Football IS America and I Don’t Mean That As a Compliment [California Seething]
Baltimore and San Francisco: Two great American cities that ordinarily could give a shit about each other. Seriously, the only time they ever even get mentioned in the same sentence is when I say “Well, I could go to Baltimore to visit my sister and her family and stay in a house full of rampaging children, but instead I’m going to go to San Francisco cause it’s SO MUCH MORE AWESOME. Does that make me a bad person?” (SPOILER ALERT: uhm, kinda.) The only time San Franciscans ever talk about Baltimore is when they’re waxing nostalgic for The Wire and the only time Baltimorians ever talk about San Francisco is when they’re waxing nostalgic for Rice-a-Roni or making some tasteless gay joke- which is ironic because gay marriage isn’t legal in California but it is legal in Maryland thanks to the efforts of Duff Goldman and John Waters and their SuperPAC “Have Your Cake and Eat Me Too”. Regardless, from now until Sunday, the two cities will joined together in conflict- bound inexorably by the chains of enmity like the Montagues and Capulets, the Hatfields and McCoys, Rocky IV and Ivan Drago, Highlander and That Other Highlander, Me and the Completely Insane Neighbor Lady in my Complex who Can’t Shut the Fuck Up and has Two Little Yappy Dogs Who Also Can’t Shut the Fuck Up and Insists on Having a White Trash Ghetto-Ass Sidewalk Sale Every Saturday Right in Front of My Unit So Everybody Thinks I’m the Freak Selling Used Purple Rayon Blouses with Shoulder Pads from the 90’s and Air Supply Tapes. I must break her. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. Wait, that makes no sense. Oh well, that whole movie made no sense. I mean, the French guy is Scottish and the Scottish guy is Spanish- WTF? Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for color blind casting- I mean, hey if you’re Louis CK and you want to cast a black woman to play the mother of your crystal clear, lily white, Arian wunderkinds on the show- I say go for it! Get down with your obviously totally color-blind self. Buy accent-deaf casting. I’m sorry, this I can not support. Kevin Costner ruined it for all of us. BTW: remember when Louie was actually still funny? Good times.
Anyhow, most of you know why Baltimore and San Francisco find themselves suddenly drawn into conflict but for those that don’t pay any attention to sports because you think that makes you look smart like Russell Westbrook’s fake glasses, or those of you that haven’t been able to follow current events because you’ve been too distracted by the heroic struggles of your cancer stricken fake Polynesian internet girlfriend – I will say that it’s because the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are playing each other in the Super Bowl this weekend. BTW2: What kind of topsy-turvy world do we live in where a football star at Notre Dame, a goddamn All American Heisman Trophy candidate no-less, has to resort to having a fake internet band camp girlfriend, while a stat geek like Nate Silver is considered a sex-symbol? A FUCKING AMAZING WORLD- that’s what kind. Seriously, if I’d known being a nerd was ever going to be this cool, I would have continued on with computer programming and not quit right after writing:
10: PRINT “FART”;
20: GOTO 10
On Hebrew Academy’s only TRS-80. BTW3: Manti Te’o is actually Samoan for “Big Dude in the Closet”. BTW4: No wonder Samoans are so huge- have you had those cookies? AMAZING. Hell, you should see the people on the Island of Thin Mints- world’s most ironic place name is all I’m going to say.
Anyhow, the Super Bowl is clearly more than just any old sporting event and Super Bowl Sunday is more than just the day where we crown a World Champion in a sport only played in America. No- Super Bowl Sunday is a major holiday in America- in fact, experts say it’s our 3rd biggest Secular Holiday right behind Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, it’s no wonder! Football embodies all of our most deeply cherished American values like:
The Right to Remain Stupid
Football is a very violent game where no one is supposed to get hurt. Well, what do you expect from a country where everybody wants to own guns but we’re outraged when people get shot? Recently, in fact, new scientific research has revealed that the repeated blows to the head which football players absorb in their careers might actually cause brain damage. I know, crazy, right, but I read all about it in the Well Shit, I Could Have Told You That Scientific Journal along with other shocking stories like “Global Warming is Real. No Duh. What, did You Just Think the Hamburgler was Just Stealing All the Ice from the Polar Ice Caps? That kind of thinking makes Al Gore Grimace.” and “Of Course Guns Kill People- THAT’S THE FUCKING POINT. Seriously, if they didn’t kill people, you’d buy Calamine Lotion to protect yourself. ‘Freeze- Hands in the air, turkey! One false step and I’ll make your mosquito bites slightly less itchy.’”
