A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

If Only Christina Aguilera Had Eaten Doritos...

Another football season is over, and once again the annual climatic exploitation of crass American consumerism (aka the Super Bowl) occurred amidst much multimillion dollar hype. Naturally, it was also an excuse for the football gazing public at large to engage in their yearly food and drinking orgy of Caligulan proportions. The Super Bowl is the annual American spectacle that can show the country at its best (good sportsmanship) and worst (everything else).

Fortunately, I did not witness the pageantry of excess as it happened. So what did I miss? Apparently not much! No boobs were exposed this year, so fortunately mass media will not have to fear another decency crackdown by the FCC.

In a bid for record-breaking attendance (and naturally make even more obscene amounts of money), the NFL arranged to hastily install more seats in the new Cowboys Stadium. Unfortunately, the seats were not installed in time to pass inspection by the fire marshal, and suddenly hundreds of people who paid $900 for a place at the Big Game had to be relocated or denied access altogether. Dallas hasn’t seen a public relations disaster like this since Kennedy attempted to ride through Dealey Plaza.

The victims of this bid for unbridled greed have been offered triple their money back by the NFL, but the league misses the point. To pay that kind of money and take the time and further resources to travel to the Big Game is a major bragging point with many people. Many probably believe that their attendance at a Super Bowl contest makes up for the fact that they weren’t around to attend other landmark cultural events like the original Woodstock.

These hapless souls may have missed the total Super Bowl experience, but on the plus side they didn’t have to personally sit through Christina Aguilera’s torturing of the Star Spangled Banner. Critics on Twitter immediately noticed that she dropped a line (O’er the ramparts we watched) from her wandering, screeching performance. Way to go, Christina! Now the Tea Partiers will probably insist on a Constitutional amendment mandating that every child memorize the Star Spangled Banner or else answer to Glenn Beck!

The shots of the crowd during Aguilera’s performance ranged from bemusement to borderline spastic. There was the extreme close-up of a befuddled fellow, who realized something was amiss, to a shot of several football players tearing up with emotion, to finally another football player who couldn’t stand still. This guy was jumping around like a bored five year old sitting in church. My theories for his angst: either he was anxious to be playing the “big game”, or he was a drop out from the “fast track” school of potty training and had to go real bad.

As always, the action on the field, whether in the game itself or part of the pre/post/half-time shows, was overshadowed by the commercials. The football championship is one thing, but this is always the event in which American business trots out its new products or launches new ad campaigns for old products. Fortunately, I didn’t have to watch the whole game just to see the commercials. Thank you, YouTube!

The most amusing ads came via Bud Light (my favorite: “dog sitting” with a nod to the kitschy Poker Dogs paintings); Doritos (the amazing snack that not only raises the dead, but also reassembles grandpa from his cremated remains); and Pepsi Max (uniting or dividing those seeking long term relationships). I’m sure many baby boomers felt tears of nostalgia well up when the Chevy Silverado demonstrated it can bring help to a poor, hapless boy who can’t seem to stay out of danger just as well as a collie named Lassie.

The best edited commercial had to have been for the next generation electric car: Chevy Volt. The ad was one long montage of America’s electrical innovations linking Ben Franklin to Thomas Edison to Howdy Doody to Jimi Hendrix (!) to the Volt. Overall, it was a brilliant thread of Americana neatly displayed within a time frame of 30 seconds.

The most ambitious ad was a two minute mini-documentary from Chrysler with an underlying theme: Detroit will be back with a vengeance. By calculating the price of a 30 second spot at $3 million, then we can estimate the price tag just to broadcast it was $12 million! The results were very ambitious, a nice booster shot for Detroit’s image, and another reminder in the end that no matter how bad economic times get, car ads will never stop. Still, there is an uncomfortable feeling that all this money spent by an industry that accepted bailout money from the government will just give more ammo to the Tea Partiers attack on big government. Never mind that the auto industry and thousands of jobs were saved...

Now we can look forward to the next Super Bowl - which may or may not be played next year depending on how the NFL's forth coming labor dispute is resolved. Still, we shouldn’t delay on planning every detail, such as who will sing the National Anthem next time? I nominate Rosanne Barr. With the NFL obviously in a forgiving mood — witness Michael Vick's public redemption stint with the Philadelphia Iggles — this would be a perfect chance for someone like Rosanne to make up for her previous National Anthem blunder.

Think about it; we could do worse.

(Thank you for reading. Please, someone pass the chips to Christina!)


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