February 09, 2004

Sure, why not nationalize the Super Bowl

Posted by shonk at 01:15 AM in Sports | TrackBack

Okay, I have to admit, I was pretty sure that the statement I quoted in this post would be the dumbest thing I would read all day. Turns out I was wrong. Today’s winner comes courtesy of the Weekly Standard’s proposal to nationalize the Super Bowl :

bq. You cannot make the American public, least of all its children, travel a gauntlet of pornography in order to celebrate what has become more or less a national holiday. Among the solutions that ought to be on the table as we discuss what to do about this calamitous spectacle is that of nationalizing the championship game. Prevail on the NFL to let any television station that wishes the right to do its own broadcast. That way, those who want a comment-free version of the game can watch C-SPAN, those who want color commentary can watch one of the networks, and those who want a peep show can watch CBS.

Excuse me?!? Nationalize the Super Bowl? The only semi-coherent defense of nationalizing anything I’ve ever heard was based on the idea that people had a right to the thing being nationalized. So are we to gather that the staff over at the Weekly Standard thinks being able to watch the Super Bowl is a fundamental American right? As Aaron at Football Outsiders comments :

Possibly the stupidest idea ever. This column — no, not just a column, an editorial — from the Weekly Standard is also the official signal that the Republican establishment has totally, completely given up on limited government and the free market. Apparently, in the future, professional football will be rationed to the citizens through a Soviet-style government bureaucracy so as to limit breast sightings.

Here’s the simple solution to whatever problem there was with Janet Jackson’s bared breast, impotence pills and farting horses: if that sort of thing offends you, don’t fucking watch. The whiny retort, of course, is this:

But, but, but little kids want to watch the Super Bowl, and shouldn’t be subjected to that stuff. Why, it could damage them. Think of the Children™

First of all, if you’re doing such a poor job of raising your children that they would be damaged by a naked breast or a farting horse, you’re not much of a parent. You might want to consider the possibility that teaching your kids that the human body is evil, that the naked female body is even more evil, and that the torso of a naked female body is most evil of all is damaging your kids far more than a two second exposure to Janet Jackson’s unappealing mammary. Read The Professor and the Madman and pay particular attention to what W.C. Minor does to himself at the end (or, if you’re lazy, just read the fifth-to-last paragraph of this quick synopsis).

Second, we live in the age of TiVo (and, even if we didn’t, you could achieve the same effect with a VCR). If your kid wants to watch the Super Bowl and you don’t feel like he can handle the halftime show or the commercials, give him the TiVo replay sans accoutrements.

There’s one other thing about this article that raises my ire that I’d like to comment on: the seemingly increasingly common idea that state action is a legitimate means of persuasion. There’s no way in hell, outside of a federal law (or, I suppose, a truly gigantic federal subsidy) that the NFL is going to give up the massive amount of revenue that it garners from selling the rights to broadcast the Super Bowl, so this notion of “prevail[ing] on the NFL” is a thinly-disguised euphemism for “forcing the NFL”. News flash: there’s a big damn difference between persuasion and coercion and just because it would be someone else (i.e. the state) doing the coercion doesn’t make it okay. A lot of people seem to operate under the mistaken delusion that the state has supernatural rights that justify it doing things that no single person or other organization has the right to do. Do not make the mistake of confusing legality with morality.


On the other hand, Janet should be flattered that her boob is apparently "a calamitous spectacle" rather than simply "disappoiningly flabby despite silicone enhancement." I wish I had a body part that was worthy of the appellation "calamitous spectacle." Instead, about the closest I've ever come is "dessicated bait-worm."

Posted by: Curt at February 9, 2004 01:33 AM

Perhaps children should not be forced to travel the gauntlet of pornography and violence found in the Bible.

Posted by: Curt at February 9, 2004 01:38 AM