Super Bowl XLIX Preview

Trimalchio burping in Fellini's Satyricon

Trimalchio burping in Fellini’s Satyricon

Nothing screams Late Empire Grotesquerie quite like the Super Bowl with its pompous Roman numerals, its pagan half-time extravaganza, its skyboxes stuffed with scores of corporate Trimalchios guzzling and gorging themselves.

Expect a trained raptor to circle the field, a phalanx of fighter jets to scorch overhead in a metaphorical flex of Uncle Sam’s biceps; expect some recording star to over-do the national anthem and several former players or coaches to move their hands robotically as they analyze an interception with all of the gravitas of professors dissecting the fall of the Soviet Union or Lee’s machinations at Gettysburg.


Expect scores of commercials (see below). Some clever, some not.   A 30 second spot costs about 4.5 million, or, if you prefer, $150K per second, which, unlike raising the minimum wage, will benefit companies, not hurt them.

Oh yeah, the game. It will be played indoors in a desert in Arizona. Expect four 15-minute quarters elongated by TV timeouts for the long-awaited commercials (see above) that will be subject of many a conversation among coffee swilling workers on one of the most depressing Mondays of the year.

At halftime, don’t count on any wardrobe malfunctions from Katy Perry or Missy Elliott, whoever they are. You can count on, however, fireworks, which cost a mere $2K per minute, and, also throughout the broadcast expect to see attention-desperate adults dressed like lizards, pirates, etc. so they can get on TV.

After touchdowns, I predict the scorer will spike the football or vogue or dance or all of the above.

After the game, expect to be battered by a barrage of clichés mumbled by players taking very shallow breaths.

Prediction: Most of the people in the skyboxes will be European Americans; most of the players on the field will be African Americans.

Oh yeah, the Final Score:

Corporate America: many millions

Average Viewer: 1 hangover.


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