Super Bowl as American as can be

Published 3:28 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

Forget the millions of dollars spent for 30-second commercials, the extravagant halftime shows, the off-the-chart ratings and the distinction of being the single biggest sporting event in the most powerful country in the world.

Forget all that. This Super Bowl thing has really gotten big now. Long representative of the excess of American culture, it seems the event has turned into an interest group battleground, as well.

It began with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals producing and financing a commercial that has been banned. You can check this spot out on the group’s Web site, so I’ll just say it made use of attractive women showing their affection for vegetables—and they really like their vegetables.

As was stated earlier, the commercial will not be airing today, though it seems far less graphic than the number performed by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake several years ago. But the trashing of the commerical didn’t stop those with an agenda from using today’s stage to push that agenda.

A press release from the Center for Consumer Freedom on Thursday pulled the mask off a campaign by the Cancer Project that listed the “Five Most Unhealthful Super Bowl Party Foods.” These foods included meat-lover’s pizza, chicken pasta, tuna melt and chicken wings. What do these foods have in common? They’re all meats.

So, CCF informed us that Cancer Project’s president is a former president of, you guessed it, PETA.

“Super Bowl Sunday is about watching football and eating food, not hugging cows and saving chickens,” David Martosko, CCF director of research, said in the release. “This phony-baloney Cancer Project group shouldn’t try to ruin the big game with a health scare. I’m throwing a flag on this whole nonsense campaign. Fifteen yards—personal foul for unnecessary buzz kill.”

That’s pretty funny stuff, but this is a serious issue. The Super is indeed about watching football and eating food. It’s not about PETA, but it’s not about CCF, either, Mr. Martosko (CCF, in case you’re wondering, is an interest group that could be considered just as extreme as PETA only on the opposite end of the spectrum).

Shame on any group that tries to kill our Super Bowl buzz. Today isn’t about interest groups, their acronyms or their agendas. Today is about America—food, football and maybe some adult beverages.

On second thought, though, interest groups are pretty darn American, I guess. Pass the chicken wings, Mr. Martosko, we’ve got a game to watch.