The Super Bowl felt like a giant convergence of social memes last night. While it’s fun to watch the game, it also captures the contradictory force of nature America has become.
The headline of today’s blog has a bit of a cynical feel, doesn’t it? When someone tells you that something is “Super. Just Super,” they are typically not being complimentary. They’re using hyperbole to shoot you an insult.
Those of us that have learned to be cynical about supposedly super things like pro football now have plenty of confirmation that at its highest level football has become a strickeningly corrupt and abusive sport.
The concussion controversy continues in the background of the football world. There are those who think that ultimately something in that category will have to reckoned with. Kids get banged up and lives get altered from concussions, especially on repetition. Without youth football, you ultimately would not have pro football. It’s a serious problem for the game America claims to love.
Maybe we’re dumb. Maybe just happy.
Yet a fascinatingly large percentage of Americans seem happy to ignore such threatening trends and facts. As long as things like football as entertainment make us happy, we are content to ignore the risks.
It’s become the symbol for the entire lifestyle, the American Way we employ to aggressively ignore anything that threatens our way of life.
That’s the exact reason why we have so many people are still denying the very real dangers of climate change. The American fixation on the costs of change and sacrifice take precedence over global preservation and safety because some brand of popular and powerful opinion holds sway in society. Maybe we’re dumb. Maybe just happy. Just like pro football.
An ethos and religion
That’s because football acts like a religion in this country. People adore the Friday Night Lights tradition because it provides ritual as a foundation for life. The following definitions help describe this phenomenon.
a particular system of faith and worship. plural noun: religions “the world’s great religions”
a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. “consumerism is the new religion”
There are even people who get sacrificed to this religion. That includes players who give their lives and their minds to the sport. But it also includes the many spouses living in constant threat from domestic abuse by husband/players that cannot turn off the violent tendencies necessary to thrive in pro football.
That level of intensity may exist naturally in the human race. But the more insidious aspect of those situations is that abused wives fear that speaking out will jeopardize their husband’s lucrative, often short careers in pro football. It’s an ironic twist that the NFL considers itself a “family.” A family that does not reveal its dark, coarse secrets.
It’s an inevitable product: If you are going to train up young men to hit and be hit, to dominate without question and to ignore pain in yourself and in others, there will emerge a brand of psychopathy in some people. Not all. But enough that society should take a hard look at what it wants from its sporting religions.
Like most religions (Christianity for example) football draws on pagan traditions as a foundation for mass appeal. That is exactly why half-naked cheerleaders crowd the sidelines. It’s literally their job to jump around, shake their boobs and titillate the fans. Interestingly, this year’s Super Bowl television coverage fairly ignored the grossly underpaid, scantily clad “cheerleaders” as sideline candy. But then we had the Victoria’s Secret commercial to make up the difference.
It’s a rather interesting intersection at which we’ve arrived. Female fans seem to enjoy these commercialized enticements of comely women as much as men. That’s not a bad thing necessarily if the appreciation is subjective on the order of choices made and some sort of equity.We’re apparently all in on some super joke that under it all, we’re all alike.
Perhaps paganism remains the one true religion of the world after all. It’s all about the battle, spoils and plunder. A rehearsal perhaps for the apocalpyse so many Americans seem eager to believe in.
The Apocalypse, you see is the Big Payback against all those who lack virtue. It’s all part of God’s Playbook for humanity. That’s when Coach Jesus returns with the player’s roster on which the names of all those who worship the Coach are drafted into salvation and eternal life in heaven. Seats on the 50 yard line. Or perhaps a Skybox? Yes indeed, the Super Bowl and its accompanying religious fervor seem like the tribulation come to life.
There’s this whole Roman Empire thing going on around the Super Bowl, which has become known (among many vices) as the annual focus for the sex trade and human trafficking. And it gets worse. Like online gambling and other recently legalized vices, the sex trade is likely just a step away from becoming one of those partnered revenue sources that feeds the sin-tax principles of politicians seeking new revenue. Prostitution is already legalized where? All that money changing hands for sex slaves is going to be too tempting for politicians to ignore forever. Just you wait and see.
Because the NFL, so far as one can see and hear, is about ownership of human chattle. There are draft days, and players bought and sold. The compensation can be great for those involved. Yet the costs can be just as great. Investing your entire life for a shot at NFL glory sounds good. But it’s not that much different from the sex trade.
With politicians mouthing phrases such as “legitimate rape” while defunding real attempts to prevent unplanned pregnancies, one sees that the self-absorbed patriarchs who live among us still view women as sexual property, and little else. In that regard there is a very real anti-Christ living among us.
Up to the old tricks
What Satan really seems to enjoy the most in life is confusing the innocent with coy phrasing and tests of character that lead us, as in the Book of Genesis, into temptation. Here’s a little scripture sampling to show how the supposed doer-of-all-evil actually works.
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
We’ve all heard what politicians and pimps are prone to say, and for real. “No means yes if you know how to spot it.”
Or, “Why would you accuse your husband of abuse if he provides for you?”
And, “You made the choice to play football. Isn’t it your responsibility to deal with the consequences?”
Dressed in fire. Defying the gods.
In case you did not notice it, the halftime show with Katy Perry served up a mocking festival of grandiosity. Her playfulness as a performer uses sugar-coated humor, like this video California Girls … to comment on how weird the world of objectification really is.
So we all knew that we’d be getting a rigid looking Katy Perry (she can’t really dance) riding out to midfield on a giant faux-golden pussy cat. What else could it have been? Then Lenny Kravitz played guitar (we think…) like a saint sent from Beezelbub. Finally, Missy Elliott turned the event into a hard-rapping dance orgy. It really all fit nicely with the theme of the day. “Oh that’s Super! Just Super!”
The Super Bowl is simply political theater, writ large. Imagine how the sight of all that glitz and materialism must look to our sworn foes among the religious terrorists that so hate American aggression and consumerism. I mean, My God! The Super Bowl is like waving a red flag right in the face of a raging bull. Look at us! Look at us!
The evidence against us as a profligate nation is all there. The violence. The sex. The human trafficking. The abuse. The deflated footballs and overinflated egos.
All in good fun
It may be fun for all of us to watch the Super Bowl and pro football. There’s no denying its stimulating allure. The surprises and big plays. Even the colossal mistakes are Oh So American in nature. So we get some of what we deserve for loving football like the religion it has become.
Religious organizations across the country, fearing for their own dissolution with falling membership and a society of DONEs, could learn a few things from the NFL. It’s the new Catholicism as it were. Dispensational confession to the sport that takes no prisoners. Yet we all fight on in vicarious fealty to the Patriots, the Seahawks, the Browns and Bears and Chiefs. It’s all very childish in an ADD sort of way. Football as a focus is in fact a distraction from our distracted way of thinking. We feed ourselves to the sharks, and then wonder aloud about how it all happened.
A super reaction
In that sort of culture, how else could we react when those terrorist-drive planes (if the conspiracy theories aren’t true) crashed into the towers in NYC. We stared at our TV screens in wonder, and in awe, and with a trace of fear. But then a voice in the back of our cynical little American heads said the words that captured it all.
“Oh that’s Super. Just Super.”