For about 20 years, Ray Keating wrote a weekly column - a short time with the New York City Tribune, more than 11 years with Newsday, another seven years with Long Island Business News, plus another year-and-a-half with RealClearMarkets.com. As an economist, Keating also pens an assortment of analyses each week. With the Keating Files, he decided to expand his efforts with regular commentary touching on a broad range of issues, written by himself and an assortment of talented contributors and columnists. So, here goes...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Why Are Conservative Christians in Retreat?

 by Jerry Bowyer

Guest Column

The Keating Files – September 24, 2020

 

Me: "Company X did something really bad."

 

Conservative Christian Kneejerk Response: "I'm going to sell Company X from my portfolio."

 

Me: "If Congress does something stupid do you instruct the department of elections to remove your name from the list of registered voters?"



There is something deep in the current Christian psyche that automatically opts for retreat. There is something in the general conservative psyche of the moment that is drawn to the role of standing outside the castle yelling at those inside.

 

The other side, on the other hand, seems to have a governing mindset. They don't have a good governing philosophy. They've left a wide trail of failure behind them. And yet, they still tend to govern our institutions. 

 

They take the mandate of Jesus to “occupy” more seriously than we do - but without His true principles. They take more seriously than we do the command to “disciple the nations,” except not the part where Jesus said to teach them all things HE commanded. They disciple the nations away from his commandments, while we don't really think in terms of discipling them at all.

 

Of course, I'm not talking about all of us. If you are reading this, you probably do not fit the standard pattern. But there is a factory installed default to conservative Christians when it comes to nation building and that default setting is “retreat.”

 

__________

 

Jerry Bowyer is the editor at Townhall Finance, and his new book is The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.  

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

PRESS CLUB C Podcast with Ray Keating – Episode #32: Bullish on Golf


 After the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and before we hit The Masters in November, Ray Keating takes a look at the state of golf. His conclusion? Keating is bullish on golf!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Zack Snyder’s Messy Super-Jesus

 by David Keating

The Keating Files – September 21, 2020

 

Fans of filmmaker Zack Snyder tend to be either amazed or annoyed by the way he blends modern superhero stories with classic legends, myths, and, oftentimes, spirituality. And we certainly will have more to discuss and debate with Snyder’s now-HBO-Max-approved Justice League: The Snyder Cut on the way.



While the myths and legends worked for the Greek and Roman inspired 300, fans of the superhero genre often find themselves split on the outcome of Snyder’s films. Some praise his dynamic visual style and broody kind of storytelling, while others prefer the more optimistic tone, colorful visual palate, and humorous banter that comes with Marvel Studios’ series of films. 

 

Given Snyder’s preference for portraying superheroes as modern myth and legend, I find myself coming back to his films frequently to dissect what he’s trying to communicate through his trilogy of Superman films. 

 

Snyder first began his trilogy with 2013’s Man of Steel, followed by 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A troubled behind-the-scenes production for 2018’s Justice League led to Snyder stepping away from the project, leaving Joss Whedon to step in and finish the film. Without detailing the drama surrounding Justice League, it’s enough to say that the film did not accomplish what Zack Snyder originally intended for his trilogy.

 

Man of Steel began with a reimagining of the character of Superman. Snyder drew on the comic book origins of the character and then took Superman in a new direction. Whereas Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (who were both children of Jewish immigrants) imagined Superman as an immigrant figure or, perhaps, a new Moses as Superman escapes his alien world and finds a home in a new land, Snyder opted to take a different direction. Snyder’s Superman is much more akin to a Christ-like figure. Superman still escapes from his home world as a baby sent away by his parents and makes a home for himself in Kansas. However, in Man of Steel, Superman is now also a savior for the planet. At the climax of the film, Superman flies down to earth in a cruciform pose, while being told that he can “save them all.”  Similarly, Superman finds himself in a church, discussing his impending clash with the villains of the story with a priest. Behind Clark Kent, Zack Snyder chooses to frame a stained glass portrait of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

