A Slice of Americana: The Super Duper Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

The San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIX trophy on display at the 49ers’ Family Day at Candlestick Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again we are about to celebrate our uniquely American holiday, the Super Bowl, that extravaganza of commercialism made fun in commercials spiced up with bone and brain crushing hits provided by the players  and socially acceptable soft porn provided by the cheerleaders, not to mention an occasional clothing malfunction.  Also, reportedly it is only second to Thanksgiving as a food fest.

I’m not knocking it, I enjoy it and this year I hope to enjoy it more because I think both teams are very good.  On one side the unstoppable force, a Peyton Manning controlled offense.  On the other an immovable object, the Seattle defense, not to mention the young Seattle quarterback, Russell Wilson, who has a magical poise and a sixth sense as to what to do when.  He is one of those who are much better than his stats.

Hey, move over and pass the Doritos.

But before I go I want to share a little research with you.   For years I have believed the story that Kansas City Chief’s owner Lamar Hunt, who was central to  the super bowl idea, also was responsible for the name.   The story goes that during a meeting of the team owners several weeks before the  game January 15, 1967 , Hunt referred to it spontaneously as a super bowl, getting the “super” from super balls that his kids played with, and “bowl” from the season ending college bowl games…..an idea probably helped along by ball and bowl being similar.

That was what I was going to share with you so at a pause during the game or a surprisingly dumb commercial you could impress everyone with your historical knowledge.   However, I decided to double check the story so I wouldn’t be adding one more tainted “truth” to the cyber library.   I’m glad I did, too, after reading an article by  Henry Fetter in this week’s The Atlantic:  How the Super Bowl Got It’s Name:  The Real Story.

He cites various references using the name, or close to it,  months before Hunt supposedly came up with the term, including what may be the earliest:  “On June 10 (1966) New York Times sports columnist Arthur Daley looked ahead to “a new superduper football game for what amounts to the championship of the world.”

Dailey came up with that months before the big game, and you can imagine how that could morph into the final form.    At any rate, now if someone brings up the Hunt story, you can school him if you wish, especially if you bone up some more by reading the article linked above.

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Sandy Hook at the Superbowl: Was it as “delightful” as it seemed?

Hearing that a chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School would be singing at the Super Bowl, I emailed the following to Chris Hayes, host of my favorite political commentary program on Saturday and Sunday morning (minus one sentence that I now think was inappropriate).

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Chris,

Is it just me, or is there something just out of kilter with the NFL using these victims as props in the Super Bowl?  I’m sure the NFL people are well intentioned and don’t see it that way, but I do.

My gut says the goal should be to return these survivors to normalcy as best as possible. I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t have great insights into how, but this can’t be a good way to do it.

How does this help in that regard? What’s normal about elementary kids plucked out of nowhere and suddenly put in front of thousands under mega watt lights in America’s biggest event of the year?

There is something wrong in this even if I cannot quite explain what it is.

Richard Farrell

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On Super Bowl day, watching the children sing and smile while singing, it did feel heart warming, but I wonder what was going through their minds and what will in the future.  They were 3rd and 4th graders, so not in the classes with the 1st graders who were shot to death.  Not that I know what that means to them as opposed to the younger children, who apparently weren’t at this game.   Maybe watching in supportive gatherings back in Newtown?  I don’t know much about this at all, but still feel that the aim for everyone would be to struggle back to some form of normalcy to the extent possible.

I would think the inclination would be to shelter these children.  To thrust  them into the limelight of American pageantry seems just the opposite of that.

I’ve seen the NFL praised for keeping the events at Newtown alive in the American mind, which may help get gun violence legislation passed, but I have trouble believing the ongoing public attention is good for the children themselves.

The media reaction I have seen is completely positive as illustrated in the article listed below, but I have expressed my view to a few friends who see something out of kilter here as well, though perhaps not as much as I do.   Now I would  be curious what other readers think, at least those who aren’t eager to call me an idiot for questioning the positive public sentiment.  There is a Leave a comment button below, at the end of the list of tags, etc.

Harnessing The Power of Boobs

Politics are not central to our lives.   But boobs are.

Danica Patrick at the 2007 Red Dress Collectio...

Danica Patrick at the 2007 Red Dress Collection  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not much interested in politics right now because the hugely expensive food fight for president is already in full swing and will drag on for months.   Both sides craft tiresome attack ads aimed at demeaning the other, and I guess they pick up some votes that way, but their main impact is to make most of us sick of it all.  It’s been theorized that the far right likes it that way;  the sicker we are of politics the more likely things will remain the same and the richer the rich will get.

