Home > Uncategorized > CULTURE: Super Bowl XLVI, Clint Eastwood, Madonna

CULTURE: Super Bowl XLVI, Clint Eastwood, Madonna

During halftime of Super Bowl XLVI a commercial begins.  It first it isn’t readily apparent what is being advertised.   A harsh whisper began intoning phrases about “people…discord…coming together”, as a montage of folks of a variety of hues gathered in groups, in some sort of vague protest and finally driving through an urban scape.

About 1/2 of the way through this 60-second commercial, this IS Super Bowl XLVI, an image emerges from the digital collage; the familiar craggy visage of Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood is evidently the narrator of this commercial.  Clint lets us know that America is in the “2nd half”, as an image of an assembly line appears.

Chryslers are being built on this assembly line.

Clint Eastwood, like Madonna has spent decades establishing himself as a bonafide artiste after having started out as a commercial property.  With 2 Academy Awards for Best Picture, for UNFORGIVEN and MILLION DOLLAR BABY, Eastwood’s credentials are fully in order.  Eastwood’s apparent willingness to produce eccentric projects such as BIRD and literary projects such as MYSTIC RIVER derives from decades of commercial viability.

Indeed Eastwood per  biographer Richard Schickel’s CLINT is now a paragon of artistic integrity.

Chrysler uses Eastwood’s “integrity” to demonstrate the “integrity” of Detroit’s weakest manufacturer.  Chrysler not identifying itself until midway through this commercial is precisely analogous to Eastwood not being seen until 1/2 way through this ad.

Signifying the hidden truth of Chrysler’s value is the value of Eastwood.

It is telling that the “Imported from Detroit” theme of Chrysler’s recent ads have featured Eminem’s “Lose Yourself'”s instrumental version.  Detroit’s “brand”  as an African-American Rust Belt city is now converted into commercial capital of, you know, embattled integrity.

Artists such as Woody Allen and David Byrne have long advertised products in Japan as has Eastwood.  What is new here is that Eastwood is lending his iconic cultural authority as:  you know, a commodity.

What is new here is that Eastwood’s embattled integrity is used in such a stealthy fashion.

Madonna strove to be an icon from the first echoed tambourine of “Everybody”.  The all too familiar saint/slut dichotomy has been always been her vision.  Madonna has extended her career and won artistic credibility through bringing  brain candy to her self-created commodity.  Producing EROTICA and playing guitar on stage has slaked the aesthetic thirst of  fans who have followed  Madonna for close to 30 years. 

Beats from the mating ritual with just enough “things that make you say hmmm,” to keep listening.

“Vogue” was the 1st. song.  Madonna arrived on stage accompanied by a phalanx of breastplate-clad men in Greco-Roman armor.   It is jarring to hear an anthem to gay dance club styling during the Super Bowl… or maybe the male bonding creates enough testosterone traction that the sheer physicality of the event can bypass the interpretive minds of the Super Bowl clientele.

Music” followed and was a worthy continuation of the rhythm time transposed to the 21st. Century.  Sadly, she did play not guitar for halftime

Never one to miss a promotional opportunity; or a costume change, Madonna is now flanked by M.I.A. as she reverses the aging process and drives a demographic wedge into dubstep while M.I.A. offers the middle finger salute, presumably to Patriots fans for her new single “Give Me All Your Luvin.”

The last number is the  literally iconic “Like a Prayer” with a black-clad Madonna assisted by the rotund Cee Lo Greene as the Material Woman reverses the commodification of vouging that the show  began with and now becomes a harbinger of commercial spirituality.

The NFL’s  “brand” of commercial sport has now become; you know, commercial spirituality elevated above mere commerce.

Oh yes, Madonna is from Michigan; Bay City to be exact.

Clint Eastwood and Madonna are equal signifiers for Chrysler and the Super Bowl.

Clint Eastwood AND Madonna.


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