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Super Bowl Thursday: Bad-ass Dodge Ad Spoof

12 Feb

I know, I know, you’ve all had enough of the front page of a feminist blog being taken up with posts about football (two of which were written by dudes!), and I promise I’ll get rid of that photo up above and post something soon, but for now I’d like everyone to see this, a really good spoof of that heinously stupid Dodge Charger ad that Kendall and I mentioned in the Super Bowl live-blog.

First the original ad:

And the spoof:

* I clipped this from Kendall‘s Twitter.

In other news, I’d like to tell anyone who is “disappointed” in John Mayer’s recent behavior that the song “Your Body Is A Wonderland” should have tipped them off to the fact that he was definitely a misogynist, probably a racist, and maybe even a cat molester long before this Playboy interview.

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Super Bowl Sunday: Blue 32! (The Live Blog)

7 Feb

I’m at Kendall McK‘s to live-blog the Super Bowl. Keep your eye on this post for updates throughout the game (or at least throughout the first half, as I can’t promise we’ll be able to handle any more than that). For now, check out the other posts in my Super Bowl feature, all of which are now up, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts on America’s sport. All I can say is, I can’t wait for the Bud Bowl! Oh, they aren’t doing that anymore? Fuck.

  • Nine Deuce:  It’s 6:22. Queen Latifah sang a squidly-bop song about how much she loves America at the kick-off show, but apparently they can’t let a black woman actually do the national anthem, so they’ve brought out Carrie Underwood to sing the real song, whoever the fuck she is. Oh, and her last note was flat as fuck. I do appreciate the fighter jet fly-over, though. I might have forgotten about the troops for a few minutes.
  • Kendall, 6:31: An announcer just said, “Bad weather brings talent closer together.”  No joke necessary.
  • ND, 6:32: I’m really into Jeremy Shockey. He looks like a 50-year-old wigger headbanger.
  • ND, 6:40: What is it with people who talk about football over-using the word “football” when “game” or “ball” or simply nothing would suffice? Like, “Are you ready for some football?” or “He got ahold of the football and ran that sucker all the way to the end zone” or “If he isn’t going to play football, he needs to get off the football field” or “He fumbled the football but then the other guy picked up the football.”
  • ND, 6:44: And here we go with the Tim Tebow Focus on the Family spots. I know! Let’s come up with reasons Tim Tebow should have been aborted. #1 – If he’d been aborted, I wouldn’t have to watch sneaky, manipulative TV commercials about how my bodily sovereignty matters less than the fact that a fetus might grow up to be some Jesus-pushing dick who happens to be able to run fast while holding a ball. Wait, that pretty much sums the whole thing up.
  • Kendall, 6:47: OMG, Super Bowl Shuffle blasphemy! Fuck you, Boost Mobile.
  • Kendall, 6:54: Wait, was that a commercial featuring a small child of color defending both his single mother AND his bowl of Doritos from a would-be suitor?  Did he really just say”Keep yo’ hands off my mama and my Doritos?”  Oh, man,  Oh… I just… oh my god.  Oh, man.  Wow.  Man oh man.
  • Kendall, 7:05:  ND’s going on a beer run.  Honestly, I think she just needed a break from football.
  • Kendall, 7:06: OK, so exactly how many Doritos commercials can we expect here?
  • Kendall, 7:08: I’m not going to hate on any ad that has a beaver playing the fiddle.  ND and I also agreed that anything featuring The Simpsons is chills.
  • Kendall, 7:09:
  • So, uh, were they implying that somebody fucked that whale? Super hip marketing genius video description on the YouTube page:  Three young men are on an adrenaline-packed drive toward the coast. Nothing too unusual about it, unless you consider having a live killer whale as the fourth passenger unusual. Yes, that’s right a killer whale, in the car with them. Hard to say where they’re going. Harder still to say where they’ve been. But this fish-out-of-water story is sure to end with a splash.
  • Kendall, 7:15: There are a lot of things I don’t understand about football, but the mystery I’m itching to solve most is how they get those electronic laser graphics things to show up on the field.
  • Kendall, 7:22: The Stripes song!  Commence ND feminist beatdown for liking that movie.
  • ND, 7:24: Thank Christ for Mark Sanchez and the fact that he cares about me and other women (especially if we’re into football, winky winky)! I would never have had the inkling that I ought to give a shit about preventing a heart attack if some stupid jock hadn’t bothered to remind me.
  • Kendall, 7:28: Dockers’s “Wear the Pants” commercial makes ND and I roll our eyes at each other like seasoned San Francisco consciousness-raising speculum-circle lesbians.
  • ND, 7:31: Yeah, wear the pants, because people who don’t wear Dockers are fucking losers and queers. I mean, they probably aren’t even in management.
  • ND, 7:35: If you’re ready to move beyond Axe because you’ve got a female baby and shit, Unilever also makes Dove for men. It goes really well with Dockers.
  • ND, 7:43: Man’s last stand, Dodge? It must suck to be a dude. In order to be in charge of every government on Earth, control 90+% of the world’s private property, treat women like extras in your own private mental Michael Douglas movie, and have a wife at home that basically does everything for you while giving you the credit, you have to, like, carry chapstick and put your underwear in the hamper. Good thing Dodge came through with an absurd looking car that gets maybe 8 miles to the gallon, the buying of which will allow you to remind that bitch that even though you make tiny nods in acknowledgment of the orca-sized (see how I brought it back around, there?) debt you owe her, she still ain’t in charge of shit.
  • Kendall, 7:43: Dodge, the car for men who are worried about their penises.
  • Kendall, 7:52: Let’s have an estimate on the percentage of ads selling the oh-so-enlightened “don’t be a woman” message.
  • ND, 7:56: It’s half time. Time to listen to a bunch of guys with NFL accents speak some language that only people with margarita machines can understand. The Who? Remixed with will.i.am? That parting shot was dope: images of people dying in Haiti coming out of will.i.am’s killer new cell phone.
  • Kendall, 7:59: And that was the first time in that entire montage in which they showed anyone who wasn’t white.
  • ND, 7:59: Yeah, because the first 9/10 of the commercial were for old people, who can’t be asked to acknowledge that black people exist, whereas the last bit was for us young people, who can deal with black people provided that they’re starving or providing us with entertainment.
  • Kendall, 8:00: Heh heh, that guy is playing with balls.
  • ND, 8:04: Man, these commentators are pumped.
  • ND, 8:07: I’m pretty sure this Who half-time show is even going to embarrass my parents.
  • ND, 8:22: That was the most underwhelming half-time show I’ve ever seen. Seriously, bring back the Bud Bowl.
  • Kendall, 8:43: Michelob Ultra? Really, Lance Armstrong? Chevy Chase looks old as fuck.
  • Kendall, 8:49: Can we talk about the fact that these guys are basically just wearing gold lame capri leggings and leg warmers?
  • ND, 8:52: The only thing keeping me in the game at this point is Garrett Hartley’s hair.
  • Kendall and ND, 9:03: We’re not Indian, but we’re both pretty sure that Metro PCS commercial was racist.
  • Kendall and ND, 9:53: We like Scott Fujita. Also, we’re glad the Saints won. I mean, as glad as people who don’t give a fuck about football can be.
  • ND, 9:57: These commentators all have beads on. Who did they show their tits to?

