February 9, 2011

"God Bless America and the Anthem? And the fly-by? Could you militarize this event just a tad more?"

"And what in the name of the FSM was the point of giving us both Sam Elliott and Michael Douglas for the pregame Heroic Voiceover Brigade? And, Michael Douglas, how exactly do we link JFK's inaugural, MLK's Dream speech, the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, Ali's KO of Liston in Lewiston, and this football game? A journey? More like a trip, actually. The pregame show was what Leni Riefenstahl would have done had she emigrated here as a child and gone to work for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price."

So wrote Charles P. Pierce about the Super Bowl intro, and I almost didn't post that because I had to check the Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price reference  — is it "Mad Men"? yeah, sorry, I still don't want to watch it — not to mention the FSM reference — eh. It flicked my bloggable toggle switch and then came very close to toggling back. But I'm quoting it, really because I agree that they overdid it. Leni would have been much more insidiously subtle. But that's a good thing, right? You can defend against the ridiculously overdone. We can feel patriotic and festive in a mixed up clutter of history and pop culture, and then it's on to the football game.

The Pierce quote is embedded in this James Wolcott blog post. Wolcott is crankier than Pierce:
I had the pre-game on mute and every time I glanced up I wondered if we had declared war on Iraq or a hologram of Ronald Reagan was going to materialize on stage, raising a ruddy hand in blessing as Peggy Noonan ascended into heaven. The Super Bowl is bombastic enough without being a fanfare for World War III or IV, but who's counting? Or is it that the country requires this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile? Maybe Stanley Fish can figure this out for us.
No link on the Stanley Fish reference, which is not something I can untangle with a Google search. I know who Stanley Fish is. I'm even in the middle of reading his new book, "How to Write a Sentence." (Check it out: I just wrote a sentence!) I'll assume Wolcott means to say something like: All those words and images require interpretation and Fish is the interpretation-meister.

But let's try to answer Wolcott's question: Does the country require this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile?

I anticipate, instead of real answers, your snarky reframings of the question, asking whether Wolcott needs to reassure himself that he's still proud and virile. Indeed, I got the impression that his paragraph paralleled Pierce's, that he was envious of Pierce's writing prowess and trying to outmatch it. Ending with that limp Fish, he failed, which probably explains the flailing about "the county" and its imagined self-esteem problem. It's so problematic, raising the flag.

114 comments:

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

The disadvantage of reading your blog is that I become aware of the existance of these people; the ones who hate everything.

Lincolntf said...

It's about saying "Thank You" and "We Remember You" to the millions of Americans serving under arms so that millions of others can suck down tubs of nachos and Bud Light.
So sorry if it offends the delicate pacifist sensibilities of the "elites". Suck it up.

Calypso Facto said...

I did find the thought of a flyover at a DOMED STADIUM amusingly irrelevant.

Christopher said...

Poor Charlie - all his years of patient toiling, writing, speaking in single-syllable words so that even the dumbest teabagger can understand him and STILL the fucking proles want to wave that racist flag. They STILL have pride for this evil, warmongering AmeriKKKa.

Gauche flyover peasants. They probably think Obama's a Muslim, too.

bagoh20 said...

People used to enjoy such expression at parades, but now those are just for the gays.

Our species still needs to do this, and there is nothing particular about Americans that make that necessary. It's what energetic tribes do.

Scott M said...

Does the country require this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile?

Are you kidding? Of course we do. We've been bitchslapped by the left for so long now, figuratively and legislatively, that we've started to believe it. I, for one, don't buy the either line anymore; 1) that the POTUS is the "leader of the free world" and 2) "if we could put a man on the moon, we can...".

This nation is suffering a serious lack of confidence. Most, if not all of it, is self-inflicted. That should hardly be surprising given the decades-long campaign of liberal white guilt navel gazing we've been subjected to.

God forbid that someone put a man back on the moon before we do. We'll have to go on nationwide suicide watch.

OneLifeLiveIt said...

Yeah its all over the top hype and the military flex is getting rather tiresome.

It's funny to see the reaction of people overseas to the NFL - each year the winners proclaim themselves 'world champions' sort of makes many non-Americans cringe.

