Just to underscore that the showtune references are probably never coming back (not in the voice of this guest editor, anyway) it’s time to turn our attention to a game being played in Detroit this weekend. You’ve probably heard about it. (Unless you’re Sophie.)
The game is Sunday, but the sports media-industrial complex began arriving in Detroit last Sunday, which meant that every conceivable human-interest angle on the big game yes, Super Bowl 40 (“XL,” whatever) will be completely played out in oh, about an hour from now. But we’re already long past acknowledging that the week-long run-up to the Super Bowl is cliched; by now our men and women on the ground are deep into self-reflexvity and loathing about just how cliched it all is. They’re characters in a Jay McInerney book — they know they’re living in a bubble, but they can’t find their way out.
ESPN.com’s Dan Shanoff kicked off this year’s festival of meta-cliches in his Daily Quickie column on Tuesday with his dissection of Media Day rituals and an update on the “Most Overplayed Superbowl Story Line.” Meanwhile, Cracked you know, the Spin to MAD’s Rolling Stone parodied not the game, but ESPN.com’s pre-coverage of the game. (We especially loved Bill Simmons’ mock-mea culpa, “An ape could have picked the playoffs with more accuracy than me.”) And Sports Illustrated even went so far as to provide in-depth coverage of last night’s media-only party.
What does all of this mean? Well, from a media perspective, it means that football is officially bigger than the political process, at least from the media’s standpoint. (If you don’t believe me, compare the volume of words written about the Super Bowl to the analysis of Tuesday’s State of the Union address) It also means that young writers on the make are more apt to make a pilgrimage to Detroit in February than follow the next presidential candidates around the country. Witness Chuck Klosterman, in Detroit blogging for ESPN.com this week, apparently working on his Ph.D in metaphysics.
If Hunter S. Thompson were alive and at the peak of his powers today, he wouldn’t hit the campaign trail for Rolling Stone; he’d follow a full NFL season for ESPN The Magazine, culminating with his own mescaline-enhanced blog. In fact, he’d look a bit like Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio, who’s wandering Detroit without credentials, tickets, or a clue. (He is apparently taking time off tomorrow, though, to see Brokeback Mountain with Gawker’s Jessica Coen and her parents.