Alright, this is way too boring. Barring something crazy happening, I think we’re going to have to throw in the towel. I’ll see everyone tomorrow with my post-game analysis.

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Super Bowl Sunday: American football is worse for you than going to see the Will Smith produced remake of the Karate Kid. (Guest Post #3)

7 Feb

Meet Davetavius, everyone, otherwise known as Mr. Nine Deuce. We talk about football A LOT, and he, as the world’s foremost hater of University of Alabama football and the NFL in general, has some things to say about the subject:

This is a strange blog for me to write as it’s the first blog I’ve written that 1) is a bit redundant (in terms that’ll it’ll invoke past subject matter specifically), 2) isn’t exactly what  I want to write about (as the retardedness of sports-culture has been well documented already here -– and I’d intended to move on towards more actually substantial material), and 3) is influenced by some degree of personal pressure.

My Alabama football blog got a lot of attention.  It got a lot of hits (for an egotistical “Let me tell you what the fuck is going down” blog), spurred some dialogue amongst the non-converted, and also managed to offend large portions of my family who stumbled upon it even though I had no intention of being anything other than an anonymous dick-headed purveyor of social criticism/faux avant-garde arrogance/passe uber-snarkism.

The simple fact is that I’d always wanted to write about University of Alabama college football.  It’d just always been such a striking phenomenon to me.  Here’s this state with so many deep complex problems incurred by the history of its Southern/geographically rural reality, so isolated from mainstream American intellectual dialogue/media exposure, so associatively rich with the quintessentially American traits of independence and rebelliousness, yet so tame, trite, and conformist in what its inhabitants chose to rally around as an expression of solidarity/identity.  The actuality of the phenomenon was spelled out loud and clear in my University of Alabama blog:  Alabamians aren’t so much enthralled with University of Alabama football as much as they want to establish a universal sense of pride amongst themselves in a way every one of its citizens can grasp and identify with.  Living in a nation where your regional history, existence, and substance is generally derided, ignored, or scoffed at generates a desire to establish a presence in which you feel like you can be recognized — and given the reality of the state of Alabama’s circumstances, it’s no real surprise that it chose to flex its collective voice through a medium through which it felt it couldn’t be ignored: nationally competitive popular sports; the political realities/complexities are generally ignored and –in the case of college football– the path to success isn’t limited so much by rules as by a desire to succeed.  My problem with University of Alabama football lies in the over-commitment of the state’s citizenry to such an essentially useless medium of self-identification.  Culture in the state of Alabama has developed around a desire to succeed in something that’s been nationally ordained as a symbol of American success, but that is essentially worthless.  So in a desire to cultivate pride, Alabama has essentially acquired for itself the reputation as being the state that cares the most about meaninglessness, which belies the inherent spirit of its inhabitants.  I could care less about college football (in fact I loathe it), but I’ve always been something of an Auburn fan simply because I know that being a fan of Auburn collegiate football in the state of Alabama is a symbol that you believe there’s more out there. And there is more out there, and while no other component of the  reality we know is as nefarious and misguided as University of Alabama college football (except for the Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men) …  the problem has very little to do with the citizenry of Alabama, and much more to do with American football’s influence and history in America.

The origin of American football was a strange morphing of rugby (a comparatively fluid — albeit equally boring — English game) and jingoistic ideas about America’s status as a violent, dominant, imperialistic power.  The first collegiate football games were essentially rugby games, but gradually became brutal manifestations of violence that Theodore Roosevelt was so mortified by (as any compassionate elephant hunter would be) that he introduced legislation via presidential mandate to illegalize the game entirely due to a garish number of fatalities and injuries in the early 20th century.  Threatened by such a real, governmental attempt to banish its very existence, football enacted certain rules that “cleaned up” the game in terms of violent egregiousness, but that turned the game into a less of an “anything goes fight to move the ball forward” into a more sanitized, stagnant war simulation.  The game inherited  the strange phenomena of “the line of scrimmage” and four “downs” (attempts)  to move the ball forward 10 yards, with each successful movement of the ball 10 yards or more over 4 downs resetting the cycle, with a game-clock from which each increment of “battle” would be subtracted from the total amount of game to be played (confusing and off-putting I know — I’ll get to that).  Thus — instead of a blatantly violent, essentially lawless melee — the sport became more of a strategic equivalent to legal war:  under the rules allowed by the laws of the game, the team which functioned most effectively would be the winner.  This proved to be enough of a deft move to  keep the fans of the original barbaric game engaged, appeal to the growing American nationalism of the day, and win even more fans as it was less obviously unseemly.  It was from here that football established itself as kind of a grassroots manifestation of American conquering pride.  Other countries played games… we played wars.

