After this past weekend’s Super Bowl show, I wouldn’t be surprised if the book of knowledge was chiseled out of the Statue of Liberty’s very hands to make way for a pigskin, what for the shameless way in which the veneer of freedom, remembrance, and patriotism was painted over this year’s Super Bowl broadcast.Along with millions of other viewers, I watched a skit where America’s “former dead founding fathers,” as they were introduced, rattled off phrases from the Declaration of Independence as though speaking to a group of fourth graders with attention deficit disorder. It was only fitting when the actors who made Thomas Jefferson look like a carnival midget and Ben Franklin an overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey in a powdered wig faded from view in the echo of an unseen narrator’s “Hazzuh!”.
Out of a morbid curiosity, I also tuned into the halftime show, and sadly, was not disappointed. Glow sticks, flag face paint, and people rocking out to U2 don’t typically bother me, until they all appear under the guise of patriotism in front of a huge screen with the names of those who perished on Sept. 11. The crowd sang, smiled, and screamed to “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Likewise, I have no problem with flag-lined leather jackets, until Bono flashes the inside of his to the same crowd, in front of the same screen.
Other instances, like when a camera shot of a rippling American flag segued into a picture of a football player running with one, proved to me that this year’s Super Bowl was a six hour long parade of pro-American propaganda. It was also a broadcast which proved there are some things that we, as a people and as a country, just don’t get. You don’t conveniently jump on the patriotic bandwagon to sell soda, wireless plans, or beer, anymore than you parade the faces of a group of men long dead in an effort to educate an ignorant populace about what it is to be an American during the most watched event of the year.
This year’s Super Bowl was not about healing, unity, or remembrance, though they tried hard to pass it off as such. If it had been, one minute of solid, observed silence would have said more about the strength, integrity, and honor of our nation than the six hour propagandized frenzy of patriotism, superstars, and football that took place this past weekend.