There’s so much going on in any given week in the music press/world of pop culture/the world at large that I can’t possibly keep up with it all. That being said, there are definitely things I see that I want to comment on and that being the case, I thought it would be fun to share some thoughts/anecdotes/snarky observations on a few things and get a little cheeky each week on things that I either liked or scoffed at that happened in the world of music/pop culture. I always love a chance to be sassy, sarcastic, and a bit over-the-top-gay, so here we are! Welcome to me serving up my aging punk nerd thoughts—not all of them polite—on some pop culture moments and music news from the preceding week. A little Sunday Brunch if you will.
This week is extra special because oh boy! It’s big sportsball day! And you know what thaaaat means! It means this grouchy old gay is going to come out to play…but not sportsball, no no no, I won’t be at any games or parties about games or the like. I’ll be leaning hard into my grumbly curmudgeon side and have a series of fun memes I have either been saving for this joyous occasion (it comes but once a year!) or that I saw on my morning (aka early afternoon) doom scroll through Instagram and Twitter. But I also have some serious stuff to say about all this so you’ll have to read that first. Or you know, just scroll to the memes, whatever floats your boat.
We respect the classics in this house! I wait all year to post this one.
The “big game” was of course the topic of hot discussion at work this week and I learned the bird team and the team with the racist name/logo they should have ditched years ago are playing so I guess that’s cool or something. I was being my charming and grouchy self about it, of course, when it was posited to me “what’s wrong with coming together as a community and celebrating something?” To that I say okay yeah, you do have a point, can’t argue with togetherness and such, and can never argue with having a party structured around junk food, I’ll support that any day! And hey, a massive sporting event (that also happens to be a huge cultural event) seems harmless enough. I said “yeah you know what, you’re right, a party and community are good things” because truly, they are. (I also acknowledged that I’m being a curmudgeon about it precisely because it’s funny to be a curmudgeon about it.)
But me, being me of course, also had to add in (because I don’t think the culture around sports in general and football in particular is always “harmless”) “I just can’t support the rife toxic masculine culture around it and I also can’t abide an organization like the NFL that has historically been so exploitive to its players,” and also mentioned my disgust that that team from Kansas City still hasn’t changed their damn name yet when they should have ages ago. And I think all sides saw each other’s points and we left it at that. Agree to disagree because A) we’re at work and gotta you know, work together and B) sports fans aren’t going to have their minds changed and a grumbly curmudgeon isn’t going to have her mind changed either. Not as the result of one/a few water cooler type convos in the workplace anyway. (Though these are certainly good starting points to get thinking about things. But I’m not changing my mind for the record.)
Yay team sportsball!
And I will say I AM NOT ANTI SPORTS, at all. I think sports—approached in a fair and not hyper masculine overly competitive way—can be awesome. But the potential positives don’t change the fact that there’s been huge problems of machismo in the sports world both from the players and the fans around them.
As far as how the NFL (and to a lesser extent the NHL) has exploited its players, just read up a little on how, as individual teams/owners and as an overall organization, they have downplayed their role in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a very severe brain injury that is caused by repeated head trauma which can be the direct result of gameplay in heavy contact sports) and done little to prevent these types of injuries. They have looked the other way and failed to support players and their families that have been deeply and irreversibly affected by the ravages of that condition…look up the Mike Webster case and the Aaron Hernandez case as prime examples. (There are many more cases of players effected by CTE, but those are the cases I am most familiar with. The Hernandez case also has major elements of homophobia tied into it as well and is probably one of the most complex and heartbreaking examples of how far reaching and devastating the effects of CTE can be. Nevermind the concurrent sickness of toxic masculinity that can, and very often does, swirl throughout football culture. These attitudes very likely kept Hernandez emotionally stunted, and locked in the closet, long before he was horrifically brain damaged.)
Those are tragedies that could have been avoided if there was a healthier culture around sports and football in particular. This starts from the top down, and if players were receiving appropriate care and support— both from a mental health perspective and physical perspective—before, during and after their professional careers (aka after they are no longer money making machines for major sports organizations), and there were also healthier expressions of masculinity in our society as a whole, there would be a lot less of these incidents or cases of abuse happening across the board. The NFL is supposedly the leader in the sport of football, they should act like it and be the driving force in the changes that need to happen culturally and in the long term health of football players at all levels.
I am also not going to delve into the massive issue of racist team names that the NFL allowed to go on for decades or how Colin Kaepernick had his career derailed when he was sidelined after rightfully protesting police violence. Or the fact that when sports fans riot after losses or wins, the cops often do little to nothing while protestors during Black Lives Matter marches were and are routinely arrested and gassed while acting peacefully and speaking out against societal poison. Many others have said plenty on this subject far more gracefully than I could in the short time I have to write this. Refer back to the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
Suffice it to say, there’s lots of ways to feel about this day and while I can definitely get behind the community aspects of having a fun party with friends, or being a part of a team and working together to achieve something (meaning the actual players, not the people on their couches who say “we” won the game), there are a lot of changes that need to happen to make it a better world in which we can enjoy sports in ways that are healthier for all of us from the players to the fans.
And now I’ll get down off the lefty soapbox and share those promised memes and tweets because you know I’m a sassy fucker and gotta dish the snark!
Crime Cat is a cool comic drawn by Ivan, who I met a number of years back playing shows together in bands we are both no longer in! Ha! The caption nails my point home about the ACAB’s attitudes towards one vs the other.
It is incredibly presumptuous of people in stores to say "enjoy the Super Bowl"
— Totally Real! Records (@totallyrealrecs) February 12, 2023
Don’t push your lifestyle on me!
I was sent a screen shot of this today and you know what, self love is important!
I am totally going to watch this later on YouTube, not even going to lie. Also that caption = pure fire
So the superbowl is like the grammys for football?
— Emilio Herce (@emilioherce) February 12, 2023
From our very own contributing photographer, Emilio Herce! Also yeah is this like a sportsball awards show or something?
I want them ALL. I love snacking (which is *almost* why I’m like “damn…I should slide into a Super Bowl party for the free eats”) but can’t eat most Doritos anymore** since I can’t eat dairy but goddamn do I miss some fuckin Cool Ranch in my life!
(**except for the Spicy Sweet Chili aka “the purple ones”)
I love Jon Wurster’s page. I may just have to take a peek at the Twitter hellscape for this! This is also one of the first years in a long time I’ve known who is playing ahead of the game too.
I said whaaaat I saaaaaid
Promise to only say it this once today: Fuck the superbowl
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) February 12, 2023
And saved the best for last! From the mouth of our punk rock Queen directly to you!
Oh there’s also this one, not related to the Super Bowl, but I couldn’t let this moment to say “Fuck Marjorie Taylor Greene” go by without taking it. We never want to pass up the opportunity to say that loud and clear! (I don’t have the brain capacity currently to comment further on the SOTU or Biden or other shit those right wing fuckbags are getting up to lately, just truly wanted to say FMTG.)