OK, so the obvious answer is the State of the Union Address right? Or, well, maybe not so much.
It’s time again for that important televised event that comes around this time each year and draws millions of viewers. Not the one with outrageous halftime shows and $3 million commercials we all love to scrutinize. The other outrageous event we all love to scrutinize, the president’s annual State of the Union Address. It’s that time when President Barack Obama addresses Congress and the nation, discussing our victories and challenges during the past year, and laying out his plans and hopes for the coming year.
The State of the Union Address, which airs on most major networks at 8 p.m. today, is expected to draw around 30 million viewers. Not a bad rating. But the Grammy Awards drew 28.5 million viewers Sunday, the music awards show’s second-highest pull in 20 years, and the Super Bowl this Sunday is expected to draw well over 100 million viewers. So, which is more important to this generation? Politics, pop culture or sports? Or perhaps all of the above. Today students in a reporting and writing for journalism class at MBU blog about this question:
What matters more? The Grammys, the State of the Union or the Super Bowl?
REID CURE, junior
OK, so the main thing to focus on is not what SHOULD be more important, but what is more important. We all can agree on the fact that the State of the Union address SHOULD be up on top as far as significance goes. Then we all face the reality that the Super Bowl is where the coolers, cheese trays, and chips and dip are.
We have seen State of the Union addresses before. Then, being a student with a sense of political ignorance, I have this feeling that these speeches are nothing but rituals full of hoorah and empty promises to make everyone think there’s nothing but smiles at the White House. Now that is all just speculation on my part, but I have to draw attention to Dave Granlund’s political cartoon in the State Journal-Registrar out of Springfield, Ill.
The aftermath of the president’s speech is going to be nothing less than another misdirection from the offense, and we might as well tune into the one that’s going to give us a big hit in the end. So where will you be? Neck deep in the neighbor’s guacamole? Or lips pursed, clinging on to every word from the head honcho of the land of the free? When I think about it, I’m getting a little hungry.
RICKIE ROSS, freshman
I think entertainment is the most important thing in our generation. Among the State of the Union Address, the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl, the most important factor is simply entertainment. It’s not that people don’t care about America, we are just not entertained by a monotonous speech from the president about what is happening in our country. We do not want to think about what America is going through. A good time is what truly matters.
“We aren’t in an information age, we are in an entertainment age,” said self-help author Tony Robbins. It’s not about the importance of what is going on. It is about what will make us the happiest and most comfortable. We just want to have a good time. Completely harmless … right?
ESTHER GILLIAM, sophomore
I believe that the State of the Union is an important event to the United States, but from my perspective it is an event representing a job. When it comes to mass media, it may seem like it is all a plan to brainwash the world, but in reality it is a business.
I think the Super Bowl is the most important event because it helps the media thrive, and it is a job like other jobs or a business like other businesses. However, the Super Bowl does not seem like an important event because of the money that it costs to run it. There is so much more to the Super Bowl than the number of views and money.
When broken down, it takes millions to run the Super Bowl or make it happen at all. Timothy J. McNulty from the Chicago Tribune said, “Every so often I am reminded that what we call the ‘mass media’ is really a collection of individuals, and the relationships they build with their readers are often surprising and deeply personal.”
HANNAH BALLARD, sophomore
As much as I would like to say that the State of the Union is the most important event, it’s not. Many people don’t want to listen to the president just talk. The Grammys and the Super Bowl are very important to today’s society. Both these events offer so much, that so many different types of people are drawn to these. The entertainment of the Grammys and Super Bowl is what is most important to society now.
With the Super Bowl and the Grammys, you will always be surprised and then that’s what people talk about for the next week. What happens during both these events will be all over social media, so it’s easy for people to get into both these events. Also, most people love drama. The Super Bowl and Grammys offer a lot of drama that doesn’t involve them. People keep up with popular events so they can talk about them with everyone else.
Many people my age think the State of Union doesn’t really affect them, so they don’t care. I think people my age would think it is strange if you started talking about what was said in the State of the Union address, because many people won’t make that a priority to watch.
“His message to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday will identify measures where he and Congress can cooperate, and he will press issues that will distinguish him and Democrats from Republicans. He’ll also make a case for acting alone,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn. The State of the Union may end up being more of an act than the Grammys or Super Bowl. However, someone might surprise you and actually know a little bit about the State of Union, but that won’t be me.
JULIANNE COMBS, senior
No other event brings as much speculation as the crowning event of the football season, the Super Bowl. ESPN analysts and fans alike begin predicting the outcome of the big game months prior to kickoff. Not only do the hard-core fans plan their perfect Super Bowl bash with the biggest television screen they can find, those who don’t give a hoot about football all season gather together the first Sunday in February to watch the game, even if it is just for the highly publicized commercials or the infamous half-time show.
Aside from the game gurus and the commercial critics are the food fanatics, the party people and the alcohol admirers. My gut tells me that the State of Union Address should be more important than one football game or music award show. However, politics feel less tangible than football games and music awards.
Sports and music represent people on a daily basis whereas politics are reserved for every fourth November. Dr. Jack Kevorkian once said, “[Americans are] like the Romans, they’re happy with bread and their spectator sports. The Super Bowl means more to them than any right.”
