Karen Rivers

Superbowl Sunday

Karen Rivers

People are watching a football game specifically for the ads.  "How can we get more eyeballs on us?" the advertisers asked.  Then they answered their own question.  

"We won't be fooled!" people said.  But then they were gleefully fooled.  

Oh, let the images wash over you.   Watch them while you're eating snacks that only barely bear a resemblance to food while watching advertisements for the same snacks.  All of it will kill you.  Eventually.  Well, life is a one way trip.  

I just find it strange, all the people who don't like football, watching for the commercials.   Probably it isn't any more strange that I'm on my couch, thinking about how the advertisers won.  

"You've got us," I want to say.  I will walk towards the head offices, waving a white flag, scattering money at the feet of the food-like snack gods.  

I bought snacks today, too.  So you see, I'm a hypocrite just like everyone else.  We all want to be good people, but sometimes we just want some salty, crunchy food.  

I don't have cable so I won't see the game or the ads.  I don't like ads.  I don't like football unless I can be there, in the stands, with all that enthusiasm lifting me higher than I'm usually willing to go for a sport that has been implicated in the concussed lives of so many fine young men and less fine young men, also.   Let's consider the number of abusive jerks who number amongst football's players, that's what I mean by "less fine".  Granted, it's a small percentage.  That we know of, at least.  

Abusive jerks.  That doesn't sound strong enough, does it?  For men who beat their wives.  How about "monsters". 

Well, that makes me think about the Ghomeshi trial.  There is no poetry in this.  I was thinking about poetry earlier, the beautiful economy of language that poets have.  If I were an economist, I'd choose to be a language one. If I were a poet, I'd call myself that:  a language economist.  Real economists strip the poetry away to reveal the ugly underbelly of the financial impeti that really drive everything.  (Is impeti the plural of impetus?)  There is very little money in poetry or poetry in money.  I read something yesterday that a year after winning the lottery and a year after becoming a parapalegic, there was very little difference in a person's happiness.  Let that one simmer.  Really mull it over.  Statistics don't lie.   

Ghomeshi's lawyer is a woman who seems determined to take all other women and push them, in slow motion, in front of the train of misogyny that rolls through courtrooms on a daily basis.  But what were you wearing?  Did you or did you not hug him when you left?   Did you or did you not think, "Well, maybe it's what I deserved"? Were you not attracted to him?  Why did you go to his house if that wasn't the case?    

Being a woman in this society, today, in 2016, means that what you wear and what you drink and how you react to trauma will be used to judge your relative worth, which by the way, is quite low.  You will be found lacking.  Maybe we should teach our children this truth so they don't have to find out the hard, ugly way that we have all discovered in our own time due to circumstance.  But we can't do that to the kids.  Let them believe it's otherwise until they have to stop.  Please, may they never have to stop.


Ghomeshi is on the CBC.  Was on the CBC.  The CBC is the friendly old man of the Canadian airwaves.  But Jian made it young and fresh.  He sexed it up.  You know they talked like that when deciding to never discipline him for how he was "handsy" with female staffers, how the turnover was so high, the number of complaints.  They knew.   Everyone knew.  It wasn't even a secret, not really.  

Everyone wants to sell something.  The CBC wanted to sell sexy.  Well, they sure missed, didn't they?  Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

"He'll never work again!"   Come on now, of course he will.   He'll be the Shock Jock of the Canadian airwaves.  Or, more likely, the American ones.  He'll rise up.  They always do, wielding their scorn and their teddy bears and the women get quieter and quieter.  I'm so proud of those women who decided not to be quiet.  I want to go to each of them and say, "Thank you."  They're doing it for all of us, you know.   Figuratively.  One day, it might be possible that after being raped, we -- as women -- can go to the authorities and say, "I was raped" and they will react and respond appropriately and we won't be made to feel like, fine, yes, you were victimized, but what was your role in that exactly?  How did you invite it? 

Maybe we're getting quiet because something is happening over here, maybe we're regrouping.  Maybe you should worry.  

Or maybe we're just tired.  We're tired of not being asked the right questions and then being judged for giving the wrong answers.  I speak for myself.

On a related note, I was listening to a podcast.  Dear Sugar.  I'm a fan of Cheryl Strayed.  But this podcast.  Good lord, it was terrible.  It was terrible the way that Cheryl, on behalf of women, let a particularly obnoxious "scientist" tell her the way things were -- she insisted on calling him a scientist even though he was technically an economist -- even while he couched it by saying, "This part is just my opinion, not statistics."  

Men like hot women, he declared.

"Oh dear," she said, and cringe-laughed and agreed.  Of course, of course.  

If you're not hot, the man went on to advise (I'm paraphrasing here), you should basically take what you should get.  Or you'll be alone.    

(Oh, should you?  And anyway, isn't "hot" subjective?)  

Also, he added, women like rich men.  

Oh, I see.  Yes.   Well, of course you believe that, sir.  Because it allows you to believe that you've settled for a not-hot woman because you're not rich, but I will tell you this:  If I were the one he'd settled for, I'd be feeling gleeful right now that my recourse would be to simply get up and walk away.  "Goodbye," I would say.  "Good luck with settling for the next one who is as good as you can get, given that you're simply middle-class and not as wealthy as you wish you were."  By "good" in that context, I mean "hot".  He was clear that was the only decider for men, you see.  No one cares how smart you are, my dear.  Funny?  Interesting?   That's all just smoke and mirrors.   Put on a bikini and some makeup, let's see if you're worthy. 

We all see it through our own lens, don't we?   I wish more people would say, "The thing with coupling up is that often we pick the wrong people and spend years clawing our way out or we pick no one and we worry we are missing something and no one wants to say that actually the happiest people are the ones who picked themselves."  

I tell my daughter, "Choose the one who makes you laugh."  All the other stuff goes away, or you can work with it, but if you're with someone who can't make you laugh, there's just too much empty space for sadness and anger.  Trust me.  Anyway, little girls are still being molded by society to be future brides.  A princess for a day!  Weddings are an economic stimulis.  The business of getting married and getting divorced drives industry.  Divorce lawyers advertise on prime time.  Those lawyers are doing OK. They're rich.  Divorced themselves and now richer than ever based on the disillusionment of others, they can choose from a pool of hotter women, I suppose.  

How cynical do we want to get with this?  I want to take all the cynicism and peel it away, but it's my protective outer coating, so I can't.   It's part of me.  

I hope Ghomeshi is convicted.  I hope the women who came forward are loved and respected.  I hope our daughters aren't raised to be blamed for what men do to them.   I wish that those particular football players (who are rich) would stop beating their wives and girlfriends (who are hot).  I wish snack food was nutritious.   I wish poetry was the key economic driver behind love. 

Well, enjoy the game!