Ludi–public games in Ancient Rome’s Circus Maximus, were sometimes sponsored by politicians competing for divine and popular support. Horse and chariot racing, beast hunts, gladiator fights, public executions–all took place in Ancient Rome’s Circus Maximus.
Today in America, television, talk radio, sensationalized print media (even the traditionally not-so-sensationalized print media) and social media have created a gigantic, twenty-four hour Circus Maximus that increasingly envelops us all. And it is tearing at America’s social fabric in increasingly problematic ways, dividing us not only by politics, but by gender and race. If it continues, it’s hard to imagine things ending well.
I am not a hundred years old, but old enough to remember when American heroes were astronauts. Our most famous astronauts comported themselves as unlike most of today’s leading public figures as imaginable. Rather than grabbing attention, they deflected it. Rather than creating the atmosphere among their followers of a Circus Maximus, they endeavored to “maintain an even strain.”
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