 

In Batman v. Superman, Snyder continues to develop the theme. Superman was able to “save them all” in Man of Steel, however, in BvS, Superman will concern himself primarily with saving one man: Bruce Wayne. The version of Batman presented in the film was an older, jaded version of the character. This Batman’s Robin has died, his tactics have gotten more brutal, and Bruce even confesses to his butler, “We’ve always been criminals, Alfred.” Many audiences reacted negatively to this very unfamiliar, jarring version of the character. And yet, this is exactly what Snyder intended. 

 

Toward the end of the film, Superman must sacrifice himself to end the threat of a monster named Doomsday. Superman heroically gives his life in order to save Batman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and the rest of the city. As the body of Clark Kent is lowered down from the rubble where the battle takes place, the viewer can see three crosses made from debris in the background. Batman leaves the battle a changed man, vowing to find other heroes like Superman, now having been reinspired by the sacrifice of the Christ-like character. 

 

If this all seems a little on the nose, it most certainly is. Zack Snyder is not shy about using this kind of powerful religious imagery in order to elevate his stories. The only problem that I have with his version of Super-Jesus is the way in which he uses violence. In Man of Steel, Superman does indeed save the world, but in order to do so he kills his nemesis, General Zod. In Batman v. Superman, Superman gives his life in order to save the day and (in a way) make atonement for Batman’s sins. However, he does this not out of submission to any kind of divine figure or by putting himself in the way of those for whom his is atoning, but, instead by ramming a kryptonite spear through the villain’s heart. 

 

So, what is the problem with Snyder’s Jesus character? Zack Snyder uses religious imagery to amplify his stories and yet he doesn’t carry his analogies all the way through to their logical conclusion. If Superman is meant to be a Christ-type, then he should save in a Christ-like manner. Jesus saves, ultimately, not through stylized hyper-violence, but out of humble service to the Father and out of deep compassion for sinners. Admittedly, this isn’t the kind of exciting stuff audiences want to see in blockbusters, so, for now we will have to settle for Snyder’s Super-Jesus, kryptonite spears and all. Only time will tell if he will continue his Jesus/Superman story in the same way with a tale of resurrection in the upcoming Justice League: The Snyder Cut.

 

__________

 

The Reverend David Keating is pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Curtis, Nebraska.

 

Previously by Pastor Keating…

 

“Short Message: How Do, or Should, Christians Witness?”

 

“Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ - Does Christianity Have a Culture Problem?

 

“Reflecting on 9/11: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

 

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Few Reflections on the U.S. Open at Winged Foot

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – September 18, 2020

 

The U.S. Open arriving at Winged Foot brought back some good memories.

 

During some two decades as a weekly newspaper columnist, I had the good fortune to cover three U.S. Opens. While with Newsday, I wrote about the 2002 U.S. Open played on the Bethpage Black Course at Bethpage State Park on Long Island, and the 2004 tournament at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton on Long Island. Later, then writing for Long Island Business News, it was the 2009 U.S. Open, once again, at Bethpage Black.

 

However, the first U.S. Open that I attended was during college. It was the 1984 national championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York – where this year’s U.S. Open, of course, is being engaged.

 


Matt Carolan and I journeyed up to Westchester County from Long Island early on Sunday morning. My late friend, Matt, and I had become buddies in high school, shared a love of golf, and would later serve as best man at each other’s wedding, as well as writing a newspaper column together for several years. But for that day, it was the final round of the U.S. Open.

 

A few things remain from that day in my otherwise porous memory. First, in retrospect, it was a heck of a lot easier to get tickets to a U.S. Open in 1984 than it would be in later years. Second, after arriving on the grounds, we had access to the famed clubhouse at Winged Foot, and enjoyed breakfast there. That would be unheard of today.

