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That Thing They Call a Super Bowl, Roman Numerals 41 — Miami
CHICAGO 17, INDIANA(polis) 29
Semi-live commentary, not quite of the game

I wasn't at first quite sure who was playing, why or for what: football, American football, just doesn't does it much for me. I go for the real stuff. Besides, who but a couple of players on the gridiron are real athletes? The rest are obese drug addicts impersonating combines, each girth a solution for an African country's hunger if only the devourer had thought of it. But this isn't about watching football. It's about duty: every consumer's duty to keep up with the season's new crop of advertising, to bow to the half-time show and hope, like NASCAR fans dreaming of a wreck, for any kind of malfunction to rival the boobish one from, what, two years ago already? And to call the game a bore by the middle part of the second quarter. No malfunctions except the rain, as it turned out, though the game really was an unmajestic bore, the Bears played like overindulged grizzlies in a zoo, the Colts played like you'd expect anything from vapid tepid mattish Indiana to play, and some of the ads did take a turn for the homophobic. Full disclosure: Until I typed in the actual names of the teams I didn't even know for sure where the Colts were living room. Last I knew they were in Baltimore, weren't they?

It's a mess here: Cheryl trying to finish up her home-made Pizza, the baby clamoring for yogurt, his sister stumbling on somethingor other, and me wondering when I'm going to get my hands on that German beer Cheryl just poured me while, I hear, the game has already begun and none of our televisions is (is) on. At least my only prayer of the year was answered: I missed the majority of pre-game activities dating back to the late part of December and up to he moment when the announcer said (now that the TV is on) that the national anthem was coming up.

I was wondering how they were going to militarize this one. Conventionally. The hypocritical moment of silence. Ruined, of course, by the goddamn military guard. But thank Pele for Billy Joel. Tony Dungy looks like a thin, black Dick Cheney, except that Dungy doesn't cuss and our dung hyeap of a VP cusses like other people chain-smoke. Cheryl is not at all impressed with Billy's performance. Was that Mary Matalin doing sign language? Must be a lot of blind Republicans in the audience. Oxymoron.

Honorary what? Coaches? They have honorary coaches for this game. A man and a woman. Jesus. Next year we'll have honorary sponsors. So listen to this: Cheryl makes this terrific pizza, spends the last ninety minutes slaving over it, I devour my first slice in two minutes, I ask where the rest of it is, and what do I hear? “There isn't any!” Except for the baby's second slice, which I just stole. I just realized the show is on CBS. Another good fortune: No Fox crap all night. Here we go. Bears receive. TOUCHDOWN! Looks like they're allowed to use their hands in this kind of football. What do you know. "Watching himself on the Jumbotron as he trots in"? That's what the announcer said of the mastodon who ran in for the touchdown. Talk about our obsessive self-referential disease.

So: I just learned that my only fan bailed to be with “company,” and I mis-identified 50 percent of today's contestants. No, really: I had no idea. Not Indiana, he told me, but Indianapolis. Anyway, last I visited Indianapolis it wasn't as if the town was that distinctive from the state, nor the state that distinctive from a parenthesis in a sea of midwestern ellipses.

Right out of the gate

I was going to say: the rock-paper-scissors bit is getting old, but those Budweiser advertisers know how to make art out of the pedestrian. (Art. My god. I'm going hyperbolic like the TV announcers. Quick, someone slash my wrist.) Amazing, considering that the beers themselves aren't worth the piss they taste like. CBS is announcing the line-up very weirdly. Those twirling players look like little foosball dolts the way CBS inflicts them on us. As if they needed help in that department (athletes are better watched, not heard).

A word about Miami hosting this thing: apologies.

I take it the Colts are favored to win this thing? Ohdave gives them almost a half century's worth of points. I guess I'll pick the Giants. The Brooklyn Giants. Or to give my ignorance full-court press: Bears over the Colts, 35-27.

Hmmm. Indianapolis just threw something for a touchdown.

Bud Light's auctioneer ad: puts Budweiser slightly ahewad of FedEx and Doritos for the Shameless Bourgeois Award.

Meanwhile, the Bears are giving even Cheryl a reason to watch this game. The commentators have not been, so far, too repulsive. TOUCHDOWN! I forget by what. Or whom.

From L.M. in the comments: “I checked out the Snickers commercials and I initially thought they just made great fun of straight males. But then again I don't live in a hyper masculine sports culture day to day, so if I think about it in the context of the super bowl, it does read differently. (and of course the extra commentary from the athletes showing them to be absolutely clueless and grossed out, meaning innocent of such big gay thoughts, is irritating, predictable and ultimately offensive)

But keep in mind ad agencies are always totally virtuous and uncalculating about any mixed messages they may inadvertently, accidentally, unknowingly & unwittingly send to the pissy public. It's all so unintended, so guileless, they can't believe they angered anyone.

