How the NFL Practices Socialism, Illustrated Edition

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 1 2012 10:57 AM

Did You See This? How the NFL = Socialism

nflsocialism
A still from Fraser Davidson's video.

Just before last year’s Super Bowl, Bill Maher devoted one of his “New Rules” to the NFL. Labeling the bit “Irritable Bowl Syndrome,” he began by saying that “Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism.” He is referring, of course, to the league’s rigorous revenue sharing, which he contrasts with the less fair system employed by Major League Baseball. The NFL, he says, “literally shares the wealth. TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways.”

The NFL is thus, Maher argues, more like the Democratic Party, and MLB more in line with the GOP. A writer over at the Atlantic website contrasts this argument with one from Allen Barra, who says that the MLB is actually the more fair of the two. It reminded me of George Carlin’s classic baseball vs. football riff, which I point to nearly every time I’m explaining to someone why I prefer the former to the latter.

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The Atlantic writer also shares a terrific animation of the Maher segment by London-based artist Fraser Davidson. Davidson, working indepedently, used the audio version of Maher’s book The New Rules for his soundtrack. His art makes Maher’s argument much more dazzling, and almost prompts me to reconsider. Almost, but not quite. Still, it’s wonderfully done. Enjoy.

Previously:

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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