�Those End Zone Dances Were Entirely Too Provocative

I don't watch sports. I don't like the aggression or the violence or the creepy way in which advertisements are projected onto the field and how those advertisements differ depending upon what channel you're watching (I also dislike how that technology is used to mark the line of scrimmage or to highlight the puck, as though keeping track of those sorts of things would be utterly impossible, otherwise); however, all of the fooferah surrounding this year's "inoffensive" and "wholesome" Super Bowl entertainment piqued my interest.

So I watched the ridiculously drawn-out, hyper-American circle jerk that was the pre-show.

When watching anything on television -- hell, when observing anything in life -- it's important to keep in mind that the concept of "offensive" is entirely relative and entirely determined by the ruling power. In this case, the FCC -- or, in a larger sense, American government agencies. They protect the people from what they feel is bad. That's why the pre-show and opening ceremonies featured appearances by:

Military personnel as a shining beacon of hope and American spirit despite the fact that the reasons for the American-led attack on Iraq have been exposed as unsupported and generally made up.

John Fogerty, whose song "Green River" is featured in the latest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series -- games which are banned in entire countries and have been protested by numerous groups for their sexual content, racial stereotypes, and depictions of violence.

Bill Clinton, a former lawyer and President of the United States who had numerous extra-marital affairs, inserted a cigar into a woman's vagina, was disbarred for lying under oath, and then wrote a really long, really boring book.

Of course, it's extremely easy (and fun) to find fault with anything or anyone officially deemed "inoffensive" and "wholesome." Paul McCartney is about the most physically bland musician I can think of and his half-time show was totally -- and likely intentionally -- desexualized (he and the guitarists kept the hip-waggling to a minimum and the drummer -- the only band member who could not avoid doing a lot of moving around -- was a fat, sweaty bastard). The songs were light (Beep beep! Beep beep! Yeah!), screens displayed images of calming ripples and intrepid astronauts, and there were good old fashioned fireworks.

But, if I wanted to find something wrong with it, I could. Does "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" ring an unwholesome bell? Hmmm? "Bigger than Jesus," I believe one Beatles bandmate was once quoted (out of context) as saying.

And that's the point. Anyone can make anything offensive, either by blowing small details out of proportion or by applying personal moral standards. The difference is, we don't all have entire government agencies subscribing to and enforcing our belief systems.

And this is the kind of television with which we end up.

Gooooooo Patriots!

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