February 09, 2004

Putting the Mass in Mass Media

What, what, hold up. Did I just catch a glimpse of intellectual insight coming from a Bush administration official? Media Czar Michael Powell called the Super Bowl a "sacred period of time". And I couldn't agree more.

I grew up in a home without television, a fact that made me acutely aware of its power to bring people together. It sucks pretty hard rolling into school knowing that everyone else watched Alf last night and you've got no place in half a days worth of conversation... May well be a better person for it all, but it sure didn't seem that way back in 3rd grade.

Adam looks towards cathedrals for comparison, and perhaps he should have stopped there, cause in all honestly his airport analogy baffles me. But the cathedral, the mass, that is the appropriate space to be looking at the sacredness of the ultimate mass media event, the Super Bowl.

The religious ritual is all about shared experience. Everyone under the cathedrals arches shares one unifying experience, one replicated quite similarly in cathedrals and churches round the world. But as religion fragments and threatens to fade, this unity dying in the margins.

The Super Bowl is close to the last mass event on television. The only time when the majority of America comes together in one massive unity, one shared experience. A beautiful thing really, and a beauty that seems lost on many of television's critics.

Ironically the core ritual of the traditional mass seems to have made the leap, with the communion wafer and wine, becoming wafers of potatoes and bottles of watery beer. And this being America of course proportions grow by several orders of magnitude. But still the nation communes. The same game, the same play by play. Same grease-carbohydate-salt delivery systems getting swallowed. Same Ads. Same offensive half time show. Unity for once. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by Abe at February 9, 2004 02:35 AM