Prophetic Words on the Superbowl
From a column by Father Thomas Euteneuer at Catholic Exchange:
The Super Bowl is such an American phenomenon, mesmerizing a world taken in by the new religion of sports, that 230 countries and territories of the world will watch it on Sunday. I have no problem with people watching American football; it's just the embarrassing cultural junk that goes with it that has me worried.
Think of it. The entire world gets a three-hour window into American culture one Sunday a year, and what they see will determine in large part what they think of us.
We wonder why other nations despise America. I'm sure at the root of it there's more than a bit of jealousy for the bright and seductive material culture that we sport on a day like Super Sunday, but there also has to be some disdain if not contempt for what we display as our "way of life." The Super Bowl has its share of real funny advertisements (I'll grant you that), but these are punctuated by some of the most salacious commercials that corporate America can dredge up to sell lite beer, Doritos, hair color, Chevys, Pepsi, Pepsi and more Pepsi. When I was in seminary I went to a variety show at another national college where the guys joked that Americans are fed on a diet of coke and potato chips! Well, that's exactly what we tell them about ourselves on TV!
… The greatest Super Bowl embarrassments, however, are turning out to be the half time shows. Quite frankly, I'm thinking of volunteering for the Super Bowl committee in charge of selecting next year's entertainment because I just can't take the national humiliation any more. Granted, they probably wouldn't be satisfied with the Gregorian chant that I would suggest, but anything - literally anything - is better than this year's androgynous little icon to American cultural decadence known as "Prince." As if Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" a few years ago wasn't bad enough — how will we live this one down?
Interestingly, Fr. Euteneuer wrote his column on Feb. 2, two days prior to Superbowl XLI. The event itself included the following commercials: a bunch of guys having sex with a Chevy, two car mechanics inadvertently smooching, one guy knocking out another with a rock to get a Bud Light, a cashier at the supermarket providing a quickie behind the cash register for a guy with sexy Doritos, and a Sprint cure for “connectile dysfunction.” The halftime special featured the artist formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” who is now apparently back to being Prince again. Thankfully, as far as I could tell, his pants actually covered his butt.
If I lived somewhere else, and this was my impression of the USA, I’d despise us too. It must be tough for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen to dispel the image produced by their more self-indulged and less courageous countrymen.