Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Heart of Darkness


Like everybody else in the whole wide universe I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday. Well, I didn’t actually watch it—more like glanced at it. I had it streaming on my computer with the sound off while I really watched on TV the recap of the weekend games in the English Premier League, enjoying the sight of true footballers falling to the ground without being touched, trying to get a penalty called on their opponents. Now that’s sport!

I used to be an enthusiastic watcher of the games of the National Football League. Two things turned enthusiasm into indifference: the scabbing of players against their own union when a strike was called in 1987 and the increasing militaristic posturing and chauvinism associated with the sport. (It amused me to see on Sunday that the suits of the studio analysts were adorned with flag pins, assuring the viewers that the opinions being voiced were those of true Amurricans.)

Since I had no emotional baggage attached to either the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49’ers, my initial, rather muted, rooting preference for the latter team rested on the fact that I had visited the Bay City twice and Baltimore only once. However, soon after the game began, I noticed that the Frisco quarterback was covered with tattoos, so I resurrected my love for Maryland crab cakes and switched allegiance. (Do you have to be some kind of genius to give people money to inject ink into your body?)

After a lot of falling down and getting up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xus57BaY3hI) came halftime and the Super Bowl halftime show—which was basically a clone of a beer commercial without the beer. A stage miraculously appeared, along with a bunch of young stooges who surrounded it jumping up and down with their hands in the air—but empty of beer bottles with labels facing the camera. And on that stage was someone apparently named Bouncy, who did what she could to live up to her name. I cannot comment on the content of her songs (they may very well have matched Schubertian Lieder for all I know—sound was off, remember), but I can point out something that I have been aware of for a long time: the triteness of the clich├ęd wiggles and twitches that pass for rock choreography. Seen it once, seen it a hundred times.

The best part of the game was, of course, the blackout. Now I had something to root for: a hope that the lights would not go back on that evening and that the buttoned-up and anal National Football League would have to improvise. Could it marshall the troops and come back the next day (or evening)? God, I wanted to see the league have to scramble for a solution like after a loose fumble. Unfortunately, someone found some electrical tape and spliced together a few wires.

Ruined the rest of my evening.