I refrained from writing any articles analyzing the numerous Superbowl commercials this year. With all the buzz around the big game and the commercials anyway I figured it would just be useless clutter. I did however want to draw attention a NY Times article that attempts to follow along the same lines as my regular Commercial Culture posts. They explore the idea that the level of violence in this years commercials, “cartoonish” as it may be, could reflect the toll the Iraq War is having on the American psyche.

No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.

In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair.

While I agree that it is likely that the images of war we see daily manifest themselves in ways we cannot immediately explain in our everyday lives; I think men ripping the hair from their chest after having accidentally kissed may be linked to other psychological issues rather than the current state of our foreign policy.

My personal favorite from last night and it appears was a big winner: Blockbuster’s Total Access Mouse

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The not so hidden costs of the Superbowl

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