Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, February 02, 2004


I hadn’t planned on watching the Super Bowl, but my neighbor called and said he’d been up til 4 in the morning roadying his friend’s show Saturday night, and when he woke up he learned that his teen-age son had invited 10 teen-agers over to watch the game, and would I mind if he came over to watch? Of course I wouldn’t mind.

(I can’t resist mentioning something that probably hundreds of other people have mentioned before: What a funny name the Super Bowl is!

“Yes sir, that’s one grand bowl you got there.”

“Grand? Oh no, it’s more than merely Grand. It’s a SUPER bowl!”)

Pop R&B star Beyonce sang the National Anthem. She sang most of it in 4/4, and it sounded weird, stretching the phrases awkwardly from their usual 3/4 shape. I’d heard a country diva on the pop country radio station sing it in 4/4 a couple months before, and it struck me as odd. Beyonce sang the heck out of it -- great singer (I’d heard of her, a big current star, but don’t know her music). Interestingly, when she got to climactic closing lines -- “O say does that star spangled banner yet wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” -- she switched to 3/4, and it upped the energy meter.

I really like “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Great tune -- stirring and emotional. Sure, the words are martial, but how martial can a song be that’s in waltz time? And, someone pointed out, the words are nothing but questions. O say can you see? O say does the banner yet wave? It’s kind of odd and goofy that the national anthem of big bad-ass America is a series of insecure questions. And I do like the lines about the land of the brave and the home of the free.

The half-time musical extravanganza with Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nellie, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake was an extravagant lip-synch dance bonanza. The only song I’d heard before was Nelly’s catchy hit about being in a hot room and asking his companion -- telling her, really -- to take off all her clothes. I’m all in favor of nudity. I listen forward to the hit songs where women tell men to take off our clothes. At least, I think I do.

Even though Janet was the headliner, and was the only one who sang twice, Justin closed the medley-cavalcade-of-stars, with Janet still on stage dancing dirty with him, grabbing his ass as she rubbed her own ass against his crotch. The extravaganza ended with Justin grabbing Janet’s dress and tearing half of it off, exposing her breast, which had some sort of sticker on the nipple. Janet seemed into it, but it’s impossible to imagine a male headliner submitting to having his shirt torn off by an upstaging woman. She had shown sexual initiative by rubbing her ass against Justin’s crotch, but I wasn’t into the dominance he displayed in the end.

Complicated questions of sexual initiative and gender roles and popular music. About 30 years ago, Loretta Lynn was having affairs and falling out of love with her husband and celebrating non-reproductive sex (in her songs -- I know nothing of her personal life, except she was a coal miner’s daughter and Crystal Gayle’s sister). “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill” has these great lines.
“I never wanted to stop loving you /
I swear by the breath in my body it’s true.”

Not, “I swear to God”; not, “I swear on the Bible”; not, “I swear on my parent’s grave” -- I swear by the Breath in my Body. Processual, physical, personal -- life. Beautiful.
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