American culture is just chock full of fun holidays which combine the celebration of competition with crass consumerism.
For example there are the Oscars (and Grammies and a slough of other pointless entertainment award shows) in which Americans are encouraged to pay their money to enjoy a blockbuster movie (or pop album or whatever) because it is on the list of industrial in-crowd-chosen nominees heavily advertised as this years "can't miss" entertainment.
Another good example of an American holday devoted to competitive consumption is Black Friday. That's when patriotic Americans wait in line all night for the chance to elbow their fellow Americans in the gut (or pepper spray them) while sprinting through the aisles of Wal Mart (or Best Buy or K-Mart or whatever) seeking yet another deal of a lifetime on cheap mass-produced merchandise which carry generous 90-day warranties.
The best example, however, is Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Sunday celebrates competition in the form of metaphorical warfare between two football teams from cities you don't much care about who fight over symbolic territory with a weird leather ball but periodically wait around doing nothing while elaborate advertisements are shown to people on big screen TVs as they consume mass quantities of chicken wings (or pizza or beer or chips or guacamole or whatever).
Here's an article about the effects of the Super Bowl on domestic violence police calls and other health related matters. I wonder if the sale of Alka-Seltzer spikes just after the game. Apparently more food is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S. than on any other day, except Thanksgiving.
Here's a helpful video for people mystified by the game of professional football.
In the past Mixed Meters has explored the Super Bowl tradition. Most recently there was a largely unsatisfying effort to find a connection between Milton Babbitt and the Super Bowl.
Long before that, way back in the darkest Dark Age of Mixed Meters (about 2006 or so), there was the Super Bowl Baby, a trilogy of 30 Second Spots.
In those early days I was composing on a laptop at Starbucks. You may think that a crowded noisy Starbucks was not conducive to musical composition (you'd be right) although mostly I found it easy to ignore the distractions.
But one day (January 29, 2006, a Sunday, to be precise) my local Starbucks was afflicted by a small baby, wailing with all its might, no doubt after imbibing one-too-many cups of bitter Starbucks coffee - or maybe just not happy with post-partum living. I still managed to finish my piece (a half-minute march, inspired by John Phillip Sousa, including a trio section in the subdominant).
I decided to immortalize that damn baby in the title of my piece.
click here to hear The Crying Baby Halftime March
Copyright © January 29, 2006 (and 2013) by David Ocker - 34 seconds
The next day, Monday, I returned to the same Starbucks where I transformed The Crying Baby Halftime March into another, very different sort of music. The baby still gets the title role:
click here to hear The Sleeping Baby Postgame Wrap-up
Copyright © January 30, 2006 (and 2013) by David Ocker - 33 seconds
I tried the same trick yet again that Tuesday, transforming the first piece into another Thirty Second Spot.
click here to hear The Hungry Baby Pre-game Tailgate Party
Copyright © January 31, 2006 (and 2013) by David Ocker - 31 seconds
You can see that the trilogy was not composed in sequential order. This doesn't matter much. Heck, it doesn't matter at all. Listen to the three spots in whatever order you want.
I'm reposting now because I've uploaded the files to a different location and added a new playback option (which uses a new computer hell called HTML5 that allows playback on my mobile Apple device). (If you have trouble listening on your device, please let me know.)
And besides, according to Google's records, the original post has gotten only one hit in over five years. I'm hoping to double that within the week
Baby Tags: superbowl. . . holidays. . . babies