Monday, January 02, 2012

Can I Keep My Bowl Name Please?

In my sports loving family I grew up watching the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Sugar Bowl among others. Those games signified the end of the college football season and crowned the best teams in the country. Of course everyone still argued about whether rankings truly indicated the best teams or whether or not there ought to be a playoff system to end these debates once and for all.

Now we not only have a slew of inferior bowl games but even the old time games have been christened with corporate names. The Allstate Sugar Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl, and ATT Cotton Bowl will all be played this week. If that isn't awful enough, we have bowl games which exist only for the purpose of advertising products, some of which the world would be better off without. Don't believe me? Why is there an Outback Bowl, a Bowl, and a Chick-fil-A Bowl? You can see the list of infamy here.

I suppose this is yet another sign of the last stage of capitalism but it truly sickens me that we lose what little is left of our popular culture because corporations spare nothing in promoting their products and services. College football is not alone. Several years ago the New York City Marathon became the ING New York City Marathon. Yes, that is the official name. I suppose the marathon no longer belongs to the people of this city, it belongs to ING or whomever the future deep pocketed corporation turns out to be.

Of course college sports is all about the money, but in this horrific era there is not even a pretense that anything else matters or that we shouldn't mind giving up the things we always loved to corporate branding. If there were thrilling games in the Rose, Cotton or Sugar bowl, we remember that name, will we now have corporate names in our memories too?

It is like some horrible dystopian post apocalyptic nightmare. But then again I guess that is where we live now. We no longer have the rights to our own memories and to the things we love. If it can be branded it will be branded, and f*ck anyone who won't go along peacefully.

Happy 2012!