It was a fantastic Superbowl this year as the Steelers came back at Green Bay. But just stick with the knowledge that Vince Lombardi will be happy in the victory and that Green Bay are 'NFL Champions'.

(If American Football was truly a global sport then Green Bay could declare this from the rooftops).

AllenS said...

Fuck off limp wristed losers.

Richard Dolan said...

Whatever the pre-game show was (I didn't watch), it was just a reflection of what TV-land thinks the taste level for mass entertainment is today. It's a bit much to think of it as a symptom that the country needs a nation-sized dose of Viagra.

If the idea was to skewer pop culture, neither one of those guys did it very well. Fish would not be much better -- it's really a task for a Tom Wolfe or Hunter Thompson at their best.

Scott M said...

In addition, as to the militarization of the Superbowl...the only sport that is more militaristic is the biathlon from the winter Olympics and that's actually based on things that happened in actual war.

If you don't think football and war have a lot in common, you've never played.

virgil xenophon said...

So, lets review: The National Anthem was born of battle and our nations flag born of war, but references to the flag, singing of the anthem, military displays, and a general, overall atmosphere of "patriotism" all too "militaristic," right? Just wanted to be sure..

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lincolntf said...

Just think, if we skipped "America the Beautiful" we could have had 5 more minutes of ZOOM at halftime!

shoutingthomas said...

Football is a patriotic, war game.

I watched the halftime show in a crowd that was 50% gay. They loved the Black Eyed Peas.

I thought that BEP was, basically, disco resurrected.

Great that my gay friends can enjoy the halftime, but football is not, I don't think, a predominantly gay sport. Palladian can correct me if I'm wrong.

Seems like Alan Jackson or George Strait would be better choices.

bagoh20 said...

You can't really get all worked up about some guys carrying a ball up and down a field. It's all allegory, and this stuff brings in the resolution that it's about all our victories. If you really believe in your ideals, that's a good thing. If not, you feel kind of funny about it.

Southbound Blues said...

"Self-affirmation." LOL

TWM said...

Professional sports, notably the NFL and MLB, is one of the last places in entertainment where you can find patriotism. Oh, and NASCAR. It's just a guess but that may be one reason why they have tons of fans and actually make money, unlike Hollywood whose anti-American slant is not so much a slant as it is a fricken cliff.

And they can claim to be World Champions because other nations play American-style football.

http://americanfootballeurope.com/

AJ Lynch said...

Everytime I buy and read a MSM newspaper, I get pummeled at least once by a liberal journalist slanting a "news" story to mock, bash or malign conservative views.

So how's it feel Mr. Pierce and Mr. Wolcott?

garage mahal said...

Always loved the flyovers. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

edutcher said...

The Lefties were whining about stuff like this during the Vietnam War. They can't change it because the people like it, so they whine.

Ann Althouse said...

"I watched the halftime show in a crowd that was 50% gay."

What did the guys — guys, right? — think of the absence of cheerleaders? I think cheerleaders make football more gay: more like a Broadway/Vegas show. But Meade said that he thought cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle).

bagoh20 said...

I'm all for a post Superbowl world championship game between the NFL champions and the anti-American champions. Bring it on! Flyovers? Absolutely!

Calypso Facto said...

"the only sport that is more militaristic is the biathlon from the winter Olympics"

Check out the modern pentathlon in the summer Olympics. Better yet.

wv: facch. Exactly what I said after reading Wolcott.

bagoh20 said...

Meade is playing you. We like cheerleaders because...oh do I really have to explain. If there is no game, the cheerleaders are even more welcome.

Scott M said...

I think cheerleaders make football more gay: more like a Broadway/Vegas show. But Meade said that he thought cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle).

Cheerleaders are vestigial holdovers from high school. They completely loose their relevance in football games above that level. Indoor arena sports are another matter, but, frankly, I've always been a little weary of the type of woman over 18 (hell, over 30) that would still call herself a cheerleader. Sort of like a semi-respectable stripper.

Original Mike said...

"I did find the thought of a flyover at a DOMED STADIUM amusingly irrelevant."