With the sport of football so lacking in the traditional fluidity, grace, artfulness, and skill associated with most other popular world sports at the time,  the appeal of the sport seemed to be limited to a certain breed of aggressive, dumb men.   But in the 1960’s the NFL capitalized on the sport’s prior appeal of violent, obedient, calculated domination by positioning itself to not only take advantage of the dawn of television as a  juggernaut, but also to shrewdly utilize  its lack of history/malleability as a game to morph its product — by rule change and amendment — into a desirable television/advertising product first and foremost.  With the possible exception of basketball, most popular world sports exist as sports in which television must operate around the parameters of the game:  the construction and tradition of the sport being created as a participatory endeavor first, essentially creates a situation where television has to work around the game to function effectively.  Some examples are: 1) In tennis, the commercials occur at tasteful breaks between games and sets, 2) in baseball, between innings, 3) in soccer, at half-time and within camera view during matches, etc.  American football is perhaps the only game on record to exist as an intentional devolution as sporting phenomenon and evolution as business/marketing idea. People rarely “play” football outside of socially loaded organizational paradigms involving a need to “obey and achieve,” and when they do it turns into a confusing amalgamation of something entirely different: kids don’t play backyard football anymore (because they’re smart enough to know there’re a billion better things to do with their time) , but when I was a kid we did… by improvisationally turning the game into something we could understand.  This was no mean feat:  professional football commentators/coaches/players/referees are frequently at a loss to explain where the game stands during a given competition because the list of rules is such a staggering combination of opacity and abundance that it’s completely acceptable for all of them to have to take breaks during games to confer and figure out what the hell is even going on.  This is a key point:  in other sports the question is about whether an infraction of the rules occurred.  Was the ball out of the play boundaries, was a foul committed by/on a player?  In American professional football, there are usually several instances per contest where no one but the referees are even  remotely confident of the legality of a play.  Are you a football fan?  Quick, what are “too many men in motion,” what is “illegal procedure,” what is an “illegal formation”?  No Wikipedia-ing allowed.  Why is football the national pastime when 99.999% of it’s followers aren’t even sure what’s going on?  Because the interest in football isn’t as a sport, but as a vessel of American consumerism and pride expressing itself through a paradigm of conformity.  The business genius the NFL realized when it began its relationship with television in the 1960’s was that nobody really cared about the sport of American football, they just cared about “rocking ass American style,” and the NFL used TV to give them what they wanted.  The uniforms were sensational — making the game’s players seem less like athletes and more like gaudy, super-heroic, violent astronauts.  The game had become perfectly suited for commercial breaks (and devolved itself into allowing more and more “official opportunities” to take them), with so many breaks in action (the average televised football game lasts 215 minutes with an average of 11 minutes of actual game activity), that a football game wasn’t very identifiable as a sporting event, but was in fact a hodge-podge of television production.  This was the key to football’s explosion in popularity during the mid 60’s and 70’s.  “You don’t like sports?  Well you don’t have to like sports to like football, because it’s not really a sport: It’s a show.”  There’s nothing essentially wrong with this superficially.  Why someone would arbitrarily decide to attach passion and commitment to meaningless games involving balls and rules is rooted in luxurious entertainment at best and willful ignorance at worst, but if there is a value in sport it’s in its ability to showcase pure competitive drama.  Every sports contest isn’t entertaining, but most do have the potential to be captivating: simply because at best, sports are a medium of showcasing human skill and creativity in a dramatic setting that is by rule uncontrived.  American football became the opposite of this.  “Don’t know what’s going on?  It doesn’t matter, here’s a promotion for NBC’s new sit-com.  Still don’t care? Wait until half-time when we’ll have interviews with the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard.  Still don’t care?  Give us a minute and we’ll have dumb beer commercials with nearly-naked, sexually available, mentally vacant women.”  In becoming a vehicle for entertainment rather than sport, American football became wildly successful by combining its appeal to aggressive American nationalism with an ability to become a pure medium for capitalist entertainment.  The effect on America has been dreary.

My Alabama football blog explored the worst case scenario effect of American football on a mostly rural level.  College football  is — by and large —  a game of rural America whose appeal to participants and supporters is to establish for themselves a nationally heard voice for their area.  I grew up mostly in the South.  The first SEC football game I went to was not only spectacular, but also the first time I ever saw national media in the same place I was.  When you think about how many people have experiences like this, it’s easy to see why college football is such a huge deal in rural areas.  When I was a kid, attending my first SEC football game in the most spectacular setting I’d ever been in with television cameras everywhere, my first reaction wasn’t to question the social health of what was going on, but to think: “This is  definitely the raddest shit I’ve ever seen in Starkville, Mississippi.”  College football is most of rural America’s connection to the rest of America, its identity as it were.  And this identity expands outward.  In most rural societies high school football is a big deal.  My little league football team was a waaay bigger deal than it should have been.  Going to football games becomes the family highlight of the week. Little girls want to become cheerleaders.  Little boys want to play football.  A few goth kids hang out at Denny’s and are called faggots.  This is rural America.  I’m not entirely stoked about it, but I understand.

What’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to understand however is the NFL’s stranglehold on America’s collective conscience.  The NFL’s marketing brilliance/shamelessness has been documented here and elsewhere, but what I don’t think I’ve ever read is the effect the NFL’s diet of pure consumerism is currently having/has had on America’s citizenry.  I don’t think there’s another entity that’s as destructive to the intellectual fabric of America.  Think about it: 1)  a sport based upon the fundamental tenets of violent, obedient, legal, physical domination is the sport of the nation even though the nation itself doesn’t entirely understand the rules of “their sport”, 2)  it’s perhaps the leader in American  propagation of misogyny as the only place for women in the sport is to exist as shiny, supportive, sex-objects, 3) it has become America’s dominant television entity by essentially offering 1 part contrived base elements of cliched-machismo with 10 parts stupid advertising.  This is America’s game.  Guess what this creates?

This is a really obvious example, but it’s perfect (it’s not like the NFL does anything that isn’t obvious).  This sums up about 99% of the NFL.  That stupid fucking commercial ran for years, with like, 10 different incarnations.  ESPN played a special updated segment of it once a week with the lyrics changed to coincide with whatever had happened in the NFL that week, the only thing remaining constant being the stupidity and misogyny.  Rural America might be aligning itself a bit unhealthily with a sport in search of community and identity, but the NFL is making the majority of the men everywhere in America completely retarded. And the effects reverberate through society.  My favorite example of this reverberation is on plane rides.  There are three types of people on plane rides: 1) those that want you to leave them the fuck alone, 2) those that want to talk to you about the NFL, and 3) those that wouldn’t mind talking to you but are afraid you’re just going to talk about the NFL.  It goes like this:  businessmen on flights are the loudest, most major airport cities have NFL teams, and the businessmen think the best way they can break the ice with you before they tell you about how responsible they are for their company’s “unit growth” is to talk about the NFL.  It’s real fucking lame.  They all speak in what my wife calls “the NFL accent,” that loud, blowhardedly presumptuous, arrogantly overconfident voice that’s frequently punctuated with self-satisfied fake laughter.  All businessmen on airplanes have the NFL accent — unless they own the plane — but the NFL accent and the NFL are everywhere.  The sweet part is that the rest of us have to deal with it.

I used to work at a bar outside of Atlanta that did 30% of its business on Sundays because all the NFL games were on different televisions and it stayed full from open to close with NFL fans.  They were nearly all the same people.  They had good enough jobs to enjoy themselves on Sunday but weren’t necessarily happy or financially secure.  They’d all moved from somewhere else because they’d heard Atlanta was a good place for jobs.  They’d come to this sports bar to watch their NFL team to support the team they’d grown up with, and be around some other people they might talk to but rarely did.  There were plenty of women there — obviously fulfilling roles as “cool wives/girlfriends” — and they seemed to be just about as into it as the men, which wasn’t much.  There were a few very loud, clownishly obnoxious men, whose ridiculousness was the only consistently entertaining feature of those Sundays.  It was the same all year round.  Every Sunday was exactly the same.  Even the playoffs were the same.  A kind of grimly depressing surrender to what they thought was supposed to be the best thing to do that day, even though it was mostly just a sad spectacle punctuated by various levels of intoxication.

