Revisiting Mitch’s post and its image:

It reminds me of the Satires of Juvenal (perhaps that is not a surprise). His tenth is particularly famous, however, for lampooning the Roman mob’s willingness to trade their freedom for panem et circenses (i.e., bread and circuses).

According to, a web site devoted to the archeology of ancient Rome, what Juvenal described was a deliberate

political strategy. This formula offered a variety of pleasures such as: the distribution of food, public baths, gladiators, exotic animals, chariot races, sports competition, and theater representation. It was an efficient instrument in the hands of the Emperors to keep the population peaceful, and at the same time giving them the opportunity to voice themselves in these places of performance.

Few outside of American consumers of today’s free food and distractions and perhaps magazine editors could fail to recognize this strategy successfully at work in America today. Even the last sentence fits, as anyone knows who is interested in, say, the Academy Awards, movies and TV, NCAA tournament selections, NFL, NBA, MLB, music, et cetera ad nauseam (to continue in the Latin vein).

The movie “Gladiator” addressed this Roman depravity when the character Gracchus, a republican Senator, ruefully described the budding tyrant Commodus’ overt strategy of entertaining the populace with gladiatorial games to win their affection while he seized power from them:

Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom, and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate. It’s the sand of the Colosseum. He’ll bring them death, and they will love him for it.

What makes Time so disgusting is that they are openly broadcasting to the rest of the world this American distraction to destruction, while continuing to sell it here.