Super Bowl 45

February 7, 2011

I watched the Super Bowl on TV last night. There was a pretty good football game, a bit ragged but spirited and very close. But what football has to do with the Super Bowl is not clear.

The surroundings, which are more significant than the game itself, were pretty much garbage, highlighted by the most nauseating display of pseudo-patriotism I have ever seen. The lowest feature was a reading of parts of the Declaration of Independence by athletes and military personnel -- a natural alliance, of course --few of whom had the slightest idea of what they were spouting or where it came from. In the midst of them, Colin Powell stalked around gabbling nonsense about the tyrant George III. The English monarch, who has been lied about consistently since the founding of the nation -- some the largest falsehoods appearing in the Declaration itself -- was actually a fairly decent man who was popular among his subjects and genuinely concerned for their well-being. If he was indeed a tyrant then recent presidents of the United States have been despots rising so far above him in oppression as to make him into a nonentity.  But that's just history, and we've liberated ourselves from it as we have from so many other things -- actual democracy being one -- here in the land of the free.

I read that in the week before the game, Dallas was attempting to import ten thousand striptease dancers. I don't know how many external prostitutes were sought by the powers that be in the city, but if the local talent in stripping was deficient by ten thousand then the need for extra sporting ladies must have been several times that number. It would be interesting to know how many were flown in on corporate jets.

The eleven thousand businesses where liquor can be bought in north Texas increased their normal inventories by a considerable amount, some of them more than doubling the supply they would expect to sell on a normal weekend.

The average price for a Super Bowl ticket on Sunday was only $4,750, making admission readily available for dads and their offspring who wanted to bond on a day of national celebration, which I heard one TV announcer say was bigger than any other holiday throughout the year. Where's Bill O'Reilly to defend Christmas when we really need him? Oh yeah, he and the president picked Super Bowl Sunday as the day to air their chatty little talkfest.

It turned out that God was on the side of the Packers. What he's got against the Steelers is hard to imagine, especially when you consider they are a real capitalistic enterprise whereas the Packers are something of a socialist outfit. It may be that God was sending the wrong message by giving the victory to the Packers, and I'm surprised Fox News didn't get on him about that. He has his privileges, of course, but he certainly can' be allowed to imply that there's anything superior about socialism. Next thing may be that he'll drop down to a level with George III, even though he did put the moon right where it is to cause the tides to go out and come in regular as spit.

I grow sarcastic, perhaps too much so. But what other tone can you adopt about the hoopla of the Super Bowl?  Perhaps its descent into trash, trivia, and bad taste was inherent in the name chosen for it. It couldn't be just the National Football League Championship contest. It had to be something more grandiose than that. It had to be the game of all games, the super game, the game that made all other games petty and pathetic. It was America's game, and that's what we Americans do. We show everybody else in the world -- and in the universe, for that matter -- that standing beside us they really are nothing of any consequence. If they had any sense they would love us more than they do.

It's hard to give up something you have liked for a long time, and I have liked football, probably too much for too many years. As I was going to bed last night, I told myself I couldn't stand to watch the Super Bowl anymore. It has become swathed in too much filth. But truth is, I'll probably be back next year for Super Bowl 46. I have my addictions too. Maybe by viewing everything other than the game itself as the supreme comedic farce ever devised on the face of the earth, I can stomach it better. But then, that would be -- in a way -- dousing myself in yet one more boast about American exceptionalism. Doubtless I remain more of an American than I want to be right now. I wish someone could tell me what to do -- other than Jerry Jones, of course. I'm pretty sure what he would say and I've already taken his advice into account.

©John R. Turner

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