But Super Bowl Sunday was different.  All the TV’s were on one game.  The volume of the game boomed over every inch of the bar.  There was excitement over the game and whatever manufactured drama had been created by the media.  Everybody talked about how they thought the half-time show would go, and discussed their opinions on Bruce Springsteen or Jessica Simpson or whoever the hell was  supposed to go on.  Excitement brimmed over the commercials as the Super Bowl has the most expensive commercials on Earth, and NFL fans are into expensive commercials like Radiohead fans are into fashionable hats.  When the game started, oohs and ahs sounded in unison.  Laughter arose throughout the bar during every dumb gag during every hackneyed commercial.  The loud buffoons were there, but instead of taking the edge off the dreariness, they actually made everyone happy.  The half-time show offered the “cool wives/girlfriends” an opportunity to voice whatever opinions they had on mass popular culture/music as the men got drunker.  I remember that no one wanted half-time to end.  No one would openly admit that they didn’t care about the game, but when the second half started, there was a tangible feeling of decline, kind of like the moment on Christmas day when all the presents are open, and the only thing left to do is play with what you’ve got.  The game winded down as did the mood of the bar.  People were still happy it was Super Bowl Sunday, but knew the end was near.  The game ended and the very drunk stayed and the not so drunk left, much the same as any Sunday, but I remembered how happy everyone in the bar had been.  It struck me that all these people just wanted to connect with something, and that for some reason they’d gotten it in their minds that that thing was supposed to be the NFL.  I didn’t know, nor did they, what they would do until the next football season.  Sure they’d follow the ridiculous things NFL fans keep track of during the off-season like the draft, player-signings, etc., but what they really wanted wasn’t football but a connection to something.  It was truly tragic.  I thought of college football fans’ passion stemming from regional pride and began to see more vividly than I had ever seen before that these people’s devotion to the NFL had instilled in them an emptiness they didn’t understand.  They wanted to be a part of something bigger, but had instead just become voids, trained culturally to accept advertising in the stead of meaningfulness.

The insidiousness of American football really dawned on me.  From the black Americans that associate it with success and an America they have a part in despite the marginalizing effects it has on black America at large,  from the many women that are expected to tolerate its misogyny as a part of standard American culture,  from the homosexuals who find in football’s every manifestation a sentiment of livid homophobia, from the boys and girls that grow up in rural areas thinking football’s their connection to the rest of America,  from the innocent television viewers that think football’s the heart and pride of America, and from the throngs of the slightly askew for which football’s conformist hegemony of homogeneity establishes a de facto existence of ridicule, American football has negatively affected the lives of the overwhelming majority of its citizens.  It’s Super Bowl Sunday today.  Start the rebuilding process and watch the Karate Kid Part III instead.  Let the healing begin.

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Super Bowl Sunday: I love football more than I love my mother. (Guest Post #2)

7 Feb

Meet my friend David, everyone. Because he generally writes about baseball, and because I have more than one friend named David who goes by David rather than Dave, I call him “Baseball David,” but he’s here today to write about football and his own experiences as a Washington Redskins fan. I’ve learned at least one new thing from reading this post: the Redskins are the DC — not the Washington state — NFL team, which makes so little sense that I’m going to spend the next hour or so saying, “What the fuck?” out loud. I mean, as racist as naming a team the Redskins is, at least there are some Native Americans in Washington state. Anyway, enough about me. Here’s Baseball David in his cameo on the ‘chine as Football David:

I almost stopped talking to my mother because of a football game a few years ago.

I think we’ve usually had a pretty good relationship, not super close, but we’ve always been good. Growing up, though, for reasons unclear to me now, football was always very important — specifically the Washington Redskins.

One of my earliest memories is of being dropped off at Montessori school in the fall of 1983 and being pissed off a) that the Redskins had lost on Monday Night Football the night before, and b) that I hadn’t been allowed to stay up and watch a game that started at 9 pm.  At the end of that season, I cried when my 14-2 Redskins who won the previous Super Bowl got their ass kicked by the L.A. Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.

The first time I remember hearing the word bullshit was a few years later with my grandfather, and over 50,000 people were chanting it because the ref took away a touchdown from Darrell Green.  I suppose that’s one of the things I liked about football — I could be part of a group of thousands with one common desire and a socially acceptable place to chant obscenities when anything went against what we wanted.

Growing up, there were probably five videos I watched constantly.  Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the 1982 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys, and Super Bowl XVII — the first one the Redskins won, beating the Miami Dolphins.  I was probably 12 before I realized the Nazis had been real and weren’t made up like Darth Vader and his stormtroopers.  Right up there with the evil empire and the Nazis were the Dallas Cowboys.

Why are the Cowboys so evil? Texas and Washington, D.C. don’t have much of a geographical rivalry, so maybe it was just the Cowboys and Indians thing.  (There was an episode of Quantum Leap in which Sam’s Native American grandfather always rooted for the Redskins because of that.)  For about 15 years, the Redskins and Cowboys were also the two best teams in their division, and played each other twice every season — so it was probably mainly started in the early 70’s by Redskins coach George Allen (one of his kids became a Republican Senator and Governor from Virginia, another one just got hired to be the Redskins General Manager).  The Cowboys were proclaimed “America’s Team” and had a national following.  Redskins fans seemed limited to the DC area, but still more diverse — the mostly black residents of the city uniting with rich politicians and lobbyists and suburbanites (all chanting bullshit).

The Redskins also used to do a celebration after touchdowns, called the Fun Bunch.  Basically just guys getting in a circle and jumping up to do a high five.  They did that once in Dallas, and the Cowboy players broke it up — and after that the NFL banned on-field celebrations.


Whatever.  The Redskins were amazingly good — until I finished middle school.  When I was in the 8th grade, they won their third Super Bowl in ten years.  Since then they’ve basically sucked — maybe made the playoffs four times in 18 years, had losing records for more than half those years.  Through college, I would still watch every second of all 16 games every year.  But I gradually felt like they would constantly only play well enough to get my hopes up — and then immediately piss all over them.

Once I moved to New York, I watched fewer games.  If they were playing okay, I would sit in a bar for three hours watching a game, having 4 or 5 beers and trying not to yell at the TV.  Once the season seemed lost though, I only cared about one thing — just beat the damn Cowboys.

