Prime Time Debauchery

As you’re likely aware, the first Sunday in February is the date of the annual Super Bowl. For the uninformed, that’s the final NFL (National Football League) game of the season, between AFC (American Football Conference) champions and NFC (National Football Conference) champions.

This year’s game in Miami was the 54th since the Super Bowl began. For the non-Roman numeral aficionados among us, that number looks like this: LIV. Next year’s game, the 55th, will be LV.

For a number of years, Terry and I have watched the first half of the game at the beautiful west Austin home of my first cousin, Dick Rathgeber. Dick and Sara are gracious hosts who entertain 150 or so of their nearest and dearest friends at their annual Super Bowl party. Our friend Dr. John Mehl, executive director of Mission of Christ Network, joined us. With Dick’s blessing.

To facilitate guests’ conversation, the numerous TVs around the house were muted. So we watched the game, with no audio, and the $5.5 million dollar per 30 second commercials, also muted.

At halftime we thanked our hosts and drove home to fast forward through the first half of the game, which we had already seen, and to play the commercials, which had been seen but not heard. We decided to skip the halftime program, to watch and listen to the second half of the game and the second half commercials, in order to get to bed at a God-pleasing hour.

The next night, Terry and I decided to watch the halftime show. It featured a duo of popular performers, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. I had heard from ladies at the office that the show consisted of a lot of Latin music, writhing, jiggling, and other sexually suggestive movements.

They were correct. And slightly understated. The word “debauchery” comes to mind.

Debauchery is a term defined by the following synonyms: wickedness, sin, depravity, corruption, decadence, iniquity, wantonness, immorality, shamelessness, licentiousness, impiety, self-indulgence, intemperance, hedonism. Some of those terms are stronger than others, providing a bit of leeway when they are used. And not all of them are accurately descriptive of the Super Bowl halftime show. But some of those words tell the story.

The gyrations of the two headliners, with poles and ropes, and of the groups of male and female dancers accompanying them, were not just a little over the top. That’s especially true considering the prime time audience watching, which surely included children, some of whom actually participated on stage with their scantily attired “role models” leading the way.

Our children and grandchildren will be exposed to debauchery soon enough, and maybe already have been. But it shouldn’t be coming into their own living room. From their family television. Before their bedtime. National Football League, I think you can do better than prime time debauchery!

Super Bowl Commercials

Super BowlFifty-two companies purchased advertisements in the 2016 Super Bowl. Each paid CBS five million dollars for 30 seconds of time on the air. That’s $166,666.67 per second!

Why would anyone spend that much to show a half minute message on TV, only one time? How else could any business communicate to an audience of over 100 million people, at once?

The message these advertisers wanted to communicate is who they are, what they do, and why we need what they have to offer. Two advertisements of interest come to mind:

  1. The Doritos Ultrasound. This ad opens with a pregnant woman having an ultrasound. The dad is shown casually munching chips, which annoys the mom. Then we see the not quite yet born baby in mother’s womb reaching toward the chips. When mom grabs the bag and tosses it out of reach, the unborn baby is shown rushing for the exit — early delivery time!

In what some are calling the dumbest denunciation ever, NARAL, formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League, slammed the ad for “humanizing fetuses.” I cannot comprehend how anyone who sees an ultrasound showing a baby in its mother’s womb can doubt that the baby is a live human being. Embryonic life is a precious gift of God!

  1. The Budweiser “Commercial.” I’m not talking about the paid Bud ads but about Peyton Manning’s interview by CBS’s Tracy Wolfson. After the award presentation, he said he was going to kiss his wife and kids and “drink a lot of Budweiser.” He said it again later.

In addition to paying for two commercials, Budweiser got two freebies from Manning. Such a deal! One full minute and two quick comments for a paltry $10 million!

At times like these I wonder what a $5 million thirty second advertisement for the Christian Church would look like. We could begin by communicating who we are, what we do and why those who don’t yet believe in Christ need what we have to offer.

A better idea might be to skip the ad and spend the $5 million living out what Jesus said: “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you invited me into your home, naked and you clothed me, sick and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me… When you did [these things] to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matt. 25:34-36, 40)

Think about it! Not a bad idea to implement during the Lenten season!