I was immune from having a profound experience of greatness until this year. Did it start when my roommates bought a DVR to watch the games? Was I ultimately collateral damage of fraternal excitement? Or was it that, for the first time, I watched the games with commercials?

We developed an Olympic routine at my apartment. “Vigilance,” we called it. Watch every event without flipping, commentators unmuted, no abandoning ship during commercials. Olympic advertising is high-powered, though it doesn’t get the same hype as Super Bowl fare. The Super Bowl deals in overblown consumerism and bravado for one night; the Olympics sustains the pitch for patriotism and celebrating the superhuman for weeks. And I’m starting to think these ads do America a great service. Their flag-waving baked into motivational videos topped with big earnest dollops of genuine good feeling for humanity is pure propaganda. Every one is a 30- or 60-second pep talk for Americans.