s no better way to captivate a moviegoers’ attention with the song lyric “anything goes,” as Kate Capshaw did in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But these days, the consequences of this doctrine are straining dire consequences in all of us. Unfortunately, when you read this column you might already know which approach won: truth/sportmanship or deceit/cheatingship. Colts or Patriots? A modern ethical dilemma faced-off Sunday in Indianapolis.
While USA Today dared to call Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick’s tactics “wargames” on Friday’s front page, we should dump this euphemism for good and call him what he really is: a winning-at-all-costs impersonation of a modern shark. In other words, a cheater. But excuse me, he wins. Three Super Bowls in less than a decade and in a winning streak that could lead to an undefeated season not seen since 1972’s Miami Dolphins. Then, does it matter if the NFL caught Belichick’s goons playing dirty? They were caught videotaping Jets’ . whatever! Do the Patriots win? Then, who cares about details?
And that’s the problem. That’s what’s driving our society. Belichick’s winning portfolio succeeds in shedding his Darth Vader trickery from the audience’s eyes.
For that matter, according to Peter Beinart’s article in Time magazine’s Oct. 1 issue, sport fans are basically amoral. Guess why: Because there are so many losers out there, supporting a winner is the only way to make them feel as if they are winners, too.
But of course that’s not the creepy side I was ebbing before. The spooky turn is that that seemingly harmless way of gaming in sports is just a micro-scenario of what’s going on in the backburner of our real daily lives – and not the other way around. In his article, Beinart sustains that one of the qualities of sport fans is their penchant to override Kant’s doctrine and treat coaches and players alike as means to get their desires. But could it be too daring to suggest not just fans, but everybody is nowadays treating everybody in that manner? Beg to differ? You tell me when was the last time you called a friend of yours with a honest “how are you doing?” inquiry. I am not talking about a disease or a personal loss-related call, but a whole and disinterested genuine call. If you go ahead and do the test, 90 percent of the time, people will interrupt you with “Sorry, do you need something?” or then the downer, “Can you call me later, I am busy doing X.” People are so used to using other people these days that an un-using-oriented call is approached as being just as absurd as a giraffe walking by.
More troubling is that the Colts vs. Patriots case proves the two asymmetrical approaches toward the goal of winning have arguably equalized effects. It doesn’t matter to do it the right way anymore. The only thing that matters is to do it. Period.
David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]