On Sunday, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of possibly the most unique of all American holidays next to the Fourth of July – the Super Bowl.

The spectacle, which started out as an end-of-the-season game to settle bragging rights between rivals, the National Football League and the American Football League, in 1967, is viewed around the world by an estimated one billion people who tune in to see a sport that is not widely played in their country, if at all (with the exception of neighboring Canada and Mexico), by players whose names they don’t recognize representing teams in cities and regions they will never visit.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on advertising, seemingly as much on buffalo wings, chips, dip, and beer, President Obama consents to an interview on the day, and years are devoted to developing security plans to keep the players and fans safe.

Nowhere is the extravaganza seen as clearly as in the evolution of the half-time show as it has moved from the early days of marching bands – the Anaheim High School Drill Team and Flag Girls spelled out the names of the teams during the first Super Bowl half-time show – to superstars in production numbers with special effects and the occasional wardrobe malfunction.

In the past Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Clint Black, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Elton John headlined the show; this year’s choice by the league was 20-year show business veteran and mogul, Béyonce.

The star, who is worth an estimated $55 million according to Forbes, has been touted by First Lady Michelle Obama as an excellent role model for young girls around the world, and although it is hard to argue with the performer’s business acumen, her message to Americans on Super Bowl Sunday may have been a little tone deaf.

Béyonce apparently failed to see the irony in accepting a full police escort to Levi’s Stadium where she would perform a salute to the Black Lives Matter movement that advocates killing police officers, and celebrating the founding of the Black Panthers who recently marched in Austin, Texas chanting: “A pig is a pig that’s what I said, the only good pig is a pig that’s dead. Oink! Oink! Bang! Bang!”

Also escaping her notice, evidently, would be an understanding that her fortune – and that of her husband, Jay-Z, rap artist, tycoon, and Obama donor and friend, has been built in the country they criticize for oppressing them. The couple has announced a $1.5 million donation to Black Lives Matter.

In any event, it is doubtful that most Super Bowl viewers were paying much attention to the lyrics or message of Béyonce’s show. There are always more important matters to attend to during half-time such as bathroom breaks, refilling the chip bowl, or making a beer run.


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