In fact, much like football related brain injury, gun violence in America is either the absolute most complicated problem to solve or the simplest. I mean, sure we could create a complicated background check system and national mental health database and federal criminal database and we could put armed guards at every school and we could put metal detectors in every movie theatre and every office building and every shopping mall and every house of worship and every single other public place a shooter could possibly go and we could implement complicated access control to every single building in America and we could train every American man, woman and child on firearm safety and emergency response and hostage negotiation OR….we could just NOT SELL THE FUCKING GUNS IN THE FIRST PLACE. In fact, statistics have shown that while the ages of shooters and locations of mass shootings vary greatly, in 100% of all mass shootings in American history the killer USED A FUCKING GUN. And while there have been 62 mass shootings over the past 30 years in America with, you know, GUNS, there hasn’t been a single mass calamine-lotioning in a movie theatre- unless you count the Great Camp Chippawah Poison Ivy Outbreak of ’75 During the Field Trip into Town to See Escape to Witch Mountain.
Sadly, though, we can’t just stop selling guns in America. The Founding Fathers kinda shat the bed on that amendment. I mean, whatever, I guess 9 out of 10 ain’t bad and as Ben Franklin said “Pobody’s Nerfect” (actually, what he said was “a well regulated militia a day keeps the slave revolt at bay!” because the Second Amendment was written entirely to let white Southerners shoot slaves. There’s a Schoolhouse Rock for ya! “I’m just a slave / yes, I’m only a slave / crackers can shoot at me when I run away -constitutionally!”) – but, whether we like it or not, our right to be gun toting idiots is constitutionally protected. And, actually, most Americans like it just fine. See, we like to own guns but we also want to feel good about ourselves – so the Second Amendment is perfect because it makes stockpiling lethal weapons feel like our sacred patriotic obligation. Americans, it seems, have a little trouble telling the difference between RIGHT and OBLIGATION. I mean, just because you have the RIGHT to do something, doesn’t mean you have the OBLIGATION to do it as much as fucking possible. I mean, sure Completely Insane Neighbor Lady in my Complex who Can’t Shut the Fuck Up and has Two Little Yappy Dogs Who Also Can’t Shut the Fuck Up has the RIGHT to sell a hand mixer with one beater and her dead sister’s cancer wig but that doesn’t mean she has the OBLIGATION to do it right in front of my fucking door. And, wait a second, I’ve met her sister- WHO’S WIG IS THAT? Worst. Hospice volunteer. Ever. So we strive to create our perfect little guntopia where everybody’s got guns and nobody gets shot and then we make sure to demonstrate outrage and shock when somebody actually uses the gun that WE ENCOURAGED THEM TO FUCKING BUY to shoot somebody. Cause we’re dumb.
And while the stakes with football aren’t as high, our relationship to the game is similar to our relationship with guns. Hell, we all know the game is stupid and dangerous. And we all know that there’s a very simple cure for “football related brain injury”- it’s kind of the same as the cure for “glass chewing related mouth bleeding” and “plunger sitting related anal soreness”- but none of us want to accept this cure cause it would mean having to spend all of our Sundays fixing shit or praying or talking to loved ones and friends. Fuck that noise. But, you know, we still want to feel like good people and not like a bunch of concussion loving a-holes, so we just kinda ignore the problem until some poor linebacker shoots himself in the chest and the we respond with the obligatory amount of Sadness and Outrage until some even more Sad and Outrageous thing knocks the story out of the news and we can go back to blissfully not giving a shit. Usually, it’s a shooting.
….and speaking of irresponsible, self-destructive behavior that Americans like to indulge in without acknowledging the consequences- the Super Bowl is a a celebration of all things Spicy, Salty and Covered in Cheese (you’ve got to try Taco Bell’s Spicy, Salty and Covered in Cheese Meal, BTW- it’s like canned dog-food cooked with Taco seasoning shoved in a Dorito shell and slathered with thick orange mucus and MSG. By which I mean- FUCKING AWESOME.) Gluttony is actually a subject close to my heart (or so my Doctor keeps telling me.) Hell, I don’t own a Bushmaster AR-15, but I do own a Fat Ass so Gluttony is my way of showing American Pride. The right to fry cheese may not be enshrined in the Constitution, but, as Charlton Heston once said “You can pry this cold, dead mozzarella stick from my cold, dead hand.” And then they banned him from Applebee’s for life. It’s actually a pretty sad story.
