Sunday, January 18, 2009

Political Football

We often go to the Sunday evening Mass at our parish and we had just returned from it this evening when I got home, headed down to the family room and settled in to watch the remainder of the AFC Championship game. As I turned on the television, the game was going to halftime.

Good, I thought. After sitting through a few erectile dysfunction ads and maybe a few cinematic dysfunctional ads, I'd have a chance to listen to the assembled experts on the CBS panel tell me what happened in the first half. Sure enough, JB and the gang were there, but the portion of the broadcast dedicated to football went by in about 60 seconds. They didn't even let Bill Cowher, the former Steelers coach who presumably would have had something insightful to say about players he had coached, say a word. No, it wasn't important. They had to go to Katie Couric.

If you're of a certain age, you would know that if a sporting event is interrupted by a network anchor, it would usually mean some big news was afoot -- something like a plane crash, or maybe the Italian government falling for the 3rd time this month, or the unexpected death of some famous person (like maybe Mitch Miller, #1 in many dead pools these days). But no, this time it was to show footage of the big Inaugural shindig in Washington and for perky Katie to remind all of us football fans that famous celebrities are really, really excited about Barack Obama.

They were all there, standing out in front of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the new Lincoln. Bruce Springsteen, longtime avatar of the working man whose last really good album came out 25 years ago, a faux populist who has grown into a tiresome bore in middle age, was dancing in front of the reflecting pool with guitar in hand. Standing next to Bruuuuuuuuuce was ol' Pete Seeger, who's been proudly spewing nonsense in folksong format for three generations now, clearly delighted that the first candidate he could really get behind since Henry Wallace was actually going to take power. There stood America's Everyman Tom Hanks, last seen reading out Mormons as being un-American for exercising their voting and free speech rights, standing with a crap-eating grin as the second and third chins he's recently installed waved in the breeze. Stevie Wonder just called to say he loves Barack, while Bono and the rest of his U2 bandmates were windmilling about as well (by the way, aren't those guys Irish?)

There were lots more: Jamie Foxx, Marisa Tomei, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Rosario Dawson, Tiger Woods, Usher, Queen Latifah, George Lopez, Sheryl Crow, Forrest Whitaker, Ashley Judd, George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Bon Jovi, Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas, the Green Eyed Monsters, the Mitch Miller Singers and probably some combination of Woody, Tyrone, Janet and/or Arlo Guthrie. You can see them all here if you're so inclined. Actually, I'm pretty sure that Mitch Miller wasn't there.

Ya know what? I'm glad these people are happy. Good for them. But frankly, I wanted to watch football. I know Obama is going to be president in two days. You'd have to be in a coma not to know that. And I'm guessing that I wasn't the only football fan who would have preferred to hear from Bill Cowher than from the cavalcade of bien pensants preening on the Mall. Maybe someone at CBS will see fit to let Cowher speak on Tuesday.

For what's it's worth, Barack Obama is probably ill-served by all the adulation and the free-flowing comparisons to Abraham Lincoln that have been flowing through the media coverage in recent days. Powerline's Paul Mirengoff makes the point quite nicely:

It's not really in Obama's interests to be compared, before he even takes office, to our greatest president. A lower bar would suit him better. Accordingly, the extra increment of MSM praise we're witnessing this time around probably stems more from childishness than from partisanship. And to the extent that Obama has encouraged the Lincoln comparison, he probably has done so more out of egomania than political self-interest.

Just so. Let's hold off on the comparisons until the guy actually takes office and does something.


my name is Amanda said...

I agree that the pre-inauguration crap is overkill. This excessive coverage is ruining it for me, and I couldn't care less which celebrities implicate themselves in the ceremonies.

I appreciate the irony involved with criticizing a segment of the population for practicing their free speech and voting rights in order to infringe upon the civil rights of another segment of the population...

Gino said...

i was pissed off about the same thing.
i was wacthing football,dammit. if i wanted to watch the obamagasm i would have turned to that station.

amanda: (second paragraph)??? say waht? do we still have folks sitting in the backs of buses?

Anonymous said...

We've got to stop meeting like this! We've been agreeing way too much lately. You just channeled the discussion I had with my teenage son, and almost in the same order: 1-What the hell does this have to do w/football. 2-Hey, they didn't let Cowher speak. 3-My God these people are a crushing bore. 4-Oh no, not Hanks. 5. What the hell, Bono is Irish. 6. Where is Springsteen? Oh, here he comes. 7. What is Garth Brooks doing here? 8. Somebody make it stop.

You just missed the Garth Brooks part, but I bet it passed through your mind.
On behalf of the left, I apologize. Let's just hope this is over asap.

BTW...I still can't believe the Cardinals are in the Superbowl. My Dad is beside himself. He's still a Cardinals fans from back when they were Chicago's Southside team.


Mark Heuring said...


Guess I forgot about Garth Brooks. That's my usual policy in pretty much any context.

I agree, it's great to see the Redbirds finally make it. The ol' Racine Cardinals, named after Racine Avenue. Bill Bidwill finally gets his moment.

Gino said...

besides, we'll get to see springsteen at super bowl 1/2 time.
(not that i wanted to.)

Right Hook said...

Thanks for espressing my thoughts exactly as I did the same thing and had the same reaction.

Didja happen to notice the morph of the Pepsi logo (in a half-time commercial) as well as the CBS Eye into what looks very much like the Obama Seal?

my name is Amanda said...

Gino, Civil rights don't stop with buses - or with race. :)

Mark Heuring said...

Didja happen to notice the morph of the Pepsi logo (in a half-time commercial) as well as the CBS Eye into what looks very much like the Obama Seal?

No, I didn't see that, RH. Truth in advertising!

Mark Heuring said...


I know we'll have to agree to disagree on this, but strictly speaking marriage is not a right for anyone. If it were, the government would be compelled to provide spouses for everyone.

And I again say this -- I'd be happy to get the state out of the marriage business. For legal purposes, the legal component of my marriage could just as easily be a civil union and I wouldn't object to it being called that. My wife and I married in a Catholic church, making our vows before our families and God, but we got our license at the Ramsey County building. Two separate things. Ramsey County doesn't have to care about God and it's probably better that it doesn't.

I can only speak for myself on this one, but I have no issue with committed gay couples having all the rights (and responsibilities) that come with traditional marriage. It would probably help social cohesion. But words mean things and in every Western society marriage means the union between a man and a woman. And the primary reason for granting such unions special status is that they are designed to facilitate the continuation of the species and to provide protection for children. That's why my wife and I married 17 1/2 years ago; it wasn't just because we loved each other. And my son and daughter are the fruits of our marriage. And that's how it was designed.

We can change the meaning of marriage, and maybe those who agree with you will ultimately prevail on the issue, but I would suggest that the reasons that marriage as we know it exist are still very much in play.

Gino said...

amanda: if its a civil right, no license should be required. just as nobody needs a license to to attend church.

any gay who beleives he has a right, is free to make a vow to anybody he wants to, and keep the rest of us out it.

kingdavid said...

Excuse me, but you all lost me. We went from pre-inauguration over-kill to Obamagasms to Garth Brooks to gay marriage. WTF

Let's get back to football, and a more important issue at hand: the NFL should tell Fitzgerald and Palamalu to get their freakin hair cut before the super bowl. I bet Vince Lombardi is rolling over in his grave.

Mark Heuring said...

I never know where these threads are gonna go, kd.

If there will be haircuts forthcoming, the ghost of Vince would need to address Al Harris and Atari Bigby of the Packers first, I'm thinking. I will admit I'm mystified why the Milli Vanilli look has come back into vogue. . . .