Culture vulture

Girl power vs. boob tube
We’re sure it comes as no huge surprise that Culture Vulture is not a football fan. We appreciate the poetic spectacle and rivalry that the game represents on a symbolical level as an expression of the dualistic nature of the group unconscious, but for the most part we can do without the rather tedious reality of watching that poetic symbolism manifest itself in the physical realm.

But there are exceptions to the rule, and the Super Bowl is one of them. We love most of all the communal nature of the shared spectacle created by this focal point of public athleticism. The fact that every advertising sales department and corporate business entity in the country is trying to worm its way into the game in the form of an advertisement adds a layer of glossy absurdity to the whole affair that Culture Vulture finds simultaneously irresistible and repulsive. In other words, we’re as curious to see who advertises as we are to see who wins the game.

Based on what I remember of this year’s advertisers, the average football fan probably has difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection, drinks lots of soda pop and beer, eats a lot of junk food and aspires to own a car that looks like it was designed by the guy who drew the covers for Astounding Science Fiction Stories back in the 1950s.

And then there’s the halftime show. Given that it’s probably one of the largest and most diverse audiences for 18 minutes of commercial entertainment in any given year, you might be forgiven for thinking that the producers of the program would do their best to come up with something to appeal to the widest possible slice of that audience. Or, if one were being wildly optimistic, one might think of the show as an opportunity to showcase performers and artistry that would elevate the group consciousness and inspire a sense of collective unity and fellowship that transcends the superficial rivalry on the field. Fat chance.

What we got this year was a parade of MTV hitmakers targeted at the 18-to-34-year-old (white) male demographic that MTV caters to year-round. We cannot imagine our father or father-in-law being amused, enlightened or entertained by watching Kid Rock capering about dressed in an American flag while shouting self-aggrandizing slogans. Likewise the droogy, Clockwork Orange motif of Jessica Simpson’s dance troupe, if that was her dance troupe.

Which leaves us with Janet Jackson’s boob. It strikes me as funny that the exposure, accidental or not, of Ms. Jackson’s metal-decorated nipple will forever be the most memorable event of this year’s Super Bowl. It speaks volumes about the depth of America’s misogynistic sexual repression complex here in the 21st century that the momentary exposure of a breast can elicit such a national furor. The breast is one of the most essential and life-sustaining of female attributes; one would think its appearance would be cause for celebration rather than disgust or embarrassment, but instead we hear about how the federal government will launch a swift and thorough investigation to find out if this shocking exposure was intentional or not.

Culture Vulture recommends a thorough investigation of why Janet Jackson’s semi-bare breast is judged offensive to the American TV-watching public but Richard Hatch’s blurred-out penis is simply an amusing addition to Survivor All-Stars. Our inquiring mind really wants to know.