Sunday, February 6, 2011

A tale of 2 cities: Dallas vs Youngstown

so, finally ... it's today.  after massive -- ok, just 2, but it still felt massive -- weeks of build-up, the packer/steelers craze has reached full tilt here in milwaukeeville.  today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which most days is not what i would call an icon of journalistic excellence despite its coupla Pulitzer prizes for local reporting, could not bring itself to avoid mention of The Game in ANY section.  sports, ok-- obviously.  even local -- i get it.  but the food section featuring a giant 2-page story on green and gold vegetables? seriously, enough already.  fortunately, we also get the Chicago Trib (which i think of as the "real" paper) so we could also see the continuing coverage on the mess that is egypt. and curiously, my response to that issue is also "seriously, enough already."

i personally am a steelers fan by birth and a packer fan by marriage, so clearly the best option for me would be to spend the next 5 hours under the covers or getting buried in a 6' snowdrift in my front yard.  but instead i am blogging about it, which, really, is sort of the same thing.

many of the stories in the paper today quoted people talking about the SuperBowl as a "national celebration," a "break from mid-winter blues," and even "part of America's civil religion."  it seems to me these make too much of the thing ... but then again, when 1 out of every 3 US households are watching, i guess it's a pretty big deal.  many people would correct me here and comment on how this isn't just a US event -- it is, they would say, a truly global behemoth with quite possibly more than a billion people worldwide tuning in.  of course, these same people are sadly misguided in that assessment, given that a truly global behemoth would be just about any World Cup event, with a global audience minimally 30 times that size.

what bugs me most about this is that (and no offense to the sport fan readers, including the one with whom i share my life) the size of the game and the accompanying hoopla drowns out stuff that has the sad misfortune to occur within the swirling vortex of all that is the Super Bowl.  for instance, earlier today i asked that same sports fan, "what do you think it would take to get people to focus on something else besides the game?"  he looked at me blankly.  i pressed on, "what about a terrorist incident? what if another city got attacked?"  he said, kidding, "well, it would depend upon when and where it happened, and how close that was to gametime."

in a terrible ironic twist, he just called me regarding today's shooting at Youngstown State.  and so i wonder how much attention Youngstown, Ohio will be getting today.  will the networks dispatch crews from Texas to Ohio for continuing coverage, the way they would have if this sad event happened yesterday, or tomorrow?  or will they just report on this story up to gametime, take a break for 4 hours, and resume as though nothing had happened in that stretch of time?  will they just run crawls under the game footage, bringing us up to date in words, so as not to disturb the pictures of Rogers and Roethlisberger living up to their potential the way Jamail Johnson, the 25-year old who was shot and killed about 3 hours ago, will never get a chance to?  it will be interesting to see which city -- Youngstown or Dallas-- is more in the headlines today.  i am a betting woman, and i wouldn't be picking the former.  i've had ESPN on for the last hour or so, and haven't heard a word yet.

when i was thinking about this post yesterday, i was planning to make it all about the hoopla -- the ads, the BEPs twitter-led halftime, the event craziness and the other things that make it a marketer's dream.  i was going to talk about the possibilities for local companies and organizations in any community to ride along on the hype, as was so cleverly done by the Wisconsin Humane Society and its local Puppy Bowl.  but now all i can think of is what's going on -- and what's not -- in Youngstown.


1 comment:

Eric Zoromski said...


As sad as it is to say I seem to fall into the same category as your husband - generally unaware of anything that happened this past weekend other than the Superbowl. I agree, the mainstream media really gives us little other options, and when they do it's minimalized by half page photos of athletes and celebs on the red carpet (and when did they add a red carpet to the Superbowl - ick). Not sure what to do about it globally, but I know I'll be more aware the next time around (and yes, the Pack will be back in 2012.

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