There was a long stretch though where the Redskins lost like a dozen straight games to the Cowboys.  One of those, I was watching at my mom’s house and the Redskins were winning for like the whole game, and it seemed like finally they would win one.  But then, as they often do, none of the Redskins wanted to tackle and with less than a minute left the Cowboys got a long pass and a touchdown and beat us.

And then my mom said, “I’m glad the Redskins lost.”

It’s not like at that point, with me probably in my mid-20’s, that I didn’t realize I was a complete asshole for caring about who wins a stupid football game.  But knowing that I’m stupid for feeling what I feel, somehow doesn’t make me not feel it.  Plus, who was the one buying me the Redskins Zubaz pants and matching Zubaz hat, the Starter jacket, the Redskins socks?  Who let me go out in public wearing dozens of pieces of Redskins clothing on any given Sunday? If she had a problem with me getting upset over football, maybe she should have said something earlier instead of just hoping I would grow out of it.

I think I was huffy for like an hour and then she apologized.  But basically that’s my relationship with football and most sports.  I still have an asinine ability to get emotionally invested and super happy or super bummed on the outcome of a game.  Even though Nine Deuce once told me I wasn’t an asshole and that she’d want to set me up with one of her friends.  I’m pretty sure she was even sober when she said that. (But sorry ladies, I’m taken.)

Still, when I’m not writing for sports humor websites, I try to keep my interest in sports on the down low.  I mean, I’ll still get to a game once in a while, but I try to pepper my outbursts with irony.  Here are my favorite things to shout that you might want to try as you watch the Super Bowl:

Someone on your team is running with the ball: “Run… Run very fast!”
After good plays: “Proper!” or “That’s very attractive!”

David Chalk writes for a lot of sports websites.
Bugs&Cranks | 7th Inning Stache | SportsUntapped | Big League Stew | NESW Sports
And he tweets. (@dichalk)

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Super Bowl Sunday: Quit being a bitch. The game’s on! (Guest Post #1)

7 Feb

Meet my friend LJS, everyone. I might have made it through my entire life without knowing of the existence of the Lingerie Football League were it not for her. I could be mad at her for that, but I’m not because her description of the LFL, along with some conversations I’ve had with others about football over the past few months, led me to the decision to do this whole Super Bowl feature in the first place. And the thousand-mile journey to the amelioration of football’s negative effects on women and society begins with one  football mega-feature on a radical feminist blog. Naturally, I asked LJS to write about the LFL and her view of sports culture:

If you are anything like me, there is nothing more exciting than the thrill of the football season’s first kick-off.  It signals the beginning of 17 weeks of Sundays filled with sweaty men playing a game that I not only have no control over, but didn’t contribute to in any way.  Which doesn’t stop me from yelling like I’ve won the lottery every time “my team” scores and referring to them as “we.”  And of course there is the anticipation of the camera pan to the scantily clad cheerleaders smiling brightly like a shiny row of botched lobotomy victims.  But I sometimes find myself thinking, as I am sure that we all have from time to time, “You know, this game is pretty good, but like I like my beer cold, my pork barbequed, and my chips with dip — I like my women objectified.”  I mean REALLY objectified.  Sure you have your cheerleaders jumping around in bikini tops and micro-minis in between snow flurries, and sure you have your beer commercials that cater to a 15-year-old male fantasy, but that just doesn’t take it far enough for my tastes.  What if we replaced the players with the cheerleaders?  Then we could dress them in bikinis to play a contact sport, because clearly their “safety” isn’t a top priority, and give the teams names like the San Diego Seduction, the Philadelphia Passion, and the Los Angles Temptation.  Blatant and unapologetic degradation of the players would ensue.  I mean, c’mon, you women knew what you were getting into when you were born with vaginas, right?

Fortunately for everyone out there that was nodding their head at the very thought of a football league of cheerleaders, Mitch Mortaza had an idea.  Think of him as Joe Francis, founder of Girls Gone Wild, mixed with that sleazy older uncle that always used to leer at you getting out of the swimming pool.  A winning combo, I know. Ol’ Mitch is the founder of the Lingerie Football League (LFL), which is now ending its 2nd season. And yes, it is exactly as described above.

Mortaza and the LFL make no apologies.  In fact, during a recent try-out session that was chronicled by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Gonzalez, Mortaza eloquently explained what he is looking for in a LFL player:

The women of the LFL need three things… confidence, athleticism and, finally, they have to be gorgeous. We’re not looking for the best athletes. We want our league to have women like Anna Kournikova, Danica Patrick and Gabby Reece. They’re not the best at what they do, but they’re the most marketable. We know why men turn out.

A trip to the LFL’s official site backs up Mortaza’s statement.  The site’s content is flanked on either side by black and white pictures of two women dressed in their underwear and covered with dirt.  The woman on the right looks into the camera seductively, while the woman on the left actually has her face cut off by the edge of the webpage.  I think that is a kind of unintentional statement about the league’s overall attitude toward its players and women in general.  A half-hearted effort to “get to know” the players on the official LFL blog, LFL Unlaced (Get it? It’s a pun, right? UN-laced? Haha! The fun never stops), is another thinly veiled chance to show more pictures of the women in their underwear.  And some of it doesn’t even make sense. Okay, a picture of the player in her “uniform” I could see, or maybe even enjoying a day at the beach in her favorite G-string, but the editors at “Unlaced” are hardcore, they don’t give a fuck. A rousing expose on Chicago Bliss’s Danielle Moinet has a lead-in picture of Danielle (presumably) in a lace bra and underwear set with some black lace Madonna gloves, circa 1984, followed by a picture of her in a red bikini standing in front of what I can only assume is the industrial garage door of a commercial loading dock. Scrolling down, I kept expecting a list of her “turn-ons” (long walks on the beach, men who fart in public, and Miller High Life) followed by a pictorial of her favorite sex positions.

So who is Mitch Mortaza? Not surprisingly he started his career of douche-baggery on the low-budget reality show Blind Date.  His segment gets off to a stirring start when he lists toe rings among his turn-ons and refers to himself as a “white shark in captivity” when it comes to his dating style.  I won’t go into too much detail (you can watch it on YouTube if you need to induce vomiting), but he is exactly what you would expect from the founder of the Lingerie Football League, dayglo tan and all. Unfortunately for everyone, except maybe the poor women on Blind Date, Mortaza moved from reality dating shows to founding the yearly Lingerie Bowl that ran during half-time of the Super Bowl for the first time in 2004. Mortaza claims that he was inspired by watching all the people leave their seats during half-time at a Super Bowl game he attended and wondered if he could capture that audience somehow.  However, my bet is that it had more to do with his copy of Chicks with Balls that didn’t leave his DVD player for all of 2001 and the first half of 2002. Either way, the Lingerie Bowl got corporate backing (I’m looking at you Partypoker.com, bodog.com, and Horizon Productions) and became a relatively huge success. The popularity of the Lingerie Bowl was the spark for the woman-hating brushfire that became the LFL.