The best thing about combining gluttony with football is that the players themselves are huge, so you don’t feel so bad about it. I mean, it’s a lot harder to choke down a 50 piece KFC Game Time Beaks and Assholes Bucket when you’re watching a bunch of 80 pound Kenyans run 26 miles than it is while watching a bunch of gigantic dudes in super tight outfits who need to go for oxygen when they run 10 yards. Hell, I can run almost 20 yards before I need the oxygen- somebody pass the bucket!
Hey, you guys, remember how we fought a Civil War that time? That was awesome, right? And, how about the election- do you miss virulently hating your fellow Americans, but you don’t want to resort to watching Fox News? Well, in that case, football is perfect for you! Every week you get to scream your brains out for the city you love as they attempt to beat the brains out of the city you hate! (Not that we support concussions! Football related brain injury is a very serious subject. It’s time we have a real conversation in this country about how to prevent it. I know- we could create a Federal Database of tacklers who lead with their head, or as they are more often known “every single football player ever” or maybe if we actually encourage players to aim exclusively for the head that will solve the problem. After all, the only way to stop a bad guy who goes for the head is a good guy who goes for the head!) And the best part about regional conflict is that, even if the team from the city you love is knocked out of the playoffs or, let’s say hypothetically, is so absurdly inept that the quarterback runs into an offensive lineman from his own team and gets knocked out by the hypothetical lineman’s hypothetical ass, then you can still have fun cheering for the demise of the team from the city you hate. So there you go Patriot fans, you can still have fun watching the Super Bowl even though you were crushed by the Ravens in humiliating fashion and Tom Brady was left sitting on the sidelines crying like a Ray Lewis stabbing victim. Awww, look at all you little Massholes, you’re all so cute with all your disappointed faces and your snot-stained Wes Welker jerseys. Welcome back to the loser club. You’ll like it here, it’s a great place to watch the game- we even bought you a new E-Z Chair with the money we saved when Ray Lewis’ Retirement Party was cancelled last week. God this feels good. Who needs the thrill of victory when you’ve got the agony of New England’s defeat? I haven’t felt so alive since Fireman Ed retired. Man, I miss that guy. I mean, I’ve got that tattoo on my ass of him wearing a Sanchez jersey, but it just ain’t the same.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
This has not always been the strong suit of the NFL. Sure, there have been plenty of minority players for a long time, but when it came time to fill a head coaching vacancy, the owners automatically hired a white male. Well, things have changed. Thanks to the Rooney Rule, owners now need to interview at least one minority candidate before they automatically hire a white male. It’s inspiring. Really.
Fully Understanding the Importance of Getting a Woman’s Consent Prior to any Sexual Activity
Nah, I’m just fucking with you.
OK- so, sure, these are significant ways in which Football embodies America- but there is one that trumps all the rest:
Both Are Full of Incredibly Shitty People Who Won’t Shut the Fuck Up About Jesus
Look, I’m sure Jesus was a super nice guy- and I’m sure a lot of his fans are super-nice people, too. Some of them though, are complete fucking assholes- and, unfortunately, they’re usually the ones who won’t shut the fuck up about him just like the Completely Insane Neighbor Lady in my Complex who Can’t Shut the Fuck Up and has Two Little Yappy Dogs Who Also Can’t Shut the Fuck Up won’t shut the fuck up about every single detail of her psychiatric, gynecological and veterinary misadventures when she’s trying to sell a broken toaster oven that functions neither as a “toaster” nor as an “oven”. GET AWAY FROM MY HOUSE YOU CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY BITCH. AND GIVE BACK THAT WIG! Anyhow, its sanctimonious hypocritical assholes like Fred Phelps, Mike Huckabee and Ray Lewis that make everyone who talks too much about Jesus seem creepy and unpleasant. And, unfortunately, most football players talk wayyyy too much about Jesus. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the cruel and arbitrary nature of their sport. The endless variables beyond their control that can radically impact their destiny- a gust of wind, a sodden field, an overeager defender, a quarterback named “Mark Sanchez”- any of these factors can spell disaster for a player (and disaster is usually spelled J-E-T-S)- so maybe they continually appeal to the divine in a desperate effort to control the uncontrollable or at least make their peace with it. Or maybe it’s the brain damage. Who the hell knows? All I know is that when I hear a player jabbering on about God I’m a little disappointed and I automatically think “oh great, another asshole”. Is it right? No. Is it fair? No. Is it open-minded? No. I know all of that- and yet, I can’t help myself. What can I say? It’s just the way God made me.
So Happy Super Bowl, America! Go ahead watch the game while you eat too much with your ethnically diverse group of friends and cheer for players from one city’s team to inflict devastating brain injuries on some other city’s team- but don’t forget to bring your gun! It’s what Jesus would do if he was an American.
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