2/03/2004 04:14:53 PM|||TEX|||Holy frijoles, my friends, did I ever indulge myself in a trip through the lowest common denominator this weekend.
Not only did I actually attend a Super Bowl party and watch the entire game, on Saturday I went to a monster truck rally.
Ok, let that sink in for a minute. The king of the fringe-loving, bleeding heart bay area liberals spent his weekend doing things that folks like me are supposed to not only disdain, but be completely incapable of understanding and enjoying. Fact is though, I enjoyed both immensely.
The monster truck thing was a USHRA Monster Jam event at the Shark Tank in San Jose. For those of you who've never been to one of these (it was my second time, but I'll get to more of that at a later date), essentially what it's all about is over-engineered, super-powered four-wheel-drive trucks jumping over piles of cars and occasionally landing on them and pulverizing them with their tires. If you think you've heard loud noises you haven't heard anything until you've been in a hockey arena listening to a pair of 1400 horsepower suped up engines rev up to full throttle. Jets taking off are louder but not much else one regularly encounters is. Inbetween the big giant trucks jumping around like bunnies you get four-wheel motorcross races. All of the above runs basically like a WWE wrestling match - the whole thing is scripted with predetermined outcomes designed to enhance the drama of the thing for the kiddies and their parents in the audience. The four-wheel motorcross teams were naturally the Nevada team vs. a California team. I have no doubt that were they putting on this Monster Jam in Seattle it would be Oregon vs. Washington.
I mentioned the kiddies, and they were out in force. We didn't spot a single child over ten years old anywhere in the arena. The whole place was all about families. The announcer even did this entirely predictable routine at the intro about kids needing to count on and respect their parents. "Don't turn to drugs to solve your problems, turn to your family," he said with a completely straight face. I don't know about you but if I turned to my family to solve all my problems I'd probably have used a lot more drugs. But that's a whole different topic.
Apart from the cloying appeal to familial togetherness the only other objectionable thing about this particular Monster Jam was having to sit through a flag waving video with that godawful "I'm Proud To Be An American" song blaring over the PA during the opening ceremony. Mind you, this was something like an opening act for one of the worst versions of the national anthem I'd ever heard. There's something about braying country singers singing the Star Spangled Banner that sets my teeth on edge. But once that nonsense was over with we were treated to two hours of bouncing giant trucks and four-wheel motorcross kids jumping all over the place. It was loud and it was fun. I almost want to buy tickets for the next Monster Jam they're holding at the end of this month at the ballpark formerly known as PacBell Park. A bigger field to jump trucks on might be fun to see. I'm quite sure that I've got better things to spend my money on though.
I mean, sheesh, baseball season IS right around the corner, after all.
The Super Bowl was more surprising. Apart from the dreadful halftime show (personally, I think AOL should ask for their money back from their sponsorship because the entertainment was so unentertaining, instead of because Justin exposed Janet's boob - as a friend said "Hell, if anything can advance the cause of abstinence, it's the sight of an overgrown boy band pussy ripping away a velcro panel to expose the mutilated leathern teat of a grimacing sci-fi gorgon."), I had a pretty good time. I stopped following the NFL in any way shape or form when I was about 16 years old. Every time since then that I've watched a Super Bowl game I've gotten bored and tuned out long before it was over. This game was different though.
First of all I was at this massive Super Bowl party at a friend's house. There were televisions literally in every room, including a massive HDTV in the living room that was seriously the biggest television I've ever seen in anyone's home. The thing was just goldarned huge. There was so much food you could probably have invited both teams over for a halftime snack and still had some left over.
Secondly one of the things I always used to enjoy about the Super Bowl was the absurd ceremonial crap they do at the beginning. I love watching the players and coaches fret through the opening ceremonies. They have to be there out on the field watching all these hamhanded attempts at sentiment and you can just see the pre-game lockerroom psych-up draining out of them. This year it was especially grim, what with the inexplicable presence of the next seven corpses... I mean shuttle astronauts standing in the middle of the field and that unbelievably silly little moon-landing pantomime with someone in a spacesuit planting an American flag on this little frisbee diorama of the moon's surface. Tom Brady looked particularly de-psyched by the whole thing. I also seriously doubt Beyonce Knowles could have found a slower, more plodding arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner to sing. Talk about someone loitering in her moment in the spotlight.
Unlike the rest of America, I actually enjoyed the first half of the game too. Watching two championship contenders go scoreless for so long almost made me like football again. The vast majority of the folks I was watching the game with couldn't have disagreed more with me. They were bored. They'd come to see the traditional crushing of the underdog that the Super Bowl always seems to be. It took them until halftime to really grok the fact that the underdog might have a chance to win it was dead cool. That the whole thing came down to a field goal in the last seconds of the game was just icing on the proverbial cake.
As for the halftime show, well, what could I say that hasn't been said better by a thousand people already. It really was deadly dull. I find this whole business of putting on a show for the cameras really distressing too. The few times the entire field was shown it was obvious that the producers had set a stage optimized for TV. What, exactly, were the fans who paid hundreds of dollars for their tickets supposed to be entertained by? What they were watching on the Diamond Vision screens? That sounds like what I really want to do - crane my neck for ten minutes trying to get a good view of a big TV when I've paid to see live entertainment.
The infamous boobie incident was just stupid. I don't for one minute believe any of the copious denials being flung out of the mouths of CBS, NFL or MTV executives about being uninformed as to what was going to happen. MTV trades on this kind of nonsense. Since they've outlived their cultural relevance stunts like this one are about the only way for MTV to get any attention at all. What's really amazing is that anyone gives a shit anymore. Seriously, if MTV slaughtered a cow on a live broadcast and brought in hungry savages to eat it as it bled to death I wouldn't be shocked.
The one truly baffling thing is that the NFL could actually pretend to be shocked by an exposed breast. Isn't this the same professional sports league who are composed of teams who each have their own phalanx of scantily clad, breast-enhanced so-called cheerleaders whose main function is to make their breasts jiggle when the TV camera is on them? I seem to remember the cameras paying plenty of post-commercial break attention to the cleavage of both teams' own boobie jiggle crews.
Of course if the NFL is actually shocked by the truly painful looking nipple piercing Janet was sporting, well, that I could understand. Ouch. I mean it. Ouch. That thing looked medieval. For those of you not up on your medieval history, that's not a good thing. Medieval stuff starts off on the pain scale with excruciatingly painful and ends at the top of the scale with "dead because it hurt so fucking much."
If CBS does end up having to forfeit some of AOL's sponsorship money then it serves them right. They should have broadcast the MoveOn.org anti-Bush ad. So there. Nyah.
|||107585369335629548|||My weekend of testosterone...