So, along with every other person who has ever uttered the words “social” and “media” in succession, I just watched the Super Bowl and, eye-gougingly, the halftime show.
And while the Black Eyed Peas, Slash and Usher may have just shortened all of our lives by at least a day, didn’t it seem, well, perfect? The dancers’ light suits, the choreographed “audience” to contrive the opening energy, the lyrics naked of any redemptive value, the talentlessness-masking auto-tune, the attention span assassinating medley. Isn’t all of that exactly what the Super Bowl halftime show is supposed to embody?
For chrissakes, you’re not supposed to think. That could be distracting from the grandest of distractions that is the Super Bowl.
Imagine if the halftime show started going in a different direction and didn’t just pander to the lowest common denominator. Imagine if the Super Bowl organizers didn’t want to just emptily engineer the halftime to maintain the engineered energy of the Super Bowl itself. Imagine if the halftime show featured a socially conscious musical artist regardless of style of music or, better yet, a speaker or poet who sought to energize the minds of the millions of us who religiously tune in to this Church of Nothing. Imagine Amiri Baraka or Alan Watts (all right that would be surprising as he’s been dead for nearly forty years) or Bob Dylan gripping the masses in thought and not just in visceral superficiality.
Wouldn’t work. Thought is not in the game plan for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s actually contradictory to the whole idea. Football itself is at its core a distraction for the masses and the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of Distraction. On this day we are not supposed to think of the economy or the environment or Tunisia or Tahrir Square or anything at all, for that matter. We are only supposed to watch to see if Big Ben can successfully dissect a 3-4 and how Coke is going to amuse us with their $3 million thirty second time slot. We are certainly not supposed to think of what he allegedly did to some star-struck college girl and how they are poisoning us with our permission. That would be distracting from the distraction.
A dude in a Tron suit shouting about the party and only the party is exactly what we should expect. A dumbed-down, commercialized bastardization of art itself is exactly what we essentially have asked for.
But that is all right. What really matters in this world is still right in front of us and is there for us to actively choose to pay attention to, whatever it may be that truly matters to you. If we start looking for the Super Bowl halftime show to be the beacon of light guiding us to the next plane of existence then we have lost our way much worse than even my pessimistic mind could envision. The Super Bowl and all of its sparkly lights and confetti is what it is. As long as we don’t let it define us individually or collectively then it really doesn’t matter.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up knowing that the Packers won and the Black Eyed Peas suck and neither will have any bearing on whether or not I continue to try to be the best father, husband and person I can be. Tomorrow morning life will continue regardless of all of the bullshit that happened in Dallas today.
A distraction is only a distraction if you allow it to be.
(OK, I feel better now. Just had to get that out. And now back to your regularly scheduled Thoughtful Pop……)