Worth reading this week:
Most of this article is actually pretty funny, but the conclusion is one of those Mockingbird-esque kickers, which I will give away (even as I suggest you read the whole thing.)
If the Super Bowl is the last great community event holding America together and we put it on a shrink’s couch for psychological analysis, here’s what we have. While it’s true that we all likely had some sort of representation through the carousel of celebrities shilling us premium brands, it turns out we’re all afraid of getting older and dying. We’re grasping at straws to find some sort of common bond that holds us all together. We’d all love some way to atone for the wrongs we have done, and if we can’t fix the things in our world that are broken, we’ll probably just distance ourselves from them and wash our hands of responsibility. And maybe, just maybe, there’s the hope of agape, the hope of a love that will act on us when we cannot achieve it ourselves.
Bryan J., “Super Bowl Psychology: What This Year’s Commercials Tell Us About Ourselves” Mockingbird (Feb. 3, 2020) [link].
Alan Jacobs is no longer doing much at Snakes and Ladders (subscribe to his newsletter, instead), but this was a nice piece of anachronism (in two senses):
The Devil chooses to deceive some people in the following way. He will marvelously inflame their brains with the desire to uphold God’s law and destroy sin in everyone else. He will never tempt them with anything that is manifestly evil. He makes them like anxious prelates watching over the lives of Christian people of all ranks, as an abbot does over his monks. They will rebuke everyone for their faults, just as if they had their souls in their care; and it seems to them that they dare not do otherwise for God’s sake. They tell them of the faults they see, claiming to be impelled to do so by the fire of charity and the love of God in their hearts; but in truth they are lying, for it is by the fire of hell surging in their brains and their imaginations.
Alan Jacobs, “understanding Christians (and others) on social media” Snakes and Ladders (Feb. 2, 2020) [link] (quoting from the 14th-century Cloud of Unknowing) [link].
Not that we know anyone like that.
And, just in time to fend off the sportsfans who want baseball to be more like football (I’m looking at you, Hank), Kirk Goldsberry and Katherine Rowe point out that football has even less “action” than baseball: “How Much Football Is Even In A Football Broadcast?” FiveThirtyEight (Jan. 31, 2020) [link]:
Our findings reveal that while different sports produce wildly different broadcast experiences, NFL broadcasts are among the most interrupted and least action-packed broadcasts of any sport. Simply put, there’s not a lot of actual football in a football game.
The numbers are startling. An average NFL broadcast lasts well over three hours, yet it delivers a total of only 18 minutes of football action.
That’s no problem. Until Sunday it was football, but baseball’s coming.