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ISSUE 117 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/27/2004

Americans ridiculed

By Shayna Melgaard
Contributing Writer

Friday, February 27, 2004

Feb. 1, 2004: a day that will live in infamy; by U.S. standards, that is. It seems that each time we turn on the TV theres some breaking news story or some major event taking place. More often than not, these stories have to do with scandal.

Within a few days, however, headlines and teasers will give way to another story, a more current, scandalous tale. While the former story will bob in and out of the medias brutal waters for years to come, branded on our brains forever, it is passé. We, as Americans, are over it.

What about those people who only peek through the American window every now and again, when something really big is happening? What are non-Americans deducing about our country from the images we have chosen to make a big deal out of?

In the heat of the moment, we were sweating to the tunes of a certain half-time show of a certain Super Bowl that was broadcasted all over the world. And while many of those foreign viewers may not have understood Nellys hip-hop lyrics, they are capable of understanding the unspoken language that our cultural idolatry communicates. Even though the United States has numerous programs broadcasted across the globe every day, the amount of times that we actually reach as wide an audience are never. America has few opportunities of this magnitude to eliminate rumors that our society is arrogant and provocative, but we keep proving the image that we so adamantly deny.

The half-time show this year was explosive: the stage enormous, the musical talent huge. But the attitudes represented through this 15-minute slice of American pie were not about music. And as often as the singers belted out phrases such as "IlliteracyNo! RacismNo!" and "Choose to vote!" the loudest voice in the arena was that of the two things that have come to define our society at present: ostentatious American arrogance and unapologetic sexuality.

When viewers in Latin America see the lights and pyrotechnics, do they think, "Wow, America sure is great," or do they think of the ridiculous amount of money we spend putting a show like this together? And seeing Kid Rock screaming lyrics while wearing a haggard-looking American flag draped over him? Is this supposed to represent the patriotism of our country, or Americas prideful facade? Last, but not least, most every song performed, if not all, made sexually explicit references, with a two-second shot of Janet Jacksons revealed breast (Justin Timberlake with the assist).

Sex is a normal part of life, but the way it was presented at the Super Bowl was all about the moment and not about loving the one youre with. And maybe the majority of Americas economic views and "pride" were adequately represented at the half-time show.

If so, we all need to do a little introspection on where our supposed values, morals and interests reside. Well find out in November if our country is as liberal as the rest of the world perceives us to be. But as for now, we havent come so far as to throw sex around as much as the rest of the world would think, or the Brits wouldnt be ribbing us for squealing about seeing a boob.

Contributing Writer Shayna Melgaard is a first year from Bismarck, N.D. Her major is undecided with a concentration in media studies.

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