“Everything I know for sure about morals and commitments I owe to football,” said Albert Camus. But I wonder how the big man could have adapted that famous line for the Masters. As a lover of the sporting life, Camus would no doubt have fenced off this week’s four days at Augusta National as an important ritual — yes, even an obligation. However, I suspect he would reach the same conclusion on golf as he does on football, except adding the words… “but not in a good way”.
he golf and the track are beautiful, all the fine things about morals and duties are honored in the actual play of the game – something demonstrated in a lofty gesture last year when Shota Hayafuji, winner Hideki Matsuyama’s caddy, substituted flag up the 18th green and bowed as a mark of respect in the general direction of the course they had just negotiated.
At this point, Camus would agree to share that sentiment, but likely add that what you see there beneath all that exquisite greenery might be heaven – but it’s white man’s heaven. Still, even in the 2020s, Augusta National can exude those vintage Old South vibes, and not in a good way.
It’s all the more insidious because it’s done so exquisitely — the infrastructure of racism on which this whole way of life rests is reappearing in America in the form of the fascist movement known as Maga. And it’s an infrastructure that reveals itself quickly.
Just last week – LAST WEEK – Joe Biden made lynching a federal hate crime. And we’re aware of that, but we’re still watching the Masters. Because all we know for sure about morals and duties is that we’re willing to forget all those things as we watch them hit the back nine in Augusta on Sunday. And also on the Front Nine, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
In fact, everything we know best about the corporate culture that dominates much of this earth is to be found in the field of high-quality professional golf in general. There’s that sick joke where the CEO of a tournament’s sponsor on the PGA Tour gets invited by the TV host to talk about all the money the tournament raises for charity — and here’s the funny part, how I get it imagine: when the CEO has described all the children’s hospitals they build and the generous donations to “the community,” the moderator puts it to him that this illustrates everything that’s wrong with corporate America, how they pay a pittance in taxes allowed to pay, instead being encouraged to engage in “charity” to ensure that no form of “socialized medicine” can infect the healthcare sector.
Yes, that would be a joke – and it would also be perfectly true. But the point that no one would dream of saying this to such a representative of corporate America, and certainly not on the Golf Channel, shows how complete the triumph of this culture is. Prankster Noel Casler was talking about America, but he could be talking about many countries when he reminded us that “there’s a difference between a state governed by the rule of law and a corporation that happens to own some prisons”.
These encounters are deeply political, as surely as the good old boys who always guided Augusta are deeply political – but in such a form that challenging them in any meaningful way seems absurd. Hell, it’s just a round of golf; enjoy your game.
DP World Corporation enjoys the game so much that it spends about $200 million annually sponsoring the European Tour. They’re the parent company of P&O Ferries, which recently broke through by laying off 800 low-paid workers and replacing them with even lower-paid workers – and that’s from Zoom.
Yes, there are winners and losers – the problem is that there are just too many losers right now, and they just keep getting angrier. With nothing but this anger left for the masses in the western world, many of them will find their way into maga and other like-minded outfits.
Wracked by incessant propaganda on social media, they will see the enemy everywhere but where they live: in the seemingly unassailable power of the corporations. You won’t feel overwhelmed by a culture firing 800 people through Zoom, but by the “threat” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The guys in the executive lounges always had a way of getting the poor to act against their own best interests and blame some “other” bunch – no, there won’t be many of those “others” on or off the ropes Master, and again I hear Camus’ voice: All we know for sure about morals and obligations is that they are to be avoided at all costs.
Hole-in-one Trump, now the bogeyman of the west
In other golf news, Donald Trump had a hole-in-one last week – or at least he explained in a lengthy statement that he had, which is another matter entirely.
There are at least four good reasons why this would be a lie – a short film of the incident shows the ball in the cup, but oddly not the actual footage that supposedly got it there; His playing partners included four-time Major winner Ernie Els and three other top pros, but none of their balls appear to have hit the green; there is also a slight high-fiving, but you can tell they don’t “feel” it; there isn’t the spontaneous cheer that usually accompanies an ace, as demonstrated by Shane Lowry recently. But the most compelling evidence that it’s a lie is when Trump says it’s the truth.
In other Trump news, he relaxed after his “hole-in-one” by asking Vladimir Putin to take time off from his mass murder to feed his old partner Donald some dirt about Hunter Biden – “partner” is not my description, but that of a Russian state TV host who referred to “our partner” Trump.
This would all be an amazing way for any well-known American to carry on at a time like this, but from this past and possibly future President… it was only Tuesday.
I think of Joe Biden’s words about his exchanges with China’s President Xi, who, by the way, is not his “partner”. “I think we’re at a turning point in history … it occurs every few generations. I think we are in a real struggle between autocracies and democracies… (Xi) does not believe that democracies can be sustained in the 21st century. Because things move so fast, technology changes so much, democracies don’t have time to reach consensus. That is why autocracies will succeed (Xi believes)”.
They might succeed, too, because unlike the democracy Trump wants to destroy in a dispute with his “partner,” if Trump had attempted a similar prank on an autocracy, he would have no fake holes-in-ones. He would most likely await execution – although some of the autocracies would prefer the firing squad, some lethal injection, others the electric chair.
You can’t “agree” on everything, you know.
What sounds does a birdie make? Twitter of course
Social media is massively accelerating the rise of fascism – and yet sometimes it doesn’t work that way.
Twitter is the only form of social media I do, and I have something to tell you: My experience was almost entirely positive. And I’m not just talking about the day I saw that Words: “Van Morrison followed you.”
Twitterati I interact with are usually friendly. I ignore the few who abuse me – which is perhaps the key to happiness in this area. Obviously I’m doing everything wrong.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/yes-augusta-is-heaven-but-its-still-the-white-mans-heaven-41514795.html Yes, Augusta is heaven—but it’s still white man’s heaven