The Black Eyed Peas and the Grand Distraction

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……)

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About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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20 Responses to The Black Eyed Peas and the Grand Distraction

  1. Jared Karol says:

    Wait, today was the Super Bowl? Must have missed it. . . sounds like a good thing to have done. . .

    BTW, I like the regularly scheduled Thoughtful Pop and the interruptive Thoughtful Pop. . . both are thoughtful. . .

  2. Loved this post. Great wit, tone and way of capturing everything that is ugly about the NFL, the USA, and well the general stench of the great malaise.

    Having said that I am a big football fan. I love the game, but I have struggled for years the disgusting hype and commercialization of the NFL. I understand the SuperBowl is meant to be over the top, and I would not want Dylan doing the half time show, but it is important to step back once in while and see that the monster is becoming too ugly and no longer resembles what we love.

    Give us football not ads and the Black Eyed Pees.

    Loved this line:

    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.

    • Thank you so much, Jabiz. I am a big fan of the sport itself, too. I love to just sit and watch a game, but the Super Bowl and all of the ridiculousness that goes along with it just go too far. The mirror that it holds up to our culture (not just America, but Western Civilization itself) is tough to look at, but could be very useful for all of us to move forward as a people.

      Yeah, and I can always do without will.i.am in a space suit and knee high boots.

      Thanks again for visiting and taking the time to comment.

  3. @tessasdad says:

    Ugh, that halftime show was the worst. Like you, I’m a fan of football but I’m beyond tired of the commercialism surrounding it, and the exploitation involved in every big game where some soldiers are trotted out to tug at the heartstrings for about a minute before sending you back to gorging yourself with Doritos and Coke.

    I was torn this year as a lifelong Steelers fan. I wanted them to win but I’m kind of glad that Roethlisberger had a pretty shitty game. I had grown tired of hearing how Ben would be redeemed if he won a Super Bowl. Redeemed?? The fact there was even a conversation about this highlights the huge issues with have with celebrity in our culture.

    Good post man 🙂

    • That “redemption” thing was very difficult to swallow. How must such disregard for someone’s life feel when you are that someone and you have been disregarded (and discredited) because some dude is good at throwing a ball? How must her father feel? Makes me shudder.

      Thanks, Chris.

  4. Todd Tobias says:

    Well put, Mitch…

    I still love the AFL and football history, but find myself caring about the contemporary game, players and teams less and less each year.

    • Thank you, Todd.

      Ten years ago I couldn’t understand why my dad had become so indifferent to the whole circus that I still thought was so important. I get it now.

      Your blog reminds me of the things I love about football each time I read it. I look forward to every one of them and appreciate what you are doing, old friend. Thanks for taking the time to read mine.

  5. Brooke Sherman says:

    Mitchell,
    My girls loved the half-time show! You should see Kali get her boogy on!

    • As well they should, Brooke. It should be noted that I am not holding 5 year olds to the same standard – I’m not a monster. Pessimist, yes…monster, no.

      And I would love to see both girls’ boogie, but can we choose alternative tunes?

  6. daddygreen says:

    Well said sir!
    I hated the half-time show. However, I Loved Fergie’s costume. She looked like Tina Turner in Mad Max: Beyond Thunder Dome

  7. mudly says:

    bravo mitchell, bravo!

  8. Joe Ski says:

    Mitch, love your posts, man! Hope all is well. Thought you might dig this song:

  9. Jack says:

    It was a great game and everything I expected or wanted it to be. I suppose that I have become cynical in my old age, but I am reticent to give hope that fans would listen to a plea for help.

  10. Pingback: Give Me Everything in the Bowl and No One Gets Hurt | Thoughtful Pop

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