I joked during the anthem that they'd have a flyby. Joke was on me.

They coulda at least opened the dome for it.

shoutingthomas said...

What did the guys — guys, right?

Nope, lesbian.

The drummer in one of my bands is a lesbian. She had a housewarming/game party and invited all her friends, plus the musician contingent.

Nice woman. I like her. As long as we stay away from politics, we get along fine. So, we stay away from politics.

So, no, I can't speak to how the guys got along without the cheerleaders.

CJinPA said...

Not sure how images of JFK, MLK and Ali square with the Reagan dig.

Too much "patriotism"? Meh. How many (outwardly, at least) unifying institutions do we have left? The Armed Services is pretty much it, and even that the Left has to do through clenched teeth.

You put a bunch of Americans in an arena, with millions more watching in common experience, and we're going to root through the bin for something, anything, to show we actually live in the same country. So, military.

Plus, Americans still like incredible feats of engineering that remind us we're still capable of awesome things. So, flyovers.

rhhardin said...

It's all a great confusion born of a hundred year old crowd control trick.

Namely playing the national anthem gets the crowd to shut up and pay attention, so that the game can begin.

Any miscreats are straightened out by the crowd itself as unpatriotic, requiring no additional staff for the purpose.

Play Ball follows Home of the Brave in the anthem, is the joke.

Anyway that's how they add Iwo Jima and military jet flyovers. It piggybacks in on the confusion.

Scott M said...

Plus, Americans still like incredible feats of engineering that remind us we're still capable of awesome things. So, flyovers.

HOWARD JOHNSON IS RIGHT!!!

AllenS said...

Good for you, shouting thomas. Lesbians... yeah!

Shouting Thomas said...

My own take on the lack of cheerleaders.

Pro cheerleaders are basically irrelevant, except on posters and in Playboy.

People don't do cheers at a pro game.

They do at a college game.

And the pro cheerleaders look pretty damn hard. Looks like most of them are in the escort biz on the side.

Original Mike said...

"Always loved the flyovers. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up."

I love the flyovers they do at the Badger games. Impressive as hell. Always gives me an urge to surrender.

They did a B2 flyover over, once. It flew so low you could see (though not read) the labels on the bottom of the plane (e.g. "Put bombs here"). And it flew so slow I was waiting for it to fall out of the sky. Super cool.

Drew said...

Remember the rules! Only credentialed lefties and their sycophants may use violent/war imagery.

Shouting Thomas said...

Of course, I've got to add this caveat to my statement about cheerleaders.

The college girls are giving it away for free.

By the time they get to the pro game, they won't be giving it away for free any more.

TWM said...

"But Meade said that he thought cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle)."

Jesus, Meade, you are way overthinking this. Guys like hot women bouncing around in skimpy outfits. It's no deeper than that.

Jay said...

how exactly do we link JFK's inaugural, MLK's Dream speech, the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, Ali's KO of Liston in Lewiston, and this football game?

Great question.

I'm still unable to understand how/why JFK's swearing in is some great moment in American history.

CJinPA said...

And the pro cheerleaders look pretty damn hard. Looks like most of them are in the escort biz on the side.

Testify.

Scott M said...

I'm still unable to understand how/why JFK's swearing in is some great moment in American history.

It either has something to do with a torpedo boat or his hair. Not sure which, mind you, I just think it narrows down to those two things.

Maguro said...

If you don't like that all that patriotic stuff you can always, you know, not tune in until the game starts. It's not like anyone's forced to watch.

Mike said...

Two thoughts...

(1) I was going to say what Scott M said, but not nearly as well. The left hates letting us up for a breath of self afirmation while they are pummeling us.

(2) I wish my eyes never saw "a big orgiastic tangle" in the same sentance as football. Might have inalterably(in-althouse-ably?) changed the game for me.

Mike (DC)

Fred4Pres said...

Wolcott is a disturbing, musky gelatinous, quivering contradiction.

Lincolntf said...

The JFK part didn't make much sense to me, either. It didn't bother me, I just don't know what they were going for. One would think that a broadcast from Dallas would be particularly cautious about using Kennedy imagery.

Comrade X said...

