Wednesday, August 17, 2005

this broken wheel is coming undone

Some days, it feels like entropy is winning the battle against mankind. Lately, I've been feeling such a sense of despair from reading the slightest bit of news. The front page of the NYT is abominable- echoes of partition in Gaza, bombings in Iraq, plane crashes, and even what's left off the front page (i.e. the Bangladesh bombings) is not good.

It does not help, at a time like this, to have a leader who is thoroughly incapable of providing any solace to his people. The other evening, I was watching an admittedly hokey film, Miracle. Now would probably be a good time to confess that sports movies are my secret, guilty pleasure. Without fail, movies about sports suck me in and usually reduce me to tears. Hoosiers, Rudy, Rocky, Bad News Bears, Remember the Titans, hell, even The Replacements. I know this is not high-brow fare, but I will watch movies like this multiple times, especially during the NFL off-season.

Anyway, Miracle strives to be taken a little more seriously than your by-the-numbers, cliche-ridden sports film. The movie really tries to set the country's mood at the time of the Lake Placid Olympics- the energy crisis, the hanging fear of the Cold War. Around mid-movie, an actual excerpt of a Jimmy Carter speech is played. People can gripe all they want about what a crappy president Carter was- I'll always consider him the best man who served as president in my lifetime. What might have been his flaw is what I love most about him- he often just told it like it was. The portion of the speech played in Miracle perfectly encapsulated this- Carter honestly outlined how the country was suffering. And yet, he still managed to be uplifting, without seeming like he was just giving lip-service to hope.

On a day like this, when I just feel like everything is going so badly on so many fronts, I wonder if our culture has changed so much since the early 80s. Has it changed to the point that a speech like Carter's could not be made today? Or do we just have someone in the presidency who has no empathy and no ability to connect with people who are really suffering?

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