America’s annual celebration of rampant consumerism and self-indulgence has passed us by once again. It’s the Super Bowl, of course. Its very name conjures up images of excess paired with coliseums and panem et circenses that would have made even Juvenal blush.
It’s fitting that this year’s “game” takes place so near to the beginning of the Christian Lenten calendar. Though, the myths and rituals enacted during “the game” ask of us a far different repentance. Looking behind the crass commercialism and diversionary tribalism of the NFL, we can glimpse into what is filling the void of our “hollow empire.”
Lady Gaga belting America’s national anthem was the first sign of what was to come. “Gaga,” dressed in what seems to be a bedazzled homage to Hillary Clinton, invoked the national spirit. “Gaga,” or Stefani Germanotta as she was born, jets throughout the world defending LGBTQRSTUV+ rights, and taking the most predictable stances on any issue imaginable. In short, she is the perfect “muse” for Weimerica.
Then there was the “halftime” show. In reality a ünter-Dionysian spectacle, set to jungle rythyms and gyrations, that laid open the beating heart of this strange country. Beyoncé, one of the performers, and her “dancers” walked out in an homage to the Black Panther Party, and later on made what some are claiming is a reference to Malcolm X. Of course, this was all followed up with a tribute to Michael Jackson.
From the Panthers to a pedophile in a few gyrations. What a tribute to black nationalism!
In reality, the Panthers, Malcolm X, and Michael Jackson have long ago been ensconced in the national consciousness. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many white American school children have more to say about those figures than the Minutemen, Jefferson, or Herman Melville. They’re probably more real to our own children than our ancestors and their own identities.
If any White American was put off by this display of Black pride he surely settled back into his seat by the end of the performance where we are told to “believe in love.” Togetherness (and equality) will save us. We have overcome, and all the related shibboleths. There was, of course, a certain irony in pairing “black power” and “LGBT equality” aesthetics.
“Gay marriage” is widely opposed by black voters whenever it is polled or comes to the ballot. The Coalition of the Fringes was on full display with all of its contradictions, and beamed into almost every television in America.
Of course, the Kosher cons over at places like National Review wonder why we just can’t get back to “the game” and the red-blooded commercialism represented by its advertisements (#SolidarityWithDoritos, take that NARAL!). But the truth is, for a long time life in America has been a game. Just one succession of comfortable lies after another designed to keep us trapped and deracinated. Who are we? And will our people survive? These will be the burning questions of the coming century.
But the liberal hegemony that shapes ads and ideas just want you to go back to sleep. Have another beer, eat some more Doritos. You deserve it, the game is on.
I’ll close with what I can only assume was to be the picture of some dystopian America presented to me during a commercial (how redundant) break. Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer addressing mixed mobs of Americans telling them the big lie. Crack that Bud Light, keep consuming, it’s the American way.
After all, it’s all only a game…