The United States of Ass

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez Superbowl Halftime
Shakira & Jennifer Lopez perform at Superbowl LIV.

So here’s a bit of what we have so far.

"That was a disgusting, immoral display that objectifies women."

"That was a powerhouse performance by two strong women who aren’t afraid to express their sexuality."

"If I wanted to watch a stripper…"

"Actually, pole dancing is very demanding. Those women are athletes!"

Today: "What a statement about how women can look at fifty!"

Tomorrow: "That performance set an unrealistic and unfair standard of beauty for older women."

Look. The day before the Super Bowl I was at a college basketball game where, for over two hours, a couple rows of tiny women lined up and shook their hips in my general direction. At halftime they do it at center court and we’re all supposed to watch with intent. It always seems like these performances are about a third again too long. You can tell when it’s two thirds over, because that’s the moment when you start to wonder what it is you’re supposed to be looking at.

I want to be clear. I’m not making a statement or judgement about morality or sexuality, or even how long I can comfortably watch a cheerleading routine.

But maybe I am trying to say something about the American esthetic. I’d be willing to entertain the idea that the moment of uncomfortable silence among the folks I was watching the game with yesterday was as much embarrassment about our own silliness as it was anything else.

Double butt hammer shot to the camera!…silence…um… ah… "Put the football game back on!"

I did enjoy the halftime show for the very reason that it was just so absurd. I’ll call the moment "How I stopped worrying and learned to love glitter."

Today I’ve seen friends whose musical and artistic knowledge is quite sophisticated, bend themselves into pretzels trying to describe that halftime show show as anything but a really goofy demonstration of what a large number of Americans are able to understand as entertainment.

What it really comes down to is this:

"Hey citizens! Here’s some ass!"

"Thanks TV! That was really thoughtful of you!"

None of this is new. It might be shinier and louder.

Americans love ass.

After all, we elected one to lead us.

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