Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The non-Superbowl blog

The way I figure it, everybody and their mother is blogging about the damn game last night, so I really will try not to waste your time talking about it. But first, a few minor points: Take the score of the game, divide it by the number of teams in the Superbowl, and you got yourself the number 23. Don’t know the significance of that? Neither do I, but it’s got Jim Carrey pretty worked up. Also, the commercials this year were borderline retarded. It seems as though advertisers have forgotten the purpose of the Superbowl, (excellent commercials, duh!) I would have liked to see a commercial where the Mooninites give the finger to everybody in Boston, (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you should catch up on your current events. I make sure, every morning, to read those parts of the Washington Post that appeal to me an interest me. War in Iraq? Don’t care. South Korea and Iran caught having sex together in a seedy Bolivian cathouse? Not my problem. Nope, I skip all that jazz and go straight to the comics. And when I’m done I go check out the style section to see what society says I should try to covet for that day.)

Anyway, if you want to know what I think of the Superbowl, just go back a year to the entry I wrote while I was still trapped in Iraq. Now that I think about it, I’ve twice been stuck in Iraq during a Superbowl game. That means two years where I didn’t get to see any commercials, (my fav part of the whole damn shooting match). This is because out in Iraq the military has its own cable. This isn’t just in Iraq actually; the American military, when striding the globe like a Colossus, bending the will of foreign cultures to suit American needs and desires, likes to bring its own satellite t.v. system with it. It’s called AFN: Armed Forces Network. AFN is a bunch of channels showing American programming. It doesn’t matter which channel or time the show comes on in America, in AFN they juggle everything around until it suits them. And when you factor in all the time differences all over this wacky planet of ours, you understand how it is I end up seeing brand new Simpsons episodes at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.

But the best part of AFN is the lack of commercials. Where the breaks would be in normal programming, AFN has filled with public service announcements and sheer military propaganda. Ever seen a commercial for courage? What would be the point? Where would I go buy some and what is the unit price for it? If it’s not a commercial for some human trait (Fidelity: Please don’t cheat on your spouse! Military lawyers are tired and overworked from divorce cases! Keep America strong!) then it’s a PSA warning soldiers of the dangers of smoking, chewing tobacco, not looking both ways before crossing the street, being left-handed and not wiping your feet when you enter a house.

At first, (for a few days, maybe even a week) it’s funny and corny as shit. You laugh and enjoy how pitiful and misguided these “commercials” are. But then you realize, with the amount of military brats who are babysat by the television, at least 25 percent of them will grow up actually falling for the propaganda. They’ll have never seen a regular commercial and won’t understand that they’re being manipulated. Not to mention that you haven’t seen a commercial in a long time either and that ad for reenlisting is starting to make a lot of sense to you. So you end up doing what just about every soldier does at one point. I’m not happy about it, it’s not something we’re proud of, but it’s something that eventually becomes called for. And that is having somebody in America send you a taped show with commercials intact.

I can’t count the number of times when I eagerly awaited a tape in the mail. Then, on that special day when it arrived, I would take it and run to my trailer like Golum with his precious. I would pop the tape into my VCR (yes I had a trailer with a VCR, a tv and cable. But of course, the cable came in very poorly and there were only five channels. I had a really rough time in Iraq.) and sit with my eyes glued to the screen. When that first commercial came on (a Honda commercial I believe) I sat back with contentment and bliss on my face, as if I had just helped a cow give birth to a healthy baby calf, then grilled and ate that calf with some sautéed onions and a baked potato.

People in America take their commercials for granted. We must remember that there are some places on Earth where people don’t have the benefit of knowing what kind of moisturizer Kelly Ripa uses, or how Jenny Craig helped Kirsty Alley shed enough pounds to not be mistaken anymore for a walrus that wandered out of the zoo.

That means that we have a duty to treat our commercials right, with dignity and respect. Take ‘em out to dinner every once in a while, snuggle after sex, perhaps give them another commercial award show or two. Then, when commercials get old and have to be retired they’ll go to a managed care facility, where young people will watch them to get a sense of how goofy people were back in the seventies or whatever. Why not? I think we’ll all feel better if we do.

Save the commercials, save the world.

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