Monday, February 05, 2007

I Flaunt My Disconnect From The Cultural Mainstream

In my continuing lifelong bid to become a FRASIER character, I have cultivated a disdain for sports. Take this weekend. I understand that annually there is a big block of time devoted to kick-ass commercials on one of the networks. I think the program is called the "Soup Bowl" or something. But since the flow of commercials is interrupted by a football game I refuse to watch it.

Seriously, every year I have this same conversation with someone in the office: "So Dan, you ready for the Superbowl?" "Who's playing?" (Bug-eyed response).

It's lonely in my domain. I was sitting at the computer balancing the checkbook, and periodically, out of nowhere, every other house on the block would erupt in shouting and clapping. Believe me, without context a thing like that can be pretty scary. Even weirder, you find yourself falling into patterns unconsciously. We have a big screen HD television. I was sitting in front of it, eating corn chips and salsa, which I never do outside of a Mexican restaurant. The difference is, I was watching ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE on HDNet. The chips were delicious by the way.

ANIMAL PLANET ran a program called Puppy Bowl III. They painted a pen to resemble a football field, including banners with sponsors' names, and put 15 energetic puppies into it. They chased each other around, chewed on stuff, and climbed all over themselves. Animal Planet put music and crowd noise over the footage. I have no idea how long it was on, but it's brilliant. In almost every way it is no different than the real Superbowl. The differences? No wagering because the puppies refuse to form teams; and you don't have to stop shooting periodically to clean up after the players.

That's right, they don't stop shooting at the Superbowl.

By the way, did I read that Prince performed at the half-time show, and Cirque De Soleil did a gig at the pregame? What the hell is that? I know they're trying to jack up their female viewership, but that's just nuts. They could have just put cameras in the locker rooms instead. You could call it invasion of privacy, but for the salaries those guys make I think they can afford to fork over a few fundamental rights. Men could watch and revel in the musky camaraderie; women (and gay men) could simply watch. The NFL saves tons of money in both salaries for talent AND airfare from Las Vegas.

In any event it's over for another year, and the huge cultural blind spot that's been lurking in my peripheral vision for a month is gone. I can go on to wondering what the hell everyone sees in Valentine's Day now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, how much of this is you and your life-long indifference to sports, or the psychic influence of the Los Angeles lifestyle, which famously has no NFL teams?

There is certainly disdain for most sports in LA. Baseball is an exception, but there is a sunny nostalgic east-coast transplant vibe attached to it. The other sports are as star-driven as any other entertainments.

I'd read LA couldn't hold onto NFL franchises because the strong individuality that's part of the SoCal personality doesn't translate into team loyalty. More conspiratorially, I think Film and Television don't cotton to competition and sent the franchises packing.


p.s. You really should consider cultivating some sort of interest in sporting activities. I find it makes one well-rounded, more community-minded and approachable at parties. You can do this and still be a wise-ass: I recommend following English Premier League Football. Soccer is slow enough to pick up easily and it sounds cool to rattle off stuff like "Rooney was sent off with a red card at last fortnight's nil-nil match against Aston Villa." --s