« Your they write letters Friday open thread | Main | What do libertarians have against my marriage? »

February 06, 2012

Comments

Wearing almost literally nothing but a cape and a helmet is no way to go into battle, even if you're a Spartan.

Halftime performances are really not much more than conversation starters, IMO. It's hard to put anything of substance in the limited time a performer is onstage, and so what you get is some hastily-cobbled-together greatest-hits blend of crap, frequently (as in this case) lipsynched.

A relevant question opinionators should ask themselves is: is this something I would normally pay to see? Or even drive somewhere to see for free?

I can't recall a halftime show that would get an affirmative (from me; YMMV) for either of those questions.

And if the Super Bowl is camp, then masculinity itself -- meaning, the way men in our culture act out being manly, how they perform and prove that they are manly -- has a camp quality, too.

If . . . then . . . ? How far do we take this? The game was actually pretty good, if you like football, which I do. The athletes love the game, as do a lot of men and women. I pulled for NY because I think Brady is a pr*ck. But, Doc, why do you see 'how they perform' as an act of campy masculinity? Why do you think they are proving something as opposed to doing something they enjoy?

Meh. I think it's too much to attribute this to Madonna. Maybe vaguely, but more likely the performance's (too short to be called a "show") producers, assuming even they knew what they were doing.

An in-law was a pretty big muckety-muck on the retail side of the record business, and thus had many many occasions to meet (and party with) the top recording artists of the time. I forget the context of the conversation, but he said of all the artists he had met, two stood out in their overriding and intense interest in "selling more records." That's all they wanted to discuss and learn more about (NTTAWWT). Madonna was one of them.* So, I guess it could be that this sort of show is what Madonna thinks sells,** but I doubt she, personally, had any kind of deeper social meaning in mind.

*The other was Bob Dylan, believe it or not.

**I thought the show was quite good, by Superbowl halftime standards. More gospel choirs please.

The superbowl isn't a thing where I'm from, but this one was brought to my attention:

http://www.oikosyogurt.com/

Not so fun if you imagine it with the genders the other ways around.

If . . . then . . . ? How far do we take this?

IMO the "how far" territory has already been mapped by professional wrestling under the McMahons.

Madonna was one of them. The other was Bob Dylan, believe it or not.

A third would have been Michael Jackson, before he died.

Some people are just really competitive. Sales volume is a way to keep score.

And yeah, club/house/disco/vogueing as the SuperBown half time show?

If only Sylvester had lived to see it.

I think that many things, including the game of football, can have layers and layers of cultural meaning. Football is a spectacular display of athletic skill. It is a huge group ritual involving friends, food, booze sometimes, group yelling and cheering, sometimes betting, kind of the modiern versin of the dances Plains tribes put on after a successful buffalo hunt. It's also a game based on men dressing up to loook like cartoon figures of men and going to war with each other.

I wasn't raised on fooball so in never watched a game until I was in my thirties. My then husband liked to watch games sometimes. I can remember my first reaction: embarrassment. It was embarrassing how blatantly hyper-macho-masculine the players loooked. And walked.And spoke. The only one who even looked human was the quarterback.

Of course I understand tht they ahve to wear protection and I also understand that people get themsleves psyched up for games. To get psyched up for a game where your role is to ram into someone and knock them off their feet probably requires thiking agressive thoughts, grunting growling, snarling etc. Getting in the mood.

I visited the musk ox farm by palmer once. The males only live a fraction as long as the females because they headbutt themselves into braindamage. Football players are at risk of something similar.

I am not objecting to football at all. The players make tons of money doing what they want to do,. Besides both teams are pro-union and expressed opposition to the anti-union activities of the Republican party! I'm just sayig that games, like lots of other things, have layers of significace and I think a hyper aggressive stereotype of masculiity is part of football.

@McKinney:

But, Doc, why do you see 'how they perform' as an act of campy masculinity? Why do you think they are proving something as opposed to doing something they enjoy?

There's no reason it can't be both, though. And it is obviously, to some extent, a performance, given that 111 million people are watching, and the athletes are highly paid; money that they must be aware comes ultimately from their ability to attract viewers.

