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The Super Bowl and the Ads

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

WASHINGTON -- The other night while watching the Super Bowl, I became increasingly aware that the Angry Left might have a point about the Giant Corporations. Not that the game was not exciting. It was. Those quarterbacks can really heave the ball. Suddenly it is in their hands, and suddenly it is in a receiver's outreached arms, having passed through a forest of opposing players' arms. Both teams were composed of players who apparently were made of rubber. They hurled themselves at one another and occasionally at the hard turf and simply bounced. Occasionally they did not. Sometimes they were injured, occasionally rather badly. But for the most part, they seemed amazingly resilient. It was a hell of a battle, and doubtless the better team won, but I cheered for both teams. They were great.

Had I only to watch the game, I would have been happy, though even happier had I lowered the volume of the inane commentary. Possibly the networks have an agreement to hire garrulous, loud, excessively male commenters who have very little to say but say it repetitiously. Unfortunately, it hardly adds to the excitement of the game. Rather, it adds to the confusion of the programming, and there was a great deal of confusion Sunday night. For whole stretches, I sat there stupefied by the confusion, most of it provided by the ads and by the garrulous commentators. Not much can be done about the ads, which seem to get more stupid and incoherent every year, but something can be done about these excessively virile loudmouths.

I suggest the networks -- at least for really big games, such as the Super Bowl -- hire George Will and a very polite female commentator with very little to say. I have in mind Kathleen Parker, the soi-disant conservative columnist and TV personality. She is not a conservative, so there would be no reason for claiming the couple lacked balance, and she does not have much to say on politics, so why would she be long-winded on football? She would be polite and relatively inaudible, perfect.

George would arrive at the microphone with all the facts and figures already in his head. (If he follows football as he follows baseball, he already does have the facts and figures in his head.) He would speak in perfect sentences, employing model grammar, and he would have the good taste to let the game -- for the most part -- speak for itself. When George filed a witticism or some other off-the-wall comment, Parker could give a little exasperated "Oh, Geeeoorge!" and subside.

It would all be very civilized. What is more, it might get Parker off her present CNN assignment with that loutish rastaquouere Eliot Spitzer. He is a cad, and he is bound to drag her into one of his awaiting scandals eventually.

Yet doubtless, you are wondering about the people of the Angry Left's point about the Giant Corporations. What precisely did they say about the Giant Corporations that I found fetching? Well, they invariably complain, among other things, about the corporations' advertising. They say that it gets consumers to buy madly, particularly the young and the stupid, just the people who can ill afford to buy junk food, beer and Audis or maybe BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes. Well, there is not much compelling evidence to support the Angry Left's complaints, as you might guess, but let us show our magnanimous side. Let us say that those of the Angry Left are right to complain about the Giant Corporations' ads on the Super Bowl, even if they got the details wrong. The ads are atrocious.

They are nonsensical. They are incoherent. They are fantastical. They are violent. They are humorless. Their sexual content is for adolescents. And I often cannot tell what they are selling. In fact, the night of the Super Bowl, I rarely could tell where one ad ended and another began. They all seemed to run together, though they did favor monsters of a reptilian sort over humans, so maybe they were aimed at extraterrestrial creatures or people who drink too much.

At any rate, they, too, distracted from the game. Possibly next year, I shall use the mute button more, but how will I keep the visuals from sight? It is a real problem.

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