Fine.  I’ll think about that another day.  Today I’d rather sit in my deck chair in the sun and think about boobs.   I must admit, I often give boobs a cursory glance,  but lately they have pressed themselves against my consciousness more than usual.  Over the past two days, I got into an emailing dispute with a friend as to who invented the bra, and I’ll tell you it was neither a guy named Titzlinger nor Brassier, as some people think.  Also, Playboy sent me a free peak:  “Celebrate Mammorial Day.”  Thanks, Hugh.

But what really got me to thinking about boobs  was my seeing in my Huffington Post infected version of AOL a head shot photo of Kristen Stewart under the title:  News and Commentary.  I just happened to have seen an interview with her, so I know she starred  in the Twilight movies and now is in a movie about Snow White.   However, all of that is secondary to Kristen’s boobs.

The heading read:  “Kristen Stewart Almost Bares Sideboob.”

“Almost”?  Just how much bare boob equates with “almost”, especially from the side?   Well, you have to click to see that photo.  Huff Post intersperses numerous teases of this type, and they must think our response is so Pavlovian at this point that the promise of an “almost” little peek at the boob skin of  one of the latest “it girls” rings the bell.   Now that is harnessing the power of boobs.

I often wonder if these teases are primarily to attract men, of if women are interested to see just how racy the so-called “stars” are getting and whether the look would work for them?

I’m happy to report  I did not click to see what “almost” was, not out of any kind of fundamentalist virtue, but from often feeling like, well a boob, clicking disappointing teases before.   Even boob power has its limits.  Remember the story of the boy who called “wolf?”

Still, to understand American life, including politics,  it helps to understand the stupendous significance of boobs.   If a Martian landed and wanted a short course on how we humans operate, especially in this country, I would have to include “boobs” as a central factor.  I’m amazed by the power that those relatively little, largely fatty objects have upon our lives.  And, that’s irrespective of the bigger, better, bionic boobs, which frankly I’m not all that keen about.   If God wanted ’em packed with silicone, he/she/it would have made them that way.  In this matter, I’m old school.

Think of the number of Congressmen who have had their careers busted by boobs.   And remember the “ward robe malfunction” at the Super Bowl of several years ago.   You can’t remember the teams that played, right, but you remember Janet Jackson.  Oh, and the outrage on the right.  How could the network  let this happen?  The power of a just a little bit of boob.

What strikes me is the extent to which young women both employ their boobs to advantage, while also acting as if they are no big deal.   Younger women casually talk about their boobs, even move them around in public to get comfy,  when years ago this was taboo.  It was unseemly for women to touch their breasts in public, or even to adjust bra straps.  Or even refer to them by name.

Another difference is women used to complain that men would often  stare at their boobs in conversation, rather than look them in the eyes.    This was tied to the  feminist complaint about women being treated as  sex objects.   I don’t hear either complaint anymore.  I can see why, given the long lines at the offices of cosmetic surgeons and clothing styles that accentuate cleavage.  The thinking seems to be:  “You boys want to see boobs.  Well take a gander, as long as you do it discreetly and don’t creep me out.  And you are boys.  Not you gramps.”

Harnessing the power of boobs.

Today’s women seem to have finally taken ownership of their breasts, and have parlayed their value.   For some reason most of them now seem to agree with men:  Their boobs are a major selling point.   I must say, growing up in a much more Puritan world,  I feel a bit prudish about the changes and  I prefer women to be more demure.

Though I know little about her, I can see why Danica Patrick might be a role model for many a young woman, in that she has forged a place for herself in  a macho male sport, while not averse to exploiting her female body power in other venues.  What seems noteworthy is she is careful about how she harnesses that body power.  In today’s sexed up world, she seems almost demure.

I’m happy to report that from my cursory search she has held the “almost” line when it comes to full nudity, seeming to understand the importance of leaving something to the imagination.   Also, while there is much speculation regarding a number of cosmetic touch ups, if so,  she seems to have drawn the line just short of making them obvious.

While obviously not shy of including T & A in her repertoire, Patrick has developed other, much stronger cards to play, so her future does not  depend on harnessing the power of any part of her body.   That seems role model material to me.

You go GoDaddy girl!

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