On Yesterday's 'Blackout Bowl'

photo of the power failure at 2013 Super Bowl
Where’s Don Meredith When You Need Him?

What Dave Zirin said. A taste:

The Super Dome is supposed to stand, in post-hurricane, post-levees New Orleans as a symbol of the city’s resurgence. It’s also supposed to stand as a symbol of the city’s reborn tourism industry and status as an “event town” ready to be the Mecca for Fortune 500 companies and the hottest happenings in sports. But this economic comeback, with an emphasis on low-paying, zero-benefits service-industry jobs, has had another effect as well: widening inequality. The poverty rate is up to 29 percent, 8 percent higher than in 2007 when the city was still rebuilding after the Hurricane. Child poverty is up to 42 percent and the Lower Ninth Ward has seen its population drop by 80 percent in the last decade. The “event economics” of what Professor Jules Boykoff calls “celebration capitalism” only exacerbates these trends, creating a small army of migrant service-industry workers forever attempting to catch on to the “seasonal work” brought by these splashy yet temporary gatherings.

Last year, Clint Eastwood talked about “Halftime in America” on behalf of Chrysler, but it felt (at least for a moment) like perhaps on behalf of us all, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis we still have yet to fully recover from. But then Clint Eastwood went loony at the GOP convention this past fall, and it reminded us that he’s only an actor, and those uplifting words in the “Halftime” ad were only words he was paid to say.

What seems clear after yesterday’s post-halftime blackout, though, is that Chrysler, speaking in Eastwood’s voice, had it quite wrong. It’s well past halftime in America. In fact, we’re deep into the fourth quarter, and, like last night’s 49ers, we’re down by more than one touchdown. It’s time for us to dig in an stop tolerating mediocre play from our leaders, and from ourselves. I just hope we can manage to pull ourselves together enough to achieve a better outcome than the 49ers did last night.

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