Did Wolcott write this review the day before the game?

Shouting Thomas said...

But Meade said that he thought cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle).

Yes, Althouse, you're having fun with this.

I'd venture a guess that homosexuality is just about unknown among football players.

Admiration of the male body is not, per se, homosexual.

Have you ever participated in sports?

When you play any sport, you spend the 30 minutes before the game checking out the physiques of the opposition thoroughly. You do this to evaluate your opposition and to plan your strategy.

What men like about football is that its violent and the content is men beating the hell out of one another.

I suppose you would enjoy making a case for homosexuality out of that, too.

We men are not quite as much in need of reassurance as you like to think.

Palladian said...

One can't discuss these two literary giants without remembering some of their greatest paragraphs:

In January 2010, government-sponsored radio game show panelist and sports writer Charlie Pierce wrote:

"The notion that Massachusetts would elect a Republican to fill the seat left vacant by Edward Kennedy was the property of people who buy interesting mushrooms in interesting places. You might as well expect the House of Windsor to be succeeded on the British throne by the Kardashian sisters."

Later that month, Republican Scott Brown won the special election for Kennedy's vacant senate seat.

And let's not forget too-late-for-dinner-at-the-Algonquin James Wolcott's 2004 love-note to hurricanes:

"I root for hurricanes. When, courtesy of the Weather Channel, I see one forming in the ocean off the coast of Africa, I find myself longing for it to become big and strong--Mother Nature's fist of fury, Gaia's stern rebuke. Considering the havoc mankind has wreaked upon nature with deforesting, stripmining, and the destruction of animal habitat, it only seems fair that nature get some of its own back and teach us that there are forces greater than our own."

The next year, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Triangle Man said...

I guess the answer to the original question is 'yes'.

Which of the three things, National Anthem, Flyover, or God Bless America, would Wolcott or Pierce get rid of?

As mentioned earlier, the flyover for a domed stadium is a joke, so that could have been eliminated. As a comment on the militarization of the Super Bowl, however, it is silly because flyovers are everywhere.

God Bless America was added to the stadium repertoire following the 9/11 attacks. Is it time to retire it from sporting events? I haven't heard it as much lately, but it wasn't added for the Super Bowl.

Perhaps they want to forego the National Anthem? Dirty hippies!

Scott M said...

One would think that a broadcast from Dallas would be particularly cautious about using Kennedy imagery.

...chuckle...

Triangle Man said...

I'd venture a guess that homosexuality is just about unknown among football players.

You are correct. It is called "being on the down low", not "homosexuality".

Tibore said...

"But let's try to answer Wolcott's question: Does the country require this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile?"

Why should we answer it, professor? Implicit in the question is the notion that this is somehow unusual instead of what sporting events have always endeavored to do. Also implicit is the suggestion that the entire thing was indeed self-affirmation for reassurance. Not all displays of collective self-image are meant for reassurance; some may simply be continuation of tradition, others may be nothing more than celebration (would fireworks on the 4th of July be considered "self-affirmation for reassurance"?). And still others could be cynical manipulation, or blind jingoism (re: the ex-USSR's and current North Korean May Day type parades).

I'm not trying to be snarky, but examining Wolcott's framing of the question is fair game. He's trying to control the direction of any conversation that evolves from his question by embedding assumptions within his framing. The aware discussion participant is well served to be cognizant of such manipulation.

Palladian said...

"When you play any sport, you spend the 30 minutes before the game checking out the physiques of the opposition thoroughly. You do this to evaluate your opposition and to plan your strategy."

This is excellent advice for cruising in bars and bushes as well.

Triangle Man said...

Would a less Leni Riefenstahl (does Godwin's Law apply?) Super Bowl feature a drum circle and a giant puppet or two?

Shouting Thomas said...

I had to go to Wikipedia for that being on the down low bit.

It's true that in black and Latin society, men who have sex with other men often do not consider themselves gay.

Within those cultures, men who are tops or who play an entirely macho role are not considered gay, even if they have sex with men.

Whether this is true of football players, I don't know. Doubt it.

Palladian said...

I spend at least 30 minutes "pre-game" perusing the physiques of the opposition searching for the tight end...