Okay, so what is the point, right? I mean, anyone with any kind of capacity for introspection, empathy, or sense of humanity can see that Mortaza is a piece of shit and the LFL is a ridiculous mockery of the personhood of women.  When I first heard of it I thought that same thing. However, after some thought, further research, and personal observation my perspective started to change.

The LFL, to me, is the culmination of privilege that surrounds men and their sports. It is not unusual for men to make disgusting and degrading comments about the women on screen while hanging out with their buddies watching their favorite football team, and often it is in front of their wives/partners/children.  But because it is in the arena of “sports” it is somehow protected.  Saying anything about it results in being labeled a “nag” or a “bitch” that is “bringing down their man time.”  Men often feel that they have a “right” to dehumanize and degrade women as long as it is in the confines of their “guy time” and that the women in their lives should have to not only be okay with it, but laugh it off while serving their buddies sammiches.  The only thing missing from the picture is the string of pearls, the 1950s haircut, and a box of Betty Crocker cake mix.  The men I am talking about are those that think they are “enlightened,” who “watch” the kids and “help” around the house (for those that are interested in the split of domestic labor among married couples with children that both work full time please see Coltrane, 2000, “Research on Household Labor: Modeling and Measuring the Social Embeddedness of Routine Family Work” for a good summary.  Yes folks, in some ways we are still living in the 1950s).  These are the same people who tuned into the Lingerie Bowl at half-time.  And I can guarantee you that they make up most of the followers of the Lingerie Football League.  They have turned in their Dallas Cowboy cheerleader calendars for Lingerie Football League trading cards and it falls under the category of “sports” and so is therefore untouchable.

I know that most of the people that read this blog won’t think that this applies to them, believe me I have read the comments sections closely, but that is not the case.  I, as a married woman with a young child, am certainly closer to this world then most of the “regulars” here (not that this describes my husband in any way), but this IS the world that we are living in.  This IS more the norm than not.  I do think that we, as feminists, should be concerned about women whose lives are dramatically different from our own.  This includes those that are in pornography, strippers, LFL players, prostitutes, mothers, and housewives.  Well, either that or we should admit defeat and turn in our feminist cards for a football and a really nice bustier.

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Super Bowl Sunday: Are you ready for some motherfuckin’ FOOTBALL!?

7 Feb

It’s upon us, my friends, Super Bowl XLIV (that’s Super Bowl 44 to those of you who can’t read Latin like I can)! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to this game like people who are into BDSM look forward to Comicon, but not because I give a shit about football. On the contrary, I’m looking forward to it precisely because I hate football, football culture, and the horse it rode in on, and I’ve chosen this most holy of holy football days to let everyone know just how stupid our national religion really is. I’ve invited three of my associates (one of whom is an actual sports writer and doesn’t even hate football!) to chime in with guest posts (a first here at the ‘chine) and will be live-blogging the game itself and the accompanying commercials and “entertainment” with Kendall McK for those of you who can’t be asked to suffer through actually watching it or who are fortunate enough to be outside the broadcast range of CBS.

I’ve written a bit about sports before. I don’t like ‘em. I find sports in general to be boring, irritating, aesthetically and morally offensive, and a complete waste of time, human energy, money, beer, and snack foods. Sporting culture is lousy with misogyny and gynophobia, athletes are usually complete dicks, and sports fans and their behavior almost always elicit eye-rolls from me that are so pronounced as to strain whatever little muscles keep my eyes in my head. That shit hurts, and it happens too often. America is probably the most sports-obsessed country in the world, you know. I mean, I know everyone says that Indians are wacky for cricket, we’ve all seen video of English dudes jumping off of balconies with no pants on because some soccer team did or did not do something awesome, we all know everyone in China follows nearly every sport included in the menu of the Olympic games to an extent that makes even American sports bar patrons snort, “Dorks,” but we’re into sports in a unique way. Our sports are loud, aggressive, commercialized, and crass, and there are fucking tons of them. At any given point in the year there are at least two major sporting leagues in action and several lesser sports to pay attention to. We’ve got the NFL, the NBA, MLB, the NHL, the PGA, the LPGA, UFC, WEC, and so on, but even that shit wasn’t enough and we got arena football, the absolutely hilarious XFL, and who knows how many wrestling, boxing, cagefighting, car racing, and rodeo leagues.  But we’re still looking for more sports to get into, as evidenced by the rapid multiplication of local soccer teams in the US. This is not a positive development (though I’m sure Davetavius would disagree as he thinks soccer is the only sport it’s OK to be into — but anyway, even if soccer does get big here, I’m sure we’ll find a way to make it just as egregious as our other sports).

How, might one ask, did Ms. Deuce end up such a hater of sports? Like any kid in the US, I grew up having to sit through countless NFL games, pay-per-view boxing matches, televised golf events, and the odd basketball or baseball game with a crew of drunken adults. It seemed that not a weekend went by that I wasn’t forced to endure hours and hours of horrifyingly tedious sporting events blaring out of the giant-screened television in one of my relatives’ or parents’ friends’ living rooms, a torture only mitigated in the tiniest of ways by the variety of snacks and soft drinks available (and that depended on whose house we were at — some of those old fuckers had “health problems” and only drank rum and DIET Coke, and Diet Coke fucking sucks when you’ve yet to develop a taste for aspartame). Still, nachos and various dips can only hold one’s attention for so long. At some point I had to turn my attention to what was going on on the television and the reaction it was causing in the people around me. It was NOT cool. I saw grown adults scoot forward in their seats and contort their faces in agony as they held their fists up and urged some asshole with a ball to run really far. I heard adults that I had previously looked up to yell things like “Motherfucker!” or “Son of a BITCH!” while striking innocent inanimate objects because some guy they didn’t know had failed to run really far while carrying a ball in some stadium a thousand miles away. I witnessed the bizarre semi-conversations that occur between preoccupied (or, as preoccupied as one can be while watching something inherently boring) men watching sports punctuated by fist pumping and grunts. And the NFL was by far the leader in inspiring such behavior. People may claim that baseball is America’s pastime, but the NFL is surely America’s number one source of inspiration for behavior that can even be embarrassing in the privacy of one’s own home.

