The human brain is fascinating. It lets us conveniently forget unsettling facts and allows us to process information in a way that shields us from thinking too deeply or even logically. My current deep thoughts about brain science are brought on by the outrage over the Super Bowl halftime show. I know totally old news, right?
But is it? Because I think it’s a case study in how people chose to get all riled up about the little things instead of saving their fury for bigger issues.
I must confess that I didn’t even see the halftime show. But after all the “clutching my pearls” horror about J. Lo and Shakira’s 12 minutes on stage flooding my social media newsfeeds I went back and watched it.
My fundamental takeaway as a 50 something woman viewing the performance is that Jennifer Lopez at 50 is now my spirit animal. Just wow.
That said, I can understand how some people, people who have never experienced a swimming pool or been on the Internet in the past 20 years might have been dismayed to see women exposing more than their clavicles. For the rest of humanity who sees more skin revealed at their local Walmart I just didn’t get all the “world is coming to an end” verbal ragers on social media.
It boggles my mind, like really astounds me, that with all the horrific and frightening things happening right now why would any of us focus this much energy and emotion on a Super Bowl halftime show that lasted 720 seconds?
My theory is because it’s easy. It’s outrage for the lazy who want to bask in the attention from making a statement that has no real impact on anyone’s lives. It also makes me think of sprinkles. Sprinkles on cupcakes to be exact.
Years ago, my children attended an elementary school that banned sprinkles on cupcakes. The reasoning was that during school parties the cavalcade of sprinkle enriched treats that were brought in created a mess.
I totally understood the ban because sprinkles, much like Christmas tree tinsel, is the gift that keeps on giving. You think you’ve got it all cleaned up but weeks later you’re still finding tinsel or in this case sprinkles.
The backlash from the sprinkle ban was intense. There was even a “Save the Sprinkles” petition. Meanwhile, the state legislature was annihilating the school funding budget which was already gutted. Yet, this issue that had a real and lasting impact of education didn’t even garner half the attention the sprinkle ban did.
It’s because being pro sprinkles was so much easier than doing any work that was focused on advocating for education funding. Sprinkles are colorful, fun, easy. A grassroots effort to fight the legislature not so much.
Never mind that our kids could survive and even, fingers crossed, thrive in a sprinkle free learning environment. Something you couldn’t say about schools without art education and increased class sizes.
The sprinkle protest much like the recent halftime show fury quickly died down and was replaced with more interchangeable outrage over things that have zero impact on our lives but yet bring some form of, dare I say, enjoyment over getting all worked up about.
It makes me wonder what we could accomplish if we retrained our brains to think more deeply and instead of reacting over the trivial focused our attention on issues that have a real impact on our lives, our future, our humanity.
But I know that sounds like a whole lot less fun and and requires a whole lot more effort than going off on two middle-aged women dancing and singing during halftime at a football game.