Super Embarrassment

The Super Bowl is such an American phenomenon, mesmerizing a world taken in by the new religion of sports, that 230 countries and territories of the world will watch it on Sunday. I have no problem with people watching American football; it's just the embarrassing cultural junk that goes with it that has me worried.

Think of it. The entire world gets a three-hour window into American culture one Sunday a year, and what they see will determine in large part what they think of us.

We wonder why other nations despise America. I'm sure at the root of it there's more than a bit of jealousy for the bright and seductive material culture that we sport on a day like Super Sunday, but there also has to be some disdain if not contempt for what we display as our "way of life." The Super Bowl has its share of real funny advertisements (I'll grant you that), but these are punctuated by some of the most salacious commercials that corporate America can dredge up to sell lite beer, Doritos, hair color, Chevys, Pepsi, Pepsi and more Pepsi. When I was in seminary I went to a variety show at another national college where the guys joked that Americans are fed on a diet of coke and potato chips! Well, that's exactly what we tell them about ourselves on TV!

And are we really okay with admitting that US businesses are paying $2.6 million per 30-second spot this year? I'm sorry but that's just obscene. I don't even have to be an advocate of the plight of the world's poor to blush at that. Yeah, I know, it's the market, right?

 Well, marketing is a game of images, and that's the image of bloated America that the rest of the impoverished world will see.

The greatest Super Bowl embarrassments, however, are turning out to be the half time shows. Quite frankly, I'm thinking of volunteering for the Super Bowl committee in charge of selecting next year's entertainment because I just can't take the national humiliation any more. Granted, they probably wouldn't be satisfied with the Gregorian chant that I would suggest, but anything – literally anything – is better than this year's androgynous little icon to American cultural decadence known as "Prince." As if Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" a few years ago wasn't bad enough — how will we live this one down?

The selection of Prince says a great deal about our culture. Sure, he's popular. Sure, he's sold over 100 million albums. But that's exactly the point. Does America like the master of perversion that much? This man is positively dangerous to souls. His albums have been variously titled Chaos and Disorder, Lovesexy, Crystal Ball, The Black Album, Dirty Mind, Camille (named after a French hermaphrodite), The Hot X-perience, The Undertaker, The Flesh, High — and that's just for beginners. Maybe he's turned over a new leaf since he abandoned Christianity and became a Jehovah's Witness in 2001, but weird is as weird does. Michael Jackson behaved himself at the 1993 "Heal the World" Super Bowl half time show too, but we all know how he ended.

To think that the Super Bowl has featured in its history such class acts as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt and even Up With People and the US Marine Corps Drill Team, I can't help but be mortified by images of the Prince of drivel beaming around the globe from our national game.

America has so much more to offer the world! What about the faithfulness of the 100,000 people who braved the cold to stand up in defense of innocent lives at the March for Life last week? What about bravery of the men and women who serve our country as firefighters, paramedics, police officers and soldiers risking their lives to serve others? The Super Bowl should show the true colors of the land of the free and the home of the brave and leave the cultural garbage out.

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  • Guest

    Well said!

  • Guest

    Well written article and very true.  But let's forget about the commercials telling the tale of what ideals (or lack of) reign in our society.  The pornography (yes, pornography) on the sidelines is evidence of what of most of the American culture bows down to, far before we even see a commercial or halftime spectacle. 


    When I say pornography, I refer to the barely dressed cheerleaders on the sidelines, in case anyone has become so desensitized by sexual displays on television that they wondered what I was referring to.  Over the years more team spirit and greater crowd participation = less cheerleading attire and more scandalous dancing. 


    As Catholics we cannot support that which offends our Lord so much.  It is a shame that the devil has ruined football by displaying scantily clad women and immoral halftime shows but we cannot sit and watch the virtue of modesty being thrown out the window. By watching the Superbowl we give our enthusiastic "thumbs up" to the slaughter of morality in our society and that is the "Super Embarassment." 

     Let's take one for the Godman who gave everything for us and let's turn the T.V. off this Sunday and offer up this small sacrifice for the revival of modesty in our world!  



  • Guest

    great article and how true. What is wrong with the US . We have taken GOD out of everything how can we change that i wish i knew

  • Guest

    The article was and will be remembered by this reader as great.  What is real about it is that  dose show to the  rest of the world what a God GAME football has become.  Why can a whole world set this sunday aside to watch a game that impowers this nation to hit a whole team of players for millions of dollars payed to each of them.  A sport that the more brutle it is portrayed the higher its ratings.  Also by the same token the more sex suggestive the higher the overall ratings. By all means it is the ratings that are important not the game it self.  The higher the ratings the more money the corpate sponsers see set in the coffers.  These men that play in the game these days have their own agents that set  their contracts to determain their salery and benfits.  Most of the world can only hope that our jobs will pay the bills with a little left over to pay for a small vaction once a year, it might be to Disnyland.Frown

  • Guest

    I love the idea of you on the Super Bowl committee. I think a lot of people would agree with you that it's time for a change.

    Musically, here's what I'd like to see: a band that's not considered only Christian rock, who appeals to a wide variety of people, but one that definitely gives God's message. (The band Switchfoot comes to mind.) Or a band that is not known at all for it's Christian message, but that has several songs that are, in fact, Christian, and have them sing those songs. (Good Charlotte singing "The River" comes to mind.)

