Saturday, January 31, 2009

Literary Illusions

With this Sunday marking the occasion of the 43rd Super Bowl, the past two weeks have shown sports analysts & commentators working 24/7, waxing the poetic to fill the dead air so that we should never have a moment's silence without homage being paid to the teams, their players, their cities, their owners, their children, their pets & their officially NFL licensed team pajamas.

Obviously, these sports reporters have never read Kenneth Koch's ars poetica, "Fresh Air," in which he creates "a Zorro-like alter ego called the Strangler whose task it is to suppress poetic dullness," as John Ashbery describes it, "violently if necessary."

Apropos of the violence of the game, Koch writes: "In the football stadium I also see him,/He leaps through the frosty air at the maker of comparisons/Between football and life and silently, silently strangles him."

Let us hope the Strangler appears at this year's game when the announcers inevitably describe Larry Fitzgerald as "poetry in motion" or wonder aloud if Shakespeare could have written Kurt Warner's "bags to riches" story; he didn't--Ben Jonson did.

You'd think fear of showing their stupidity would muzzle some of these inane, cliche-ridden comments, but sports announcers apparently have had their already gi-normous egos amply fluffed so that they believe they are not only literate, but literary. I suppose to the inebriated, these guys pass for Nobel Laureates.

Everything's relative. For instance, one of the low points of Joe Namath's life--& that's saying something--would have been a highlight in mine. If I'd got really, really drunk at a football game & Suzy Kolber wanted to interview me on live national tv, but I told her that I didn't care about my team strugg-a-ling--I just wanted to kiss her, what a sweet, dumb memory for me! Broadway Joe, on the other hand, had to issue a public apology & enter rehab. Say it ain't so, Joe!

Back to the game, I predict Ben Roethlisberg will surmount an heroic 4th quarter comeback comparable to Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Then, with under 2 minutes left, the Steelers defense, led by Troy Polamalu, whose name neatly fits the meter, will hold off the swift-winged Cardinals' late rally, their scarlet glory falling short that winter's day.

Final score: Steelers 21, Cardinals 17.


Riley said...

First of all, no way did Ben Jonson write that story, it was obviously Francis Bacon. Just count the number of references to smoked meat. Mmmmm . . . bacon.

Second, I'm surprised you've picked the cards to be in the game as you do. Fitzgerald is an amazing receiver, but I'm not sure that the Stillers' defense is going to give Warner time to throw the ball deep. My prediction: Steelers 17, Cards 13.

Matt Morris said...

Yes, Ben Jonson. You're thinking of Hamlet, which Francis Bacon more than likely penned, given his predilection for pork.