This Week's Get Out of Town Rant: The Super Bowl

This past Sunday, a couple hundred million people spent the evening watching the New England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24 – 21. I was one of those people, and as you may expect, I have a few negative thoughts.
1. What has this world come to when an innocuous show such as the Best Damned Sports Show has to be renamed the Best Darned Sports Show? I’m sure Dr. Dobson and the Parents Television Council will still file FCC complaints, just as they do with every single other program.
2. I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again. The Fox Pre-game team is the biggest waste of space on television. Even those idiots across the street from this building have more talent.
3. Why does the pregame show have to last all day? There’s two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. During that time, between ESPN, Fox, newspapers, and magazines every angle is covered. There’s nothing to be learned from these profiles. We already knew everything there is to know about T.O.’s ankle; we already knew that Belichick looks and acts like a garbage collector; and we certainly know more than we ever would need to know about Donovan McNabb’s mother. Please cut this show down to a reasonable length.
4. Gretchen Wilson is another fake country act that I can’t understand. As one website I discovered yesterday stated, “let me get this straight – she’s actually PROUD to be an old reneck whore? Has the world gone mad?”
5. The Black Eyed Peas – at least they didn’t sing that stupid “Let’s Get It Started” crap. Again quoting from the web, “as far as I’m concerned, they’re just the new C & C Music Factory. Go away already.”
6. Duets with dead guys is beyond creepy, especially when the living one has to drown out the recently deceased legend with American Idol-ish vocal gymnastics. Just sing the damned song…and while you’re at it, kick that untalented Will Smith the hell out of the stadium.
7. Now on to the big unexplained mystery. For 364 days a year, we’re programmed to ignore commercials; to even zap them out if we have a DVR. For some inexplicable reason, however, people are actually excited to see commercials during the Super Bowl. I don’t get it. In fact, I find it downright depressing that people talk more about these weak attempts to influence our spending than the actual game. I hated the beer thrown out of the plane ad; I don’t care who Brad Pitt was calling on his cell phone. Hopefully it was his agent to bitch him out for selling his soul. In fact, all of those celebrity ads were godawful. P.Diddy and that sellout Carson Daly with their delivery trucks. Please. The Verizon miniaturized celebrity debacle? Whose brilliant idea was that one? And multi-plastic surgery disaster Burt Reynolds dancing with a giant bear. Jesus. There were only two commercials worth watching, and the NFL forced Fox to not replay one of them. That, of course, was the internet ad featuring that hot babe’s wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what sells.
8. Finally, I can’t ramble on about the Super Bowl without some comment on the halftime show. I’m actually going to pass the ball on this one to an acclaimed music writer that I once interviewed in the Tempest. His name is Jim DeRogatis, and he writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s what he had to say about Sir Paul McCartney:
There was a time when Paul McCartney was a heck of a lot edgier and a lot more "dangerous" than Janet Jackson.
In 1967, Macca spoke glowingly about psychedelic drugs in the English press. "LSD opened my eyes," he said. "It made me a better, more honest, more tolerant member of society, brought closer to God."
The cutest Beatle was also an enthusiastic advocate of decriminalizing marijuana, and between 1972 and 1976, he was busted for possessing pot four times.
Rounding out the unholy trinity of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, McCartney crooned about doing the nasty in the most vivid of terms, from "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" by the Beatles to "Eat At Home," a song from his 1971 solo album "Ram" that raves about the joys of oral sex.
But all of that is ancient history, and it happened long before the 63-year-old musical legend became "Sir Paul" and the No. 1 poster boy for Baby Boomer nostalgia.
This sanitized, defanged and -- let's face it -- thoroughly boring McCartney was clearly the one that the NFL wanted to provide the music at halftime for Super Bowl XXXIX on Sunday, the better to dispel charges that America's most popular spectacle of violent sport isn't "family friendly."
Television and radio are still frantically readjusting broadcast standards in the wake of the $550,000 fine levied against CBS following the seconds-long glimpse of one of Jackson's breasts during last year's half-time show. Nipplegate prompted a heavy-handed crackdown by the FCC that is still picking up steam, and this year, the efforts to avoid the slightest hint of controversy seemed a lot more strenuous than any exertions that the Eagles and the Patriots were making on the field.
Even the big-budget TV commercials tried to outdo one another with shows of "good taste," rather than the usual jokes about sex and farting. But good taste and good rock 'n' roll rarely have much in common, and McCartney's much-hyped four-song performance was about as gripping as those late-night infomercials for packaged CD or video collections of "The Hits of Yesteryear."
The freshest tune was no less than 32 years old, while the hoariest will turn 40 later this year. Sure, "Live and Let Die" and "Drive My Car" are classics. But we've all heard them a thousand times more than we ever needed to in this lifetime, and the fiery playing of Paul's young band didn't stop them from being tired oldies.
With "Hey Jude" and "Get Back" completing the set list, that made for three songs by the Beatles and one by Wings, with no hint that McCartney has done anything of merit for the last three decades. Come to think of it, though, we should probably be glad that he didn't croon "Freedom," the wretched and simplistic sing-along that he penned in homage to 9/11.
The most risque that Sir Paul got at Alltel Stadium was when he ripped off his jacket -- a smooth move with no evidence of a wardrobe malfunction -- and led the crowd in shouting, "You gotta give the other fellow hell!" during "Live and Let Die."
This tune seemed like an odd and callous choice at a time when America is at war, but it was custom-made for the fireworks that shot skyward during the bombastic choruses, and it's doubtful that anyone but a rock critic bothered to the think about the lyrics for even a second.
Actually, it's doubtful that anyone but a rock critic stayed put in front of the TV at half-time, though plenty of folks probably joined in the "Na-na-na" refrain of "Hey Jude" from the kitchen as they loaded up on chips and dip. At least they didn't have to worry about missing much.


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