Shouting Thomas said...

This is excellent advice for cruising in bars and bushes as well.

OK, so we've now established scientifically that all men, if, not all athletes, are gay.

Althouse should be satisfied.

Shouting Thomas said...

Where's Crack?

Crack, Althouse is poking the boys in the ribs again.

Should I give her the white women are cold and sexless bit again?

I love to drive the ladies wild.

k*thy said...

I like the over-the-topness of it all. It's kind of our national midwinter festival, isn't it (and at some point a football game breaks out).

As for the fly-overs, they're pretty cool, especially if you're there (and the dome is open).

Fen said...

The Super Bowl is bombastic enough without being a fanfare for World War III or IV, but who's counting?

Sloppy writing. III or IV?

And I guess he was ignorant of the air cap over Dallas during the Superbowl.

Bob_R said...

Dan Jenkins was mocking Super Bowl introductions and half times in his 1972 novel Semi Tough (which was passed around my high school football team). These poseurs are 40 years too late.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob_R said...

As I was searching for quotes for Semi Tough on the internet I found that the book had an on line study guide! What is the world coming to.

Comrade X said...

if Walcott wants to shoot some intellectuals out of a cannon or have them hit by a wrecking ball while reading an excerpt from Leaves of Grass, I'm sure people would enjoy that too.

Drew said...

Did Wolcott write this review the day before the game?

Must have, because they didn't actually do "God Bless America." They did "America the Beautiful."

Crimso said...

"One would think that a broadcast from Dallas would be particularly cautious about using Kennedy imagery."

On reading this the first thing that came to my mind was Jimmy Carter speaking at the Coretta Scott King funeral. He got a dig in on Bush by referring to the wiretapping of MLK. That was Kennedy-ordered. He did this while Teddy Kennedy was sitting behind him on the stage. My guess is it didn't give Teddy any pause at all, and the hypocrisy of the entire scene was unnoticed by most people.

"Could you militarize this event just a tad more?"

Yes we can!!!!

traditionalguy said...

The Super Bowl seems to me to be a proper venue to assert the USA's military traditions of winning wars rather than surrendering. Of course if the proper world view is that the USA is now a small part of the International Community and subject to the mercy of the UN and the UN Military, and the UN World Currency based upon UN energy usage permits, then this is a crude display of Jingoistic trash.

Henry said...

I watched the game, but you couldn't pay me to watch the Superbowl pregame. But I guess you could pay Pierce and Wolcott, because someone did for what they wrote about it.

Original Mike said...

"Must have, because they didn't actually do "God Bless America." They did "America the Beautiful.""

Yeah. How 'bout that?

knox said...

The Superbowl was bombastic and overdone? No way!!

knox said...

if Walcott wants to shoot some intellectuals out of a cannon or have them hit by a wrecking ball while reading an excerpt from Leaves of Grass, I'm sure people would enjoy that too.

LOL. I know I would!

Paddy O said...

So, the mrs. and I went to Disneyland and California Adventure last week for a couple of days. Just for us. Great time all around, especially because on a Thursday and Friday the crowds are so low.

Because of the lack of crowds we did all sort of stuff that usually can't be packed into a crowded day. Lines were short and we had time to wander.

We went to the animatronic Lincoln show, and it was entirely patriotic in the sort of way that really seems overdone if you don't really believe in it. Soaring eagles, mountain vistas, and a standing, talking fake Lincoln reminding us of what being an American is all about.

Then, later in the day, we were going to the other park and had to pass by the entrance. Happened to do so right during the lowering of the American flag. A huge, huge ceremony. Very official, in a military type way. The whole area was filled with people stopped, watching, respecting the ceremony of it being saluted, lowered, folded. There was a playing of the national anthem and some saluted, and many sang.

It was especially striking because there were really a whole lot of people from different countries in the midst. It was like this great ol' bit of American patriotism, unashamed and bold in expression, without really concerned with with others from other places might think. I really respect Disney for keeping this going every single day.

Shanna said...

The Superbowl was bombastic and overdone? No way!!

Ha! Exactly. Where have they been for...ever?

Sigivald said...

