Super Sunday’s Unnameable One

American English is a relaxed, anything-goes affair. Swear all you want, or make up words, or mangle the grammar and it’s fine. There are still a few words and phrases that stop the music and make all the cowboys turn around, like the n-bomb or the c-word, but the sharp corners on those are being worn down too. Euphemisms for death and other bodily functions persist but without serious effect; saying “gravedigger” instead of “funeral director” is an eccentricity and not an abomination.

But there are forbidden words and phrases, just forbidden not to all. Important temple priests, once ordained, must not use these without permission and sacrifice, on pain of severe punishment.

Two of these are “The Superbowl” and “The Olympics.”

Ordinary people are allowed to say “The Olympics are less exciting this year!” or “Come to my Superbowl party.”

However, those who sell, or promote, or even report professionally are forbidden to use these phrases unless they’ve given an expensive sacrifice to the appropriate temple. If a bar has a Superbowl Super Happy Hour, or a snack company suggests a Superbowl Dip Bowl, or a newspaper has a special Olympic Games section, an inquisition of attorneys arrives and begins punishment.

This is why confusing advertisements appear saying things like “Get ready for the Big Game with Triscuits!” or “FOX Sports is your Summer Games coverage HQ!” Brahmin who utter these things without having sacrificed and cleansed are struck down by God’s hands in the form of intellectual property lawyers.

News media are stuck in a theological No Man’s Land where they tussle with the priests. They say “we’re reporting on events! We’re atheists, and you can’t judge us for the holy words!” The guardians of the temple disagree, and blood is shed.

So, a happy Super Sunday to all! Enjoy the gladiators, the entertainments, and the snacks. But spare a thought for those for whom this is holy, and for those persecuted for penetrating a hermetic sanctuary forbidden only to them. Without them, all our commercial pleasures would fade into the shadows to join the lost power of profanity and euphemism.

7 thoughts on “Super Sunday’s Unnameable One

    1. THIS.
      I think I suggested a while back that a best-seller could easily be had by simply compiling all of his stories about the fascinating characters he’s known in LA (I’m thinking now about the story of the guy who lived in Needles for a while), with maybe some of Bob’s stories thrown in as well …

  1. Fourth and One-hundred-and-one
    (Don’t) tell me about it. My uncle’s a referee. You don’t want to know.

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