CHELSIE BARTLEY, freshman
What brings our nation together? What unifies us? The correct answer to this is not, in fact, politics. It’s sportsmanship. This week is the Super Bowl, where over 100 million viewers will come together to watch two teams battle on the playing field for victory. Fans from all over the United States will gather together for parties where they might not even be cheering for the same team. This week is also the president’s State of the Union Address, where approximately 30 million viewers will turn on their televisions to watch as President Obama makes promises he may or may not keep.
The real question here isn’t what matters most to us, but rather, what brings us together as a country. Politics have never been a unifying force, but as we can plainly see, sports bring us together in a way we usually aren’t. I will be spending my weekend in the common room of my dorm with 100 people who I am merely in acquaintance with while I watch the Super Bowl. I know nothing about football, but it’s the atmosphere that brings me to the party and the fact that we are all there for one unifying reason, to watch as one team reaches the ultimate goal by honest hard work and sportsmanship.
Gary Gygax, an American writer and game designer, said once, “Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.” This is what Americans are searching for whether they’re on the couch, in the stands or on the field.
KAYLA GLYSHAW, freshman
Personally, the Super Bowl is my favorite to watch, but is it as important as the State of the Union Address? Not necessarily. I think that most anyone would quickly answer this question saying that the State of the Union is the most important. For most people, though, if you say State of Union they automatically shut down mentally because it does not make very many people excited. If you say Grammys or Super Bowl, people get excited and can tell you almost any detail about the event.
Hearing our president speak is more important, though, because it is our duty as citizens to keep up with where our nation is going. To be honest, I’ve never seen a State of Union speech before because I get so excited and wrapped up in the Super Bowl. Even though many of us may not appreciate the State of Union, it is far more important because it is political and of high respect. It is of more use than handing awards to singers who do not deserve them and watching men run around a field with a football.
I think the reason that the Super Bowl is more viewed than anything else is because it has become almost a national holiday. People have huge Super Bowl parties to watch this national event, but no one really takes their time to watch our president talk about our national issues and plans.
Bob Schieffer, political commentator for CBS news, said, “The truth is the Super Bowl long ago became more than just a football game. It’s part of our culture, like turkey at Thanksgiving and lights at Christmas, and like those holidays beyond their meaning, a factor in our economy.”
ELIZABETH HARRIS, freshman
To be honest, I’m not very interested in tuning into any of the three. I care that our president is speaking, I think the Grammys are cool and they help me catch up on all the music news that I’ve missed, and I could care less about the Super Bowl, but I’ll enjoy the party for it.
However, whether I care or not, a lot of people do. The Grammys had 28.5 million viewers this year, the State of the Union is expecting around 30 million and the Super Bowl is expected over 100 million viewers. It’s obvious that our country is highly driven by sports and pop culture. What matters is how we let that affect us. What’s important to us?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good game of football or some live music, but when it becomes an idol in our lives, something that we absolutely cannot bare to miss for any given reason, that’s when it becomes an issue. What’s really important in life? I think our generation has become too dependent on knowing what’s happening in our stars’ lives than what’s going on in their own. Author and philosopher Criss Jami says, “Popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing.”
TYLER HAYTH, senior
The State of the Union, the Grammys, or SuperBowl XLVIII, which has the most impact in society? I grew up in a household that was very music- and sports-oriented. Politics were one thing that held little importance in my family. Being up-to-date and educated on politics is our duty as an American citizen right? Not so much. According to some predictions, it seems that the State of the Union Address will receive about one-half of the viewers of the Grammys and around one-third the viewers of the Super Bowl.
Each year all of these events are televised to the nation. The Super Bowl is something that generates billions of dollars for companies in advertising every year. Some people only watch the Super Bowl for commercials anyway right? People who don’t even like football or understand the game are still watching and rooting for whatever team is winning, because they are bound to be in community with friends and family at the annual Super Bowl party.
As all these things bring a spotlight to the big cities, something bigger is lurking in the shadows and that is human sex trafficking. The Super Bowl, along with other large sporting events, act as huge sex trafficking magnets. There are meetings in Congress for the concern of human sex trafficking. Joseph Straw, from the New York Daily News, includes past cited numbers for human sex trafficking: “An estimated 10,000 women and children were trafficked to Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010.” The only thing that is going to stop this number from growing is an awareness to be brought about. Super Bowl XLVIII will have a great impact on today’s society, both positive and negative. Greater than the Beyoncé’s performance at the Grammys, and even greater than President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
COURTNEY FLANAGAN, junior
The music industry’s most grandiose event of the year, the Grammys, the NFL’s winner-take-all Super Bowl, and the highly anticipated presidential State of the Union address are all set to take place within the same week. All three of these huge events will be watched across the nation, as they are all televised. Is as much significance put on one as the other and respectively, are they appropriately significant?
The answer that’s “supposed” to be given is that the State of the Union address is the most significant, but it’s hard to say how many people will really tune in. The president’s address will be another speech relaying false promises to the people, which will be tediously expressed.
The Grammys and Super Bowl are even less significant. The Grammys are an excuse to shove the so-called “music greats” of the year together and the Super Bowl is an excuse for football fans and non-football fans alike to shove their faces with food and drink a beer. So when it comes down to it, all three are insignificant, can’t say I’d put my talent or time in any.