Monday, February 06, 2006

Super

What a kick (pun kind of halfway intended, Bush) to see the old Superbowl geezers lead the way yesterday, in the introduction to the players. Yes, I did watch it, Bush. Did you? It managed to be pretty unexciting, I thought, aside from a couple of standout moments. But what do I know about football? (What do you know about anything, you might be asking, Bush! And with some justification!) But at least it was a good excuse to spend a few hours of my Sunday on the couch in the traditional way, with a beer and chips. Therapy, sort of.

Anyway, listen, to see all those MVPs going back to the first of all Superbowls, number I, in the 1960s, was a healthily sentimental reminder for all of us lesser specimens of the passage of time. It put a little lump in my own aging throat to see that even Bart Starr and Joe Namath get a little older, put on a little girth, gather a few wrinkles, lose a little hair. But the spirit, Bush... that just gets better, stronger, wiser, more authentic for those who manage to age with consciousness and commitment in their lives. And I have to believe that men who reach the Superbowl--no matter how ultimately silly the whole enterprise might be--must have some special quality in their character, some special sense of discipline and devotion to their craft.

And aside from the football heroes, how about those Rolling Stones? Mick Jagger is still capable of the prance at--what?--sixty-two, sixty-three years old. That these guys have survived at all is something of a miracle, given the intensity of their path and the challenges and temptations they've had to face along the way. That they've survived with such incredible spirit and, well, a kind of grace, an almost serene sense of who they are, has to be gratifying to those of us who knew them when... As Jagger said, with no exaggeration, "Satisfaction" was a song they could have been singing at Superbowl I.

A big thumbs down, though, for the Escalade commercial--a tasteless, over-the-top production that was totally out of touch with the realities of the world in which most of us live. The sultry, slinky runway model and her audience of the trendily rich and over-endowed played to the lowest of American values, in my estimation: greed, concupisence, envy, the appeal of superficial glamor. No matter that this hideous machine (sorry, my judgment, Bush!) consumes inordinate amounts of the petroleum products that even you now want to wean us from. No matter that its tank-like proportions render it a menace to every other freeway user. No matter that its "statement" is a brash, aggressive insult to those who choose a more modest means of personal transportation. There it is, a glamor object, gleaming with self-satisfaction on every polished surface. Give me the bettered 1960s VW that our house painter drives, with a license plate holder that reads "Three more payments and it's mine"!

Oh, and the same for the Hummer commercial, the lovechild two Titans, a giant dinosaur and a giant technological golem. Okay, we get the point. It's part the primitive urge for bulk and power, part futuristic marvel. But the ad was weird, vaguely unpleasant. How about that Kermit the Frog, though, with his clean green machine, the Ford Escape Hybrid? Nice contrast. He ended up his "It's Not Easy Being Green" song with a big sigh and, "Well, I guess it is." Simple, straight, low-budget, honest. Good for Ford, I say--though I'm not sure that the Escape has the quality of my own inimitable Prius. But that's probably just pride of ownership. Anyway, I can testify to Kermit's conclusion: it really isn't hard, being green.

Well, this is turning out to be a maybe somewhat offbeat review of the Superbowl, Bush. But that's what I got out of it. I was sad that Seattle lost. I kind of leaned toward a Left Coast team. Pittsburgh, eh? I have nothing against them, but I didn't have any great reason to root for them either. As I told Ellie at the end of the game, I should always root for the team I don't want to win. My support never fails to be anything but a fatal jinx when it comes to sport. Have a good week, Bush. Watch out for those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

1 comment:

Fred T said...

Peter,

My favorite Superbowl commercial was the FedEx one. I felt the Seattle team got some really bad penalty breaks, but neither team really played superbly.