Even if we imagine that the athletes are utterly unaffected by 111 million pairs of eyes, humans are social, and they are in the company of their fellow athletes. If you wouldn't be self-conscious about your self-presentation in the presence of twenty-two enormous men, you may be on the autism spectrum.

Perhaps the most obvious symptom of football as a performance are touchdown celebrations.

Football players aside, their is the larger matter of "The Superbowl" where everything the football players do is *crafted* into a performance. The players could perform in, say, black and white uniforms, but they don't. Their team uniforms are designed, probably professionally. Various camera angles on the play are coordinated, and one or more are chosen to projected onto the screen. Commentators compete to frame the football players actions in their preferred narrative frame. Music is played, giving an emotional spectrum for game's achievements.

Shorter: Of course it's a performance: we're humans.

I wrote a comment but it disappeared! If I rewrite it will the first one suddenly reappear?

Oh well it wasn't such an insightful comment anyway.

I am not a fan of Madonna's but in think she is smart enough to put on a show that mocks its venue.

I also think the hyper masculinity of the game is obvious. So is the amazing skill and athleticism. So is the enormous pile of hype. It's a cultural event with lots of layers of meaning.

I had a friend in high school who explained to me why she liked football. She said it was fun to get together with a big group of people and scream.

My nephew in law played football in college. His family of intellectual introverts dutifully atttended his games and even bought paraphernalia which they wore or waved as appropriate albeit sheepishly. They aren't into group screaming.

I'm not either although I can enjoy watching football and participating in the ritual if I am in the company of someone who is enjoying it. SOmeone asked me yesterday who I was rooting for and I, in all innocence, said, "the Packers". Ooops. I guess that was last year. Or the year before?

russell: Some people are just really competitive. Sales volume is a way to keep score.

Fair enough, I guess it doesn't have to be an either/or kind of thing between artist and successful business person/competitor.

This puts me in mind of yesterday's Chevy Apocalypse commercial. The juxtaposition of the Barry Manilow song, surviving the end of the world, the "only real men drive Chevy trucks" message, and Twinkies winked at traditional masculinity while celebrating it at the same time. It was pretty brilliant.

If you wouldn't be self-conscious about your self-presentation in the presence of twenty-two enormous men, you may be on the autism spectrum.

What Doc S is talking about here is men, in general, acting out as "manly" and proving themselves and performing as "manly".

Having hung around here a while, I would be reluctant in the extreme to make a similar observation about women, femininity or feminism.

Some decades ago, I played high school football. My concern was only minimally how my parents or girlfriend would view me, it was mainly having fun, remembering my assignments and making sure I didn't let my teammates down. Being a part of a team and matching up against another team is an exhilarating experience.

The Superbowl is to football what Broadway is to acting or the New York Philharmonic is to classical music. So I guess I am not so enamored of semi-marginalizing an activity by calling it men acting out their masculinity in some campy way. Any more than I was enamored of certain occasional commenters here generalizing about women or feminism.

I will concede that the physical element of the game is not for every male, and many men/boys find/found that aspect of the sport to be unattractive. Some who play/played viewed the unwillingness to endure the physical part as a lack of manliness. However, it is philosophical jiu jitsu to reason from the "jock mentality" to all men/boys who play/played the game and impute a non-notionally condescending notion of masculinity acting out.

Laura:

"I wrote a comment but it disappeared! If I rewrite it will the first one suddenly reappear?"

Yes. Sometimes a day later. Which, in my case, permits the commentariat to read (or not) TWO not particularly insightful comments.

As to "campy masculinity", in addition to the secular end zone Tebowing, there is the in-your-face dissing (I hit you so hard, your mother's not gonna be able to walk tomorrow!) and posing bestowed by tacklers on their prey, or vice versa.

It would be like Madonna knocking a Lady Gaga lookalike to the ground during her show and doing some stiletto heel moon dancing on her wig.

Which, come to think of it, would have fit right in.