And then there was school. When I was in grade school, I used to hang upside-down from the bars on the playground preparing myself mentally for cherry-drops I would never actually complete and stare off across the field at the boys, who were, without fail, engaged in a game that I did not know the name of and could never figure out the aim of other than knocking people down. That is, until one day when the principal called an assembly in the school auditorium to inform us that “anyone caught playing… um… ahem… uh… ‘smear the queer'” would be suspended from school. These stupid boys who probably had no idea what a “queer” was were playing a game in which the object was just to knock down whichever kid was holding the football, a kid that was, at least for the duration of time during which he held the football, known as “the queer.” By the time I was in sixth grade, I was pretty sure that the cultural stereotypes I had associated with the word “queer” did not include being a big enough badass to invite fifteen other kids to kick one’s ass by holding a ball they all wanted to get out of your hands. Whatever, like I needed more proof that boys were stupid.

By the time I was in junior high, I was already aware that football wasn’t very cool. I went to school in southern California, where people are a little more predisposed to counter-culturalism and a little less prone to sports idolatry than they are in, say, a small town in Texas. There’s other shit to do when you have an ocean, good weather, and a lot of different kinds of people, so football players aren’t treated like the king of town in most places. Still, I was an adolescent, so even though I hated football, I agreed to join the Pop Warner cheerleading team when three of my friends did so in seventh grade. Now, calm down. We were easily the worst team in San Diego County (both the football and cheerleading teams), not one of us paid one second of attention to the games or to the players, and, once we realized it wasn’t going to be like an 80s movie, we hated the whole thing so much that we skipped practice all the time.

Still, I admit that I did it, and that while I did so I did notice that there was something very odd about the gender dynamic of football culture. First, the boys had practice at the exact same time we did, but we wouldn’t have known because we were kept separated and didn’t interact with them at all, even before and after the games, which pissed me off because I was friends with more of them than I was girls on my own team. Second, their coach basically pretended we didn’t exist, despite the fact that his wife was our coach. Third, we were ostensibly expected to lead cheers the contents of which bewildered all of us. I’m 100% positive that not a single one of us knew what was going on at any time during any game, and hence had no clue what we were even chanting about; I might have stood around lackadaisically mouthing the words, “First and ten, let’s do it again, first… and ten” with my teammates, but I had no idea what it meant and no motivation whatsoever to learn. We were supremely passive despite the fact that we were supposed to be “leading” something. Finally, I had no desire to engage in a violent, boring, overly complicated sport myself, but I did realize that, had I wanted to, I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to, and that shit pissed me off. I didn’t sign up for a second year.

The fact that I eschewed making a career for myself as a high school cheerleader probably had more to do with the fact that I started smoking and hanging around kids who listened to punk bands in eighth grade than the fact that I was the world’s foremost adolescent gender theorist, but the fact remains, I was out for good by eighth grade. Then I went to high school, where there was actually a team associated with the school rather than just a Pop Warner team that used the school’s grounds after hours. Still, no one seemed to give a shit. I went to a total of one high school football game in my entire four years of high school, and it was the first game of my freshman year. It was unbelievably unengaging. I’d already been to a thousand high school football games with my parents because their friend’s son was the neighboring town’s star high school quarterback, but I expected this one to be better since I was unsupervised and my peers would be there. Wrong. There was no one there but old people and the kids at school I’d already decided I never wanted to associate with because they were too “mainstream.” I’d already figured out that I didn’t like the kinds of kids who were so unreflective that they decided to spend their weekends pretending to be their parents when their parents exhibited no characteristics whatsoever that made them worthy of emulation.

And, really, school spirit? What in god’s name would give me any reason to identify with an entity as shitty, annoying, and oppressive as my high school? I hated every second that I went there and couldn’t wait to get out. The idea of painting my face or making a spangly, puff paint t-shirt that said “Go ____s!” (yeah right, I’m not giving up the school’s mascot so you can find out where I went to high school) on it was so absurd that I almost considered doing it ironically. I hate to paraphrase myself, so I’ll quote myself:

Think about it, why would anyone be obsequiously loyal to a group of dumbasses they don’t even know just because they play with balls, even if they’re really good at it? Sports teams represent generic and basically valueless entities like cities, high schools, colleges, and meaningless “lifestyle” concepts created by corporate marketing teams, and I’m pretty worried about anyone who gets upset enough to scream while pointing at the ground (the number one way to express extreme anger among sports fans) over their allegiance to any of the above.  But that’s what team sports do, they teach people to develop obsessive loyalties to concepts and entities that any normal human being ought to not give a shit about… American team sports teach young people that idolatry is all good, especially when directed at some violent, narcissistic asshole or team of assholes who represent our culture’s warped, misogynistic, and destructive idea of masculinity, and that unquestioning loyalty to vague and meaningless concepts and authority figures is where it’s at.

I didn’t care about my high school team, I didn’t care about my college team, I certainly don’t give a shit about the team at the university I currently go to, and I couldn’t possibly care less what the Jets or the Giants are up to this season. That shit is for people who can’t wait to work at companies that have annual fun runs and who like to talk about “the troops” with phony reverence.

Back to that bit about masculinity. The NFL might as well be called No Faggots ‘Llowed, because I’m pretty sure that it’s the NFL and the corporations that own it that have created the idealized, normative image of the modern American man as a homophobic, misogynistic, jingoistic, unthoughtful, materialistic, upper middle class middle-management asshole who loves the four B’s: big trucks, brewskis, boobs, and Buffalo wings. NFL fans are a surprisingly homogeneous bunch considering the fact that many of them would be willing to kick someone’s ass for following the wrong team, but then maybe that’s not such a surprise. Football creates a space in which corporations can control and channel the natural violence and aggression that stem from the oppressive culture that modern capitalism creates toward lucrative rather than destructive ends. A guy from DC might kick a guy from Dallas’s ass over a football game, but for every time that happens, 150,000 other people display their pointless loyalty to their team by buying shit.

Male NFL fans really do have a lot in common. Listen to the announcers at the Super Bowl tomorrow and compare their voices to those of the men on the pre- and post-game shows. Compare them again to the voices of the men around you when they discuss the game. Do you notice anything? I call it the NFL accent, and it afflicts men across America. No matter whether the dude in question is from Dallas, Buffalo, Seattle, Denver, or Miami, no matter what regional accent he brings to the discussion, the NFL accent will shine through and affect his diction in ways that will trump whatever local idioms, colloquialisms, and speech patterns he might otherwise display. Check out the outfits on the announcers, fans, and experts. Have a look at their facial expressions, gestures, and general behavior patterns.

