The New Heroes: Reflections on the Super Bowl

EditorialBy Daniel Gelman

The era of mild public manners is over. It left the scene with the passing of Johnny Carson and Perry Como. superbowlxlviiSome of us miss it, but not enough of us to bring it back. The new America is “in your face, viagra 60mg ” and damn proud of it. The Super Bowl has become an extravaganza of excess and secular pageantry. It’s a giant yard party, a stadium concert, a gladiator dome, and sometimes a vanity fair.

In America we do it large and go for the gusto, but there’s a fine line across which profanity and bad taste lurk. To a large extent, sports culture has crossed that line in tandem with a coarsened rendition of a transformed society.

When football is melded with God, country, and a warrior’s code of honor it becomes a paradigm for the best of our national aspirations. Suck the spirit and the code from it, and you end up with something far more pedestrian. Throw in an endless series of late hits and street scuffles, pomposity and swagger, crass consumerism, and a gauche out-of-context floor show, and you’ve been debased along with the culture. But there are interesting, if not redeeming aspects to it.

BenCarsonScrubsPeople are drawn to courage, confidence, and fearless conquest. In a free society you can’t regulate the human russell_wilsonspirit. People will embrace what appeals to them and when the majority sprint in one direction, that direction becomes our collective path. An essay on the Super Bowl and how it reflects societal trends would be completely irresponsible without at least mentioning the influence of one version of urban black culture.

If the NFL was just about the “aw shucks” humility of a Peyton Manning, the silent grace of a Russell Wilson, or the virginal Eagles Broncos FootballEagles Broncos FootballPeytonManningpiety of a Tim Tebow, I’m not sure it would dominate the television ratings. Most NFL players are African American. The most popular representation of contemporary urban black culture is not reflective of Russell Wilson, Dr. Ben Carson, or Lieutenant Colonel and former U.S. Representative Allen West.

If it were, people would be bored to death. We like the “bling,” the swagger, and the attitude that says, “I will own this field and look pretty in the process. If you don’t like it, you can start walking.” We like television hits like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy for the same reason. They depict fearless domination and a take-no-prisoners mentality. In the case of NFL players who have been labeled “thug” more than a few times recently, that’s not a down side in terms of marketing.Richie Incognito

In the collective psyche of a lot of Americans, we’re rooting for the brash hero. The Chad Ocho Cincorugged individualist aspect of that culture is uniquely American. If only it could be tempered with a sense of propriety and gratitude, we’d be better off in the long run.


Daniel Gelman has been a Reporter/Writer for several years, specializing in News, Business, Feature, and Op-Ed.


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