 

Third, I had never seen greens like those at Winged Foot before, and probably never since. The rolling, undulating, slick putting surfaces were completely foreign to a young hacker whose experience at that point had been limited to public courses. I recall watching in amazement as Tom Watson struggled to get the ball in a hole that was cruelly positioned on a side slope.

 

Fourth, even though Matt was always a fan of Greg Norman, and Norman was at the top of the leaderboard, I pushed to follow a different pairing. Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino played together that Sunday, and were not too far off the lead. Even at that point in time, I understood that a Nicklaus-Trevino pairing was history, and needed to be seen. 

 

I told Matt that we had to follow Nicklaus and Trevino because they were two of the all-time greats. On a par-three hole, we waited greenside for the tee shots of the two. They both wound up dumping their balls in the front bunker, and Matt sarcastically said, “Two of the greats?” Both proceeded to play magnificent bunker shots close to the hole, tapping in for pars, and I said, “Yeah, two of the greats.” Matt smiled, and conceded the point.

 

But we eventually wound up following Norman, and watched as he drained an incredibly long putt to save par on the 18th green to force a playoff. Given those greens, it was incredible. That was when Fuzzy Zoeller famously waved a towel from the fairway in surrender, though we were unable to see him doing so from our position. 

 

Alas, we didn’t see the 18-hole playoff the next day in person, but it would be Zoeller who prevailed in the end over Norman. 

 

Whether watching or playing, golf ranks as a great game. The 1984 U.S. Open turned out to be a wonderful experience and memory with my great friend, Matt Carolan, whom I still miss.

 

__________

 

Recent Columns by Ray Keating…

 

“Applaud, Don’t Attack, Robinhood”

 

“Sports Are Back But Americans Aren’t Happy”

 

“Should We Take Our Ball and Go Home When Pro Athletes Disagree with Us?”

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  You can order his new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s latest novel is  The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, which is the 12thbook in the series. There is a big sale on signed books and sets at https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month. Also, the best way to fully enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, tune in to Ray Keating’s podcasts – the PRESS CLUB C Podcast  and the Free Enterprise in Three Minutes Podcast  

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Free Enterprise in Three Minutes with Ray Keating – Episode #77: The Unemployment Rate is a Useless Economic Indicator

In this episode, Ray explains why the unemployment rate ranks as the most useless economic measure that gains the widest attention among economists, the media, investors, money managers and policymakers. Tune in here!


Short Message: How Do, or Should, Christians Witness?

 by David Keating

The Keating Files – September 17, 2020

 

“Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go, my daily labor to pursue, Thee, only Thee, resolved to know in all I think or speak or do.” - Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go (Lutheran Service Book 854:1)

 

How do we witness as Christians? How do we tell others about our faith? 

 


As Lutherans, we understand that the strongest witness that we can offer as Christians is by the way we live out our vocation, motivated by the Gospel. 

 

We approach our work, whether through our employment or in the community, as if every moment doing the things we are tasked to do were a gift from God. We do this because wherever God has placed us is an opportunity to serve our neighbors. It is through serving our neighbors well that we are able to bear witness to the One who has given us the task at hand. 

 

Even in our daily labor, we know that God is at work through us.

 

__________

 

The Reverend David Keating is pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Curtis, Nebraska.

 

Previously by Pastor Keating…

 

“Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ - Does Christianity Have a Culture Problem?

 

“Reflecting on 9/11: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Amazon’s “The Boys” - Does Christianity Have a Culture Problem?

by David Keating
The Keating Files – September 15, 2020

My wife and I recently finished a re-watch of Amazon’s series The Boys in preparation for the release of the second season of the television show. The Boys is an extremely graphic (so, a word of caution is offered here for potential viewers) take on the superhero genre. The “heroes” in this television show aren’t so much paragons of moral courage and heroism as they are morally depraved totems of corporate America. Each superhero in the show is far more concerned with their brand identity and with public perception than they are in standing up for the little guy and defeating evildoers. 


