Monday, February 07, 2011

Super Bowl Audience Gets Democrats’ Take on History

Yesterday’s Super Bowl opened (see video) with a filmed tribute that over the video's first half, tied America’s history to the game. Michael Douglas, a Democrat who portrayed an upstanding liberal president in Aaron Sorkin’s “The American President” (1995), narrated the intro. Sorkin later turned “The American President” into the Emmy-winning “West Wing” (1999-2006), starring Martin Sheen in the Michael Douglas role and featuring a Rahm Emanuel-like character (Emanuel from Clinton's White House later became Obama’s chief of staff). Sorkin raised money for Obama in 2008 and made at least one commercial for John Kerry in 2004.

Lori Keith Douglas, who produced the Douglas intro, has no apparent relationship to Michael Douglas, but worked with Douglas’ wife Catherine Zeta-Jones on “The Rebound” (2009). Lori Douglas was a producer of the anti-Iraq War HBO movie “Taking Chance” (2009), nominated for an Emmy and for a Golden Globe.

With such a liberal Democratic and Hollywood pedigree, it’s hardly surprising the intro’s “one-minute” history is decidedly Democratic. Excluding Democrat Douglas, whose words overlay the video, the 33 history clips include 6 of Kennedys, Roosevelt, and Obama, and 1 of Reagan. The 9/11 coverage shows rescue workers raising the flag, but nothing of Bush 43 and his bullhorn. In fact, there is no Bush 43 or Bush 41 anywhere, and no Iraq or Afghanistan or Kuwait or war on terror. But of course Katrina is present, Bush’s permanent albatross.

There are 6 clips of history associated with Roosevelt—depression and war—6 more clips associated with African Americans and civil rights (certainly appropriate given black domination of professional football), and 2 relating to women’s drive for equality. These two sets cover standard Democratic themes. The clip “Why?” with John Lennon’s picture seems anti-gun, a past liberal cause. Less partisan clips show immigrants arriving in New York, the Berlin Wall going down, the Challenger shuttle prior to blow-up (part of the “struggle” narrative—nothing of Reagan’s much-praised post-Challenger speech), and astronauts on the Moon.

Taken together, what does the intro say? To me, it tells us that under the leadership of mostly Democrats, we struggled to overcome depression, war, segregation, and male chauvinism. Now, narrator Douglas says, we have a “chance for one night to believe.”

Believe what?

My answer: believe that in spite of what “they” constantly do to disrupt our “dream,” America can return to the Roosevelt-initiated drive toward full equality, toward the day when wealth is more equitably distributed, when we have no poor and everyone is middle class. We come together for something bigger than a game. We come together to take care of each other, especially looking out for our poor and black (11 clips, counting Katrina, out of the non-presidential 26).

That’s my take. Judge for yourself. Hollywood does these visuals well.

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