Duck! and Gather

Archive for July 25th, 2007

This Donaghy NBA reffing scandal (see previous posting) is a perfect allegory for the blind spot of not only America, but the entire 1000-year-and-running Western Culture (that included the British and Spanish empires before the present American one). Still, America’s blind spot seems even stronger.

This blind spot is about America’s inability to understand seemingly isolated problems as symptoms of a wider systemic problem. Examples include, to name a few:

  • the Donaghy NBA reffing point-shaving scandal
  • a group of cancerous cells
  • a school shooter
  • a serial murderer
  • 9/11
  • obesity of a person
  • high price of gasoline

In each case, there is a “local” “isolated” problem, with narrow, targeted solutions. But also, in each case, these problems are merely symptoms of larger, systemic, dynamics. They are symptoms of a diseased system.

But in America, most people seem unwilling or incapable of envisioning systemic dynamics. Or to the extent they do look to systems, Americans stop at systemic solutions involving money, usually spent on technology.

Watching this Donaghy case unfold is a wonderful allegory for this American blind spot. For sporting people to wake up to the systemic disease for which this case is a mere symptom will require even more explosive developments. And this case might yet produce them.

When these developments come, the sporting public will be “shocked! shocked!” to their core. Just as the cancer patient is shocked when the chemotherapy fails, or when we all read about the next school shooter, or when our latest fad diet fails and we’re fatter than ever, or when …

for the money has gone too far

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July 2007
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