On Sunday night the Eagles won their first Super Bowl and there was joy in Mudville, a.k.a. South Philly. I could hear the revelers from my bedroom window, hooting and honking car horns, breaking glass, rejoicing. Reminding the world that that being a sports fan is like being a religious fanatic, but more fun because you can get drunk.
I went outdoors and saw cars gridlocked from Passyunk Avenue to Broad Street. Fans waved Eagles flags, climbed light poles, set fires, sang “Fly, Eagles, fly.” Was there a war? Was it over or just beginning?
I’ve read that some fans attached symbolic meaning to the victory of the “working-class” Eagles over the “elitist” New England Patriots, which is funny. Both teams field millionaire players, and their owners are in the plutocrat gang that banished quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a favorite target of Donald Trump, for the crime of calling attention to racism and other real-world phenomena.
I like watching great athletes play football, but I confess to being tone-deaf to the allure of football culture. The NFL is not my friend. Teams get tremendous tax breaks from the cities that host them. NFL players hardly ever grow up in the cities they play for. They are gladiators, not homeys.
Speaking of tone-deaf, what was all that half-time noise about? Justin Timberlake is a talented guy, but his songs are about nothing. They are product. He is product.
Long ago, seven months before the first Super Bowl, there was a Jimi Hendrix song called “Third Stone from the Sun,” in which an alien checks out Earth from his spaceship. “Your people I do not understand,” he intones over guitar feedback and other effects.
I don’t understand them either, and I’m supposed to be one of them. Beam me up, Jimi.