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Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague

Globalized sport as savage spectacle and ‘opium of the people’

Marc Perelman pulls no punches in this succinct and searing broadside, assailing the ‘recent form of barbarism’ that is the global sporting event. Forget the Olympics and consider, under Perelman’s guidance, the ledger of inequities maintained by such supposedly harmless games.

They have provided a smokescreen for the forcible removal of ‘undesirables’; aided governments in the pursuit of racist agendas; affirmed the hypocrisy of drug-testing in an industry where doping is more an imperative than an aberration; and developed the pornographic hybrid that Perelman dubs ‘sporn’, a further twist in our corrupt obsession with the body.

Drawing examples from the modern history of the international sporting event, Perelman argues that today’s colosseums, upheld as examples of ‘health’, have become the steamroller for a decadent age fixated on competition, fame and elitism.


  • “Marc Perelman has written a magnificent manifesto for all of us dedicated anti-Olympiads, revealing in compelling detail how sport, which has long been the opium of the people, is now the political and financial dirty business of the rulers as well.”
  • “Excited about the Olympics? If not, this bolus of weaponised French spleen will be the perfect literary antidote.”
  • “Bracingly bilious counterblast against the new "planetary religion".”
  • “The work of stirring polemic that all of us who were picked last for teams at school have been waiting for.”
  • “A provocatively timed polemic that situates today’s mass sporting spectacle at the very heart of globalised capitalism.”
  • “Perelman’s claim that sport “becomes the sole project of a society without projects” rings uncomfortably true as austerity-hit Britain prepares to host a lavish Olympics.”
  • “French journalist Marc Perelaman argues … ruthless[ly] … agaist an emerging kind of barbarism.”


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    Petition translated by David Broder

    1936 Berlin Olympics. via Wikimedia Commons

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