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Super Bowl Show And A Super Bored Frenchman

A metaphor
A metaphor
Bertrand Hauger

PARIS Twice a year (for the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl), I renounce my 6-hour beauty sleep and fight timezones to tune in to a bit of live transatlantic spectacle.

Blame it on three reasons, ranked by order of importance: my americanophile wife; a chance to take the temperature of U.S. cultural hegemony; and my best efforts to keep up with the cool (Yankee) kids at Worldcrunch's Paris office.

The Oscars, I get, and get to share with my better half. But even for a fairly open-minded French-born 30-something, American football is one of the few staples of U.S. folklore that I am entirely hermetical to. The Brady Bunch? Why not. Beer pong? Sure. Dolly Parton? Yeah, alright. But football...? Americanah thank you. That's one of Uncle Sam's tricks this inheritor of the Revolution just won't abide by.

See, in my neck of the forêt, "football" means soccer. Good ol" straightforward and harmless soccer, as Donald Trump and his son Barron would agree — miles away from the seemingly brutal and very disruptive game of gridiron.

Still, every year, I give it a go (solo) — ultimately out of sheer curiosity, to see what this whole mind-blowing billion-dollar Super Bowl business is all about.

I had to rack my brains to remember the last time I was so little entertained by entertainment.

So there I was, comfy on my couch at silly o'clock, happy in the belief that my gradual understanding of the other side of the pond was worth the sleeping sacrifice. It was not to be.

CNN's Jeff Pearlman, in a Trump-tweet-like headline, summed it up beautifully this morning: This was "the worst Super Bowl ever." Fair enough, the fact that I haven't got a clue about the rules doesn't exactly play in my favor. But I wasn't the only one under the impression that, at times, the commentators themselves were sort of making it up as they went.

Let's face it, though: People don't watch the Super Bowl for the quality of the game. But from the play's low score to the marooned halftime show to the awkward ads and the generally uninspiring movie trailers, I had to rack my brains to remember the last time I was so little entertained by entertainment (Pokémon Go, summer of 2016). Pure consumerism and overabundance of pop culture in a grandiose show did nothing but keep me awake. Not to inflate a weirdly shaped ball out of proportions, but could it be that 3 A.M. me witnessed a flake of relevance come off of U.S. imperialism?

A thought not quite worth waking up my wife for, but let's see what the cool kids at the office have to say.

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The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

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Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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