So wrote Charles P. Pierce about the Super Bowl intro, and I almost didn't post that because I had to check the Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price reference — is it "Mad Men"? yeah, sorry, I still don't want to watch it — not to mention the FSM reference — eh. It flicked my bloggable toggle switch and then came very close to toggling back. But I'm quoting it, really because I agree that they overdid it. Leni would have been much more insidiously subtle. But that's a good thing, right? You can defend against the ridiculously overdone. We can feel patriotic and festive in a mixed up clutter of history and pop culture, and then it's on to the football game.
The Pierce quote is embedded in this James Wolcott blog post. Wolcott is crankier than Pierce:
I had the pre-game on mute and every time I glanced up I wondered if we had declared war on Iraq or a hologram of Ronald Reagan was going to materialize on stage, raising a ruddy hand in blessing as Peggy Noonan ascended into heaven. The Super Bowl is bombastic enough without being a fanfare for World War III or IV, but who's counting? Or is it that the country requires this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile? Maybe Stanley Fish can figure this out for us.No link on the Stanley Fish reference, which is not something I can untangle with a Google search. I know who Stanley Fish is. I'm even in the middle of reading his new book, "How to Write a Sentence." (Check it out: I just wrote a sentence!) I'll assume Wolcott means to say something like: All those words and images require interpretation and Fish is the interpretation-meister.
But let's try to answer Wolcott's question: Does the country require this much self-affirmation now to reassure itself that it's still proud and virile?
I anticipate, instead of real answers, your snarky reframings of the question, asking whether Wolcott needs to reassure himself that he's still proud and virile. Indeed, I got the impression that his paragraph paralleled Pierce's, that he was envious of Pierce's writing prowess and trying to outmatch it. Ending with that limp Fish, he failed, which probably explains the flailing about "the county" and its imagined self-esteem problem. It's so problematic, raising the flag.