What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is on my list of essential films.
If you know anything about military history over the last 50 centuries, you know that with sole exception of the first half of the Napoleon era, any story involving the French Army will be one of arrogance and incompetence colliding at high speed. Paths of Glory is no exception.
The crux of the story begins with a French general’s plan to break out of the trench-bound stalemate of World War I. Pinned down my murderous German machine-gun fire, the French soldiers can;t even get out of their own trenches to mount an attack. In order to give them some incentive to leave the relative safety of the trenches, the general orders the French artillery to fire on his own troops.
When the French artillery commander refuses to carry out this order unless he is given it in writing, the general decides to charge the entire battalion with cowardice. since the logistics of trying several hundred men at the same time aren’t feasible, the French traditon at the time was to draw the names of three soldiers by lot, put them on trial, and ultimately to execute them.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
Picture the French general who is willing to fire on his own troops as idiot extraordinaire NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The scenario works like this. Much like the French Army in 1916, the National Football League is digesting itself through it’s own hypocrisy and incompetence. I think we all could bet pretty safely that Goodell is the kind of guy who can’t face the reality that he’s at least part of the problem.
You can tout whatever reason you want for the NFL’s television ratings doing a tank-job, but it’s painfully obvious that Kommissar Goodell has no idea what to do about it. Much like the character of General Mireau, Goodell projects his own incompetence and veritable impotence on to everybody around him because his ego prevents him from coming to terms with his role as Chief Fuck-it-Up Officer.
Both Mireau and Goodell fundamentally misunderstand the problems which face them. Despite the fact they are huddled in trenches under fire, Mireau believes in the invincibility of the French Army, and that his supreme leadership can conquer all. His ego is only out-matched by that of Goodell, who while subscribing to the doctrine of football’s infallibility fails to understand that his own arrogance is at the heart of all that ails the NFL.
How else can you explain a guy who tells fans “they need to be better educated” about the league’s numbingly stupid rules about “catch-not a catch?” How else can you explain a guy who praises a numb-nut like Colin Kaepernick in a country that just staunchly rejected idiotic liberalism? How else can you explain a guy who blames that same election for the league’s falling ratings when last week’s Jets-Colts corn-flecked floater got the worst NFL prime-time ratings since September?
The Moral of the Story:
Whether it’s 1916 or 2016, never underestimate the danger of incompetent and arrogant leadership.