The Current Crisis

Hits to the Head

Football announcers talk too much. They need to be fined and replaced.

By 2.10.11

WASHINGTON -- The other night while watching the Super Bowl, I became increasingly aware that the Angry Left might have a point about the Giant Corporations. Not that the game was not exciting. It was. Those quarterbacks can really heave the ball. Suddenly it is in their hands and suddenly it is in a receiver's outreached arms, having passed through a forest of opposing players' arms. Both teams were composed of players who apparently were made of rubber. They hurled themselves at each other and occasionally at the hard turf and simply bounced. Occasionally they did not. Sometimes they were injured, occasionally rather badly. But for the most part they seemed amazingly resilient. It was a hell of a battle, and doubtless the better team won, but I cheered for both teams. They were great.

Had I only to watch the game I would have been happy, though even happier had I lowered the volume of the inane commentary. Possibly the networks have an agreement to hire garrulous, loud, excessively male, commenters who have very little to say but say it repetitiously. Unfortunately, it hardly adds to the excitement of the game. Rather it adds to the confusion of the programming, and there was a great deal of confusion Sunday night. For whole stretches I sat there stupefied by the confusion, most of it provided by the ads and by the garrulous commentators. Not much can be done about the ads that seem to get stupider and more incoherent every year, but something can be done about these excessively virile loudmouths.

I suggest the networks at least for really big games like the Super Bowl hire George Will and a very polite lady commentator with very little to say. I have in mind Kathleen Parker, the soi-disant conservative columnist and TV personality. She is not a conservative so there would be no reason for claiming the couple lacked balance, and she does not have much to say on politics so why would she be long-winded on football? She would be polite and relatively inaudible, perfect.

George would arrive at the microphone with all the facts and figures already in his head (if he follows football like he follows baseball he already does have the facts and figures in his head). He would speak in perfect sentences, employing model grammar, and he would have the good taste to let the game -- for the most part -- speak for itself. When George filed a witticism or some other off-the-wall comment, Parker could give a little, exasperated, "Oh, Geeeoorge!" and subside.

It would all be very civilized. What is more, it might get Parker off her present CNN assignment with that loutish rastaquouère Eliot Spitzer. He is a cad and he is bound to eventually drag her in to one of his awaiting scandals.

Yet doubtless you are wondering about the Angry Left's point about the Giant Corporations. What precisely did they say about the Giant Corporations that I found fetching. Well, they invariably complain, among other things, about the Corporations' advertising. They say that it gets consumers to buy madly, particularly the young and the stupid, just the people who can ill afford to buy junk food, beer, and Audis or maybe BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes. Well, there is not much compelling evidence to support the Angry Left's complaints as you might guess, but let us show our magnanimous side. Let us say that the Angry Left is right to complain about the Giant Corporations' ads on the Super Bowl even if they got the details wrong. The ads are atrocious.

They are nonsensical. They are incoherent. They are fantastical. They are violent. They are humorless. Their sexual content is for adolescents. And I cannot often tell what they are selling. In fact the night of the Super Bowl I could rarely tell where one ad ended and another began. They all seemed to run together, though they did favor monsters of a reptilian sort over humans so maybe they were aimed at extra-terrestrial creatures or people who drink too much.

At any rate they too distracted from the game. Possibly next year I shall use the mute button more, but how will I keep the visuals from sight? It is a real problem.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.