..I’m confused. My favorite magazine, The New Yorker, just published a short piece complaining that CBS was not alarmist or paranoid enough in dealing with the short power outage that occurred during SuperBowl XLVII. This gloriously liberal and literate rag would sneer at any dramatic posturing by the money-makers at FoxNews or even CNN, but now scolds the old boy network for not drumming up more shivers over a tripped circuit breaker. But I forgive you, The New Yorker. You are in New York, after all, and an occasional spasm when the lights go out is understandable– a symptom of your PTSD.
..But I’m further confused. Was that The Star Spangled Banner that Alicia Keyes sang before the SuperBowl game? The lyrics sounded almost the same…. “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air”, and the stadium screen nods to our men and women fighting for peace ALL OVER the globe seemed typical and appropriate for a recitation of our national anthem. But Alicia’s song seemed very slow, oddly off pitch, and whatever she added after “…the land of the free and the home of the brave…” was mostly indecipherable. Of course, the national anthem is fine at any time and at any venue, from Woodstock to New Orleans, from a peace and love music festival to the annual premier event of a sport where the players are paid bonuses for inflicting incapacitating injuries on their opponents. Whitney sang it her way and Jimi played it his way, and if that was what you sang, Alicia, thanks for getting it done— we needed to get through the violence and noise part so Beyonce could deliver the sex and noise at halftime. Great tech display, great retro performance….I’m thinking it was in honor of Michael Jackson, but sorry, no one can do this stuff as well as MJ was doing it, what, 25 years ago? Oh….and the Newtown Kids. Why were twenty already shellshocked little kids out there? To sing “America the Beautiful”? At the center of the cauldron of violence and excess? Slightly to the side of the mega pyrotechnic pandemonium and the crotch grabbing dance routines? To hammer home our President’s point that “Surely we can do better” for our children? Thanks kids. You were sweet and innocent, and I’ll bet not a single one of you sang that first verse worse than Jennifer Hudson did when she joined you and repeated it. I rather wish she’d sung the second verse, its genocidal allusions notwithstanding:
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!