Express Yourself

One of our students accompanied the 7pm Sunday Mass, and I got to spend Supe Sunday with the family for the first time in a few years. The game was entertainment enough for me, though I rather dislike both teams. When it was 17-15, I was rooting for a Giants safety to tie the score. I wanted to see unusual and strange things on the field.

The Super Bowl had its first Quidditch moment ever, with a team intentionally conceding a touchdown to give itself more than a ghost of a chance of winning the game at the very end. I can’t imagine that happening in hockey, baseball, or soccer.

When I checked some post-game commentary online, there was a lot of chatter about the middle finger gesture which we all missed (at my house, anyway).

You know, back in my day, artists protested with forbidden songs and corporate flipped the bird in response, powerless. Today, I’m not sure that corporate doesn’t approve of these activities. An artist like M.I.A. expresses herself and pumps up her sales and her big media handlers are probably pleased with the attention. It doesn’t do a whole lot for her pet causes. After all, we didn’t get an image of a starving Asian child. Whew, says corporate. We just got the same gesture shared among bullies and the victims of just about every First World school in the world that speaks the language of sex and a finger. So she doesn’t give a spit; neither do her bosses.

I don’t feel thrilled with Madonna’s final “World Peace” in lights either. Nice thought. But what does it mean, in the context? Nice songs about expressing oneself, and a nod to a prayer. But this is century21 football and Big Spectacle.

I probably shouldn’t be so hard on Madonna and her NextGen musical posse. It’s less about sheer talent, and more about entertainment. This was, after all, the high altar of American sport. If you want concern for the poor, you need real religious missioners, peace-and-justice folks, and activists. Super Bowl Sunday is about entertainment under tight corporate control, and with just enough edge to keep you coming back for more next time, rather than leave the scene entirely and set up camp among the needy.

Happy football for another year, people.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Music, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Express Yourself

  1. David D. says:

    My natural rooting interest was against the Giants though a N.E. win would have been only slightly less distasteful. At least I’m not a Jets fan.

    The buzz created by championships here is quite different that in other cities. Since NYC is represented by at least two teams in each of the major professional sports, every title leaves roughly one-half of NYC sports fans deeply dissatisfied (to put it politely). Also, because so many NYers are from somewhere else, the NY fan base is further diluted. Finally, with the exception of the Yankees, NYC’s identity is not so heavily tied to its sports teams as in other places. Coming into work this morning, there were no visible signs that a NY team had won a championship only a few hours earlier. If this were Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo or some other down on its luck city the scene would have been very different.

    As entertaining as last night’s game might have been, I still think it paled in comparison to yesterday’s other televised match-up of obnoxious teams – Chelsea and ManU – which ended in a 3-3 draw.

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