The Anthem and an old patriotic song are "militarised"?

Huh.

I mean, I'll give him the fly-by, at least in some vague sense, but that's it.

The national anthem is, well, the national anthem; if you call that militarization, then you've just redefined the entire nation as "military" and robbed it of any meaning.

And "God Bless America" has no lyrical content that is even vaguely and indirectly connected with matters martial.

Is he smoking rocks?

murgatroyd666 said...

Ending with that limp Fish, he failed, which probably explains the flailing about "the county" and its imagined self-esteem problem. It's so problematic, raising the flag.

God, I love it when Althouse gives some dipwad the weapons-grade snark he deserves.

Paddy O said...

The Anthem and an old patriotic song are "militarised"?

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


A paraphrase: Hey, can you see that?! We saluted it last night and it's still there at dawn, even though the battle was going all night. Every explosion of artillery lit it up, so we could see it flying as we kept fighting.

It's still flying this morning after all that. Because we rock and will kick your ass!
_____________

It can't help but be militarized! It's a song about a battle!

Crimso said...

I read the last line of the anthem as an ongoing question. Key reminds us to be wary of no longer being "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Some people scoff at those words because they insist on their usage only in an absolute sense. So before anyone does, I'll say that "free" is a relative term. The question is are we more or less free than when Key wrote those words? No simple answer to that one.

Original Mike said...

Twilight's last reaming, Paddy. Reaming.

Kirk Parker said...

"... cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle)."

Wow, just way way way TMI!

Kirk Parker said...

O-Mike: a B-2 flyover would be lots of fun, but IMO the best aircraft of all time for that purpose is the Vulcan bomber. None of these wussy new-fangled efficient turbofans! Just perfectly straight conversion of hydrocarbon into noise...

William said...

Perhaps if James Taylor wore sackcloth and ashes and sang This Land Is Your Land, we would all be psyched for the opening kick off. Then, later at half time, we could have Paul Simon and a chorus of children who had been crippled during Hurrican Katrina singing the Sounds of Silence to keep the momemtum going. At the end of the game, they could sign off with Nina Simone's rendition of Pirate Jenny to put us all in a thoughtful mood. Now I know some would feel more comfortable with Billy Holliday's Strange Fruit, but I think Pirate Jenny gives the proper sense of foreboding, especially to the winning team. With the right production values, the Super Bowl could become a big hit among intellectuals.

tree hugging sister said...

It can't help but be militarized! It's a song about a battle!

Filched from an old drinking song!

Piss on those guys and GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Michael said...

"But Meade said that he thought cheerleaders provided a way for heterosexual men to reassure themselves that they weren't feeling attracted to the male bodies they gaze at with great admiration during the game (and football involves a lot of male bodies in a big orgiastic tangle)."

A little time in academia and everyone becomes a deconstructionist. Sometimes go go dancing is just go go dancing.

DADvocate said...

If you're "proud and virile" you don't need self-affirmation.

Fly-overs are common at college football games. Almost every game my son and I went to the past two years had a fly-over and military guys parachuting onto the field. The coolest fly-over was three big helicopters.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The pregame show was what Leni Riefenstahl would have done had she emigrated here as a child

Never question a lefty's patriotism.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Thank you for reminding me why I stopped reading Wolcott long ago.

But not long enough ago.

Robert Cook said...

"So, no, I can't speak to how the guys got along without the cheerleaders."

Well...how did the lesbians get along without the cheerleaders?! That seems an even more tantalizing question!

Robert Cook said...

Judging by your two representative quotes from Pierce and Wolcott, respectively, Wolcott's was much the better piece.

But then, I've read Wolcott off and on since 1975 and find his sensibility and tastes sympatico to mine (although I don't give a fig for ballet, one of Wolcott's enthusiasms). Also, I have as great an antipathy as he to that great phony Peggy Noonan.

The point each was making (I assume this was also Pierce's point) about the swollen, grandiose celebrations of militarism and the excessive militaristic imagery at our sporting events is well-taken. Someone else here said something about this being what "energetic tribes" do. Well, fuck tribalism. It's among the great catalysts for conflict, violence and war, and should be seen as a vestige of our monkey-brains...something to be shed of rather than indulged in.