As a matter of fact, I bet they're shocked, totally shocked that you aren't amused.

Snickers After the Kiss: Bud quality. You can watch it again here. On second thoughts, maybe Bud Quality only in the sense that Bud tends to appeal to the most debased and debasing instincts in the American male. It's locker room humor out in the open. It says: it's OK to be a dolt, to be homophobic, to be crass. It's cool.

Oh good: We come back from commercial. One play. Then off to commercials again. For a Chevy SUV no less: those soldiers watching in the Gulf must have weepy eyes right now. They get to watch what they're dying for, live on TV. "People who love cars love to send their soldiers to die for their Chevys..."

Bud Light's No Speak English commercial: best yet. (That's my immigrant blood chatting just now). But best surprise of the show yet? Letterman and Oprah!

No wonder we didn't have more pizza. I just got handed a gigantic cannoli. How phallic though. Snickers-commercial like. This is turning into the Superbowl of turnovers.

Football referees are worse than a United Nations security council meeting. At least in the real kind of football (soccer) the ref has near-tyrannical authority, and the best ones enjoy being imaginative. Nice Arabic-sounding music there. Must be an attempt to seduce Iraqi insurgents to join the football-loving world. Is this a CBS announcer trash-talking a CBS show?

All right: Bud is now in a tie with Coke as Coke manages to take Grand Theft Auto and turn it into a swig of feel-good. (If Pepsi had come up with the idea I wouldn't have been nearly as generous. I'm a Coke man, even though I drink about one bottle of the stuff every three or four months.) If the Colts don't scoree on this drive, they deserve to be from Indiana.

Cheryl just informed me that Prince is now a Jehova's Witness. How the fuck can we expect to be satisfied by a Jehova rocker? But they do score. Not the witnesses. The Colts. Three points. Big deal. The Budweiser ad, poor soggy doggy gone lucky. This isn't the Turnover Superbowl. It's the goddamn Sappy Bowl. Not to mention all the sap smarming around the endless storyline of the two black coaches "making history" by being the first black coaches to meet ina Superbowl. I'm sure a few dozen million blacks would have rather a little different "history" had been made by 2007. If we still think that black coaches making it to the Superbowl is the thing to be celebrated while the American underclass remains as disproportionately non-white as it's been, we've got as a strange sense of history. Let's say, a convenient, American heritage-like sense of history (the kind of sense, or non-sense, that conversely sees the Confederate flag as an expression of "heritage").

Doritos ad at the check-out counter: is this the first time that an advertiser has dropped ejaculate at the end of a commercial? The Colts, themselves giving a few people reason to ejaculate, take the lead.

Tonight anyway, there may be a god, peeking through those rain clouds: the half is coming to a blessed end (in three minutes, which is like thirty weeks in human terms).

I like that: connectile dysfunction. Or in this game's case: Possessile Dysfunction. Colts drop another one, Bears capitalize. ONE PLAY, AND THE COLTS TAKE IT BACK. Is this football or spring training?

Meanwhile all these Superblown-sponsoring corporations are scavenging off Black History Month and the Tale of the Two Black Coaches. How many blacks make up the nation's 2.1 million prison population? How about posting that little stats there. Or how cops are how many times more likely to ticket, arrest and smash the shit out of blacks than whites maybe. Or how most Americans now don't see anything wrong with becoming nativists who think immigrants are diseased. No wonder the Colts just missed a field goal. The winds of change are blowing in the wrong direction.

It's half-time.


I should turn-over this portion of the web-purple-rain-cast to Cheryl, who's been a mistress of Prince's since her mid- to late teens. All I see in him is a skeletal oddball who has something of the genius about him, though I can't put an eardrum to it. My three year old's first exposure to him seems successful enough. He hasn't, an hour past his bedtime, stopped dancing to the oddball. How do you play the electric guitar in the rain, purple though it may be, and not get electrocuted? Speaking of which, why doesn't CBS tell us how many blacks have been electrocuted in various electric chairs since 1973, as one more little factoid for its Black History Month celebration? "I always said I'd have his symbol tattooed on my but," Cheryl says of Prince. "I'm glad I didn't." I'm glad she didn't either.

Memories of the real game. From Lucca Tony, to L.M.

