Super Ambivalent

Super Ambivalent

by
Abby Zimet

What a thrill. What a travesty. So much grace and drama and prowess. So
much hype and dross and excess. Our childlike wonder in
the face of spectacle is endearing. Our gullibility and skewed value system is appalling,
borderline sinful. And Bruce! What a showman! What a sell-out!

The
giddy overkill of the Super Bowl, this year even more than others,
inspires...mixed feelings. Moral outrage is helped along, though, by the unusually scurrilous behavior of corporate America. How much good could be done with the $3 million per beer ad they spent? Ask a food bank.

At the outset, it must be said: It was an exciting game. There were so many unexpected turns that even my daughter, watching warily with her Curious George, stopped asking "howcum we can see all their butts?" long enough to start rooting for the red guys.

There was something invigorating about all those people – 70,000-plus, with an estimated television audience of 100 million – putting aside all those problems – many people, especially at home, have to be hurting – to muster so much good-natured fervor. We are a species, even in hard times, that loves a good show. 

Some of the ads were entertaining – Pedigree's rowdy pets, the Clydesdales' love affair – though many seemed obscenely violent, and what John Turturro's doing selling beer is anybody's sorrowful guess. Of course, it would be nice to see all that effort and creativity spent solving the economic problems that now engulf us rather than trying to sell us more stuff we don't need and can't afford thanks largely to their greed and gross errors in judgment to begin with, but that's another story for another time.

And Springsteen and his E Street Band were electrifying. Okay, he could have used the soapbox moment to rage a bit, but maybe he figured nobody in the good-times crowd wanted to hear it just then, so he gave us our 12-minutes' worth of exuberance instead.

On the other hand, there are the offenses to common sense and reasonable priority. Where to start? The millions of dollars – at $100,000 per second – that companies spent on their ads, and the number of kids or shelters or food banks or retraining programs that could use it? The gazillions of dollars spent on the players' salaries? The pandering? The plastic? The pure, vast waste of it?

And, lest we forget, the astonishing obliviousness of still-profit-seeking companies like the Bank of America, which a few weeks after getting $45 billion in federal taxpayer bailout funds held a five-day Super Bowl extravaganza of
sports games, interactive entertainment and hard-sell marketing. To critics who had the good grace to blanche at such brazen abuse, the bank blithely argued it was "a business proposition" that would "generate significant revenue streams."

They oughtta be ashamed. What does it take?

If you want to read more about it and get really aggravated, go here 

If you've had enough for one day, just think about that play by Santonio Holmes.

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