The Super Bowl Veers Left

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


During Sunday’s Super Bowl, the advertising and programming executives in Hollywood and New York graced us with their version of what we want to see. And if it’s any reflection of reality, we’re becoming a coarser, stupider, and less value-oriented nation.

Let’s start with the halftime show. For years, the Super Bowl halftime show has been a repository for shocking performances, including the pre-staged Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson boobgate in 2004. But Beyoncé’s pelvic-thrusting marathon session, accompanied by her doxy backup dancers, wasn’t so much shocking as it was jaded and cynical. It wasn’t sexy; it was tiresome, in-your-face, boring. Booty-shaking is no longer surprising, since surprise requires standards to be broken. In a nation with no standards, we’re not even excited by what used to be outrageous behavior. There’s no prize for nakedest at a nudist festival.

The commercials, too, contrasted what used to be American with what is now American. The Chrysler Group’s Dodge Ram “Farmer” ad, which showed stills of American farmers over a voiceover from famed broadcaster Paul Harvey, “So God Made a Farmer,” received high marks from the crowd. It was a moving reconsideration of values now thought by many to be passé:

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight…and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed…and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who’d laugh and then sigh…and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does.” So, God made a farmer!

Contrast that ad with one from Coca Cola, featuring a series of security camera shots, and titled, “Give a Little Bit”:

Security cameras around the world … also capture … people stealing kisses, music addicts, honest pickpockets, and potato chip dealers … attacks of friendship, unexpected firemen, and peaceful warriors. Let’s look at the world a little differently.

When the caption reads, “Peaceful warriors,” we see a video of some moron tagging the word “Peace” on the side of a building. This is what it takes to create peace across the world? A powerful military presence irrelevant in comparison to graffiti?  Spraying beyond the call of valor?

The Occupy Generation’s disrespect for the Greatest Generation saw its most obvious embodiment in Taco Bell’s famed “Viva Young” commercial, which featured a bunch of octogenarians acting like juvenile delinquents, complete with a huge back tattoo for an obviously Jewish character named Goldblatt. The ad itself is funny – but it’s also wildly disrespectful, suggesting that if our elderly would just act like teenagers again, oh the fun they could have!

Even the Super Bowl’s finest cultural moment – an ad featuring American troops from Jeep – was studded with an underlying pacifism, brought by Oprah. We all want to see American troops home and with their families. But we never see ads anymore glorifying the heroism of our troops in the field. Instead we get shorter replays of Coming Home.

American culture isn’t moving in the right direction if the Super Bowl is any indicator. But it can be fixed and saved, if we’re wise enough and honest enough to acknowledge the problem. Vulgarity is no substitute for sexiness. Raunch is no substitute for humor. And superficial values are no substitute for real ones.

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  • obama guy

    From what you saw you conclude the Super Bowl veers left? I know, there were a lot of black people on
    so of course it was part of a leftist conspiracy. LOL!!!

    • Mary Sue

      *facepalm* He meant the commercials and the non-player performers, not the game or the players.

      • Loyal Achates

        Psst….he's making fun of you…

        Let me summarize this article: DAMN KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN

        • Mary Sue

          Of course he is. That is what left wingers do.

    • mlcblog

      Your comment disgusts me. It is very racist. Mr. Shapiro is talking about standards and you are converting that to a my feelings are hurt and Oh, I am so offended. I guess it is too close to home. Standards of conduct apply to all of us and elevate everyone. Smut and peace at any price are not the standards I want to see conveyed at a national event.

      • Mary Sue

        Being offended is the holy grail of Identity Politics. It means the person is being oppressed! [/sarcasm while being totally serious]

      • obama guy

        Buddy, how in God's name did it have anything to do with leftism. An argument, please.

        • truebearing

          The Left is feverishly trying to destroy morality and anything else that is positive in our culture. This is the same Cult of Death that was responsible for 150,000,000 people being murdered by Leftist regimes in the 20th Century.

          Lies and nihilism is all the Left has to offer, yet many are stupid enough to still fall for it, despite the horrific recent atrocities of history's worst mass murderers. Yeah…that utopia is just around the corner.

          • obama guy

            It's human nature you are talking about truebearing, not leftism. No different than claiming all
            evil in the world is caused by Islam, christianity or the U.S government. Symptoms, not causes.

        • truebearing

          The Left is feverishly trying to destroy morality and anything else that is positive in our culture. This is the same Cult of Death that was responsible for 150,000,000 people being murdered by Leftist regimes in the 20th Century.

          Lies and nihilism is all the Left has to offer, yet many are stupid enough to still fall for it, despite the horrific recent atrocities of history's worst mass murderers. Yeah…that utopia is just around the corner.

    • Crossbow87

      The only ones who say racist things these days are lefties….thanks for demonstrating that Obammy Guy.

    • Eva

      Ben Shapiro, thank you so much for yet another excellently written article. There are lots of people who feel the way you do. We just have to stand up for what is right, even if it means that we offend some weaklings around us.

