Super Bowl halftime show sparks outrage, praise, and huge opportunity

Mary Martin (left) Carol Channing (right) by Carol Highsmith, LOC
Mary Martin (left) and Carol Channing (right) were superstars in their day. It’s unlikely most Americans who aren’t seniors could identify them today. (Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.)

As soon as I saw Shakira and Jennifer Lopez do the halftime show for Super Bowl LIV, I knew controversy would follow. It usually does—people often either love the halftime show or hate it. That said, I was glad there were only adults watching it in my home. I wouldn’t have let my child watch that performance.

Did it offend me?

No. I have to admire the athleticism of both women. The performance was adult fare, though—a glorified strip tease of sorts with minimal covering of sensitive areas. I may be a chronic halftime grouch. I’ve complained in past columns, so I guess I’m just keeping up my tradition.

What’s interesting is that no one sees the huge opportunity here.

A great many Americans, judging posts on Twitter and comments to articles, didn’t approve of last night’s entertainment because it wasn’t family friendly.

This is most definitely an opportunity.

In a country where we still have a portion of the free market functioning, why hasn’t anyone come up with a halftime show alternative? I realize you can’t capitalize on the NFL brand without politicking and paying a fortune, but you don’t have to.

The date for the game is always announced in advance. Avenues for streaming performances exist online. It seems to me some enterprising soul could come up with an alternative and bill it as the First Sunday option. Or something like that. Currently the game is held the first Sunday in February, so it’d be pretty easy to plan ahead for a stream.

The other item for debate involved those cage-like structures the children were in. Both Shakira and Lopez have supported Democrats in the past, so that didn’t surprise me. I don’t recall either performer bringing this up via their performances when the previous administration created those “cages”, however. Nor do I see anyone offering a proposal that would keep unaccompanied minors safe in an environment filled with adults from all different sorts of backgrounds. I’d like to hear solutions instead of just political natter.

You can see what people thought of the halftime show by going to Twitter or just reading comments in various coverage of the event. The most hilarious headline, quite understated, that I saw came from First Coast News here in my hometown of Jacksonville:

Latinas got loud: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira brought the heat in flawless Super Bowl halftime show

“Brought the heat”? More like brought volcanic fire. Media truly make no sense these days.

I know quite a few “Latinas”. Every single one, male or female, is pretty conservative when it comes to child-rearing. So I wouldn’t set up either female performer as a standard for all Latinas, but I’m not much of a stereotyper. I’m into making my mind up about a person on an individual basis.

I enjoyed the football game last night—I was thrilled to see the Chiefs win and I loved the competitiveness of the game. As people debate the halftime show, maybe some critics might come up with another option for people not interested in political dogma or choreographed soft porn. Human beings are quite adept at discovering sexual preferences all by themselves, and if we want to get “loud” about something, maybe we could get loud about the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Or we could talk about the rising STD rate.

We’ve come a long way since Carol Channing appeared in the first Super Bowl Halftime Show. In past years, you’d see marching bands and drill teams. Now we get musicians and if nothing else, the acoustics are usually terrible. That’s fine—it’s the right of the NFL and the entertainers to do whatever they come up with.

No one forces you to watch. Many of us use the halftime period to get up and move around anyway.

Opportunity, people. There’s a huge opportunity here.

(Kay B. Day/Feb. 3, 2020)

Derelict by Rebecca Day
Image of ‘Derelict’ book cover courtesy of author.

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