The annual bombastic ritual known as the Super Bowl has now passed.
Being old enough to remember when he annual event actually began back in the sixties, when the game was a final championship contest between the champion teams of what were then two different football leagues, it is pretty strange to reflect on how this even has changed over the passing decades. Now, of course, this thing has become an event that is almost The Day The United States Stood Still. It is more or less assumed that every conscious human in the US stops everything and devotes their day to the circus. People go on and on about whatever is lined up as entertainment during the halftime break of the game as if this is the event of the year in itself, usually involving a “musical performance” that is essentially some sort of Las Vegas dance performance while recorded music booms through the stadium and out the television feed.
An extra touch of weirdness comes in the way people let themselves be sucked into the program of being good little Consumers and treating a barrage of advertising as if it’s entertainment gold. I noticed that if you go to the YouTube site, today, as I write on the following day, there is a page apparently devoted entirely to video of these ads, evidently for people whose lives just simply do not have enough television advertising filling their days.
If you look elsewhere on YouTube, you can watch video of a discussion lasting a little over two hours in an installment of the Joe Rogan podcast, an actual extended intelligent real conversation. The conversation I refer to here is a talk between Rogan and guest Steven Pinker that addresses, at length, the problem of the epidemic of crazy tribalism I call bipolar political disorder, and covers it very well.
The funny thing is that people who do not know the show, which now has over 1000 episodes, might dismiss the whole idea as a joke, thinking “what… Joe Rogan the comedian, the Fear Factor guy, who announces TV coverage of the UFC?”, having no idea that the show regularly features very interesting and serious people, having serious and sometimes very incisive conversations.
The quest of the neocons to have a little more “regime change” still features in a starring role in trouble in Syria, under the disguise of “The War on Terror”. Part of that has been the running narrative riffing on the theme “Assad the evil dictator gasses his own people with chemical weapons!”, and if you try to point out the flaws in those arguments, well, good luck with that, as some people are prone to say these days when they do not wish someone good luck at all. This running problem has been going for years now. The suspicious lack of credibility on that narrative is old news that has been ignored or dismissed, most notably covered by old investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. The fact that an article by Hersh on this appeared in the London Review of Books, an obscure publication that seemed an odd place for such a major story, says a lot about how things are buried in the news media.