I was driving in my car today and had the radio on some sports talk show out of Chicago. A lot of guys in and around the city are depressed. The big thing, of course, is that the Chicago Bears lost the Super Bowl yesterday. It was terrible.
The other thing is that the Super Bowl commercials were boring. “None of the commercials grabbed me,” one caller complained. Callers and host went back and forth with anazingly specific and sorry details from different mindless beer, car, and other kinds of television advertisements, detailing the miserable failure of Madison Avenue to compensate for the sorry performance of Rex Grossman and the other Midgets of the Midway in rain-soaked Dolphin Stadium Sunday. Perhaps the new climate will force all future Super Bowls into antiseptic domes.
The mediocre, turnover-filled game – the annual climax of an especially barbarian sport that nicely reflects the United States’ status as the modern incarnation of the degenerate late Roman Empire – and its (apparently inadequate) commercials were watched by tens of millions of US television viewers. Untold millions of dollars were spent on the holding of Super Bowl parties, as millions of good American suburbanites huddled before glowing telescreens to scream at high definition images of predominantly black athletes trained to cripple each other in a game so brutal that the average National Football League career is down to four years. A large number of ex-NFL players spend their middle-age and senior years dealing with severely damaged limbs, bones, nervous systems and brains (see Daniel Gross, “The N.F.L.’s Blue Collar Workers,” New York Times, January 21, 2007, sec. 4, p. 5; Alan Schwarz. “Dark Days Follow Hard-hitting Career in N.F.L.,” New York Times, 2 February 2007, A1).
Meanwhile the people of “liberated” Baghdad dealt with the miserable fallout from the worst single suicide bombing in the war. Chicago-area suburbanites are dealing with the dull ache of their team’s loss and the memory of bad television commercials. Baghdad’s Shiites are dealing with losing 135 people at the Sadryia market in central Baghdad on Saturday. And the way many Iraqis see it, much of the responsibility for these deaths and the wounding of 300 more people during the bombing should be laid at the door of the United States, which destroyed public and civil authority in Iraq in a quest for imperial domination and the control of Iraqi resources.
The quote of Super Bowl Sunday goes to Mr. Abdul Jabbar of Baghdad. According to the New York Times today, Jabbar “rushed to collapsed buildings trying to help the wounded” Saturday, “finding mainly hands, skulls and other body parts….I wish they would attack us with a nuclear bomb and kill us,” Mr. Jabbar told the Times, “so we will rest and anybody who wants the oil – which is the core of the problem – can come and get it.”
At 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, the Times reports, two American humvees and Iraqi patrol passed by the scene of Saturday’s bombing. A Shiite Mahdi guard called the soldiers “apes and cowards.” “They’re the ones who brought us the catastrophe,” another guard said. “If they were not here such a thing wouldn’t happen to us”( D. Cave and R. Oppel, “Many Iraqis Say Pace of U.S. Plan Allowed Attack,” New York Times, 5 February 2007, A1).
The guard is certainly correct.
But there were plenty more “apes and cowards” sitting in front of televisions in suburban living rooms across the United States yesterday. They were blissfully ignorant and shamelessly indifferent to the role of “their” tax dollars and imperialist government in the generation of truly mass tragedies that matter in a supposedly just incidentally petroleum-rich nation on other side of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Those homeland cowards were alternately pissed or pleased with murderous “football” dramas and deadly commercials being transmitted for them by benevolent corporate overlords deeply complicit in the illegal occupation of Iraq.
Meanwhile Darth Cheney and the new King George delighted in the irrelevance of popular and congressional opposition to the escalation of their vicious assault on the Middle East. Americans voted against the war in the last congressional elections. But as Cheney recently told the American people, “it won’t stop us.”
He might have added: “don’t you little children have a football game to watch?”
This is the seedbed of homegrown terrorism, which the administration would love to provoke.