Note: I was compelled to dig this one out of the archives after sitting here for two hours while apparently every other citizen in South Dallas is lighting fireworks that are prohibited in South Dallas. The current booming reminded me of a past booming, and in a fit of mental anguish I abandoned a fresh post that I was working on and resorted to archaeology. (Side note: This story and the accompanying implosion took place several years ago. No need to panic that the “new” stadium is no longer; it’s still going strong and Jerry Jones is still getting richer.)
Texas Stadium, the former home of the Dallas Cowboys for nearly 40 years, was demolished yesterday. I’ve never really been all that invested in football, despite my Oklahoma upbringing. (Perhaps this is why I just can’t grab the giant foam finger: American football, to me, is basically the board game “Stratego” in 3-D. You spend twenty minutes planning a move, and then the execution of that move only takes three seconds. Then we spend another twenty minutes while men garbed in prison-themed attire run around with flags and markers and road-surveying equipment, trying to decide if somebody did something they shouldn’t have. Meanwhile, everybody in the stadium has been drunk since the coin toss.)
But with this being Dallas, where there are local ordinances requiring that even the tiniest bit of self-importance be elevated to behemoth proportions, and the Cowboys are worshipped as well-paid deities, this was a Big Thing. All the media outlets in the metroplex had people stationed at the demolition site, with reporters salivating at the chance to turn this into something more than it was. After nearly 24 hours of non-stop coverage, I’ve had time to reflect…
1. Some people will get up at ungodly hours to do questionable things.
Most of the parking lots in the area (and there are tons of them, I know this well because I drive through the massive acreage on my way to work) were closed to the public for the Big Bang. But they did keep one distant, hopefully safe, lot open, allowing people with no real life to park there, beginning at 2am for the 7am explosion.
Two o’clock in the morning. On a Sunday. Seriously, who would do that? Yet we have video footage showing carloads of people lined up at 2:01am, with the vehicles crammed full of people doing “the wave” as they motor past. Do these people not understand that they have 5 hours until the button is pushed? Save your strength. (Reflection on America, Part I: Where was this enthusiasm when it came to the last election?)
2. Some people will stay awake at ungodly hours to do questionable things.
At 2:02am in the coverage, it became clear that some of the cars were stuffed with people who had never been to bed, and these folks had probably driven directly from the bars after last call. These red-eyed enthusiasts were unable to perform “the wave” with any degree of coordination, but they could certainly lean out the car windows and grunt at the cameras as they feebly tried to keep their go-cups from spilling. (Reflection on America, Part II: Now do you understand how Trump got elected?)
3. There are some skilled news reporters out there who can put an interesting spin on anything.
During the inevitable lag time between the opening of the sacred single parking lot and the actual destruction of the stadium, the mass of reporters had a chance to prove their worth. Some failed miserably. (Reporter: “So, are you a fan of the Cowboys?” Oh, come on, girl. Of course he’s a fan or he wouldn’t be here. Are you sure you made the right career choice?) But others struggled valiantly to score a scoop.
Reporter: “So what does this moment mean to you?”
Van driver: “Moment? Is this a moment?”
Reporter: “The whole explosion thing? What are your memories of this beloved stadium?”
Van driver: “Are we at the stadium? This isn’t Whataburger?”
Reporter, grimacing: “Can you tell me about the good times your family has had watching the Cowboys play?”
Van driver: “Cowboys? Wait, is this Fort Worth? I thought we were in Dallas.”
Reporter, trying not to claw her face: “Okay. Well, do you have any kind of connection whatsoever with this parking lot and that stadium right over there that is about to blow up?”
Van driver: “Do you take coupons? I’ve got one for a free order of fries.”
4. Climate change is affecting our entire world.
Weeks before the planned hitting-of-the-button, the city of Irving sent out a warning to all residents within a one-mile radius of the stadium that they should probably shut off their air-conditioning during the time of the implosion. You know, so your unit won’t suck vaporized concrete into your home and make everybody sound like Darth Vader.
This brings up two points of discussion. First, the Dallas Cowboys were playing in a stadium that wasn’t located in Dallas. (For forty years.) By default, this would make them the Irving Cowboys, not the Dallas Cowboys. Am I the only one who thinks there’s been a miscarriage of justice? (Oh, who am I kidding? Guantanamo Bay is still open because certain politicians like to pretend that they are protecting America. Make America incarcerated again!)
Second, I see a lawsuit coming. Yes, the City of Irving did the right thing. They tried to warn everybody about the dust cloud. But there’s going to be some bitter wretch who hires a lawyer anyway. Because that’s how America works now. Blame everybody else for your own irresponsibility. And while you’re at it, make some underserved money out of the situation. Ain’t capitalism great?
5. Bored people will cheer for no good reason.
Okay, up to the point of pushing the button, the on-site reporters were doing their best to present human-interest stories of people totally devastated by the implosion of the sporting venue they have loved since childhood. Yet, as soon as the carefully-placed bombs started going off and the stadium began to devolve into dust, deranged fans were jumping in the air and celebrating the destruction. What happened to the trauma? Why are you clapping?
6. Okay, not everybody was clapping.
We did have a nice segment where a reporter was interviewing former Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders as they prepared to watch the destruction. To be fair, one of them was truly moved, weeping copiously as the clock ticked down. She was the only one. The rest of her counterparts were scouring the vicinity for any agent that might sign them for a tell-all book tour.
Reporter: “I think you’re crying, but I’m not really sure. It might just be a malfunction with one of your implants.”
Silicone Sally: “It’s just that I’ve had so many good times on that fake-grass field. The roar of the crowd, the enthusiasm, and the many touchdowns.”
Reporter: “So you’re talking about winning the game?”
Silly Sal: “No, I’m talking about the after-party.”
7. TV cameras apparently emit a homing signal to lure idiots with no concept of reality.
Do you really need any more examples? Didn’t think so.
8. Repetition is soothing in a medicated society.
We watched the stadium fall at least 100 times on twelve different channels. As if something different would happen if we just kept watching. Meanwhile, Russian forces are once again advancing on Crimea but we won’t hear a whisper about that because it won’t pull in any decent ratings.
9. People watching the same exact scene will have differing interpretations.
Despite careful planning by the implosion crew, three of the stadium support towers did not completely fall. Each TV station had their own explanation. One reporter informed us that unexpected piles of debris caused blockage of some kind. Another assured us that this non-falling was intentional, with plans to sell the tower pieces on eBay or some such. And yet another anchor babbled incoherently that the remaining towers symbolized God’s wrath over the Mississippi lesbian who wanted to wear a tuxedo to her high school prom. I’ll let you guess which channel THAT was. (Rhymes with “pox”.)
10. When anything at all happens that concerns the Dallas Cowboys, everything else on the local newscasts becomes secondary.
Even the most progressive and inclusive news programs will have 29 minutes of Cowboys-mania, with all other events shoved into the final 60 seconds. This wrap-up is usually presented by a disgruntled, lesser-known anchor who has an attitude because he didn’t get to work on the lead story: “Um, okay, there was a deadly gas leak in Fort Worth, the Dallas City Council just approved something you won’t like, your medical insurance rates are insanely high because Big Business controls America, the high tomorrow will be 117 degrees due to global warming that was invented by the Chinese government, and some guy died in Poland. Have a great night!”
Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 04/12/10. Updated and revised with extra anguish for this post. Story behind the photo: Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the “veggie tray” angle was rather apt for some of the voters in this country…
Categories: 10 Reasons Why