February 6, 2012

2012 Superbowl Halftime: A Pagent about Occupy Wall Street & Impending Collapse of US Empire

Madonna was trying to do us all a huge favor this SuperBowl sunday, but I don’t think many of us got the message. So let me break it down for you.

Her half time show opened with a display of Roman Sentinels, a display meant to create a visual metaphor of the Roman Empire, and make more plain to see, the parallels between ancient rome and today’s United States.

Ancient Rome, during it’s bread and circus years was just on the cusp of total collapse.
The plebeians of Rome had no voice in their government. The Roman Senate was extremely corrupt and changed laws of Rome not to benefit the common good, but to further enrich themselves. The Roman empire had, at this point before collapse, so overextended itself around the known world, that it was unable to effectively govern. And so this projection of power created resentment, leading to popular uprisings, and terrorist attacks on the soldiers stationed in the furthest reaches of the Roman Empire. The Plebeians, certain beyond the shadow of a doubt of the corruption of their government, were extremely apathetic towards politics, and instead spent their free time watching gladiatorial games at the Bread and Circuses.

This Superbowl, nay, football in general, Madonna was quite blatantly stating, is our modern day Gladiatorial Games. The halftime show, with its celebration of hedonistic sexuality, is our modern day bacchanalia. The SuperBowl is the convergence and amplification of everything about our society that parallels ancient rome, condensed into a money and testosterone drenched nugget of our collective American id.

Madonna was warning us of the impending collapse of the United States.

Further parallels are drawn with the appearance of LMFAO singing “I’m sexy and I know it” a song which was clearly chosen to illustrate the hubris of American Exceptionalism, while clearly casting light on the gaping discrepancy between the song’s lyrics and the average American viewer, which in a self-recursive, or “meta” moment, draws a parallel between the bloated corpse of the American empire, and the bloated bodies of those watching the game.

What of the hippie on the slack line, dressed as an ancient roman plebeian? He is representative of the 99% of Rome, and the 99% of America, the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Balanced precariously on a thin line of credit, his station in life moves up and down, and he is totally at the mercy of the fluctuations of the economy. Our day to day balancing act of securing employment and living paycheck to paycheck is made literal in the visual metaphor of an actual balancing act. As this Occupy Protester is vaulted up into the air in a final flourish, suddenly finding himself no longer moving up or down, but moving sideways, into a new dimension of reality. As he turns end over end, the world, relative to him, is flipped upside down, and then righted again. He lands this time not on the insecurity of the slack-line, but on the solid foundation of a steady-state economy many yards away from the area he was suspended above.

Finally, through the magic of special effects, the football field is torn away, revealing the vacuous expanse of space, a nietzscheian void that is outside of the illusory world of our modern day crumbling roman empire. Madonna then after the destruction of the field, evolves into a being of pure light and energy, which disburses to form the words, “World Peace” making clear that this whole display was meant to mock the very game it divides, which itself is an analogue for regional warfare.


  1. I can not tell you enough how much I agree with your view. This is brilliant however I will point out on minor detail that she was clearly dressed as cleopatra when she entered. It seems to me she also had a message of Female leadership. Cleopatra was one on the only leaders of all time to rule for over 30 years and not have any record of aggressive acts towards other lands. WORLD PEACE

  2. Again, you are amazing in your analysis of this performance. I must more carefully also add the fact the she paraded into the space as a fully crowned queen cleopatra, as the story prior to the high water mark of Rome goes. It was Cleopatra that deeply influenced many if not all of the opulence of the later Romain Aesthetic, medicine, poetry,art stylings love making, party throwing all and all their culture. CLeopatra awoke the senses of the Romans to the more juicey life. And in return for her influence and deep feminine sensibility and grace the Romans hated on her hard-core, they are many times over known to be awful misogynists. Eventually they killed her and kept her influence. I feel like Madonna has made a personal statement in this paralle, as well as statement of the treatment of women. They are wildly appropriated and worshipped but rarely allowed to occupy the thrones. Also like Cleopatra who referred to herself as the reincarnation of the Goddess ISIS the mother of the sun god, Madonna is well Madonna the mother of the son of god.