97.5 Million People Bored by Super Bowl Until Last Three Minutes

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FootballThe overnight ratings are in, and initial figures show that not only was last night’s Super Bowl the most watched Super Bowl ever, it was in fact the second most watched television event in history. Its 97.5 million number is bested only by the 106 million who apparently watched the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H. I never liked that show.

While the last three minutes of the game did make up for it, the first 17 hours (or so) of the broadcast were pretty dull, and not only because of the actual game: the commercials were terrible. The New York Times went far too easy on them—I mean, how can you call that talking-baby E*Trade spot “amusing”? More like “utterly horrifying.” Most ads seemed aimed to shock, or just gross you out—I don’t think even SF’s bear community wants to see a fat guy with jumper cables on his nipples, and a giant spider eating a cute little firefly does not inspire me to look at your job listings website. Pepsi’s commercials are always terrible, but these were barely watchable: the Timberlake-magnet one was only good for the 7 milliseconds Andy Samberg was on the screen, and the “What is Love” spot was just sad, like anyone even remembers that old “SNL” sketch. Some new drink product was illustrated by dancing lizards, in another jaw-droppingly stupid ad, but at least it was accompanied by “Thriller,” a song whose apparent revival I noted here a while back. I will say I kinda liked the screaming animals spot (was that for a car?) and I’d watch Will Ferrell read the phone book.

But what’s this? People are asking if Tom Petty lip-synched during the half-time show? Say it ain’t so, Tom! You’re telling me you can’t manage utterly zombified, coma-inducing performances of your biggest hits without the help of a backup vocal track? Sources aren’t giving very reassuring answers: an NFL spokesman told the Dallas News “you might want to talk to Petty’s people,” and Petty’s people said they had “no idea” if there was any pre-recorded material. Well, lip-synched or not, at least we still had guitar-as-penis visuals, just like last year. Hooray?

SIX TRUTHS

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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