Apparently, tomorrow is the Super Bowl, which has given us cause to reflect on great American traditions, what it means to duck them or all out defy them, and how fiction can provide an escape from the dominant national narrative.
To help us out, here is a meditation on food as a means for an oppressed people to celebrate their humanity and register their defiance of non-inclusive national holidays, from the late Ntozake Shange.
Laila Lalami at The Nation makes the case that fiction not only helps us to develop empathy by walking a mile in another’s shoes, it can also help us to survive the constant Twitter onslaught orchestrated by a President determined to keep the narrative focused on himself.
Along the same lines, Sarah Wendell at The Washington Post analyzes the uptick in reading among furloughed federal employees and how fiction, especially genre fiction, provides a necessary escape into worlds where the evil are punished, the good are rewarded, and justice is served. This comment alone deserves pause: “It’s a rather substantial act of trust to place one’s time and energy in the hands of a writer, especially during a difficult period.”
For a more immediate escape from tomorrow, here’s ElectricLit with seven books to read about racial inequality in America instead of watching the high holiday of the NFL.
All of this reading should give you an out for tomorrow. But if for whatever reason you choose to watch (no judgement), the good people over at McSweeney’s have your back with a Super Bowl Commercial Bingo that almost makes the whole thing worth it.