“I have not had the pleasure of understanding football.” – @writershouses
Writers’ Houses on Twitter echoed my feeling towards the panicked momentum leading up to Sunday’s Big Game.
Michelle Scott @mscottdjh followed up by tweeting:
“Incremental victories are coupled with exuberant celebration and punishing admonishment.”
“Is such an indiscriminate display of force by the stronger sex truly necessary? Indeed, it does them a disservice.” -@rosannecash
And thus heralded the Sunday night Twitter phenomenon affectionately known as “Jane Austen at the Super Bowl”, a title coined by Rosanne Cash (singer/author, and yes, daughter of Johnny) to politely mock the brutish sport in a manner befitting our beloved 19th century gentlefolk.
Whenever football season rears its ugly head, Joe and I lock our doors, turn off all the lights, and hide in the hall closet… until the yellow and black banners slowly disappear like melting snow from windows and porches around our neighborhood.
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
@WesleyStace (John Wesley Harding)
Maryland does have a football team of its own … wait, let me Google it… yes, the Baltimore Ravens.
And of course, the Washington (D.C.) Redskins, whose reputation is legendary even to those of us who aren’t following their career.
Are they winning again??
However, since Hagerstown sits on the Pennsylvania border, with its close proximity to Pittsburgh only a few hours drive, many of our neighbors feel excused to switch their allegiance in favor of the golden Steelers who have already won six Super Bowls and can “beat the crap out of everyone” (or so I’ve been proudly informed).
“One wonders whether the gentlemen’s actions will rival the braggadocio on display.”
@CrossHare (Hisao Yatsuhashi)
“Are they to be murdered on the field?! Such an ill-advised display of manhood is indeed alarming.” – @rosannecash
“It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for terrible towels.” – @asavwms (Asa Williams)
What the heck is a Super Bowl anyway?
I blogged about my retail in-experience with football madness two years ago, as a grocery manager forced to deal with Event Planning for the Big Game.
I joked that it was taken as seriously by food-connoisseurs as Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts… with elaborate spreads of “finger foods” and dips being prepared.
“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love your Buffalo Chicken Pizza.”
@heymrmiked (Michael Dunn)
“No one knows how I suffer. Such flutterings of my heart and pains in my head. Perchance too many jalapenos.” – @anamcara1004 (Jen Nash Humphrey)
Apparently, America does indeed consider Super Bowl Weekend to be a national holiday, even if the government hasn’t officially declared it so. And Wiki claims it is the second-largest day for food consumption, after Turkey Day.
(No wonder I was feeling stressed, while Frito and Pepsi displays devoured every square inch of my salesfloor!)
“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”
“Super, you say? I have a far superior Bowl at Chawton – Jasperware decorated with the most delectable chinoiserie.” – @WesleyStace (John Wesley Harding)
Last weekend, I couldn’t have honestly answered the question “Who do you think will win?” because I didn’t know which team was opposing the Steelers. It wasn’t obvious from my trips into town, where only yellow and black paraphernalia were on display and for sale in shop windows.
“The men, all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.”
Finally on Saturday night, I overheard someone in the grocery store griping about the lack of local support for the Green Bay Packers.
The other team.
My only recollection of the Packers involved a high school friend (Bobby) who was craaazy about them, wore their green jerseys everywhere, and got teased by the other guys for it.
He also poked gentle fun at my mother, because as a Minnesota resident – she’s a Vikings fan by default (because my stepfather is).
I gather the Wisconsin Packers and the Minnesota Vikings don’t like each other… *shrugs at the understatement*
I was so tired of hearing about these blasted Steelers, that I hoped the Packers would win, just to shut everyone up!
And to brighten Bob’s day, of course… :)
“I’ll not leave this house until its been universally contradicted that you intend to paint yourself green, Miss.”
@BusterBNYC (Bill Buster)
One funny thing about the team from Wisconsin, a state infamous for its cheese production: all the die-hard fans wear cheese!
Yes, they really do.
Well, it’s plastic molded into cheese shapes…
“A cheese bonnet!” exclaimed Mrs Bennett unexpectedly. “I have always wanted a splendid cheese bonnet!”
Continued Mrs Bennett unadvisedly. “There is nothing so merry as a ‘chapeau de ‘fromage’” – @WesleyStace
The silly state of the Packers’ fans’ attire sent the entire network of Janeites twittering…
“The cheesehead wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.” – @abroshar (Abroshar)
“The season was full, the room crowded, and the two ladies squeezed in as well as they could in their cheeseheads.” – @janinelaporte (Janine Laporte)
“All in all, an unusual display of circuses. Presumably bread was also available” – @dan_ad_nauseam (Daniel Reitman)
Although Sunday night was as quiet and uneventful as nights could possibly be with 3 young children… and football was banned from Joe’s 42″ flat-screen pride and joy… the glimpses of Super Bowl fever that I caught on Twitter almost convinced me to sneak into the bedroom to catch the action…
Not the gaming action, mind you. The entertainment!
