With a long stretch of stressful physiognomy research and my subsequent travels to one of the oldest and most hallowed civilizations, I had neglected the pleasures of professional football (where people don’t do crazy stunts with unloaded firearms in team locker rooms) for what must be over a month. Yikes! So, it was good today to squeeze in at least one game before my girlfriend, who is Indian, returns tomorrow.
Watching the Saints demolish Jesus-freak sore-loser Kurt Warner, I was at first alarmed. Something had happened to the NFL. Why were they talking about the earthquake in Haiti? What’s up with that? Not only did they offer advice on donating to rescue efforts, but they even interviewed a Haitian player on the Saints sidelines, asking him about his family. Lost in all this, was the real message of football: support for our troops! Seriously, this is the first time I’ve seen football announcers shirk their responsibility to remind us that the real reason we watch football is to remind ourselves of the freedoms being protected by our amazing young men (and some chicks) on Iraqi and Afghan soil.
Oh, and the other reason we watch football is to be reminded of how tough it is to be a white man in a world full of chicks who get on our case and people of color who are just weird. Although this sometimes plays itself out on the field, most of this message is conveyed through advertising. For example, it had been over a month since I saw this awesome ad about how much it would be awesome if women were potato-heads, so you could just dismember their faces and make them finally shut up.
I think only today, after a long time away from the U.S. boob tube, did I actually figure out that this is selling tires and not the trailer for the next Almodovar film.
It is always comforting to turn off the TV at the end of a football game secure with the knowledge that chicks are stupid and annoying. But football also goes hand-in-hand with race-anxiety, even where this concerns model minorities, such as your usually technically adept, funny-talking South Asians. This superbowl ad from 2008 is the perfect demonstration:
Usually, you have to wait for the Simpsons later to a couple of hours later to find Indians this hilarious!
Of course, Ramesh, satisfyingly, is still working to meet the exacting expectations of a comfortably white middle manager. But look what happens when you let these guys run the show.
OMFG! Any frakin’ day and Indians are still adorably hilarious — but kind of dumb, too. I mean, don’t they realize that they can’t dance? Clearly, not amongst the more graceful, football-lovin’ people of this nation. Thanks, Metro PCS! It’s good to know that — since blacks always play the race card and never get the joke — we can still get good, innocent chuckles from Indians!
Speaking of which, I would just like to point out, now that I’ve been to India — so you can’t accuse me of making this a race thing, Dave — that more Indians look like Naveen Andrews than do Iraqis. Yet television keeps on trying to cast Indians as some kind of undefined Middle Easterners! I mean, are actual Arabs/Persians just not swarthy enough to represent shiftiness and inscrutability? Or do they only want to cast Arabs in unambiguous terrorist roles, reserving good guy Middle Eastern roles for good guy, non-Muslim Indians? What’s up with that?
Meanwhile, there are actually Indians who can pass for Iraqi: those hunky, brooding Muslim Bollywood superstars of whom I’ve now grown quite fond! Did you know that so many Indians now want to look Iraqi, that it is actually perceived as a precondition to being cast? See for yourself:
Thankfully, those of us who watch football can just grab a beer, relax, and thank G_d for other people’s insecurities.
By the way, did I mention I was in India for the past two weeks?