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.