Upon brooding on the subject of nuclear proliferation, I soon found myself musing on the lameness of the Winter Olympics. . . and a superior alternative.
(A solution to the threat of impending armageddon, however, did not present itself)
I was reading an article on the fallacies of nuclear deterrence, in which the author presented compelling arguments challenging the generally accepted dogma that having nuclear weapons makes you safe. My lifestyle seems to prescribe to this philosophy: I do not have a gun, I don’t like being around them, and I don’t even like holding them — for the simple reason that the likelihood that I would have occasion to use a gun is so greatly outweighed by the likelihood that (in my possession) it would cause unintended disaster.
But no matter how much it would make sense for nobody to have guns or nukes, it obviously isn’t going to happen. From a game theory perspective, giving up your weapons first is nearly suicidal, since anything short of unanimous cooperation is disastrous. Voluntary disarmament does not appear to be a remotely feasible solution. Why? Because you can’t just undo technology. The science is understood, its capabilities are known and coveted. The cat is out of the bag, and solutions have to be pursued assuming that the cat is not going back in. Unless you are good at putting cats back into bags.
Now while it is clearly easier to get a cat into a bag than it would be to ubiquitously wipe out nuclear weapons, the cats somehow seemed more appealing, and I started thinking about getting cats into bags, and how — in consideration of the current state of competitive events — it would make for a challenging and fascinating sport.
Wouldn’t that be something, if our sports and games were based on tasks that were inherently difficult rather than easy?
Consider the Winter Olympics — a poor excuse indeed for a global sporting festival. Everything in the Winter Olympics is based on tasks that are easy: sliding yourself or an inanimate object across a slippery surface (skating, hockey, curling) or falling downhill (everything else). Do we really care how fast you fall down the hill?
It is actually shocking how many ‘sports’ they’ve squeezed out of the act of gravity assisted locomotion. Luge? Skeleton? Is choice of sitting position so interesting that it warrants a separate event? Do we care if there are two or four people in the bobsled? Find the optimal number of people and do it! Can you believe there are over a dozen ski-and-snowboard-based events? If one is so entirely bored or competitive as to take up one of these ‘sports’, how do they go about selecting the variant to pursue?
But I digress. My idea was to have an occasion where all the tasks were based on something difficult. Cat-in-a-bag? You know cats. You know that several competitors will fail to get the cat back into the bag. Someone might even get maimed — you probably won’t even have to worry about the fastest time.
To make it more interesting, you could starve the cat and have a bunch of mice running around in the arena — the person who gets the cat in the bag with the most surviving mice remaining, wins. Obviously, as people get better at the sport, they can increase the difficulty by training the cats, getting them drunk or high, and increasing the number of them.
I realize that PETA won’t like this idea, and that the Futility Games may only be permitted in countries with slack regulation. But don’t worry: if we can’t have cats, we can do it with people. Now we have two skills to develop — getting dudes in bags, and not getting stuffed into a bag. That’s fun. And hard. And fun and hard to watch. Maybe it will become a team sport, but who knows.
Because it won’t stop at cats and bags. You could have a find-a-needle-in-a-haystack race; a dig-yourself-out-of-a-hole competition. Horse-drinking! Cat-herding! Bear poking!
I am open to suggestions.
Post Script: If you were under the impression that this article would somehow address solutions to the far more serious problem of nuclear proliferation, I apologize for wasting your time. . .