Scott M said...

Someone else here said something about this being what "energetic tribes" do.

There appear to be mountains of data pointing to the fact that this is what energetic "humans" do. Humans can be very energetic indeed. Sure, we could shed all that and be lobotomized automatons, but the hind-brain is good for something now and again...like taking out the knees of that linebacker who thought he had a clear blitz lane at your quarterback, stopped in time by your cross stunt all the way from the 3 hole. Crunchy goodness and very human.

Original Mike said...

Remind me to never invite Cookie to a football game.

Robert Cook said...

"Remind me to never invite Cookie to a football game."

I'd remind you. I tried watching a football game once...it was like staring at the snow on a tv channel with no signal...pure tedium. Five minutes was all I could take.

Robert Cook said...

"There appear to be mountains of data pointing to the fact that this is what energetic 'humans' do."

No doubt...but we humans are basically just hairless chimps. We have a greater capacity for abstract thought, and thus are more violent and murderous than chimps, who are violent and murderous enough. Just because we're driven by primal urges to violence and sadism doesn't mean we should indulge or celebrate those urges as "healthy."

I can get off on a violent movie because it's play, and it allows me to symbolically vent my more atavistic urges, and I can see this as an appeal for some of sporting events--even if I don't personally find sports interesting. However, by celebrating militarism, we're not playing, but asserting that the violence we do to other peoples is good and right. And these are lies.

Trooper York said...

Hey Original Mike. Nice Avatar.

How the hell you got into my house to steal that out of the birdcage I will never know.

Trooper York said...

Roobert is a tennis kind of guy.

Trooper York said...

Wolcott is what the Crack Emcee would have been if he was dropped on his head as a baby.

Repeatedly.

Scott M said...

Bullshit, Robert. Being strong enough to prevent someone else from thinking they are strong enough to roll us is both good and desirable. The Meek might inherit the earth in the end, but in the interim, "they've had a helluva time".

Further, as someone pointed out in keeping with the original question, we respond very positively to bold demonstrations of our engineering prowess. While the gap is closing (mostly due to our own foot-shooting), most Americans know something about our dominance in the air.

If you want to claim that our greater capacity for abstract thought makes humans exceptional in the natural world, I'll invite you to upend an entire raft of thinking that predicates itself on the notion that we're not...that we're just another animal inhabiting the same planet.

Lincolntf said...

Libs don't like tribal mentalities that they can't manipulate.

ironrailsironweights said...

Using Ali's KO of Liston as a patriotic image is especially dubious as many boxing fans and writers remain convinced it was a dive. Even at ringside no one actually saw the punch.

Peter

Trooper York said...

Frankie Carbo told Liston to take the dive. And he listened as Frankie was the guy who whacked Bugsy Siegal and nobody to screw around with.

Robert Cook said...

"If you want to claim that our greater capacity for abstract thought makes humans exceptional in the natural world...."

Uh, no. It just contributes to our being exceptionally violent, vengeful, and sadistic.

"Being strong enough to prevent someone else from thinking they are strong enough to roll us is both good and desirable."

But we are the bad guys in our present (and most of our past) military endeavors. We are not defending ourselves but are aggressors in foreign lands. That is not good or desirable. We are not heroes of any kind.

Blue@9 said...

What sick fucks. I detest people who take pride in the denigration of country and patriotism and only do so because they know no harm will come to them from their weak-tea iconoclasm. In ancient Rome such people would have been declared enemies of the people and tossed from the Tarpeian Rock.

People have sworn loyalty to and celebrated their nations for millennia because societies that promote such values survive, whereas the ones that don't end up as footnotes in history.

knox said...

Shanna, I love how they're complaining about the "militarization" of a sport where giant guys slam into each other intentionally. The horror!

J Lee said...

If you think Woolcott's in a tizzy now, wait until they do the Super Bowl pre game show and National Anthem in 2013, when he can hear the jets flying over the Meadowlands from his townhouse.

