Stupor Bowl

Here’s what I think when I watch any event involving teams of professional athletes performing: “Hey, look, there’s a bunch of millionaires on the screen! And they seem to be running up and down and jumping and wearing clothing with branded advertising all over! And there is a score of some sort to keep track of who will earn the most money next year. My God, that’s lame.”
Now, the fact that I am a homosexual actually has nothing whatsoever to do with my opinions regarding professional sports. I know many gay men and women who spend a good deal of time and money on watching these events, and I also know of a good many straight men and women who couldn’t give a rat’s ass who’s playing on ABC next Monday Night.
Admittedly, if I was any good at a sport, I might be more interested in it and wowed by the athletic prowess of this year’s genetic misfit with his 4-foot flat-footed jump or her 3.5 minute mile or the rate at which his abnormally large heart beats that allows him to ride that bike around for hours and hours. But I’m not, so I don’t care.

However, what I do care about is TV. I own an HDTV set. Wide screen, baby. And Comcast just added CBS as a new HD broadcaster, and I wanted to see what the most-watched event of each year looks like in high definition television. And I can tell you it looks crisp, colorful, and 20% more boring.
I tuned in the Super Bowl “for the ads,” which uniformly sucked. I think this may be the first year where the game was actually better than the advertising. I watched the game out of the corner of my eye as I worked on an artist friend’s web site and turned slightly more attention to the halftime show, the ads, and the egregious and entirely tasteless and confusing salute to dead shuttle astronauts prior to the festivities. Here is what I, a non-interested observer, can report.
“Erections lasting longer than four hours—though rare—require immediate medical help.” Thank you for that, Cialis. I was wondering what to do in cases of four-hour hard-ons. I was thinking maybe I’d just sit there and stare at it in my pants during that crucial client meeting, hoping that they’d believe that I am so excited about being on the project that I literally cannot control myself. I’ve been in four-hour meetings before, and the thought of having an erection for the duration might be the only thing that would get me through another one.
The shuttle astronauts were on their way to the moon to plant a flag, except a tenor from Ally McBeal sang a song so maudlin and awful that the ship blew up. Okay, what the hell was that? I mean, I know that the Super Bowl is not known, overall, for showcasing emotional, elegant, touching displays that resonate with heart and meaning, but Josh Groban staring at the cheap seats singing about some unknown person or thing that lifts him up where he belongs while an awkward, ungainly astronaut stand-in stumbles up onto an inflatable moonscape with a stiff American flag does not well a tear in my eye over the fate of the Shuttle astronauts done in by a piece of foam. Come to think of it, if one of those scary Hitler youth chorus singers had chucked a piece of foam at Groban’s head, I think I would have choked up but good.
Football is dull unless you are drunk. A no-brainer, sure, but the onslaught of incredibly dumb and often offensive Budweiser ads, celebrating stupidity and the American way of gross, contrived, un-funny comedy, illustrated that point almost (almost) better than the game itself did. Horse farts? Horny monkeys? What is it with the American public that finds animal hyjinks so goddam funny? And have you ever tasted Budweiser? It’s piss. Tell you what, Anheiser Busch, next year fork that $2.3million per half-minute fee over to me and I’ll go on the air live during the Super Bowl and actually drink your swill, look into the camera and state “Yes, I’m nearly drunk enough to watch now. Let’s get back to the game.”
The quarterback from New England is pretty damned cute. They should really require that, for one quarter per game, the players have to play wearing only those lace-up pants.
Puns about my ‘end zone’ are not funny. Charmin had some bear furry changing butt towels or whatever they’re called for bathroom tissue, and then, see, guys would have to wipe their hands on… wait, that doesn’t make any sense. So, if you appeared on the field with bathroom tissue coming out over the top of your pants, everyone would think you’re too stupid to realize that when you were wiping, it got stuck in the crack… wait, no, that’s not very funny. That’s just gross. And the bear mascot is then chased because, um, okay, who pitched this idea?
High Defintion on-field camera swooping can give you motion sickness. So, when did that start? Now they have this camera above the players with the perspective of a gnat or a fly or the Great Gazoo and it swoops and dives and floats all over the place and when you’ve got a head cold and you’re high on Sudafed and that mosquito starts diving all over the place, it’s Hello Lunch!
I can only stand two and a half quarters of a football game. Midway through the third quarter, having seen Janet’s shiny nipple (in wide screen high-definition, I hasten to add, which is exciting even for a gay man) and replaying it endlessly on TiVo (not in high-def because TiVo, yo, get off your can and make a new HD-compatible box already) I brought up the TiVo “what else is on? I’m bored,” screen and discovered that Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck was on AMC or something so I turned to watch that instead, assuming that after Janet’s national flash, it would all be downhill anyway. I didn’t give a fuck who won, having never even heard of the Panthers or the Cougars or whatever the hell that team’s called, and knowing that when I lived in Boston, the Patriots were a laughable and pale reflection of a football club and cannot help but think of them thusly. Audrey was luminous and Gregory has that amazing voice and I love the part on the Vespa.
Janet Jackson’s tits are real. I would have said that this was all a publicity stunt and it was meant to happen, because how could Justin “accidentally” tear off her breast cover? He reached right over, and she let him, and he grabbed it and pulled and look, nipple! And, better even than that, nipple hardware! And then he’s all “sorry about the wardrobe malfunction, yo,” and MTV is all, “well, (shrug), we didn’t know that was going to happen,” and CBS is all “hey, they did it! not us. it was them” and shit and whatever and like, okay, so let’s throw a hissy fit. And then America is all, “Hey, boob!” and the FCC Chairman is all “I am highly offended and deeply aroused,” and Janet’s all, “I have a new album coming out and my new single drops on Monday and how can I get some free publicity?” and I’m all, “Wait, what? Was that a… that was her… am I in fucking France or something?”
Sure it’s a tit, but it’s a celebrity tit! On the most widely-watched spectacle on TV! In Prime Time! And it’s a Jackson! So, that’s all important to remember. And also: So, what was supposed to happen? Justin was going to reach over and grab her breast cover and pull and it reveals a diorama in support of our troops in Iraq as he sings “you’re gonna be all nekkid and shit when I do this, yo,” (I think he says “yo” all the time) and her chest heaves and cannons fire and skywrite ‘marriage should be between a man and a woman’s right breast’ and she goes on to sing another fucking medley of her hits from two years ago?
By the way Janet, I guess we all get to call you Miss Jackson now. Yo.

February 2, 2004

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