Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Circuses, Gladiators

Modern sports and sportstars are often or at least sometimes mentioned in terms of being the contemporary equivalent of the circus side of the famous Bread and Circuses notion, i.e. a spiritually and politically enervated population is appeased or/and rendered so by cheap food and shallow entertainments, the phrase originating from the Roman satirical poet Juvenal. And so a footballer like Wayne Rooney being a contemporary and less bloody equivalent to a famous Roman gladiator. One interesting point though is that the gladiators, though apparently with some exceptions to the rule, were largely slaves and working financially for nothing. So if one takes reasonably enough money to equate to power, they were individually total non-entities, whilst the political leaders were enormously wealthy figures - in a certain sense reasonably so or as one would expect - money and power in tandem.

Returning to the present the parallel starts to look a bit strange.
One might imagine it reasonable to say the most powerful person in a country is the political head of that country, with for instance broadly the entire military apparatus at his disposal, with ultimate 'buck stops here' say over foreign policy matters, economic policy, etc, etc. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at present David Cameron, the "First among equals" earns £142,500 in a year. The footballer Wayne Rooney, our modern gladiator, earns apparently about £300,000 a week. So in pure salary it will roughly take the head of the UK political apparatus two years and 6 weeks to earn what the footballer earns in one week. Of course by the time those two and a bit years have elapsed, so have 110 or so of Wayne Rooney's weeks, which in turn will take the Prime Minister roughly 230 years of office to approximate financially. To add, the US President would be considered a far more powerful figure and so it is perhaps right that President Obama takes slightly less than a year to earn what Wayne Rooney earns in a  week.
 An interesting statement of significance of a mature evolving world clearly worthy of deep respect, and when voices from within speak on things of import I say to myself, Listen well, for here lies truth.

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