    The money is a problem to me, too, as well as the outright approval of sexual displays. We cheapen sex so much in this society…and spending that much on a commerical is just incredible. I think of all the good that could be done with that money.

    Here's an idea for Pepsi: save the Superbowl cash. Run a series of commericials in the weeks following, showing the Unites States all the good things you did with the money you didn't spend on Super Bowl, all the lives you changed. I think that people would love it. I think it would be much more effective than whatever they do today.

    I would certainly be buying more from any company who did that.

    Get on the committee and get some really great music by bands that will appeal to all but who will sing songs that they could proudly sing in front of God. I bet you'd find a great response.

    How do people get on that committee? How can we help you get there and get others like you there? It's the only way to change things.

  • Guest


  • Guest

    How about a vote for Capitalism over Socialism?  Is it obscene to spend 2.6 mil for something that can make the company $10 mil  No.  It is simple math.  Should we take that money away from these companies and give it to hungry people in Africa?  Not unless we want the people who are employed by these companies to not be able to feed their children.  

  • Guest

    I agree with Fr. Thomas. Prince and provocatively dressed cheerleaders are not an image of America we want to present. It just adds to the fuel of extremists that we are a pagan, morally depraved society trying to force its standards on the rest of the world. For more insights into this point of view read Dinesh D’Souza’s new book: The Enemy at Home ( ). Committees organizing the entertainment accompanying the Super Bowl should be conscious of the image of America that is presented to the rest of the world.

  • Guest

    An eye opener…Fr. Euteneur points out "the religion of sports" which has overtaken our country. Watching or part-taking in organized sports is healthy, but when fathers leave their children at home to "worship" the Sport God it becomes un-healthy. When our peers become so mesmerized by the spectical of the sport that we do not see what our children are watching, it is also unhealthy. When selling sex through $2 million commercials places little value on our morals, what impression are we giving the world about our country, our society, our morals…Yes Fr Eutener, I would rather listen to the Gregorian Chant, and not at half-time, since it would be prudent to turn-off the Super Bowl of embarrazment for a wholesome time with the family

  • Guest

     What I am put off by here are the comments about Prince and the plain incorrect information put forth. Respectfully, I am not sure where Fr.Euteneuer got his information. For instance, Prince has never had records entitled, The Hot Experience and The Flesh, and another three of the records mentioned were projects that never saw the light of day. How can we comment on that?  Unfortunately Father may have fallen prey to the same commercialism he is turned off by. There is no doubt that Prince has been a sexual and controversial figure in his time, and in those times I cannot defend him. Most of what people complain about him is when he was a young man in his early twenties. (Dare I say probably poor judgement? I look at myself from when I was that age and do not recognize myself.)  Only his youth was displayed in a public forum. But as with most of the general public that has really left off with the famous purple trench coat from twenty plus years ago, I feel this is happening here too. He has not worn that since coat since 1985!, and what’s more, the music has evolved too.

    I don’t expect Father to delve himself into Prince records, but if he did, he would also find songs like, God, The Cross, God Is Alive, and For Tears in Your Eyes (the meek shall inherit the Earth) with song lyrics as follows:

    Long ago there was a man

    Who changed stone 2 bread with one touch of his hand

    He made the blind see and the dumb understand

    And He died 4 the tears in your eyes (Your eyes)

    Many people came from all around

    2 hear this man preach with glorious sound

    He spoke of man in harmony and love abound

    And He died 4 the tears in your eyes (Your eyes)



    4 the tears in your eyes if they're tears of sorrow

    4 cents may be all that they're worth

    4 the rising sun each day assures us

    The meek shall inherit the earth, the earth


    Faith is a word we all should try

    In describing the man who willingly died

    Believe that your sorrow, hunger, and fears

    Is less than the tears in your eyes, your eyes


    I choose to concentrate on these songs more than the salacious, and although you get the full package with him, I hardly think he is “dangerous to our souls.”

    In closing, I cannot think of another act that embodies what it means to be more American. (Poor boy from Minneapolis, tough family situation, became a self taught musician, works hard, and becomes successful and also charitable with his money) Prince is coming up on his fiftieth birthday in a couple of years. He has matured, like most of us. But he still falls prey to a public that chooses to read just headlines. To me, he is a consummate musician, and his consciousness has gained my respect.  

    Respectfully, please consider doing your legwork on a topic before you write in a forum that is as powerful as yours. The facts are important!! Your article was mostly an uneducated opinion without much merit. You may have unintentionally decieved people who don’t know any better. All in all, I am not really worried about a rock musician, but the fact that what if I was reading a story here and did not know facts, like I do know here.  I would have defaulted into believing you. That worries me.

  • Guest

    The inner workings of the artist known as Prince notwithstanding, I found two things very encouraging at Super Bowl XLI.

    1.  The first thing out of the mouth of the owner of the Colts when they handed him the gaudy championship trophy was that his heart went out to the people victimized by the tornadoes in central Florida and the Colts would participate in supporting the recovery.

    2.  When asked how it felt to be the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, Indianapolis Coach Dungy said he was honored, but he was even more proud that both he and Chicago's Coach Smith were Christians and showed how you can win by coaching the Lord's way.

    Dungy and Smith both go against the NFL culture in that neither one use profanity and they do no raise their voices.  They coach by motivating their players to play for each other and not for themselves.

    I was not embarrassed by that; I was quite moved. I wish the rest of the world would notice that as well.