The reviews of Prince’s Superbowl halftime show are already rolling in. The New York Times
“Just when it seemed time to give up on that quaint ritual known as the halftime show, along comes Prince. His performance last night at Super Bowl XLI will surely go down as one of the most thrilling halftime shows ever; certainly the most unpredictable, and perhaps the best. ‘Dearly beloved,’ he whispered, intoning the famous first words of ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’ What followed was a dizzying demonstration. . .
“Yesterday’s command performance was yet more proof that Prince has made that familiar journey from pariah to American treasure. He has a catalog of hits that everybody seems to love (even the players, who normally take little interest in the halftime show, were quoted praising Prince), and he sings and plays and moves as well as he ever did.”
As the article makes clear, the ironic thing is that Prince was once considered to be one of the most controversial singers in America. In the 80’s he hardly would have been considered the safe alternative to the infamous shenanigans of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. But now he is hailed an “American treasure,” the consummate performer who can be relied upon to deliver a show. That he did.
What is it about aging superstars like Prince who are leaving behind provocative, hyper-sexualized performances? Even the provocateur extraordinaire, Madonna, seems to be favoring mommying over pushing the sexual envelope in her public appearances and performances.
Maybe in some intuitive way even superstars discover the wisdom of Solomon:
“And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure . . . and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
The passing of years has a way of illuminating the emptiness of vainglory. Perhaps this is what we are seeing in the aging performers. Perhaps not. In any case, we would all do well to take stock of our own lives and to listen to Solomon’s warnings against the vanity of the godless life. Life is too short to waste on chasing after the wind.
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).