It began with pop-siren Christina Aguilera flubbing our national anthem in a moment of extreme emotion.
Kathryn Bass was concerned over the poor girl’s health:
“One wonders at the unexpected ululations of Miss C____ A____. Is she quite well?”
“I believe the misspeak by Ms Aguilera greatly vexed many. Perhaps the result of too many excessive diversions.” – @anamcara1004
“You have delighted us long enough, Miss Aguilera.”
“Before she could reply to entreaties that she would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded by the other performers.” – @Amyloo (Amy Bellinger)
The other hot topic of the evening centered around the half-time performances. Just like our favorite night at the theatre, football games have intermissions. During the break, attendees will be treated to a live show of musical guests.
In the earliest shows, the entertainers were typically college marching bands… but over time, the producers realized that big stars would gain better publicity.
Past celebrity performances included: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Queen Latifah, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Janet Jackson (who accidentally lost a bit of clothing during her number).
“One hopes the unfortunate incident involving the lady’s corset is not repeated on this occasion.”
For Sunday’s spectacle, fans were treated to a live show by a hip-hop group called The Black Eyed Peas. It was a futuristic montage of flashing lights, silver jumpsuits, glowing dancers, and well… you get the idea.
“Regarding the Legume Chorale, it grieves me to note that the spectacle exceeds the musicality.”
The poor Peas, now officially dubbed the Legume Chorale by Rosanne, received a public thrashing all around.
“Legume Chorale, you have delighted us long enough. Let the football teams have time to exhibit.” – @janetrutter (Janet Rutter)
“Devil take those young dogs! How they are singing out! Stop your confounded pipe or I shall be after you.”
@itsthebunk (Liza Bernstein)
“They resumed with relief, and perhaps a mutual desire of never meeting the Black Eyed Peas again.” – @abroshar
People watching at home are also entertained by the commercials played on TV during halftime. Apparently, the Super Bowl is one of the highest rated programs on television. According to Wikipedia, this year’s Super Bowl attracted 111 million viewers and has become the “most viewed television broadcast of any kind in U.S. history”.
So advertisers pay hefty sums of money (think $3 million) to have their commercials aired during the game, most notably at halftime.
These ads are usually major productions themselves, with people tuning in just to see the spots.
We didn’t. But Joe later admitted that he was tempted to check out the ads.
“The commercials are tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”
@dkrobledo (Danie Robledo)
“Though I find the sport itself coarse,” said Mrs Cawthon, “still I must admit to enjoying the advertisements.” – @briantedjones (Brian Jones)
Despite the humorous parodies being flung about, it was obvious to an observer that at least a few of these literati were actually watching the game. And knew what was going on, and who was involved with whom.
“I cannot think what is the matter with me!” said Mr Rodgers when his legs were removed from under his body.” – @itsthebunk
“There will be several embarrassed gentlemen in white if the gentlemen in green are the victors.” – @dan_ad_nauseam (Daniel Reitman)
“Mr. Favre was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by concussions.” – @dylanw (Dylan Wilbanks)
“I do not wish for opinions of men wearing stripes when the actions of a man w/a pigskin have spoken so plainly.” – @avb (Ashley Van Buren)
“I may boast that no gentleman of my acquaintance would be in a position to be called for unnecessary roughness.” – @pcarlson001 (Pam Carlson)
And as we’ve all heard by now, unless you’re still hiding in your hall closet…
The Cheeseheads from Wisconsin won the game.
My friend Bob was notedly ecstatic. It’s safe for us to emerge and wander the streets again.
“I will not say that your Steelers are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.”
@janiceharayda (Janice Harayda)
“Lydia’s low spirits upon the regiment vacating Merton were revived upon sighting young swains in green and yellow.” – @elizabethkarr (Elizabeth Karr)
I wanted to compile a list of all the witty and remarkable tweets from the #JaneAustenAtTheSuperBowl discourse, earlier in the week, but many honorable ladies of the Austen blogosphere were burning their midnight oil and beat me soundly to the finish line. ;)
Here are a some of my favorite random quips:
“I do not perceive the greatness in this ball, there being no dancing and the gentlemen acting too much with wine.” – @EFAmericana (Andres Rojas)
“Such lust for possession of an inanimate object so entirely lacking in aesthetic merit does not bode well.” – @HumidCity (Humid City)
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, a single man in possession of the pigskin must be in want of a touchdown.”
“It is your turn, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the shotgun formation & you ought to remark on the snap count.” – @Ohiofoodlovers (JPoleon)
“What a commotion! There runs a man with a ball as if something were after him! He’s lost all sense of decorum!” – @BusterBNYC (Bill Buster)
“A cheerleader, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” – @andevers (A.N. Devers)
Perhaps next year, I’ll invite you to take a turn with me around the sidelines, as I hear the sport can be quite refreshing!
The gentleman and brutes can admire us much better from their positions on the field.
Purchase, where might one procure a bonnet and corset made from cheese?