Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Look, Up in the Sky

In the aftermath of the death of Osama Bin Laden some fascinating observations have come to light. The President went on 60 Minutes to relate just what happened, how and when. But even then, we all know our knowledge of this entire event will be limited at best. The sequence and substance of events changed half a dozen times in the first few days.
Stories do change with each day; that is just the way it is. This we know. But it was left for Michael Eric Dyson, speaking on Bill Maher's program last week who offered a most unusual, if not dynamic perspective. Considering how President Obama, until very recently, has been considered "the other" by so many seemingly mainstream Americans, Dyson quipped, "Isn't it interesting how as soon as he is violent, Obama is accepted. It's the American way. Harsh words, but I fear, very true. And Obama didn't mince his words or dredge out the the safety of passive voice. He never said Bin Laden was killed, he said we killed him, we got him. Subject -verb, just that simple.
That comment aired on HBO was barely 24 hours old when some of us watched the L.A. Lakers crash and burn in another attempt to win a championship. But not before blowing up in a fit of violent, flagrant, unnecessary fouls. We're not winning so let's have the 6'10 "professional" shove his oversized forearm into the kidney of the little 5'10" guard. Flatten him. If we can't win fairly, we'll just take you out. American way? Is it so unreasonable to think there is a connection between these two media events?
The overwhelming lack of sportsmanship is bad enough, but when professional athletes get paid tens of millions and act that way it truly shows, in an instant, how sick this culture can be.
I worry about people talking about killing other human beings, (no matter how vile) so cavilerly. I had the audacity to hope we were better than that. Is there ever a time when vengeance is preferable to justice? Just asking.
In other news, I read where the good folks at Superman comics are going to remove the phrase, "truth, justice and the American way" from the official Superman text. They defend this decision by explaining that Superman is now a citizen of the world and it's more appropriate in the 21st century to portray him that way. Let's not forget that Superman is a child of the Great depression. Like King Kong and Seabiscuit, his roots run deep into the American psyche. If he can change and adapt to a global perspective, maybe, eventually, there is hope we can too.
Gives one pause.

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