Super Bowl. It is the Great American Time Out, a three-hour pause on a Sunday afternoon in January that is—as sheer, unadorned spectacle—an interval unique. For 70 million Americans, life compresses to the diagonally measured size of a cathode ray tube. Work goes undone, play ceases too; telephones stop ringing, crime disappears, romance is delayed and, in all the land, there is just one traffic jam worthy of the title—on highways leading to the Super Bowl site. If it is not literally McLuhan's global village, the...

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