I don’t enjoy watching the Super Bowl.
Disclaimer…I’ve never really cared for professional sports other than baseball – it’s just not my thing. But I especially dislike football.
Perhaps its because a lot of the football players at my high school were entitled jerks. Or because the culture of both collegiate and professional football has tolerated players harassing and assaulting women for decades. Or because I think the idea of paying professional female dancers less than minimum wage to shake their booties in skimpy costumes during games, while the players get paid millions of dollars for throwing a pigskin around, is offensive and ludicrous.
All of this doesn’t sit well with my feminist side.
My distaste for the game grew even greater once doctors started warning about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and its long-term effects on the brain. Frankly, I’m not sure how we can continue to glorify football and have teenagers and even little kids playing the game given the growing body of evidence that points to the risks. Last I heard, there are plenty of other after-school sports that aren’t linked to a higher incidence of early dementia, Parkinson’s, or suicidal ideation.
In actuality, the game was completely off my radar until yesterday. I made the mistake of going to Costco so I could get an eyeglass prescription filled. It was an absolute zoo. Cart after cart piled high with every type of booze and junk food option under the sun, while wild-eyed fans in football jerseys pushed their food mountains down the aisles as if we were on the eve of a zombie apocalypse.
Great, I thought. Another “holiday” that has turned into a binge-a-thon. Admittedly, I’m especially sensitive right now. First off, I haven’t been sober that long, and secondly, I’ve also recently embarked on a low-sugar, low-carb eating plan. I may even have fewer vices these days than Tom Brady. It’s enough to make a gal grumpy.
Still, it seems like our holidays are increasingly out-of-step with the reasons we celebrate them in the first place.
Halloween is an excuse to party in skimpy costumes. Thanksgiving is now preceded by Drunksgiving. The entire month of December is non-stop eating and drinking, for Christ’s sake (yes – pun intended.) Partying on New Year’s Eve is followed by some hair of the dog and more football on New Year’s Day. Whiskey and green beers on St. Patrick’s Day. Yard-long hurricane cocktails for Mardi Gras. Tequila shots and margaritas on Cinco De Mayo. Beer, beer, and more beer on Independence Day, Labor Day, and during Oktoberfest.
I get it. I’m being a curmudgeon because I happen to have a drinking problem. If I can’t do it, then no one else should either, right? Believe me – I don’t want to be that person. But now that I’m on the outside looking in, I think that all of this unbridled gluttony points to a bigger issue.
When I was younger, I don’t recall our holidays being as boozy as they are now. Sure, adult beverages and special meals have been part of our celebratory traditions for a long time. But when did everything become so excessive? When did our holidays morph into massive frat parties?
I think the culprit is pretty clear. Corporate greed. We want what they tell us to want.
Two quick examples:
We used to get along just fine with tap water. Now we have hundreds of bottled water options. We even attribute human characteristics to them through branding…Voss is for people with money and taste. Smart Water is for people who are sensible and health-conscious. Core Water is for hot chicks who do yoga Except for their packaging, could any of us really tell the difference? It’s freaking water people.
We also have designer clothing for babies and kids now. I’m sure there are plenty of tots whose wardrobe’s costs more than some people make in a year. Does a one-year-old really care that he is pooping in Burberry?
Advertising is really good at creating needs that don’t actually exist.
We are being constantly bombarded with product marketing that has one goal and one goal only – for us to buy whatever shit they’re selling. Whether it’s good for us, whether we need it, or whether we can actually afford it doesn’t matter when it comes to the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Big tobacco taught us that.
And now – with technology that can put targeted ads on our phones and computer screens 24/7, I doubt our propensity for conspicuous consumption is going to decrease.
If you’re wondering how a football game became an orgy of consumerism, perhaps it’s because companies like Coke, Pepsi, Budweiser, Nestle, Mars, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Super Bowl advertising.
Why are nearly 40% of Americans overweight and addicted to sugary, processed foods? Why do we trample people to get big screen televisions on Black Friday? Why do so many of us go into debt every year during the holidays?
We are being brainwashed into behaving like a nation of Pac Men. Mindlessness replacing Mindfulness. Consume, consume, consume.
For people who enjoy watching professional football, I say knock yourselves out – that’s what the players do after all.
Enjoy your leisure time as you see fit. I’m certainly not in any position to judge – I can spend a couple of hours flipping through Star and People magazines reading about the Kardashians while getting my nails done. Not exactly expanding my intellect or making the world a better place for humanity.
I’m just grateful that for me, the super bowl hype is an easy thing to opt out of. I will not be drinking the Kool-aid – or anything else for that matter..
And because I’m kicking all of these bad habits, I suppose I won’t lie. I’ll still be checking out JT during the halftime show, even if that makes me a hypocrite. What can I say? The guy brought sexy back.