Friday, February 02, 2007

Super Sunday

Whether I attend or throw a Super Bowl party is always a year to year decision. The deciding factor is whether my beloved Steelers are playing. When the Steelers are in the Super Bowl, I isolate myself from all human contact. The intensity of the game demands my total attention -- plus should things start to turn bad for my boys, I become less than desirable company. When the Steelers are not playing, then it's party time.

Super Bowl parties are an interesting phenomenon. A major social event revolving around the television. Although it occurs here on a grander scale, this is actually a more common event than perhaps we realize. Watching television can be a significant social activity. Solitary TV viewing is not as common as many suppose. When most people watch TV, they do so with others. It thus becomes a shared engagement that creates social cohesion. We watch together and talk together about what we have seen.

A great example of this is the watercooler show. In the past shows like Friends, Seinfeld and others were social viewing experiences. You had to watch or be left out of the conversation the next day. Today, increasing numbers of shows function in this way: shows like Heroes, Lost, American Idol, etc. Friends regularly gather together much like in the old days for pinochle or bridge parties, but instead sit themselves down in front of the TV in order to share the experience of viewing their favorite shows. Even solitary viewing today is not really solitary. Even when a person sits down alone to watch the latest episode of Heroes, he or she does so aware that the next morning others in the office or at school will be discussing that night's events and that the web will soon be teeming with reviews and comments on that episode. They thus have an awareness of being a part of a much larger social movement.

Television viewing, for better or worse, is becoming something of a national pastime. As I sit down for the Super Bowl this Sunday, I will do so in a room full of other people, sharing food and conversation as we watch the action unfold. When you think about it from a social standpoint, it's not too much different than being at a real game. Minus the drunken fans and rude outbursts. Go Bears!


At 12:43 AM, Blogger Ron Cox said...

Er, one minor correction...Go Colts!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger Bruce said...

Football and television -- two loves coming together for a wonderful community-wide love-in. I too LOVE the Super Bowl party. I'm such an NFL nut though so that has a lot to do with it. For me, for better or worse, its watching history in the making. Not to mention the sidebars of "that ad was hilarious" and "Can you believe how you Prince looks?" I too cannot enjoy it though when one of my dogs (the Redskins) is in the hunt. Unfortunately, I've had stress free Super Bowl watching for over 16 years now.

This idea of the social aspect of television watching needs more run. If we are going to watch it (and Lord knows we are) then isn't the best way to do it as a group? I think there is such an opportunity for peer review and the speaking of the Holy Spirit through the group experience that we cannot get in solitary television/movie watching. Esp. TV, because we do adopt or reject the clarity of the values expressed. It's great to do that as a gathering of God's people. It helps us form a more cohesive group ethic.

And TV, isn't just about evaluting an ethic. It is about sharing awe-inspiring (God-originated) experiences. Watching Marvin Harrison do the toe-tap on the sidelines is pretty awe inspiring and they point is driven home even further with the loud group "how did he do that?"

Also, closing note to Rex Grossman: Rex, they are NOT saying "MOOOOOO-VERS" ... they really are booing you.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Your comment makes me long for those Memphis days when we spent countless hours in community bonding in front of the TV. Good times!


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