Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On The Week's Top Five

1. OBL, Part I

Here is the thing that may be forgotten: For approximately one hour after the president of the United States called a press conference on a Sunday night on the first day of May, no one seemed to know exactly what it was for. That in itself is almost as remarkable as the capture of the most-wanted terrorist in the world. We live in a world that is post-suspense, post-surprise; everything is leaked and nothing is secret, not even the most base and uninteresting cables involving domestic protocol with Norweigan diplomats--but somehow, for that hour, the biggest story of the decade remained entirely unconfirmed. Weirdly, in the past year, there have been precisely two live televised moments that have engendered absolute suspense: One involved a the escape of a perceived villain (LeBron James), and the other involved the capture of an actual villain. So it goes.

2. OBL, Part II

I've never seen a crowd quite like the one that clogged the streets of my hometown on the night we learned OBL was apprehended. It is fascinating that the killing of a terrorist could somehow draw a bigger crowd than a victory over Ohio State, and I'm sure part of it was the timing of finals week and the need to blow off steam and the fact that Penn State students will utilize any excuse to gather in the streets and block traffic, but underlying it all I have to imagine there was something genuine here, in the fact that these gatherings took place on campuses across America, in the fact that a generation that has grown up with almost universally terrible news about its country finally found a reason to embrace it. You could argue that they were too blithely celebrating death, but it would ignorant not to recognize that they also believed they were commemorating some kind of rebirth.

3. The Dumbest Article of the Week...

Manages to malign the endings of both Cheers and The Sopranos for both ambiguity and "glumness," which, of course, is exactly what made them two of the best endings in television history.   

4. Watching

Solitary Man. The second-best Michael Douglas, post-"Michael Douglas" movie of all time.*

5. Reading

Grantland. Opening salvo here and here. 

*This is number one. 

1 comment:

Eric P said...

Excellent point about a cathartic rebirth of sorts, Michael. Thanks for that take.

As for universally bad news about our "awful" country is, though, whose fault is that? Rhetorical question, really, especially when discussing college campuses where Zinn and Chomsky's "history" books and more teachers than not paint a picture of a more wart-infested US than a place of overall greatness with some warts (still hard to believe one of my history profs was a conservative who creaked open my then-ultra-lefty brain). Our President's global apology-fest hasn't helped either, but I digress from the bigger picture at Penn State: this is what happens when you ban the Mifflin Streak, AKA the best way to blow off steam during finals week. Durned feminists...