1. Bahrain Grand Prix – a thought on morality

In my post on my spiffy Big Bamboo hat, I had a footnote tag after Bahrain Grand Prix and then forgot to put in the footnote. That is probably a good thing because it would have been the tail wagging the dog anyway.

This weekend is the Bahrain Grand Prix and I don’t think the F11  circus should be there. It helps legitimize a regime that shouldn’t be legitimized. A regime that called in the Saudi army to help it put down peaceful protests. A minority Sunni regime that suppresses its Shiite majority and, by its own admission, has killed and tortured its own citizens when they protested. It seems to be a case of  Bahrain’s desire for national prestige and its willingness to pay for that prestige trumping morality.

As much as I want to think otherwise, that is what Grand Prix racing is all about: money and national prestige. It is an incredibly expensive sport. The top teams pay about a half a billion dollars a year to play. The top drivers are some of the highest paid athletes in the world.

It brings up the question of, as a fan, how much do I want to support a sport that is amoral at best and probably really – by a lot of reasonable standards – immoral. And, yet, I love cars and so enjoy seeing the best cars in the world race. I have been critical of Giants fans who supported Barry Bonds and I still support Fernando Alonso who once cheated and then  tried to blackmail his team owner in an effort to get an advantage. But, man, is he a good driver.

What my mini moral dilemma boils down to is this: I don’t want Formula One to race at Bahrain, but, because they are, I will watch it. It seems that I want somebody else to govern my moral behavior. I don’t think that puts me on the level of a child abuser, but I am also pretty sure that the Buddha would not approve.

1 F1 stands for Formula One, the highest class of racing cars specified by the FIA  – Federation Internationale de L’Automobile, the governing body of international auto racing – that race in twenty races a year, each race in a different country.

2 Michael Schumacher is the most successful and highest paid driver, so far making over one billion dollars in his career.

2 thoughts on “1. Bahrain Grand Prix – a thought on morality

  1. Hi Steve,

    Just caught up on your blog……It looks like you had another wonderful trip to Death Valley. What a bummer about your camera, I hope you’ve been able to fix it.

    Wow, Edwin looks so tall and grown up. How wonderful of you to go to SF State with him and his Mom. Did he get a AA or AS from the Junior college he was previously attending?

    How cool is that to ask for and receive a couple of new Big Bamboo hats from them. You look great in that shot.

    As for F1 and morality……I admit I did love to see Barry Bonds play even though I felt he was cheating by taking steroids. I’m not proud that I appreciated his talent, but it is interesting what I (we) will do to support a sports if it is something we love.

    Recently the new Manager of the Miami Marlin’s baseball team, who was a former player Ozzie Guillen, was quoted in a Time Magazine article as saying he respected Fidel Castro. It was the 2nd time he was quoted in his career stating his respect for Castro & he’s said similar things about Hugo Chavez. It caused quite a storm, but so far he’s keeping his job in spite of the fact that 15% of the Miami fans are Cuban.

    BTW I read that Sebastian Vettel held off Kiki Raikkonen to win, so I imagine it was an excellent race, take care.

  2. I don’t know that the Buddha would have spent time approving or disapproving. Probably would have suggested that you look within and experience all the feelings YOU feel and then act with as much wisdom and compassion as you can muster. Seems like that’s what you are doing. Not that the Buddha would approve or disapprove…

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