Halftime in America

One of the greatest receptions ever

Last night the boys (ages 8 and 6) declined to root for the Patriots to win, a team almost everyone in Maine supports.    Defiantly they said they liked the Giants.   They watched the Giants go ahead 9-0 and then they had to start getting ready for bed.   As a Viking fan, I didn’t mind their desire to root for the New York team (though that may cause them trouble with their peers if it continues), it shows a good independent streak.

The game itself was superb.  I actually was pulling for the Pats, but found the second half immensely entertaining — a great catch, the reluctant touchdown.    One of the better super bowls.    Of course, the ads were interesting as well.   The Audi ad where the headlights kill off vampires was clever, bu tthe best ad last that aired last night was Clint Eastwood’s Halftime in America ad for Chrysler.    It was clever, emotive, and well produced.

The ad reminds me of the post 9-11 ads about America after the terror attacks.   It was cheesy at times — we don’t get knocked out, we stand up, we fight back, etc. — but also touched on something too many people in this politicized era forget: we’re in this economic crisis together.

The ability of Detroit to bounce back shows both the power of the US free enterprise system, and the necessity of government support in times of trouble.   It’s true for companies and it’s true for individuals.

Some want to make it seem that “taxpayer” money should never be spent on a “bailout” or assistance to those in need.   Even those who might agree that the very poor, as Mitt Romney calls them, need a safety net, often balk at the idea of helping companies who arguably made poor decisions in the market place.

Yet it’s not just individual companies or individuals that make up a society.    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.   We all benefit when the auto industry is saved, when America produces stuff both Americans and other countries want.   We need to get industry producing again, leaving it up to the market to somehow make it happen isn’t going to work — markets are not magic, and if caught in a downward spiral can simply stay flat.

What some call a “government bailout” (as if some ‘other’ entity called ‘government’ was taking money and doling it out for its own nefarious purposes) is really Americans coming together to try to right the economy and get things moving again.    It’s unfortunate that political ideology hides the most basic truth — working together we can accomplish more than each person simply trying to maximize his or her own interests.

This common sense and quintessentially American ideal gets warped by those who want to see all taxes as somehow the “government” taking from people who “earned” all they have.    But our ability to earn money comes from the connections between us and how our country operates.    We all share a stake in making sure the country remains productive, stable and free.    No wealthy person has made it on his or her own, or is purely responsible for success — it’s part of a larger interdependent social context.   It’s too complex to break it down to individual choices, the unintended and often unrecognized consequences of choices ripple through society and touch us all.

It also isn’t socialism to have the government involved — socialism is a whole different kettle of fish, a desire for governmental control of the economy in good times and bad, with a distrust of markets.   Eastwood’s ad is one that supports free markets and free people.    It’s just that sometimes there are national crises and sometimes government has to play a role to help right the ship.   That’s something that deep down Republicans and Democrats know and accept.

The US economy seems to be picking up steam, even as some are reluctant to admit that much of what the President has done has worked.   It reminds of another play in the Superbowl, when Ahmad Bradshaw tried to resist scoring the winning touchdown, hoping to run out the clock.    Some in the US may hope the recovery slows so that they can run out the clock on Obama and make his re-election less likely.   I doubt that will happen.

Ahmad Bradshaw stopped at the goal line, but he could not resist falling in for the winning score, a 'reluctant touchdown.'

One might note the similarity of Eastwood’s “It’s halftime in America” to the famous 1984 Reagan commerical “It’s morning in America.”    Something else reminded me of 1984: the appeal of Madonna, whose half time performance captured the energy, sexiness and dramatic flair that made her a superstar in the early 80s.

People from my generation can still rock!

In a country that takes its Super Bowl seriously, the ads, show and style of last night’s game seems to reflect the mood of the country.    Things have been tough, but we can make it better.   Congrats, Giants!

About these ads
  1. #1 by Titfortat on February 6, 2012 - 20:00

    The name of the game is Bailout. Chapter 2 of The creature from Jeckyll Island.

    What an eye opener………nefarious conspiracy….hmmm. maybe. ;)

    • #2 by Scott Erb on February 6, 2012 - 20:32

      I will read that book, I promise!

  2. #3 by pino on February 6, 2012 - 20:07

    As a Viking fan, I didn’t mind their desire to root for the New York team (though that may cause them trouble with their peers if it continues), it shows a good independent streak.

    I couldn’t pull for the Giants; I still remember that humiliating defeat in the play-offs. However, if I continue to disqualify teams based on them beating us badly, I’m gonna run oout of teams to pull for.

    The ability of Detroit to bounce back shows both the power of the US free enterprise system, and the necessity of government support in times of trouble.

    Both GM and Chrysler went through bankruptcy. Even after they took the money. The real reason those jobs are coming back is that the union agreed to a two-tier salary program.