I like Tim Tebow, the phenomenon, much the same way as I like Madonna's consumerist, crypto-religious, sexy spectacle, because it's so, I don't know, low-brow American with enough cultural references thrown in to keep we elitists watching.

Like spotting Tolstoy at a NASCAR race.

In fact, if the Broncos had gone to the Super Bowl, I would have been interested in the last minute changes to Madonna's show --- perhaps her cast of thousands of gay dancers engaging in a mass Tebowing at the end of a very erotic version of "Like A Virgin", dedicated to her "son".

Tebow, after the game, like a blushing, slightly embarrassed Martin Luther, ruefully but sweetly telling reporters that "Listen, my mother likes to embarrass me in company. This has happened all my life. I can't take her anywhere. And don't believe the virgin stuff, O.K. But, Perhaps I protesteth too much."

Then we'd find out the two of them had entered a joint residuals contract with swag product offshoots.

Having hung around here a while, I would be reluctant in the extreme to make a similar observation about women, femininity or feminism.

Why? Like masculinity, femininity is often performance. And I'd bet that Dr Sci would be the first person to acknowledge that.

I am not so enamored of semi-marginalizing an activity by calling it men acting out their masculinity in some campy way.

I don't really see the marginalizing...I mean, Dr Sci is just a blogger. She doesn't have the ability marginalize...football. And I don't even see where she said it was negative. Noting the performance aspect of masculinity isn't a critique.

I will concede that the physical element of the game is not for every male, and many men/boys find/found that aspect of the sport to be unattractive.

I don't enjoy the game because I picture most of the players staring vacantly into the eyes of their loved ones in 20 years completely failing to recognize them. Sports that cause massive long term brain damage in a large fraction of pro-players seem ethically problematic to me, but I guess it is OK since 111 million people had fun watching a game.

Speaking of femininity as a performance:

[background]

I have a friend who is really into opera, and her husband is a stage manager. As a result I hung out with some opera singers, especially in the late 1990s.

[foreground]

We took this young and relatively shy Indian (from India) opera singer to a drag restaurant called Lips. It unsurprisingly had a drag show. The opera singer was fascinated by the whole production and eventually said "I could really learn how to walk like a woman here". So we of course had the drag queens teach her how to strut and show off in heels.

She was very thankful to get formal training in the area.

Sports are sports, but here's one thing I like about Tebow (lest you think me I'm too hard on him) over the campy masculinity of say, Tom Brady's wife (and the Giants fans who first taunted her by exhibiting their campy masculinity in her face) who went after her husband's receivers who had a bad day and are completely capable of adequate self-flagellation without her help.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/gisele-bundchen-tom-brady-wife-rips-new-england-patriots-receivers-super-bowl-xlvi-020612

See, when a Tebow receiver drops the ball, Tebow sits down next to them on the bench and says, "Hey, you're a great, talented reciever. I know what you can do. I'm throwing you the next pass (remember, I'm not John Elway) and your going to take it in for a touchdown."

I mean, Tebow's campy God doesn't actually strike them down with a lightening bolt mid-fumble. Who do you think Tebow's God is -- Bobby Knight or Donald Trump?

Instead, we get this sorry display from the Brady Bunch (hey, I play sports, so I like critical passion among teammates in the privacy of the dugout or locker room, but if I hear a teammate, or worse, a relative of a teammate, ragging another teammate loudly enough for outsiders to hear, first, save it for the other team because they are the opponent, and secondly, there's going to be a timeout called while I exhibit some incredibly loud campy masculinity and a period of time set aside afterwards for retrieving all of the equipment I've launched onto the field and for me to get my stuff and head for my car at the request of the umpire).

Mrs. Brady (after asking people to pray for her husband -- cripes -- and then dissing his teammate warriors) should have just flipped those fans the bird.

Now that would have been sports instead of all this campy reality show righteous dissing.

World Coming to an End Watch from Amazon.com's "Gold Box" deals:

Eli Manning Autographed Super Bowl XLVI Football
List Price: $549.99
Amazon's Price: $433.19 (21% off)
Gold Box Discount: - $53.70
Deal Price: $379.49 (31% off)

100% now claimed

Less than 24 Hours after the NY Giants win the Superbowl there are (a) Eli Manning autographed Superbowl football's for sale; (b) there's a "List Price"; (c) there's an "Amazon's Price"; (d) there a "Deal Price"; (e) the "Deal Price" is still $379.49; (f) there are already 2 "reviews"; and (g) they're sold out.

