The Watching

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17 Responses

  1. Yeshivishe Liberal says:

    It sounds like you are poking fun at people (and the country as a whole) who watch the Superbowl religiously. But you are coming dangerously close to making fun of all organized religions, their rituals, dogmas and superstitions.

  2. S. says:

    I’ll have what he’s drinking.

  3. mb says:

    No Saints this year, just mere Cardinals.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Eytan, do you view Astroturf as sacrilege or as a necessary adjustment to prevailing conditions?

  5. dr. bill says:

    was not Moshiach suppose to arrive at half-time? Bob Miller: are we not endowed with tzelem Elokim to be be able to create (yesh miyesh at least) as well? I guess if we are not banning Lipa this year, humor is allowed again?

  6. Chaim Fisher says:

    Yeshivishe Liberal:

    !

    We certainly don’t believe in other ‘organized religions’ or their dogmas or their superstitions. It is good to make fun of them, and of the Super Bowl, as Eytan does in this brilliant and entertaining piece.

  7. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Would you say that the idolatry of the Superbowl was a Cardinal sin?

  8. LAWRENCE KAPLAN says:

    Can you believe it, but I wasn’t aware that the Superbowl was coming, and it took me a while to figure out what you were talking about. Such cultural isolationism–shocking. And they call me Modern Orthodox!

  9. Ori says:

    Chaim Fisher: We certainly don’t believe in other ‘organized religions’ or their dogmas or their superstitions. It is good to make fun of them, and of the Super Bowl, as Eytan does in this brilliant and entertaining piece.

    Ori: The Super Bowel deserves the mockery, and I doubt that would hurt anybody. However, why do you think it is good to mock other organized religions? Do you think that will achieve anything other than enmity? For that matter, do you mock people for making mistakes in other fields of their lives?

  10. Bob Miller says:

    I was having a conversation with a friend when the football Giants and Titans and the Nefillim (primordial giants) came up. He pointed out that the “root letters” of Nefillim are Nun Fe Lamed (NFL).

  11. Chaim Wolfson says:

    Now that I stopped laughing, I can comment.

    “Eytan, do you view Astroturf as sacrilege or as a necessary adjustment to prevailing conditions?” (Comment by Bob Miller — January 29, 2009 @ 7:53 am).

    My two cents: Football has no tradition, so Astroturf is fine. But in Baseball, it’s definitely sacrilege. What really worries me, though, is that they’ll find a way to introduce it into the NHL.

    “was not Moshiach suppose to arrive at half-time?”.

    No, you’re thinking of “The Boss”. Last I heard, Obama is watching the game at home.

    All kidding aside, there is a very important lesson to be learned from Prof. Kaplan’s experience: If an event that is so much a part of the fabric of American culture (Eytan’s description is not that far off the mark) means so little to the rest of the world that someone living just a few miles north of the border can be unaware of it, what does that tell us about the intrinsic value of popular culture?

  12. Bob Miller says:

    By the way, the connection of football to the Nefillim might also explain why so many football-related terms contain the work “down”.

  13. Toby Katz says:

    It sounds like you are poking fun at people (and the country as a whole) who watch the Superbowl religiously. But you are coming dangerously close to making fun of all organized religions, their rituals, dogmas and superstitions.

    Comment by Yeshivishe Liberal — January 28, 2009 @ 5:13 pm


    To me it sounds like he’s making fun of people who make fun of organized religion, without realizing that they participate in precisely ordained religious rituals themselves. Their religion may be secular and the gods they worship may be grown men in funny top-heavy vestments running around and throwing a lump of leather around and pushing each other down, but it’s still a religion.

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Chaim Wolfson asked,
    “If an event that is so much a part of the fabric of American culture (Eytan’s description is not that far off the mark) means so little to the rest of the world that someone living just a few miles north of the border can be unaware of it, what does that tell us about the intrinsic value of popular culture?

    It’s possible that many Jewish scholars in the US were also blissfully unaware of the Hoopla Bowl and its stylized folkways.

  15. Moshe Schorr says:

    I can’t speak for Americans. But here in Israel, I had _no_ idea it was happening. I did live in USA long enough (29 years) to recognize the point of the piece. One of the many things I thank G-d for about my living in Israel, is that my children and their children have _absolutely_ no idea of such things.

  16. LAWRENCE KAPLAN says:

    Since my attempt at humor has elicited some serious discussion, I want to say that from what I read in the Canadian papers, I think the superbowl was a very big deal here in Canada, though perhaps not quite to the same extreme extent as in the US. Speaking personally, it’s just that over the years I have lost whatever little interest I ever had in spectator sports. I watched some olympic gymnastic events and swimming on TV, and, every now and then, if I happen on upon it, I will watch some pro tennis. That’s about it nowadays. I do not believe it is possible to draw any broad conclusions from my own lack of interest.

    By the way, the interest in and excitment elicited by Obama’s inauguration were as great here as south of the border.

  17. Bob Miller says:

    I did not watch the inauguration or the Super Bowl, and feel this was time well unspent.

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