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What Would Mencken Say?


Though I am not a devout football fan, I watched Super Bowl LII (52) on Sunday, rooting for the Eagles.

It was of course a very exciting game right up to the last second and included a number of amazing plays.

Most astonishing to me, however, was the extravagant, almost rococo nature of the commercials, desperately striving for eye-popping originality and in many cases for racial “diversity,” presented in the most egregiously irrelevant and self-congratulatory way: babies of different colors serving as props for the — of course — politically correct nature of a (I forget) company; a skinny dancer moving hips provocatively, so buy Diet Coke; Hyundai telling us to buy its cars because they turn metal detectors into “hope detectors”; the multiple stories of recovering paraplegics as PR for buying a Toyota vehicle.

Perhaps the most shocking was to see the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reprised in advocacy of buying a Ram truck!

One can only imagine what H.L. Mencken or Edmund Wilson, were they alive today, might make of this engorged afflatus of show-biz capitalist puffery. Or what any trenchant, observant social critic would tell us as to the meaning of this mind-blowing display of a “buy-and-be-happy” nation.



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