    We all benefit when the auto industry is saved

    I don’t think the industry would have “failed.” Certainly the plants not operating in Michigan would have continued. And, as in the case of Chrysler, another better run company would buy the assets and run them more efficiently.

    I think we get wrapped up in the requirements of “saved.” Why do cars have to be made in Detroit? Why are cars made in Alabama not as important? Is either one less “Made in America?”

    What some call a “government bailout” (as if some ‘other’ entity called ‘government’ was taking money and doling it out for its own nefarious purposes)

    Well, there is little doubt that Obama and Unions are hand in hand. And the deal that Obama managed to swing for his Unions friends was really unprecedented. It was kinda the government taking money and using it for its purposes

    That said, it was a great commercial; I love Eastwood and it made its points. And yeah, it IS good news to see a blighted region regaining hope.

    • #4 by Scott Erb on February 6, 2012 - 20:40

      I guess I need to read up on the union deal, I didn’t know that. As for the Giants, I still remember a 4th and 17 yards to go play back in the Phil Simms era that prevented the Vikes from making the playoffs:

      But I like how the Giants this year won those tough playoff games on the road. No one can claim they had an easy path to the championship!

      • #5 by pino on February 6, 2012 - 21:36

        I still remember a 4th and 17 yards to go play back in the Phil Simms era that prevented the Vikes from making the playoffs

        Our secondary has been crappy for years!

  3. #6 by Titfortat on February 6, 2012 - 20:53

    We all benefit when the auto industry is saved

    In a free market system shouldnt the shitty businesses be allowed to fail. Afterall, if you prop them up it sure as shit aint free. :)
    Oh and by the way, the one’s that are left holding the bill are the taxpayers. The actual bad business people are still practicing their old ways. If you look at the majority of the bailouts, none of the actual guilty parties were held accountable for their bad business decisions. Is it any wonder why people think(rightfully) conspiracy theories.

  4. #7 by lbwoodgate on February 6, 2012 - 21:09

    “Yet it’s not just individual companies or individuals that make up a society. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”>

    Exactly. Nicely stated Scott

  5. #8 by Ron Byrnes on February 6, 2012 - 22:09

    “They watched the Giants go ahead 9-0 and then they had to start getting ready for bed.” Reason enuf to live on the Left Coast.

  6. #9 by mikelovell on February 6, 2012 - 23:48

    In a country that takes its Super Bowl seriously, the ads, show and style of last night’s game seems to reflect the mood of the country. Things have been tough, but we can make it better.

    We do take our SuperBowls seriously…even us fans of a certain team that was blocked out by the Giants…again. I rooted for the Giants over the Pats.

    As for the ads, I felt this years efforts from Madison Ave were more depressing than our economy has been…For $3.5million on a 30 second spot, you dont send a $350,000 commercial to the Superbowl. I was sadly disappointed by one of the highlights of the Superbowl…the friggin commercials!

  7. #10 by Scott Erb on February 7, 2012 - 03:09

    I am currently being mocked on Facebook for not getting one commercial. You see, I never saw the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and posted something about not getting that commercial. I guess I missed an important part of American pop culture which I need to go back and discover.

  8. #11 by mikelovell on February 9, 2012 - 03:42

    WHAT?!?!?!? You NEVER saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Scott, it’s time for an intervention… Sometimes one is too educated, or too interested in subjects that lend themselves to education and philosophy. Sometimes, as a red-blooded American, you need to sit down and numb your brain with senseless hollywood productions, mainly from the 80s! LOL

    seriously though… while it was an entertaining movie, it was clearly not one of those “can’t miss” events in life. As long as you watched some McGuyver, some A-Team, and watched at least one cheesy 80s movies like Goonies or Revenge of the Nerds, I think you’ll be okay!

    • #12 by Scott Erb on February 9, 2012 - 04:10

      I enjoyed McGyver, still “tape” the A-Team on my DVR, but I’ve not seen Goonies or Revenge of the Nerds. I think in the 80s I just stopped going to movies for awhile! Anyway, I was in my 20′s then, and those movies were meant for the 16-18 demographic. Why go to a “teen” movie when you’re over 20?!

  9. #13 by modestypress on February 14, 2012 - 17:28

    I liked the half time in America advertisement. I’ve lost my interest in and taste for football. I never saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. America still has a little juice in her veins. I think it’s time to begin emigration and transportation to the moon and to Mars. Britain transported felons to Australia, where they persecuted the aborigines. Oppressed and persecuted Britains emigrated to America, where they built wealth on the back of black slaves and persecuted aborigines. So now we should transport the 1% to the moon and Mars where they can become the new aborigines. Oppressed people of all races, ethnic groups, sexual preferences can become the new emigrants to the moon and Mars in search of opportunity and wealth, and while they are at it, they can persecute the 1% transported new aborigines. With creativity and imagination like that, I am surprised they have not elected me Prime Minister of America.

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