The main superheroes that the series follows are all close analogues for many of DC Comics characters. A Superman parallel goes by the name of Homelander (this version of Superman is draped in a literal American flag, instead of just saying he stands for truth, justice, and the American way); a Flash stand-in that goes by the name of A-Train; and a Stargirl look alike, who is named Starlight, serves as one of the point-of-view characters. It’s Starlight that is, by far, the most redeemable of the characters in The Boys’ version of the Justice League, as she still believes she can act like a hero traditionally should or would in a superhero movie. 

One of the arcs that Starlight’s character goes through in the first season is her struggle with her belief in God and her Christianity. The version of Christianity that is presented in this series is almost as morally repugnant as the warped heroes themselves. It’s clear that the Christianity that Starlight grew up with is a pseudo-evangelicalism that’s complete with rock concert worship, t-shirt stands featuring kitschy Christian slogans, and an inspirational megachurch speaker named Ezekiel. Indeed, The Boys’ Christianity is less there to facilitate an encounter with Christ, as it is to undergird faith in a perverse version of the American dream.

Starlight’s struggle with her faith stems from a sexual trauma that she endured at the hands of another one of the corporate heroes. She attempts to speak about her experience and is quickly told that if she wants to maintain her position in “The Seven” – that is, this show’s name for its Justice League –  then she should keep her mouth shut. 

Similarly, Starlight attempts to discuss what happened to her in the context of a Christian festival that she attends and is asked to speak at, and is similarly discouraged from trying to sort through the experience in a faith-based context. 

The troubling thing, for both my wife and me, was that this was the only version of Christianity presented. There were no characters earnest in their faith who could have been there to lend a helping hand or at least a listening ear. The question that jumped to my mind was: Is this an intentional statement from the creators or have we gotten to the point that this is just our culture’s perception of what Christianity is and has to offer? No doubt, Hollywood has long been filled with edgy atheist types who are constantly looking to take a swipe at the Church. However, if this is simply culture’s perception of the Church more broadly, then Christianity has a much bigger issue.

The Church simply cannot be an experience-driven rally. Christianity is about far more than youth rallies and engaging speakers. It’s about more than just something that unites us culturally as Americans as well. Christianity is first and foremost about a relationship with Jesus and that relationship transcends divisions of culture and country. 

Part of what the Church is there to do is to listen to and empathize with the real-life versions of what characters like Starlight experienced. Christianity is, at least in part, about listening to often-times uncomfortable experiences of the people around us. These experiences can stem from people who have been hurt and have been sinned against in real, traumatic ways. 

We listen because Jesus encourages us to be a voice for the downtrodden and the oppressed. And when we do listen to those hurts that we all share, then we point them to the answer. Jesus reminds us to, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is Jesus who offers a real source of healing. After all, He is the one who has born our sin upon himself and has reconciled us to God. It is in Christ Jesus where we are able to cast off our burdens and receive the healing that can only stem from His life, death, and resurrection. 

So, part of what we can do in response to cultural depictions of the faith is to prove them wrong. When a friend or a neighbor carries a weighty burden causing grief, we can listen. When our communities are in crisis, we can be there to help. And when people are looking for some real, classic heroism, the Church can be there to lend a hand. We do this not for our own sake or our own branding, but instead we do it because it glorifies our Father who is in Heaven. If we want to solve Christianity’s cultural perception problem, then there is one thing that we clearly can do: care for the least among us.

__________

The Reverend David Keating is pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Curtis, Nebraska.

Previously by Pastor Keating…


Monday, September 14, 2020

Applaud, Don’t Attack, Robinhood

by Ray Keating
The Keating Files – September 14, 2020

I had been thinking about the purchase of a few shares of stock in a well-known company that’s clearly undervalued in this pandemic economy. As I sat in a long line, not going anywhere, at a fast-food restaurant, I decided to make the purchase. It took me less than 30 seconds to buy the shares via the Robinhood app on my phone.