  • harrylies

    I didn't watch the Super Bowl. You can avoid it next year. Soldiers coming home is a good thing. War is not for the soldiers' welfare.

  • Chezwick

    I don't know, Ben. I thought Beyonce looked pretty damn good. It was her music that disappointed me.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      I agree. Her music was average R & B stuff, nothing even close to inspiring. Most in the entertainment industry, following the lead of politicians and educators, have totally forgotten how to be inspiring.

  • http://Firefox Lynda Felts

    I do don’t watch the tube, ever, but was in the room reading with earplugs in reading. My husband made some comment on half time show, and who was that person on stage. I told him, went back to my book and my son took over and filled him in. It was not nice. I just remarked that I didn’t like her very much. With all the talent out there……what can I say?

    • Loyal Achates

      The market has spoken! If you want people to go see unprofitable operas and classical exhibitions then have them subsidized by the government like in socialist Europe.

  • Adam

    Beyonce looked and acted like a skanky stripper, the only thing missing was the pole for her to climb on. She was also flashing Illuminati symbols, the new occult trend that her husband started among black rappers.

  • Danny

    So depicting American troops at home enjoying life with their families is "studded with an underlying pacifism" (which I assume is a bad thing)? Maybe next time Jeep should depict them getting blown up in Afghanistan by IEDs. They could focus like a laser on all the bloody carnage that goes with it.

    Now that would make us feel all warm and fuzzy. Damn, I'd go out and buy a Jeep tomorrow.

    Memo to Shapiro: Ever hear of the word "schmuck"?

    • JayZ

      Yes, I believe it’s Danny Putz’s middle name.

  • Chris Gleason

    Thank you, Mr. Shapiro for saying what I say to myself every day – where have our values gone? How can we get them back? Will we ever get them back? Is the America I grew up in lost forever?

    • Questions

      So how is a tightly-choreographed, exciting halftime football show emblematic of the "death" of values?

  • Alpha_1

    I’m 68 years old. I used to really enjoy things like the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup final, etc. I still watch baseball two or three times a week. These ads are garbage. It’s mostly because of the ads that I don’t watch much anymore. They are plain and simple immoral. I totally agree with the term vulgar, and it seems that our youth have bought into the idea of this being sexy. These truck ads are a joke. They are about bullying and intimidation and are crude and verge on rude.

    Our Western Christian culture is under attack from within……….time we got on top of this. On the ball or on the bus, folks. It’s bluidy time for America and the West to save itself. If we don’t we are done…..like dinnah!

    • Long Since Jaded

      You pretty much nailed it. The only thing I can add is that such "events", especially the "half-time" (so-called) entertainment content is geared to the mental capacity of a 5 year old in the body of a testosterone filled 15 year old. The only comparable events I could come up with were the "entertainments" presented to the people of Rome via the Colosseum in the years 100 to 350 AD. To keep the people happy and from rioting they had to present ever increasingly outrageous "entertainment" to the mob.
      That brief history lesson over with, I can say that I stopped watching such "entertainment" many, many years ago to avoid such moronic programming as what it would seem that the half-time show has devolved into.

      • kasandra

        "Brawndo: It's Got What Plants Crave. It's Got Electrolytes!" We're there.

    • Mary Sue

      get a DVR or Tivo and zip through teh ads! Skip them entirely!

    • BlG

      You are correct, Alpha. I was shocked, but not totally surprised to see an online video "Grinding America Down" and how the Communist plan, multiple times, from the 1950's is being realized in this nation–including divorce, sexual 'freedom' and normalizing homosexuality.

  • CurmudgyOneJr

    Advertising, more even that politics, reflects the attitudes of the customer. It is we who have accepted the trash for so long that has shown them what to present. The game itself was great; the vaunted "Super Bowl Ads" and the halftime were disappointing.

  • Ron

    Gutter culture, gutter public, gutter government.

    • Agreed

      You forgot to add 'gutter entertainer', no?

  • http://twitter.com/USnavy1967 @USnavy1967

    We are but a few that try to have some form of American value in our lives. It is becoming harder to do with the Apathy of the American people. Our Apathy will be the death to everything American.

  • Fred

    Don't watch this TRASH. No more good values. This is a symbol of how America has fallen by design not by accident.

    Look at this article about the so called "hero" Ray Lewis who should have been in prison:
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/59048/in-tonights-

  • Anthony

    The sooner America fully collapses, the better. Right now we se imbicile liberals in total control, and they are busy destroying everything. But notice how the America these perverts created is now getting out of control. So the little liberal babies now are worried that maybe something is wrong with the society they engineered. So now, in addition to “racism” and “xenophobia”, they are going after guns.

    These perverts, as embodied by the slummy half-time performance by a woman who is as ghetto as they come, beamed globally for the entire world to aspire to, a global ghetto culture, comes right out of the sick minds of American liberals and fake family value touting “conservatives”.

