Let’s all take the day off tomorrow
Analysts expect over 117 million Americans to watch the Super Bowl tonight. My question is: What the hell is the other 61.9% of the population doing? Unless your answer is: tending a loved one’s death bed, robbing a pizza store because criminals latched a timed explosive around your chest, fighting off packs of wolves after your plane crashed in Alaska, or some combination of the three, then you should be parked in front of a TV from 6:30–10:00 tonight. (Juliette Binoche, Jesse Eisenberg, and Liam Neeson, you can get back to your other matters.)
But when we all have to wake up at 8 a.m. the next day, Columbia (and the rest of American schools and employers) make it difficult to fully enjoy the biggest day of our country’s national pastime. This is why CU should make the Monday after the Super Bowl a school holiday.
I’m not breaking any new ground here. This argument’s been made in dozens of places before, from Yahoo to NBC to ABC, but most of those suggest national holidays for work—why can’t Columbia take the initiative and declare it a school holiday first? Classes already start on a Tuesday every January. Do people actually need that first Monday to finish up reading that hasn’t been assigned or constantly refresh SSOL to get into that Art Hum section? (Ok, maybe the latter.) Regardless, I don’t think anyone would mind if classes started a day earlier, and we had tomorrow off instead.
The biggest reason students on campus don’t watch the Super Bowl is because they have mountains of reading or problem sets due the next day. The schoolwork is obviously pressing in the short term, but what about down the road? While everyone likes to joke that the Columbia Core is really the Cocktail Core—i.e. things you’d only find useful 10 years after graduation by discussing them at a swanky affair where all the guests leave by 10:30, the landlord doesn’t have to knock on the door to kick everyone out, and the only “hooking up” will involve which wires to connect to the projector to show off pictures from your recent weekend trip upstate—is that what you’ll really be chatting about? When was the last time you casually discussed Hobbes’s state of nature versus that of Locke? (Please don’t be reading this, CC professor…)
Whether you like it or not, the Super Bowl is a celebration of almost all things Americana—competition, consumption, commercialization, and cheerleaders and GoDaddy.com girls. For those coming to Morningside Heights from overseas, there isn’t a better way to become more familiar with American culture than spending three hours around a TV set tonight. For those making small talk with an interviewer for summer internships this week, they’re probably going to look more favorably on you if you know the score of the game rather than the 19th rule in Epictetus’s Handbook. And for girls who know more about Tom Brady’s personal life than his passing stats, you could have a conversation point to talk about with guys (or at least guys off campus).
As an American Studies major, I think for one night, Columbia should encourage the cultivation of this far more practical cultural knowledge and let us catch up on all our work tomorrow rather than tonight. While the first Monday before classes is already a national holiday, can’t we just have a special university day of MLK remembrance tomorrow instead? Or would that be too practical for everyone?
And if you aren’t convinced that abandoning your core reading for a night isn’t what Columbia is already teaching, then look no further than chapter 5 of The Aeneid, when all the Trojan women burned their company’s entire fleet of ships rather than enjoy watching sports on the beach with their men. I suppose there are worse things you can do while missing the game.
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