Reader Mail

Bring Back the Dixie Chicks

Plus more reactions to the Super Bowl. Also: Who capped America? Plus more.

1.27.03

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THE BUCS STOP HERE
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Oakland at Bay:

Was so glad Mr. Pleszczynski mentioned the Dixie Chicks. Prior to their singing I made the comment that I hope they would have someone who would sing a decent rendition of our National Anthem. They did it!!!! I hope all those who despoil our anthem were watching and learned how it should be done.
-- Martha Craig

"Unspeakable grossness"? Baloney. It was a great half-time show. And I'm just saying that because I have a crush on Gwen Stefani, either. She's the best bump and grind rock goddess in decades. The Buccaneers were great, and it just isn't ABC's fault that the Raiders forgot it wasn't a regular season game they were throwing. Granted, last year's game was better. But, come on. Lighten up a little.
-- Ed Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT

Yes, weren't the Dixie Chicks good (not to mention cute as three bugs' ears)? Unlike the folks who usually sing the National Anthem at sports events, the Chicks sounded like they had actually heard it before. (Most of the folks who do the anthem, don't so much sing it as they wrestle it to the ground.)

It's indeed a puzzle that Super Bowl halftime has become a venue for some of the worst wretched excess in the country. Wonder who first got the idea that what millions of football fans watching the game of the year wanted to see at halftime was 45 minutes of maggot-infested hairball rock "sung" by oddly-dressed creatures of indeterminate age and sex from a galaxy far away? (And another thing, how the hell do these people get by stadium security?) And have you noticed that the increasingly absurd performances usually create more smoke than the B-17s created at Dresden? (Hey, if you're looking for the real cause of global warming …)

The game, which I agree was over before halftime, shows us once again that good pitching stops good hitting. The Bucs defense was so dominating I don't believe the Raiders could have scored much more had they been allowed to bring large caliber handguns on the field with them.

As a Tampa native and long-time resident, I was delighted with the outcome. I remember when the only thing the Bucs ever led the NFL in was concussions. In the first year of the franchise the offensive line was so bad that when they appeared on "What's My Line?" in uniform, no one could guess what it is they did.

This was a long time coming. And the folks in Tampa are enjoying it. No matter how much of a monument to wretched excess Super Bowl the event has become.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, FL

You were too kind, Wlady, to the Raiders, the Oakland "professional football team" worship of which allows a subhuman cult to exempt itself from civilized norms. They trash the streets when they win, they rampage when they lose. Let Mayor Jerry Brown deal with them. Of course, I say that as a Southern Californian (now transplanted to Redskinland) whose neighbors and fellow taxpayers were plundered by Raider management a few years ago. Yes, halftime underwhelmed in its excessive tackiness, allowing another Southern Californian, the unfortunately talentless Gwen Stefani (unless you consider Madonna-aping and navel-baring "talent"), to dazzle herself by performing next to the equally empty-headed Sting, though it did spare viewers yet another shot of Shania's belly button. The costly commercials, by which much of the world judges American capitalism, disappointed as well. The graphic dinner-on-the-windshield was obviously written by a Raiders fan. But the upside-down clown did force a laugh. A tad risqué, but funny. Like your piece on the Super Bowl.
-- K. E. Grubbs Jr.
Washington, D.C.

The four F-18's arrived on camera right at the end of the singing of the national anthem. About a second later the network went to commercial. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that this was how the network planned it.

The pre-game and half-time shows were less offensive, to me, than the shows of last year.
-- Bruce Demo
Carlsbad, CA

Enjoyed your review of the Super Bowl.

My only caveat: Wouldn't it have been more accurate in your closing paragraph to suggest that next year the Dixie Chicks be brought back to "lip synch to a pre-recorded National Anthem"?

Personally, I always have to avert my eyes when I see performers faking it like that, even when they are as attractive as the Dixie Chicks.
-- Jim Hunt

CAPPERS
Re: Peter Hannaford's America Homogenized?:

Mr. Hannaford hasn't spent much time in flyover country. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and yes even Illinois will treat you to breakfast, lunch and dinner with patrons topped in baseball caps. I too don't know why "they" wear them. But it is probably because no one has told them it isn't "correct." Emily Post doesn't live here anymore. You'll find as well that, from youngsters to senior citizens, no one has taught our children for 20-30 years to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. These are two small things, perhaps ignored in the quest for diversity. Does anyone remember Bum Phillips, the Oilers coach who never wore his 10-gallon hat inside, including in a football domed stadium? No, I didn't think so.
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, WI

It is obvious that Mr. Hannaford has been isolated from "real America" since his last trip across country. The ball cap is an indispensable part of the male clothing ensemble in the South, West and Midwest (aka flyover country, or red part of the map). It is like the old West, where the first things a cowboy put on in the morning were his hat and his boots. You will find ball caps on farmers, construction workers, truck drivers, hunters and others who work or spend significant time in the outdoors as well as on those who associate with them. This is true from the mountains and farms of New England, through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, across the deep South, the rich farmlands of the Midwest, the Western prairies, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest deserts and the valleys of California. So, Mr. Hannaford, welcome to America.
-- Ralph Tuggle
Independence, VA

Hey. You might want to know that there is a Cross on Mount Davidson in San Francisco of all places that is 103 feet tall.
-- Thomas Bakerink

FRESH HOMEWORK
Re: Thomas Tunney's letter and George Neumayr's reply in Reader Mail's Friendly Overtures:

While I dislike doing Mr. Neumayr's homework for him, should he chance to examine "Table 6: HIV infection cases by age group, exposure category and sex" (at www.cdc.gov/hiv/stats/hasr1302.htm) he will discover that the percentage of HIV infections taking place in the category "Men who have sex with men" for calendar year 2001 (the last for which statistics are available) is 22%. If we throw in the percentage for "Men who have sex with men and inject drugs" (2%), we only get 24% of the total HIV infections for 2001. The figure for both of these categories combined for the years 1981 through 2001 is 35%. Better in Mr. Neumayr's view no doubt, but still no cigar. Worldwide, the percentage of HIV infections probably tops 90%, but "the rest will be left as an exercise for the student", as old textbooks used to put it.

Finally, my apologies for implying that Mr. Neumayr relayed that grotesque and unsupported estimate from Rolling Stone that 25% of all new HIV infections are due to "bug chasers" deliberately infecting themselves. How he managed to resist using such a polemically useful figure remains a puzzle.
-- Thomas Tunney

George Neumayr replies: Who is checking his math? I went to the CDC page, and of 816,149 AIDS cases, 368,971 are attributable to homosexual sex, 51,293 to homosexual sex plus drugs, which would make the percentage even higher than the San Francisco AIDS foundation reported. Maybe I am missing something, but I don't think Mr. Tunney's math is anymore reliable than his ability to read my column without claiming I threw around the 25% bug chasing figure.

VACUUM FILLER
Re: The Washington Prowler's Single Players: Sucker Puncher:

Given the present lack of the Dem's to field viable presidential candidates, the GOP's political future will be filled by the antics of "Bonnie and Clod," AKA Hillary and Bill.

Add to that mix their news slanting "sock puppets" residing in the editorial rooms of the N.Y. Times and the major networks of media left.

The American Prowler and other conservative journals should "have a ball" in reporting Bonnie and Clod's political bank robbing escapades.
-- Ken Wyman
Huntsville, AL

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