Ain’t technology great? 

When it comes to making it easier and more affordable to invest for the average person, the logical answer should be an enthusiastic “yes.” But, of course, logic doesn’t always prevail.

On the logical side, more individuals becoming investors is a good thing for many reasons. For example, individuals are able to more easily build up their assets and savings for a wide array of purposes in life, from paying for college to retirement to passing on assets to children to making major purchases, and so on. (And yes, let’s offer the standard disclaimer: Of course, that requires individuals to invest responsibly.)

In addition, more people becoming part of what someone not that long ago called the “investor class” ranks as a plus in terms of better understanding how our free enterprise system works, and why investment matters in terms of providing liquid markets in which businesses can raise financial capital for growth, and people are incentivized to invest, including being able to move in and out of investments according to changing circumstances. Those changing scenarios can pertain to the investor herself, or to the company, industry and/or economy.

And while many Americans are investors through their 401ks or pensions, making one’s own investment decisions can have a greater impact than the more disconnected process of 401ks and pensions. Being an active investor encourages people to look at a host of undertakings in a different light, including how government taxes and regulations can impact businesses. Owning a few shares in a company can suddenly change one’s perspective on government supposedly having to do something about those presumably big bad corporations. Perhaps being an investor requires a more sober assessment of various crusades spouted off by assorted activists, from trade protectionism among populists to excessive environmental regulations on the Left.

These are all positive developments thanks to technology reducing the costs – Robinhood offers zero-fee trades – and increasing opportunities to invest.

At the same time, any endeavor in life is going to have some negatives or costs. And there always will be Luddites of various stripes and leanings who will gin up unwarranted and/or off-base worries about technological advancements. 

So, we get treated to assorted reports raising questions based on anecdotes and speculation. There was a CNBC report warning that “critics say Robinhood gamifies investing,” with one financial planner declaring, “These are super dangerous.” That’s right not just dangerous, but “super dangerous.”

The New York Times chimed in with the standard story of grim tales based on interviews with nine current and former employees, plus “more than a dozen customers.” Oh yeah, Robinhood has more than 13 million accounts.

Even the normally sober folks at The Dispatch published a piece declaring, “The coronavirus pandemic also led to a temporary moratorium of professional sports, meaning those who previously spent their days sports betting or playing Texas Hold ‘em in their local casinos have flocked to day trading as an alternative form of gambling.” Whoa. Is there any basis for such a comparison? Well, no, not really.

Robinhood’s responses to these attacks have been solid. CNBC quoted Robinhood’s response: “We believe that broader participation in the markets is more democratic and can bring opportunities to many. Those who dismiss retail investors as ‘gamblers’ or ‘gamers’ perpetuate the myth that investing is only for the wealthy and highly educated.” And Robinhood was quoted by The Dispatch: “Those who dismiss retail investors as ‘gamblers’ perpetuate the myth that investing is only for the wealthy and highly educated. We built Robinhood to be a platform for customers to learn and to invest responsibly, and most of our customers use a buy and hold strategy with their investments.”

People have long made bad financial decisions, often with tragic results. And I certainly am not denying the often severe pain that can occur. Unfortunately, that will never change. 

If one opens an investment account, whether with Robinhood or any other financial institution, doing your homework is required. That includes the benefits of having a diversified portfolio and purchasing, for example, mutual funds for the long run. And day trading is rarely a sound endeavor, while buy-and-hold makes sense. It’s also a good idea to only invest with funds that you can afford to lose. Such common-sense observations are ubiquitous for anyone willing to click or swipe online. Overwhelmingly, people heed such lessons, but some inevitably will not, again, no matter where the investment account happens to be housed.

In the end, comparing Robinhood’s services to gaming and gambling says more about the ignorance and bias of the people penning these various pieces, than it does about the realities of reducing the costs of and expanding opportunities for investing.

