Monday, October 28, 2013

Peyton Manning & Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is perhaps the most influential philosopher of our time. The fact that his work has been written about so extensively by the other great contemporary philosophers I believe bears this out. But there is a flaw in Herr Heidegger's resume, he was an early supporter of the Nazi party in Germany. Now whether he later refudiated those early positions, which he most certainly did in private and equally as certainly did not do so in public, he still was at some point a supporter of National Socialism.

The enduring question for many scholars is: How does a personal or political belief reflect on one's life work outside of the political arena?

In the case of Martin Heidegger, the question may never be answered. Despite his influence over areas beyond esoteric philosophy, in psychology, art, political theory, design and anthropology; he still somehow was able to embrace the Nazi agenda.

So why discuss this today, one might ask? Professional football and pizza, I say.

You see Payton Manning, formerly the quarterback and savior of the Indianapolis Colts and now record-setting leader of the Denver Broncos has a similar questionable flaw in his non-professional character. Despite being beloved in Indianapolis before the vagaries of injury, the draft and the incessant drumbeat of money in the NFL forced him out; Peyton Manning is the chief celebrity spokesman for Papa John's Pizza. The owner, CEO, founder and 'ah shucks' advertising face of Papa John's is Papa John Schnatter. The founder of the 4th largest Pizza franchise in the U.S. is an entrepeneur of some note and a right wing ideologue. He was one of the first corporate CEOs to speak out against the cost of the Affordable Care Act and suggested he would be likely to make this staff part-time workers to avoid providing them with health care.

During that political dust-up pictures of John Schnatter's 24,000 square foot home modeled after a Roman villa began to appear juxtapositioned with his whining that he was going to have to raise the price of his pizza by 14 cents. Regardless of the politics of the Affordable Care Act or John Schnatter's political bent, how does this reflect on Payton Manning's decision to become a franchisee and owner of 21 Papa John stores in the greater Denver area?

Does the NFL star under contract for $21.5 million a year have any obligation to anyone but himself and his family or might he have some connection to the fans who not only are expected to patronize his restaurants but also in many cases work there without health insurance for a boss who doesn't think he should provide them with benefits.

Where do we draw the lines around celebrity and greed? Profit and poor labor conditions? And does supporting a clearly evil political agenda have any effect of your existential philosophy or your ability to throw the deep fade route?

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