Punting the Ball

Last night, I found myself watching an athletic event on television. It was garish and rather violent, and the trappings around the event itself ranged from the tawdry to the hopelessly tacky.

What? No, it wasn’t pro wrestling. That was “last week”:http://www.polytropos.org/archives/000282.html. This was a football game, another cultural phenomenon with which I have only “limited experience”:http://www.polytropos.org/archives/000096.html. Judging from the fact that friend-and-loyal-reader Bryan was hosting a rather large party, and that everybody around me seemed to be fairly excited, I can only assume that this was a game of some importance. But, appearances to the contrary, it could not have been the Superbowl. The Superbowl, after all, is characterized by the large number of imaginative and entertaining commercials that air during the breaks — it’s the time when the advertising industry pulls out all the stops and tries to impress us. At last night’s game, this was manifestly not the case. With only a few exceptions, the commercials either failed to rise above the normal morass of mediocrity, or tried for something more and failed miserably. Granted, the Superbowl commercials of the past couple years haven’t been any great shakes either, but at this point it’s safe to say that a time-honored tradition that made the Superbowl watchable for the rest of us is now officially dead.

I pity all the poor journalists who have to churn out a whole article about the Superbowl commercials. There’s really not that much to say other than: they sucked. Maybe they can interview the thirteen-year-old boys who scripted all the evening’s Bud Lite ads. I came prepared to grade all the commercials and give a comprehensive rundown here; it didn’t take long to realize that that would be a colossal waste of time. (Er, rather, even _more_ of a waste of time that it would have been by definition. But else was I going to do — pay attention to the game?) Kudos to Chevrolet and AOL for airing the most watchable ads, and to “The Truth”:http://www.thetruth.com/ for the whole “Shards O’ Glass Freeze Pops” spot. Oh, and to the Panthers and Patriots for playing what, early indications to the contrary, turned out to be a pretty exciting game. Thank goodness.