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Super Bowl 2021: Bruce Springsteen and What Does LV Mean Anyway?

February 7, 2021

Bruce Springsteen with Jeep. Photo by Rob DeMartin/Courtesy of Jeep

Today is Super Bowl LV (or 55 if you’re not fluent in Roman numerals). 

It can’t have escaped most people’s notice that in English, LV looks a lot like LIVE.

And the LV Super Bowl Trophy certainly emphasizes this connection:

 

Many who lived to see the Super Bowl in 2020 live no longer and will miss LV. More people have died in the US from the COVID pandemic than died in World War II: nearly half a million (452k) while worldwide, 2.3 million people have died. Of the 27 million cases in the US and 106 million cases worldwide, many of these people have yet to or may never fully recover. 

At this point, we have all been touched by illness or death by COVID. For one, Super Bowl parties just aren’t the same.

Have to say that SNL skit is funny/not funny. 

Here in Southern California, people are gathering mostly outdoors to watch the game in much smaller gatherings than ever before.  No wonder Governor Newsom hasn’t opened bars yet.

While we may not be sticking out hands into a communal pot of chili as in the SNL skit, we may or may not be  grabbing chips out of a communal bowl and dipping them into the same bowl of dip.

But more critically, we all know people who aren’t watching the game with us this year or ever, or who might be there but that beer tastes like fermented funk, or they can’t walk up the flight of stairs to the house without running out of breath, or they have “COVID toes” like my son did. 

Fortunately, the new administration in the White House is taking COVID seriously.

We still have a long way to go, but it seems like we are finding that holiest of place, middle ground, and we are working together to help move our society from the nightmare it has been in to a new place. 

While I have often shared Super Bowl ads post Super Bowl, and used them in my college composition classes to discuss forms of argumentation, I would never have guessed that a Super Bowl ad by Bruce Springsteen would appear here. 

“Fear has never been the best of who we are,” Springsteen says in the ad, “and as for freedom, it’s not the property of the fortunate few, it belongs to us all.”

But these are unusual times. And the text for this ad, and more importantly, the story it tells, spoke to Bruce, and after years of saying no, no matter how much money, he finally said yes. For more about how the ad came about, read “How Bruce Springsteen Agreed To Do a Super Bowl Commercial for Jeep” By Brian Steinberg in Variety:

“We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” Springsteen says as he holds forth from a small chapel in Lebanon, Kansas, with his own 1980 Jeep CJ-5 in the picture. He adds: “Our light has always found its way through the darkness. And there’s hope up on the road ahead.” The ad ends with the tagline, “To The ReUnited States of America.”

Springsteen “was 100% sincere, and honest and authentic. This is an attempt to contribute, to heal. This is not an attempt to pick a side,” says Francois. Springsteen “felt it was time for him to be this guy in the middle of America, talking to America from this little chapel in the epicenter of America, and stand for the middle and nothing else.

Jeep offered to let him film scenes at his home in New Jersey, then mix them in with footage captured at the Kansas church, but Springsteen insisted on flying out to the chapel a week ago. His attention to detail was fervent, Francois says. There was no “glam squad” for makeup and no complaints about how cold it was outdoors.

“He spent 12 hours on site. He was totally hands-on about the editing. He was very, very, very active with the editing and the process,” says Francois. “He knew what he wanted, and he got what he wanted.”

 

Change is coming. The new America is going to be different than the old one. ZOOM is here to stay, but going back to school and connecting with friends, families, colleagues, co-workers and strangers at various venues from concerts to college to Coachella will return. 

So what does Super Bowl LV mean? LIVE! And let’s do it in unity!

Hallelujuh! And “Have the New Jab” coming soon near you!

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