But what about the women? This is, after all, a feminist blog, right? Well, check out the women… I mean accessories, and see if you can come up with a schema for describing the way they’re taxonomized in football culture. Are they decorations? Servants? Joke butts? “Team moms”? Surely they aren’t complete humans. I suppose I could get into the misogyny inherent in the culture of the NFL (and sports in general) now, but I think I’ll leave that for when I live-blog the event, the commercials, and the half-time show. You see, I don’t need to bother trying to pull examples out of my small cache of memories of sporting events I’ve had to sit through because I know I’ll be given plenty of examples shortly. I’ll see you at kick-off.

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Sports!

8 Apr

Know what I hate? Sports.  I often argue with Davetavius over whether there’s something inherently wrong with sports, athletes, and sports fans. He takes the position that while sport culture might be one of the biggest detriments American society faces, it’s possible for sports to be a force for good, that there is some value in things like Premier League soccer (beyond the entertaining haircuts). I remain skeptical. There might be sports that aren’t completely disgusting, and there might be sport fans who are decent human beings, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree that, on balance, the world wouldn’t be a better place without sports.

The bullshit internationalist posturing surrounding the World Cup and the Olympics notwithstanding, sports — especially team sports — serve as a training ground for unthoughtful, jingoistic, aggressive idiots. It starts when you’re a kid and you see your parents screaming at a TV for no apparent reason, because they’ve for some reason decided to hitch their identity as human beings to an NFL team. And then you get old enough to actually play team sports (if you’re a boy, that is — if you’re a girl you may get to play “fag” sports like softball or soccer, but you’re more likely to end up taking dance lessons or wearing bloomers) and amass a menagerie of sporting idols. That’s when the real bullshit starts. Kids who are far too young to understand why they should be doing so can be seen screaming, painting their faces, and getting in fistfights over allegiances to sports teams that they’ve got no business giving a shit about. I mean, think about it, why would anyone be obsequiously loyal to a group of dumbasses they don’t even know just because they play with balls, even if they’re really good at it? Sports teams represent generic and basically valueless entities like cities, high schools, colleges, and meaningless “lifestyle” concepts created by corporate marketing teams, and I’m pretty worried about anyone who gets upset enough to scream while pointing at the ground (the number one way to express extreme anger among sports fans) over their allegiance to any of the above.

But that’s what team sports do, they teach people to develop obsessive loyalties to concepts and entities that any normal human being ought to not give a shit about, to become loyal to and personally invested in authoritarian entities that are actually detrimental to their own lives. American team sports teach young people that idolatry is all good, especially when directed at some violent, narcissistic asshole or team of assholes that represents our culture’s warped, misogynistic, and destructive idea of masculinity, and that unquestioning loyalty to vague and meaningless concepts and authority figures is where it’s at. And that’s how you get the kinds of jingoistic, unthoughtful assholes who, after September 11, talked about how “those terrorists don’t know who they’re fucking with” and how the US military was going to “go over there and kick some ass” as if they had assembled the weapons themselves out of their own empty Coors Light cans.

So, I’m not into sports. That does not mean, however, that I don’t think sports-related phenomena and sports fans are funny. Anyone who knows me knows I love nothing more than laughing at people who are sincerely involved in shit that sucks, and what better target than some idiot who is so invested in the fortunes of something that has no bearing on his life whatsoever that he’d kick someone’s ass over it? Those guys still abound, but when it comes to funny sports-related mega-trends, it’s slim pickings nowadays. The corporate homogenization of every element of American culture over the course of the last two decades or so has hit the world of sports harder than almost any other arena of our society. The NFL has always been completely embarrassing and loathsome, but it’s now also lost almost all of its capacity to entertain; in the quest to make sure that every adult male between 21 and 45 knows exactly what he needs to buy, the NFL has colluded with advertisers to make sure that nothing but aggressive marketing and boring, overly complicated simulated ass-kicking goes on during the average NFL game. Apparently, this has led even people who are foolish enough to be into the NFL to dub it the “No Fun League.” I don’t know shit about sports, but I’ll tell you what: you won’t see anything as awesome as this coming out of today’s NFL:

Nah, we don’t want to do anything cool or funny like that; let’s get another interview with Tom Brady about his boring-ass baby or his haircut or something. Plthhhh.

When I was a kid, the ONLY thing that made the many NFL games I had to sit through even remotely endurable was the touchdown celebrations, and apparently even those aren’t allowed now. I mean, who the fuck wants to sit through a football game without the chance of seeing someone try to moonwalk in cleats? The only moment I remember out of the countless hours of NFL I suffered through as a child is the Ickey Shuffle. Without that, it’s nothing but crunching sounds and commercials aimed at guys who get excited about sampling seasonal varieties of Samuel Adams. SNORE.

But enough about that. Let’s get to the point here: I hate sports, but the absurd social trends that sports begat in the 80s might be one of my favorite sources of entertainment. Chief among those trends was the wave of sport-themed polo-shirt-and-sunglass-rope rock singles released in the mid-80s. In case you need a refresher, here are two killer examples (sorry, but I couldn’t find the original video for the first one because whoever owns the rights is a weenie):

And let us not forget that Huey Lewis and the News put out an entire album in 1983 that was called Sports (by far their best work, my son).

albumcovers-hueylewisandthenews-sports1983

But without a doubt, the best jock-rock song of the era was Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” because the video not only featured the band wearing sporty terry-cloth headband/wristband sets and sneakers with their Sinbad-approved sports coats and permed thinning hair, but it also celebrated the greatest sports-related social trend of the 80s: sports bloopers! Check it out:

Ack!!! I can’t even handle how awesome that video is. There are seriously about 75 people on stage, and they’re all doing something incredibly cool. The drummer looks like he’s in a drum-kit contest with Neil Peart, they have a dude who’s there to do nothing but play the tambo and do the Molly Ringwald, the guy with the acoustic guitar is wearing one of Stephen Tyler’s microphone scarves on his head and is barefoot, and there are two keyboard players, one playing it cool in a Johnny Cash shirt and the other making sure everyone knows from his stage moves and his bolo tie that he drives a convertible and wears red underwear. And check out how stoked the band is to be playing the song! They even get together several times in the center of the stage and look at each other as if to say, “Goddamn, man, touchdown! Rock and fuckin’ roll!”

In addition to the absolutely stellar dancing exhibited by the band, I love this video because sports bloopers are just so funny! Seriously, what’s more hilarious than watching a guy drop a football? Fucking nothing, dude. Expect a post dedicated the 80s sports blooper craze real soon (but not here).

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