Saturday, November 19, 2011

Keep the Change

Once upon a lifetime ago - at some point before the Federal Government got into the automobile business - there was a saying, "As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation." As Mr. Dylan once observed the times they are indeed a-changin'. The observation regarding GM appears to be one of historical perspective as opposed to present case analysis.

Not all is lost in America's Heartland, mind you. Not by a longshot. This Thursday, Detroit's Lions shall host the first of the NFL's Thanksgiving Day games as they have done for more years than I have been alive. In a nice change of pace, the Lions are still actually playing meaningful games as the NFL schedule reaches November's final full week. That does not happen very often. I am at a loss to recall when the last time - prior to this year - that it was such a year.

Thanksgiving Day in Detroit means football. This year's opponent is the defending Super Bowl Champion - and long-time rival - Green Bay Packers. Since the game is on Thanksgiving Day, it shall be nationally televised on FOX. National TV game on a holiday means also that the NFL and the TV people will do all that they can do to entice non-football fans to the set to watch the game. How do they do that? A number of ways I suppose. One of them is to arrange to have a popular recording artist (solo or group) provide the halftime entertainment.

This year's halftime act in Detroit? Nickelback. I consider myself to be a fan of many different types of music. Nickelback is not among them. I do not know any of the folks in the band and have little interest here in maligning them personally. Suffice it to say that to my ear, their success remains a mystery. No accounting for taste I suppose.

Apparently I am not the only one who shall not be spending $10.00 and a stamp to enroll in the Nickelback Fan Club. Courtesy of the earnest efforts of Dennis Guttman of Ann Arbor Michigan (he is, I believe, a student at the University of Michigan, where he is clearly learning how to effectively present an argument from a certain stalwart at the U of M law school. For anyone out there concerned that Mr. Guttman is a close-minded xenophobe, fear not. He has a far more substantive reason for not wanting Nickelback to perform on the most American of all holidays. He thinks they stink:

This game is nationally televised, do we really want the rest of the US to associate Detroit with Nickelback? Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback?!?!?! Does anyone even like Nickelback? Is this some sort of ploy to get people to leave their seats during halftime to spend money on alcoholic beverages and concessions? This is completely unfair to those of us who purchased tickets to the game. At least the people watching at home can mute their TVs. The Lions ought to think about their fans before choosing such an awful band to play at halftime.

Following along with Mr. Guttman's reasoning, Rush or Neil Young would be acceptable halftime performers, their Maple Leaf heritage notwithstanding. Frankly, I like his argument. And presumably at least some of the more than 40,000 people who have signed his petition do as well. I would care not if halftime consisted of nothing other than a high school or college marching band. The pop/rock mini-concerts are always train wrecks (if you disagree Google "The Who" and "Super Bowl Half-Time Show"). Hell, if Janet Jackson had been wearing a pasty, no one would have any recollection at all of her otherwise completely unforgettable performance.

I do not know whether the efforts of Guttman and his fellow Lions fans will prove successful. I applaud the undertaking and thank them for it. For too long have we the viewers of televised sporting events sat idly by and let the powers that be cram any and all pre-packaged crap from the musical automat down our throats while we are just trying to watch a football game. If Guttman and his fellow signees are successful, then they will have given the rest of us yet one more reason to be thankful....

....and a Thanksgiving actually worth looking forward to.

-AK

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