    American society is so perverted that it cannot even intuitively recognize filth and immorality any longer. All our efforts are devoted to is the global expansion of homosexual “marriage”, “minority” read, non-white worship, and complete narcissism and Godlessness.

    Yes, you unworthy leaches have won. America is nearly third world, and now you still blather about what went wrong. Since at least in California, you are running out of whites to blame, I suggest you teach your daughters to be like this trash “Beyonce” or have them become a prison guard who becomes impregnated with a double cop killers spawn, or maybe join a front line combat unit since of course all women view their abilities as that of Sigorney Weaver in “Aliens”.

    America had the potential to live up to the best and brightest it once had to offer. Now, we are a global pimp whose mentally ill elites wish to project as a paragon of “virtue” when in fact even our school kids have been perverted by sick liberal deviants, like the ones who never question why homosexuals insist on wanting to become scoutmasters to youg Boy Scouts. But they will sacrifice innocence to feel good that they accepted someone carte Blanche , you know, like that intrepid Staten Island liberated woman who left her kids and husband to meet strangers in Moslem Istanbul only to discover she was no Sigurney Weaver in Aliens, and Moslims in Turkey were not the cute multikulti pets she was raised to believe.

    America today must be rejected. It must be taught a lesson in humility.

    • Dolores

      America is being destroyed from within.just as it was prophesied. Must is a hard word to take….will seems better suited WE have done this to ourselves and now will pay the price. God's judgement has been coming slowly and most have not seen it for what it is. Read Romans 1. and "The Harbinger." Sad to see……feel bad for my kids and grandkids.They will never know the America I knew…..It may not be too late, but most won't repent. The will just continue to shake their fist at God in rebellion. fmd36

    • Danny

      The above message has been brought to you by the new leader of Al Qaeda in America.

      I'm with you, Anthony. Death to America.

      • Questions

        Why don't you change your name to "D'Souza" or maybe "Muhammed?"

    • Ghostwriter

      I reject that sort of stance. America CAN be helped,but only by hard work.

  • patron

    Sports without announcers or commercials provide a much better experience. It's very obtrusive to hear Phill Simms doing his best Crash Test Dummy impersonation ruining the game. They need a pay per view which gets that garbage off the TV.

    Ray Lewis sucked in playoffs. He was horrible and got beat constantly.

    Beyonce looked and sounded like Ja Rule and is quickly competing with Adrien Broner for largest African American A-Hole.

  • SFLBIB

    Super Bowl half-time long ago became just another freak show, not unlike the annual Academy Awards.

  • Questions

    Ben Shapiro is at it again.

    It's official: The Super Bowl is the nation's prime purveyor of filth and debauchery. It's a familiar tune. Nine years ago, if one recalls, the inadvertant display of one of Janet Jackson's bare titties for a fourth of a nanosecond was supposed to portend the end of Western Civilization. The FCC had to crack down on the networks or all was lost. Yet somehow life went on.

    Sorry, Ben, but Beyonce's just not that into you. She makes more money. And she sings and dances way better. As it should be.

    • Anthony

      Last I heard you dunce Beyonce lip synced.

      As far as dancing, her tribal, ghetto third world mating display is disgusting. In fact, most animal species have more sophisticated and elegant dances than the average ghetto representative like Beyonce of the large ass.

      • Danny

        Ever see the Anthony waltz? You sort of shuffle a bit from left to right, then arch your back until your head is swallowed up by your ass.

      • Questions

        How does one explain white gals like Britney Spears, Katie Perry and Madonna? Are they "ghetto" as well? Who, by the way, said that Beyonce did any lip-synching? It sure as hell wasn't me.

  • Moishe

    Theentire half-time show was disgusting and a degrading explioitation of women!

    • Questions

      Why do conservatives so often sound like radical feminists? Neither Beyonce nor the other singers in Destiny's Child felt "exploited." If they did, they wouldn't have performed.

  • FRONTPgSubsc

    Quote: "And if it’s any reflection of reality, we’re becoming a coarser, stupider, and less value-oriented nation … ". I CAN'T agree more!!!

  • obama guy

    This Shapiro article and most of your responses are just sad folks.

    • kasandra

      Oh, yes. Beyonce's half-time exhibition certainly elevated our culture and was a beacon to the world viewing audience and a great commercial for America. And, since people like you always try to ace an argument (e.g., gun control) by saying "It's for the kids," do you also think this was a good display for families with young children who may have been watching the Super Bowl?

  • John Stone

    Beyonce strutting here stuff wasn't the worst. Sex of that sort has always been there, it is just more public than it used to be. Otherwise it was typical TV.

    I only watch TV on occasion because I am so frequently irritated or offended by what is on. Something to keep in mind is that the programming is aimed mainly at young (gullible) people, because that is the population that will respond best to the ads. Like so much of our entertainment, it is dumbed down to the younger generation. Some of it approaches juvenile. Apparently a lot of pre-teens have at least some money to spend.

  • John Reese

    Ben is correct.

  • Ghostwriter

    I didn't watch the Super Bowl. I wasn't real interested in it anyway.