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‘Cecil’s Riddle’
The Question of Celebrity Servitude
© 2019 James LaFond
Nero the Pict recently confided in me that an old black friend of his, named Cecil, said that when he looked at a major league draft he saw a slave auction. Nero was wondering what my thoughts were on this.
There is a corollary in America, with professional team sports not beginning until the 14th Amendment, which supposedly outlawed slavery but did not. The important thing is that people think that the amendment outlawed forced servitude. It is a fact that the first celebrity was an athlete of the more ancient type, John L. Sullivan and that, as the spectator becomes more divorced from physical contests in his own life, and the hoodwinked voter becomes ever more divorced from politics, that the team sport, staffed by mercenary sports soldiers, committed to a term of service like an ancient gladiator or modern military contractor, serves not as an actual physical, chattel slave of the type that built this nation, but rather as a celebrity avatar employed by The System to enslave our passion, to suffuse our capacity for social passion in a meaningless and fantastical ritual with actual striving and thriving human components.
Where the fantasy novelist traditionally, from Melville, to Howard, to Tolkien to Wolfe, has woven his book-page fantasies for the purpose of the reader temporarily escaping the evil system he is locked into and thence provide him an internal vantage from a fairyland of metaphor and alternative possibilities from which to view the world anew, the sports promoter and attendant media serve the opposite function, which is to close the Mind’s Eye to the evil that society does.
What we have is not mortal, lash-enforced slavery, but in the case of us all in different ways, mental slavery, living by lies, according to evil laws and turning the other cheek to the most invalidating and dehumanizing social slap downs. In the case of the celebrity it is more purely a moral servitude, an enslavement to corruption as God. For instance, three top tier actors who have amassed fortunes in the many millions have recently engaged in threatening the careers of marginal female actors about to go public with tales of their prostitution at the hands of Hollywood fiends. That three of the most admired men in a vast nation, each of whom has enough "fuck you money" to ascend into a decent life, have declined to embrace simple decency for fear of falling afoul of their former overlords, speaks to a cult of moral slavery, which is the highest form of servile existence.
Slavery has evolved to rarified heights and is in many way evermore evil than before, with its basis being the lie rather than the lash, which was at least an honest tangible instrument of evil rather than the insidious mind control of this gas-lighting "reality."
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