I had the same initial reaction as Prof Crispy to the public displays of emotion in North Korea following the death of Little Elvis. I thought they had to be fake—especially those of the news readers, who were apparently so choked up that they couldn’t even make the announcement—all part of an elaborate charade meant to assure the official minders that everyone is still firmly on-board with the regime. Or, if by some chance these people actually were crying, it had to be the result of years and decades of brainwashing on a massive scale. Either way, it was an inkling of how much it must suck to live in a place where the head of state is regarded with such reverence. Then it occurred to me that here in America, a country supposedly founded on opposition to rule by powerful figureheads, we’re not too far behind. Almost fifty years out, and people are still nostalgic for Came-a-lot, and look at all the pomp and bullshit that went along with the death of Saint Ronnie a few years ago. I thought they were never going to put that fucker in the ground. And, for a more recent example, of course, there’s always this.
Superbowl Sunday, the High Holy Day of our de facto state religion, has become such a brobdingnagian spectacle of militarist self-worship that Leni Riefenstahl would probably find the proceedings a bit excessive. The Caligulan feast in Dallas did offer one small source of consolation: Contrary to what compulsive mosque-baiters would have us believe, the culture on display is not haunted by the specter of impending Sharia rule.
I had a similar thought while watching the pregame show, although I probably would have gone with Kim Jong-il instead of the Nazis. But no matter—gaudy displays of militarism and paeans to the dear leader (or, in our case, leaders) are all more or less the same anyway.
My favorite part was the tribute to the glories of the US Government narrated by Michael Douglas. Images of past emperors—I mean, presidents—flitted across the screen, accompanied by references to their most famous speeches. “Where would we be if He hadn’t asked us what we can do for our country,” said one of those supposed America-haters from Hollywood.
I almost spat out a mouthful of crab dip when I heard that one.
Let’s see, where would “we” be if JFK hadn’t made a bullshit speech 50 years ago? No doubt we’d all be dead, all 300,000,000 of us having long ago succumbed to collective inertia and self-neglect.