I'm also hoping that, given the likely weather conditions in New York during the first week of February, the halftime show will somehow involve the artistic use of snowplows and rock salt dispensing trucks (and with 80,000 people possibly having access to snowballs, woe to the singer who botches the anthem's lyrics before that game).

Shanna said...

Shanna, I love how they're complaining about the "militarization" of a sport where giant guys slam into each other intentionally. The horror!

Heh. I just want to slap them and say "it's a football game ja!" And I didn't even watch the thing! (prefer college sports-unless the redskins ever get good again)

ken in sc said...

A fly by of F-4 Phantoms once stopped a coup in the Philippines. Not because of the show of force but because of the physical presence of the F-4. F-16s and later aircraft are much more powerful than F-4s but they are not more impressive. Those two J-79 General Electric engines in each aircraft created a sound wave that reverberated in your chest and sounded like Godzilla’s scream or worst. A fly by is a show of power..

Paco Wové said...

Joining in with not seeing the "militarization" aspect of the National Anthem or America the Beautiful (or whatever it was they sang). Unless patriotism == militarism in the minds of Wolcott and whatzizface, which wouldn't surprise me much, truth be told.

Now if they'd done the Battle Hymn of the Republic... there's a two-fisted, don't-fuck-with-us tune.

E.M. Davis said...

No doubt...but we humans are basically just hairless chimps. We have a greater capacity for abstract thought, and thus are more violent and murderous than chimps, who are violent and murderous enough. Just because we're driven by primal urges to violence and sadism doesn't mean we should indulge or celebrate those urges as "healthy."

I can get off on a violent movie because it's play, and it allows me to symbolically vent my more atavistic urges, and I can see this as an appeal for some of sporting events--even if I don't personally find sports interesting. However, by celebrating militarism, we're not playing, but asserting that the violence we do to other peoples is good and right. And these are lies.


Man, you're boring.

Steven said...

So, let's see, he couldn't actually identify the patriotic song (America the Beautiful is not God Bless America), and he's under the impression that singling about the beauty of America's geography (which is all the verse sung does) is a way to "militarize" a football game.

Yeah, see, that is the sort of thing that causes people to question the patriotism of the writer.

Steven said...

I mean, seriously, Osama Bin Laden could honestly sing the first verse of America the Beautiful, if he agreed with the aesthetic evaluation. He'd have a different definition of "thy good" than I'd have, but, to object to that song, you've got to be hating for the sake of hating.

Andrea said...

I don't know about this Pierce guy, but what is James Wolcott doing watching a football game? I would have thought cricket or badminton more to his tastes.

Clyde said...

I read that at a singles site, they ask questions like "do you prefer people who are simle or people who are complicated?" Those who answered "simple" are twice as likely to be conservative politically as liberal. Therefore, I'll keep it simple: Wolcott was, is, and forever shall remain an America-hating jerk.

Ralph L said...

And the pro cheerleaders look pretty damn hard.
It's like forging steel. They've been pounded by football players since they were 16. Exercise and surgery have kept them from flattening.

Scott M said...

Uh, no. It just contributes to our being exceptionally violent, vengeful, and sadistic.

Just. That's all it does? It just contributes to violence, vengeance and sadism? What you've said here, RC, is that abstract thought gives us nothing else. Just violence, vengeance, and sadism. Not art. Not invention. Not philosophy. JUST violence, vengeance, and sadism.

First and foremost, the entire world is built on violence. Take a look at any average treeline and what you see is an event horizon in the war for more sunlight. The incidents of violence in nature are legion. If you see us as nothing more than slightly smarter apes, nothing we do is outside of nature.

Second, we have no other examples, that we yet know of, of higher abstract thought on the level humans possess. Everything in nature seems to be an evolutionary trade off. Perhaps having the ability cure disease and build Sistine Chapels comes part and parcel with the cognitive abilities that allow for vengeance and sadism. I'm not one to speculate.

Your response making us out as the bad guys doesn't address my strength point in regards to the flyover at all.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The real reason they made Socrates drink the hemlock is that they got tired of him ambushing his unsuspecting enemies in the agora and tearing our their throats with his teeth.

Scott M said...

and tearing our their throats with his teeth

...while enjoying it and proclaiming himself not to be a hero.