Henry Rollins: The Super Bowl and Other Signs of the Apocalypse

Henry Rollins: The Super Bowl and Other Signs of the Apocalypse
Photo by Heidi May

[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]

Along with millions of Americans and others all over the world, I watched Super Bowl XLIX. I thought it was great. It was like a movie about the Super Bowl. Unbelievable at times.

This championship game did, however, reconfirm and make abundantly clear what I (and very likely you) have been certain of for quite some time: We are nearing the end of the line. Humankind is almost done.

As I watched the game in a room filled with revelers, I saw sign after sign that we will never live to see 5G LTE coverage. I wanted to jump up and warn everyone that we were all self-fattening calves, using our good looks and connections to cut to the front of the line at the slaughterhouse!

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But not wanting to be a downer, I just sat and silently ate.

I don’t want us to go! I think we humans are great. Every record I own was made by a member of Homo sapiens. People invented pizza, and for that alone, all of humankind should be excused from any unnecessary pain or discomfort.

However, despite our awesomeness, I think we have almost run our course. We are doing everything possible to hasten our demise.

Some of the more obvious indicators were in the advertisements. You just have to know how to read them.

Kim Kardashian and the Whole “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” Thing: The great Gil Scott-Heron made this statement on record in 1970, and it has been tossed off in conversations for decades ever since. Revolution? What, like the one in Egypt or the death roll happening daily in Syria? No, I think Mr. Scott-Heron was talking about America and I think he was right, but perhaps not for the reason he thought.

I don’t think there’s going to be a revolution. I think we have built a paper bag so strong that even if we wanted to, we could not collectively punch our way out of it. Progress, scientific breakthrough, peace, revolution? We’re just … not that into it. Well, we kinda are, but these things often drag on and on, and where would we park?

So, no revolution, televised or otherwise. Instead, Kim Kardashian is on television, working for T-Mobile, promoting the company’s new service, Data Stash. As the scripted words float gently from her mouth like lighter-than-air pats of warm butter, millions of Americans look at her and think about where they would like to stash their data.

The divine Ms. Double K will have a far more substantial impact on culture than we can calculate at this time. A lot of young girls, and some guys, want to grow up to be just like her. Way fewer people want to grow up to be anything like you or me.

In the 1960s, this advertisement would have incurred feminist outrage all over our fine country. Now we just watch and comment on how damn good the lighting was.

The McDonald’s “Will-Hug-for-Food” Thing: A frightening number of Americans experience real hunger on a daily basis. Many of them are children. Until the end of Valentine’s Day, McDonald’s is enacting the “Pay With Lovin’?” initiative. For this limited time, you might be selected by a cashier to pay for your McChow with a hug, or by calling your mother and telling her you love her. If you do what is requested, you get your purchase gratis.

Why is the old McBehemoth unleashing its affections on We the People? Does it really love us? Or could it have something to do with the fact that sales for the chain have decreased and it’s resorting to love in a desperate attempt to lure us back to the golden arches?

If you are so inclined, you’d better get while the getting’s good. Because after Valentine’s Day, it will be back to the regular routine. Hungry? Fuck you and your hugs — the clown says you pay with money.

The “We Fought the Drugs and the Drugs Won” Thing: Esurance resurrected Breaking Bad’s Walter White, played peerlessly by Bryan Cranston, in its incredibly directionless ad. White, a crystal methamphetamine maker whom millions of Americans watched and cheered on for years, was front and center.

Think about that. This company wants to sell you car insurance via a drug-peddling murderer.

Can we now admit that we had a “war on drugs” and no one showed up? We were too busy making them, scoring them, using them, kicking them, writing songs about them and dying from them to fight.

The “If You Drink Designer Beer, a Wolf Might Eat a Puppy” Thing: Budweiser found one of the cutest dogs ever for its dramatic mini-epic of a puppy who takes a wild ride away from home but, with canine integrity, risks it all to make it back to his master and horse pals. Everyone around me cheered wildly as the brave little dog stared down the computer-generated wolf that stood in its way.

The symbolism was obvious. Well, it was to me, anyway. The wolf was President Obama — a socialist predator who eats dogs. The puppy was the millions of Americans who face the gnashing teeth of the Affordable Care Act and are mad as hell!

The horses that came to the rescue were all Paul Ryan.

Another sign of the end being nigh — not included in Super Bowl XLIX — is the odd aversion some have to modernity.

The anti-vaccine/pro-measles crowd is a harbinger of the germy times ahead. Oh, bring back to me those glorious, pestilence-filled days of yesteryear! Bright future be damned! Turn up the Dark Age jams as we cough up blood!

This Saturday, I hope you have someone for whom you can ask Cupid to draw back his bow.

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, Henry Rollins @henryrollins and like us on Facebook at LAWeeklyMusic.

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