Indeed, the entrepreneurs who started Robinhood – Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt – should be applauded, not attacked, for making it easier and cheaper for the average person to invest.

__________

Worth noting…

Tune in to the episode of Ray Keating’s “Free Enterprise in Three Minutes Podcast” titled “What’s the Deal with the Stock Market?

__________

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  You can order his new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

Keating’s latest novel is  The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, which is the 12thbook in the series. There is a big sale on signed books and sets at https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month. Also, the best way to fully enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

Also, tune in to Ray Keating’s podcasts – the PRESS CLUB C Podcast  and the Free Enterprise in Three Minutes Podcast  

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Reflecting on 9/11: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

by David Keating
The Keating Files – September 11, 2020

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me! - Job 19:25-27

Each year on September 11th we pause to remember those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, as well as at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, in 2001. Upon seeing a disaster of that scale, many people had their faith shaken. People poured into the pews of churches the following week, many with the same thought: How could God let something like this happen? Everyone seemed to be wrestling with the most difficult question in all of theology: Why do bad things happen to good people?


Job wrestled with similar questions. He was the recipient of disaster after disaster. He had his family taken from him. He had his livelihood stripped away and he lost his home. Surely, if anyone had a right to curse God, it would be Job. 

Yet, Job didn’t curse God. Job knew that everything in this life is passing away. We often are plagued by the evil deeds of other men and have those things which we love in this life stripped from us. But, Job’s hope wasn’t in any of these things. Job’s hope wasn’t in his home, the people around him, or in his health. Instead, Job’s sure and certain hope was in his redeemer. 

Job knew that, if his redeemer lives, then he too will inherit eternal life and will see God face-to-face. No kind of disaster or calamity could take that away from Job. No disaster, whether man-made or natural, can take that away from the Church today, either. Because Christ Jesus is risen from the dead, we, too, will inherit the eternal life that is found in the resurrection. Even when disaster strikes and it feels like the world around is collapsing, the cross stands forever.

__________

The Reverend David Keating is pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Curtis, Nebraska.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sports Are Back But Americans Aren’t Happy

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – September 10, 2020

 

Many of us were waiting anxiously for the return of sports during this pandemic. And now that the NHL and NBA are in their postseasons, MLB is playing a dramatically shortened season, and the NFL kicks off tonight, well, it seems like a lot of Americans are pissed off with pro sports.

 


Just how bad has it gotten for the business of pro sports? Well, in a new Gallup pollmeasuring Americans’ views on 25 business or industry sectors, the sports industry ties for dead last – with the federal government. Yikes.

 

The sports industry is viewed positively (either very or somewhat positive) by only 30 percent of Americans. Again, that puts pro sports at the very bottom of the list with the federal government. However, at least the sports industry’s negatives aren’t as big as government’s, with the sports industry earning a 40 percent negative take (again, either very or somewhat) versus the federal government’s 50 percent (worst among the 25 sectors). (By the way, amidst all of the current and recent political insanity, it’s good to see that a notable chunk of Americans still holds a skeptical view of government.)

 

The sports industry also holds an edge over the federal government in terms of people holding a neutral view – 29 percent for sports compared to 20 percent for the feds.

 

But as Gallup makes clear, the big story in this year’s polling is the change for sports. It was noted, “The biggest slide … has been for the sports industry, with its positive score falling 15 points – from 45% to 30%. The sports industry now has a negative image, on balance, among Americans as a whole, with 30% viewing it positively and 40% negatively, for a -10 net-positive score. This contrasts with the +20 net positive image it enjoyed in 2019, when 45% viewed it positively and 25% negatively.”

