The XL in Superbowl XL means 40, not extra large, tho’ the association was hard to avoid whenever the cameras panned across the tightly packed, lard-arsed crowd. Mexican Waves soon took on tsunami-like dynamics all their own, pitching many of their participants onto the field, where they lay gasping and floundering like a key scene in evolution washed up on a pre-historic beach.
The Superbowl is one of those secular traditions that unites all Americans, regardless of ethnicity and background, in the pursuit of beer, pizza, hot dogs, chips and dips at Superbowl parties in homes all across the land. Where a Brit would go out and drink, an American stays home and eats. And eats.
One cannot avoid noticing the peculiar prudishness of American society regarding drink and sex. Such is the widespread disapproval of alcohol that I soon learnt not to invite my colleagues or neighbours for a pint. To any American not of Irish extraction, drinking in a pub is but a short step from the most abject displays of feckless Irish Catholic alcoholism. Wives fumed, curtains twitched, and chastened husbands stopped returning my calls. Fortunately I have since made contact with the local Gaelic underground, who know what the pub is really all about – ie, abject displays of feckless Irish Catholic alcoholism. But at least they’re relaxed about it.
Whatever. The point is that most Americans would not dream of getting drunk anywhere but in their own homes, but think nothing of publicly gorging on the kind of junk food that would sicken a hyena if the quantity didn’t choke him first. Surely there is sublimation of some sort at work here.
Of a piece with this perversely misplaced puritanism was the Superbowl Half-Time show, featuring the Rolling Stones. Grandpa Mick is 62, Keith Richards, 62, Ronnie Wood, 58, and Charlie Watts, 64. These men are literally pensioners, and songs they sang were older than some of the players on the field. Yet the network actually censored them, turning down the volume on Mick’s microphone at crucial moments to save tender American ears from the words “cock” in Start Me Up and “come” in Rough Justice.
The third song, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, somehow escaped unscathed, as the moralists’ penchant for the red pen was undone by their hopeless naiveté. Was there a slightly broader grin – perhaps a glint in the eye – as Sir Mick belted out the last verse?
When I’m ridin’ round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signing that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
’cause you see I’m on a losing streak.
Do they really not know what “losing streak” refers to here? How sweet…
Update! Bears appear once more doing what they do best in this Superbowl advertisement. Coke-addled marketing execs save up Superbowl ads all year for their humour, and they’re the highlight of the entire pointless exercise so far as I’m concerned. You can see the rest here. FedEx and the Magic Fridge were ok, too.
Some Steelers fans celebrate their team’s victory in Superbowl XL. A chorus of “Who ate all the pies?” is probably redundant.