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 Will.i.am 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.