 

And it’s gotten worse for sports across the board in terms of assorted breakdowns. From the 2019 poll to this 2020 poll, the net positives for sports moved in the wrong direction in category by category, such as going from +17 net positive to -7 among men; from +21 to -13 among women; from +36 among 18-34 year olds to +21; from +25 to -19 among 35-54 year olds; from +6 to -23 among 55+; from +4 to -22 among white Americans; from +51 to +16 among non-white Americans; from +11 among Republicans to -35; from +26 to -10 among independents; and from +16 to +11 among Democrats.

 

Parsing out the specific percentage-point contributions to this negative movement isn’t easy, but identifying the causes seem pretty straight forward. Some people are upset that sports leagues have become too political. Others believe that sports leagues haven’t done enough to address assorted societal ills, such as racism. And then there are simply sports fans who are displeased with how certain or all of the sports leagues have handled the challenges of this pandemic. 

 

We wanted sports, and far fewer are happy with sports. Go figure. I actually have a bit of sympathy for the people running the NFL, MLB, NHL and the NBA. Currently, they are in a no-win scenario. No matter what they do, significant parts of their fan base are going to be disgruntled. 

 

__________

 

See related...

 

“Should We Take Our Ball and Go Home When Pro Athletes Disagree with Us?”

 

“New Name for Redskins is Obvious: Washington Americans”

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  You can order his new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s latest novel is  The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, which is the 12thbook in the series. The best way to fully enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at

 https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, tune in to Ray Keating’s podcasts – the PRESS CLUB C Podcast  and the Free Enterprise in Three Minutes Podcast  

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Should We Take Our Ball and Go Home When Pro Athletes Disagree with Us?

by Ray Keating
The Keating Files – September 5, 2020

I swear – there was a time, not that long ago, when political reflection and commentary actually was independent. That’s right. Conservative and liberal observers and commentators used to – now, get this – inform and instruct Republicans and Democrats, respectively. Not the other way around, as seems to be the rule today.


Indeed, we exist in an era when many political commentators seem to do little more than recite talking points emailed to them by the RNC or DNC. These “thinkers” often pander to a variety of audiences, for political and funding purposes. Intellectual inquiry, depth and independence have become quite rare.

So, if we can’t take assorted people in the political commentary business all that serious, why should we take seriously the views spouted off by sports, music and Hollywood stars – whether they happen to agree with us or not?

Pick your favorite or least favorite professional athlete or actor who likes to chatter about politics, and consider that most (with occasional exceptions over the years – the most notable being Ronald Reagan) have little to no idea what they’re talking about, that is, beyond how they “feel” about this issue or that. The recognition they receive when speaking out is not due to their understanding rooted in serious study, but instead from their fame and feelings. 

Why then do people get so upset when a sports, music or Hollywood star takes a position with which they disagree? After all, again, this is a pretty clueless bunch. But I get the knee-jerk reaction. Not that long ago, I found myself getting upset about the same thing. But then I asked myself: Why do I care? Or better yet, why should I care whether someone in the entertainment business happens to agree with me or not?

When you stop and think, it’s all pretty silly. Why get so upset when a pitcher, point guard or punter says something about social issues, foreign policy, or taxes? Who cares?

Yet, once disagreement is discovered, I can’t tell you how many conservative friends I see on my Facebook feed declaring that they’re never going to watch a game ever again? Really? Are you not watching then most movies and television series, including an assortment of classic movies and shows because many of those old-time stars you love so much disagreed with you on a host of issues? Oh yeah, and what about all of the people in the sport who agree with you?

What’s the alternative? One option would be to appreciate (to the degree warranted) what people excel at, such as singing, acting, or playing sports. Their political views don’t cancel out that excellence. As for when these same people spout off on assorted issues, sure, make clear your disagreement and why you disagree, but in the end, just ignore their ignorance. 

Or even better, how about engaging with people constructively by trying to engage, teach and persuade, rather than just having a hissy fit, taking your ball, and going home? I know that doesn’t exactly fit with the times, but what the heck, give it a try.

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Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  You can order his new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

Keating’s latest novel is  The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, which is the 12thbook in the series. The best way to fully enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at

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