Seriously, America?

(I guess since Amazon's also selling a "Panasonic Vortex Arc 4 Multi-Flex Wet/Dry Nanotech Electric Shaver" for the low low price of $159.99, I shouldn't be surprised)

I don't really see the marginalizing

No, I don't suppose you do.

Count, there is the distinct possibility that Tebow recognizes the semi-miraculous quality of him throwing a pass close enough to one of his receivers to actually catch it, and that he further recognizes that he sometimes catches his receivers completely by surprise when he hits them in the hands.

Twinkies winked at traditional masculinity while celebrating it at the same time

My takeaway from Twinkies is that it was a foodesque item that would tend to survive the zombie apocalypse.

My takeaway from Twinkies is that it was a foodesque item that would tend to survive the zombie apocalypse.

That's a big Twinkie.

My take on the commercials this year is that they were, in general, dumb. A theme that seems to hold for the past several years, which I guess means I've finally gotten old. Fnck.

MckT:

See now, that kind of subtle, funny humor in the dugout is exactly what brings a team together.

Also, I'm curious about the return on a $3 million dollar commercial investment extolling the virtues of a stinking Bud Light to fans and viewers in America who, you know, probably got the message a million years ago and count Bud Lights in their sleep.

Did Anheuser-Busch convince, what, two more football viewers to give it a try this week?

It's like the Earth's atmosphere running a commercial aimed at oxygen-breathers.

"Air, for when you want to kick back and breath."

Which, now that I think about it, might be an effective campaign against coal-fired emissions.

I liked the Chrysler/Clint Eastwood ad extolling Detroit's comeback.

Nothing like a real harda*s telling the armchair austerity, "I like to fire people", tough (not) guys to make his day.

Slarti:

Springsteen, oh *yeah*. No spectacle, no special dancers, no props or floats, just: ROCK. AND. ROLL.

I especially like the way he made sure the audience could come right up to the stage, as required by natural law.

I'm curious about the return on a $3 million dollar commercial investment extolling the virtues of a stinking Bud Light to fans and viewers in America who, you know, probably got the message a million years ago and count Bud Lights in their sleep.

Apparently the average beer drinker needs to be reminded what they like. OTOH, maybe a sizeable portion of the market is swayed by who has the coolest commercials. I think the advertisers tried too hard this year. Personally, I would have done a series with Peyton Manning at job interviews trying to find work outside of football.

Personally, I would have done a series with Peyton Manning at job interviews trying to find work outside of football.

Genius. Answer your cell phone; it's Don Draper calling.

I'm curious about the return on a $3 million dollar commercial investment extolling the virtues of a stinking Bud Light to fans and viewers in America who, you know, probably got the message a million years ago and count Bud Lights in their sleep.

A SuperBowl without an Anheiser-Busch ad would be like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade without the Snoopy float.

It'd be New Year's Eve without a glassy ball descending above Times Square.

Sturgis in early August without eight billion bikers.

It's way beyond ROI at this point. It's a public institution.

Well, I was rather amused by the car/vampire commercial. Also Mr. Quiqqly.

Oh, and I'd like to add how pleased I am at how well the NFL has done achieving parity. These days it's nearly always a very good game.

Springsteen, oh *yeah*.

I actually didn't care much for that performance. It had kind of a desperate feel to it. Also, Bruce just couldn't seem to find the air to sing.

My opinion. I have others.

Not saying that Springsteen was bad on the scale of Superbowl acts. Just to calibrate my scale, I tend to think that Black Eyed Peas have established a gold standard of SBHS badness.

Bruce just couldn't seem to find the air to sing.

I think that's just Springsteen. He always sings like he's halfway strangling.

No criticism of the guy, I like Springsteen a lot, he just has a very very physically tense vocal technique.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad