I realize this is almost blasphemy for some – but I’ve never really been able to get into American Football. It’s always struck me as a poorer version of rugby, complete with lots of body armour, glitz and plenty time for adverts. However I realize that for some the Superbowl is one of the most significant events of the year – even some churches rearrange their evening’s services – if they have them! It is certainly a significant event for advertisers and the TV companies – a half time 30-second Superbowl TV advert costs over $5.5 million.
There is also the tradition of having a half time show. For many musicians this is the peak of their career. Last Sunday’s halftime show sponsored by Pepsi was headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez – it was according to some a 15 minute celebration of Latino culture and female empowerment. I was intrigued by the fuss and decided to watch it. It was both a waste of 15 minutes and to be honest a degrading and demeaning experience.
Of course it was well produced, theatrical, energetic and indeed, skillful. But it also included lots of simulated sex, pole dancing and crotch grabbing. It’s fascinating to watch the double standards of those who complained about Donald Trumps’ comments on grabbing, but who celebrate this as empowering.
The message being sent to young girls about empowerment and how to obtain it, is a message that men who abuse girls/women will love. You have to behave in this way – and we will pay you to do it. You dance and gyrate for our entertainment – we will call it empowering and lo and behold we get what we want. It’s all about power, money and lust. Perhaps all that needs to be said about this ’empowering’ spectacle is that this was a show that Harvey Weinstein would have loved.
Watching those who boast about their MeToo credentials jump through intellectual and moral hoops in order to justify this exploitative sleaze is pathetic and depressing. CNN in their article opine – “The Super Bowl reveals nothing about the reality of American life. It’s a glorified commercial.” But maybe that’s the point? Maybe the reality of American life is largely a glorified commercial? Watching much of the political, entertainment, sports, and corporate scenes one can be forgiven in thinking that is the essence of what is wrong with US society. Perhaps even the Church gets caught up in this commercial culture – where everything has a price and nothing has value?
All of us, wherever we are in the world, have particular difficulties and burdens to bear as we seek to live for Jesus in the midst of a confused and corrupt world. I am thankful for our Christian brothers and sisters in the US who are living faithful life’s following Jesus in the midst of a Babylonian culture which condemns MeToo behaviour on the one hand, and celebrates it on the other. Lord, have mercy.