Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl aftermath

Firstly, yea Saints! I totally knew they would win!

I enjoyed The Who (or what's left of The Who) and their half-time performance. Poor Pete Townsend just can't screech out those bridges and harmonies like he used to, but he can still rock a guitar like nobody else! I love when he embellishes on songs that we all know so well. As a harmonica player, I have appreciated that Roger always plays the familiar violin playout at the end of "Baba O'Riley" on mouth organ. Of course, that's getting a little hard for Roger to blast out too, but he still did a great job. His voice has dropped a bit, and he still rocks if in a slightly lower register on the newer stuff. Why do we never hear "Mike Post Theme"? Don't get me wrong, I liked the selection. But when you know it's the Who in a 10 minute slot, you can easily plot out what they'll be singing. "Baba O'Riley", "Who Are You", "Won't Get Fooled Again" (probably also a nice plug for CBS's CSI series that use these songs) are all expected. I was pleasantly surprised to hear snippets from Tommy; I did not expect them to open with "Pinball Wizard". I half expected "My Generation", but maybe they chose not to since it was used in one of the ads. By the way, that was one of my favorite ads, featuring television footage spanning 50 years. Though I don't much like or the Black Eyed Peas, I thought the overall effect really spectacular, and was amazed by how much history and pop culture they crammed into one minute.

I always dread the national anthem, and was let down yet again. When Queen Latifah started, I thought, "Well, she's not the worst choice." But then she sung an "America the Beautiful" medley, and I said, "You guys know this isn't the national anthem, right?" And then they revealed Carrie Underwood. UGH! I was pleading to bring back Latifah! I've never liked Underwood, not from her American Idol days. The less said about the nonsense that is "Jesus Take the Wheel" the better. And she proved tonight why she's overrated. She was dressed in an odd white jumpsuit-looking outfit making her look like Padme's stunt double for Attack of the Clones. And she oversang every note of that song. I know it's not a great anthem. But she belted it badly, going quite flat on the big final note. For a Grammy-winning sensation, it was an embarrassment. No one has ever performed the song with as much class and patriotic simplicity as Billy Joel did a few years back.

Finally, I noted that the controversial "choose life" commercial never ran. Unless it ran in the ten minutes I was sleeping (nothing happens in the first quarter anyway), CBS didn't air it.[EDIT: yes it did. It ran in that first quarter when I wasn't paying attention. However, the following rant is mostly still relevant, so I'm leaving it as is.] Look, I understand there's a difference between abortion as law and abortion as a moral issue. I get really annoyed with radical pro-lifers who refer to anyone born since 1973 as "survivors of Roe v. Wade", as if it were some genocidal edict akin to Pharoah drowning Hebrew children. I even support the "morning after" pill, though many of my Christian and pro-life peers do not. But what's wrong with promoting life? As I understand it, the ad was something to the effect of how good it is that this woman didn't abort her son because now he's a great football player. Might it offend some people? I suppose that's possible. But I have a hard time thinking this is not okay to air when multiple times every year a similar tale is aired on TV: it's called It's a Wonderful Life.

The whole narrative point of It's a Wonderful Life is that it is so much better that George Bailey was born than that he wasn't. He's shown that his world is terrible if he is never born; because he was born, he brought meaning to others around him. The movie runs over and over around Christmas, and no one ever complains about it's blatant pro-life message. Why? Because it's couched in Christmas? Because it's a classic? The message to me is that life isn't the worst option. Even if it's hard, your life may be worthwhile. And here this was George Bailey himself arguing he shouldn't have been born; why should it be different if it were his mother? George doesn't have a right to jump off a bridge, but his mother has the right to have him "surgically removed"? This is a rhetorical question. I only point it out because this smacks of hypocrisy to me. Nobody is saying you have to espouse the point of view presented by the commercial any more than you have to agree with It's a Wonderful Life. But to censor one while holding fondly to the other seems a double standard to me. And I know that the Capra film usually airs on NBC, not CBS. That's not the point. The point is that there was an outcry about an ad even airing when there is nary a complaint about the movie which promotes similar ideals.

Do I have anything else to say? Hmm... oh yeah, good game.


  1. I also enjoyed the Who but it is true the voices are showing wear and tear. The commercial you posted was impressive.

    I agree with your argument that It’s a Wonderful Life is a very similar message to the purported content of the 'Pro Choice' ad. However, since we did not get to view the ad, I cannot be certain how similar the message in the actual ad is.

    This reminds me of the controversy over the UCC Bouncer's ad several years ago. In the media discussion of the ad it became an anti-gay issue, an aspect of the ad I had never noticed on a 19 inch screen. I was offended about an ad showing an obviously Christian church (cross prominently displayed) excluding anyone, while having no Christian symbols in the visual of the United Church of Christ. An aspect that could not even be discussed with the anti-gay press spin.

    Anyway, in the absence of being able to see the ad, I am reluctant to support its message. I don't trust that what anyone purports an ad to present is the actual message it sends.

  2. Correction: "Pro-Life" not "Pro-Choice" -C

  3. Apparently the Ad did air according to Eartlink business news:

    "A hotly anticipated commercial by conservative Christian group Focus on the Family hinted at a serious subject, although even it had a surprise punchline.

    Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother talk about her difficult pregnancy with him — implying an antiabortion message, because she had been advised to end the pregnancy for medical reasons. But the ad ended with Tebow tackling his mom and saying the family must be "tough.""

    Could it be that the implied 'Pro-Life' message was stressed in the pregame hype to get more buzz?

  4. I wonder if they even possibly cut it down a little after all the controversy. The "pro-life" message existed, but wasn't overt. The ad ended with "Celebrate life. Celebrate family." Focus on the Family isn't so stupid that they would make it anti-abortion. The new tactic now is to just make life, if an option, an attractive option.

    I think there will always be hype around something that people see as agenda-driven.

  5. It is often difficult to discern which polarized group is driving the spin. Too often these groups frame the argument based on their perceptions regardless of any evidence that a different question is under discussion. It is sad that civil discourse has been sacrificed to political correctness. I hope the ad was not changed because of the controversy.

    I also hope that the message of this ad is not just a new tactic to eventually eliminate choice, but a sincere attempt to make life an attractive option by mitigating the societal pressures that make women consider abortions.

    Many who are ‘Pro-Choice’ recognize that, even in the case of risk to the mother’s health, this is a complicated decision that cannot be taken lightly. However, until one is faced with all of the details of a particular situation, the answer may not be so clear. In another case, it may be that a mother whose health is saved and goes on to do great things.

    To me if you feel strongly about preserving life, step up and provide loving, stable homes, through adoption or foster care, for children already born. Much more productive than killing doctors and bombing clinics that provide many more services than abortion.
    - C