The NFL Won’t Help With New Orleans
I lazily watched the New Orleans – Philadelphia national football league game on mute last night, impressed with the vociferous rabidity of the win-starved New Orleans crowd. With five minutes to go and the NFC Championship on the line fans were spontaneously standing up and screaming anything they could think of, sometimes whole sections standing up and yelling for victory. Poor New Orleans has long been the total dog of the league and they gave Philadelphia plenty of chances, but when it mattered they flat-out beat the Eagles, the fans going berserk with joy.
During one of the breaks the telecast on Fox broke to pretty views of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, which I understand was on higher ground and not flooded badly from Katrina.
“Is that all they’re ever going to show of New Orleans?” my wife asked.
“Probably,” I said. “I’d be surprised if they showed anything else.”
Of course the Fox NFL telecast showed nothing of New Orleans but brief cheery nighttime scenes of tourists thronging Bourbon Street, just like the good old days. The NFL has long been a nationalistic, somewhat disturbingly conservative entity—most of the players and owners are wealthy, very much tied to corporate television. Ever since 9/11 the league has happily splashed up the wartime pre-game drama with jets and helicopter flyovers, Old Glory blazing on big screens, in the stadium and with the color guard, America forever, baby.
Not exactly a liberal sentiment of peaceful non-violence, I’d say. With the New Orleans Saints now going to the NFC Championship game it’s a perfect opportunity to showcase what precisely has been going on in New Orleans, but Fox will stick with the cheery booziness of Bourbon Street and nothing else, I’m sure.
The Belgians can build dikes but we can’t. We spend $300 billion on Iraq but somehow our people in New Orleans can’t get money to rebuild. Carriers steam menacingly toward the Middle East, but when it mattered our carriers did nothing as our people drowned.
Remind Americans of that in the ultimate modern display of Roman circus? No way. When the game breaks come in the NFC Championship it will be beer, Bourbon Street and big bouncy boobs, as usual, reality never has a place in this format, of course not.
It’s a jarring, creepy experience as a modern American, to watch the sports spectacle of the Saints game so comfortably on my couch as so many in New Orleans and Gulf Coast continue to suffer. Our people there still need a great deal of help, and it’s just wrong to televise the NFC championship game as if Bourbon Street represents all of New Orleans and that things are somehow normal there.