Second Half, and the dumb-ass comments begin: "The most important drive of a football game is the first drive of the second half," says the CBSasser. Someone should tell whatshisname who scored the first seven points for the Bears on that opening drive of the opening quarter that he did wrong. According to CBS. Is Katie Couric speaking in the guy's ear? Then again: knowing that the Bears were picked for being routed, and that they're only behind by two points so far, this is the crucial moment when they can hold on, keep the Colts from fulfilling their midwestern destiny, such as it is, and make a game out of this. Spoken too soon though. The Colts are niggling toward another touchdown, sealing the fate of another dull Superbowl. Unless we get one more of those turnovers. What am I doing? Actual football analysis? Shut the hell up already and get back to the real world: Man, those players are fat. Imagibe how much their methane contributes to global warming. Word has it the fifth part of the IPCC's report is devoted to that. NFL gas emissions.

"The rain, it has to hamper the quarterbacks a little." That's why CBS pays these commentators six figures. Some of my right-wing commentators are more interesting. Here's an idea: they should call the game on account of moisture.

The kids have gone to sleep. Cheryl is bored. The Colts have settled for 3 points. Carlsberg beckons. If the Bears don't score again before the end of the third quarter, I'm calling this game. Here, anyway. Reading The Emerald City seems more interesting. Also: give me Coke's earnest sappiness over Bud's slappy irony any day.

Did I hear right--the Bears just got their first first down in two quarters? And the quarterback just tripped? And we're still pretending like theier's suspense in this game? Let's check gthe top news... as another sack gets the Bears drawn back to the depth of Lake Michigan. Iraqis say Bush plan weakens Shiite neighborhoods' security.

It only looks exciting.

Food as a rule, no matter how vile, is to be blessed not disparaged, if only out of respect for those who have less than the rest of us. So there are few foods on earth that can be called genuinely, irrevocably, disastrously disgusting without being too disrespectful of that earlier notion. Taco Bell food is among those. That said, Taco Bell's commercial featuring the two lions, one trying to tell the other how to sound like Ricardo Montalban, is one of the evening's gems.

I took an untimely bladder break to come back to a Bear team poised to score? What are they doing at the Colts' 28-yard line? How did they get there? What did the butler have to do with it? Nothing. A 44-yard field goal attempt... Not bad: right down the middle.

This is a game Barbara Ehrenreich would appreciate. All about nickel and diming and not getting by in Miami. Insane these judged replays. The refs should have a thirty-second time limit to make up their mind. "Good people doing great things on the CBS evening news." One of the best punch-lines of the evening, but without a set-up. Unless Couric was it?

Fourth quarter: For all of their dominance clock-wise, it's not as if the Colts have made much of their possessions. Their game has been as soggy as the Miami skies. Here's another punt. The crowd is soggy too. Can't blame it. The conditions are miserable. As they have been here pretty much all week. We got lucky up here, escaping the tornadoes thirty miles south the other night. We just got drenched.

And an interception. And a Colts touchdown.

Watching for a twist in the North Korea nuclear talks might be more interesting, although the last few minutes, even though I've been watching with just half an eye, have had a hint of interest. Had, I should say. The Colts have taken over. They're in clock-running mode.

Game over. Free at last, free at last, thank God almight, we're free at last to resume our more exciting lives.

The winner of the Shameless Bourgeois Award: Coke, for its video game commercial.

Postscript: I received this email toward the end of the game from Louis Tharp:

The Snickers Superbowl ad that just ran is a new low for anti-gay, 
violent ads. Go to and watch 
all four ads along with the "Extras" which has incredibly homophobic 
commentary by Colts and Bears players. Mushin Muhammad's facial 
expressions are inexcusable, but Desmond Clark's (Bears tight end) 
and the Colts comments are beyond belief. I wonder where their agents 

But I also wonder where CBS Standards and Practices was? An 
anti-Semitic or racist ad would never be allowed to run. But 
apparently it is ok for CBS to run this anti-gay ad.

Once you've seen the ads and the extras, go to and let them know that this kind 
of homophobia is not acceptable in any advertisement, much less a 
Super Bowl ad.

The ads say:

--If your kiss another man you need to punish yourself.
--If you kiss another man you can, and must use violence against that person.
--If you kiss another man, you must do something traditionally 
masculine and anti-gay to counteract it.

The extra footage of the players says:

--Kissing another man is wrong. The top football players in the country say so.
--That the ad is way out of line, not for being homophobic, or for 
being violent, according to these players, but for showing two men 
kissing. Cato June, Colt linebacker, says, "What?!!...I thought they 
were going to stop. At some point. Two men's breaths just catch each 
other. Nah. It's just not right." But this isn't the worst. Listen to 
what the other players have to say. Nobody had the guts to stand up 
and say, "This isn't right."

Please pass this on to others on your email list or cover in your 
blog so Snickers can see that they made a huge mistake.

And the next time you want candy, pass up M&Ms, Snickers, Twix and Mars.

I will have updates on this situation on the Rush (Limbaugh) to 
Oblivion website/blog at


Louis Tharp
Rush To Oblivion

Tel: 845-348-0400
Fax: 845-348-0210



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