Thanks a lot, Terry. As I’m about to catch a plane to watch the Giants play in San Francisco, I’ll have you’re “Football: a dear friend to capitalism” ringing in my ears.

Eagleton has made this argument before. If you really want social progress, you’ll probably have to do away with sport. This is not a novel idea, of course, the Romans had this figured out centuries ago. The best way to pacify a populace is to provide entertainment. But not just any type of entertainment; there’s a need to feel solidarity, a sense of “hero worship” and “blind loyalty;” a place where “men and women whose jobs make no intellectual demands can display erudition when recalling the game’s history or dissecting individual skills.”   In so many words, what is in no short supply at your average college football tailgater. “In a social order denuded of ceremony and symbolism, football steps in to enrich the aesthetic lives of people.”  If this were to come from anyone else besides Eagleton, you could accuse him of elitist snobbery.   But from a committed radical rising out of working class England? 

At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue against Eagleton here. The mystical sway that the sports industry holds over the lives of people is nothing short of amazing.  I think his logic is spot on and deeply unsettling. But hey, at least religion is no longer the opiate of the people.