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Downton Abbey v. Super Bowl XLVIII

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In the National Catholic Reporter yesterday, Michael Sean Winters analyzed the cultural implications of this possible TV viewing choices from last night. For him, the road not taken was the Super Bowl. Instead, he watched Downton Abbey and sang its praises. You can view his article here:

I went the other way. The game was essentially over after the first snap led to a safey - and yet people watched - probably because nothing stirs the masses like a blow out. This was good for the advertisers, as they can point to the ratings, say that they helped, and charge a bit more to their clients - although hard core beer drinkers (the ones who consume the most reliably - are alcoholics who will drink anyway - the question is what?). People watch the Super Bowl not just for that game, but for the 46 games that came before it, as well as the 30 odd NFL title games that came before the American and National Leagues merged. Watching the game brings back memories for many, often of family lost, and rehonors all of those prior champions over the course of so many years. At one point, professional football was a speculative enterprise (and it still relies on owner rather than corporations). Now, not so much.

As for Downton Abbey, I've never seen it, although my sister swears by it. Still, she does not watch it. Comcast, Fios or whatever she has allows her to watch episodes on the next day and for a long time into the future. Anyone with a satellite or cable provider or Netflix could do the same. For me, my favorite British import is Dr. Who, which I began watching as I was making a spaghetti bolognaise and sausage dinner for my APO brothers at a chapter reunion. I am not sure I have missed an episode since if I could avoid it. To show my age, I started with the 3rd Doctor. They are on 13 now (since they recognized the unspoken Doctor as a legitimate incarnation - frankly, they pulled him out of thin air.

Science fiction, I find, teaches us as much about the human condition (aliens, androids and all) so something like Downton Abbey - or for that matter, the Super Bowl. Pagan mythology does essentially the same thing, which is why most no longer find it objectionable as we did in ancient Rome. The problem in Rome was government domination, not the existence of actual pagan gods. It would have been wiser for Church fathers to play the Roman's little charade and go about their business.

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