Tag Archives: Sunday

Sundays, Bin Laden and the Media

Sundays are great. They’re our day of rest; the final relaxed chapter to our usually hectic weeks. Who doesn’t like sleeping in, spending a couple of hours with the Sunday paper and getting in a little extra family time (you know, if you’re into the whole “family” thing). Sundays are for slowing down, watching sports on TV and going to church (you know, if you’re into the whole “God” thing). The only downside to Sundays is that they never seem to last long enough.

This past Sunday was an all-timer. I slept in, ate a great breakfast and read the Seattle Times. The weather was great so I got outside in the afternoon, watched an NBA playoff game, then read a book on my deck. Dinner consisted of a couple of tasty beers and a delightful meal at my favorite local restaurant. Oh yeah, and then there was that whole Osama Bin Laden is dead thing. That wrapped the day up nicely.

After learning of the Al Qaeda leader’s death at the aforementioned restaurant, I returned home and helped myself to a dessert of breaking news coverage.  Between the public reaction I saw on television and the steady stream of “fuck you, Bin Laden” and “rot in hell” posts that echoed throughout the social media landscape, one thing was clear: people were very fond of  Osama Bin Laden being dead.

Clearly, many Americans saw the demise of one our all-time greatest enemies as a deeply communal and cathartic moment. It was as if his death signaled some type of closure on a frightening and frustrating ten years that began on September 11th, 2001. Other Americans (i.e. college students) seemed to see it as a great excuse to throw down on the Quad.

Me? I was grateful for Bin Laden’s death for a far less substantive reason: it saved us from a week of reliving the Royal Wedding.

Had President Obama and the Navy SEAL Six team not taken out the most wanted man on the planet on Sunday, we’d have faced at least a week of media coverage rehashing William and Kate’s matrimonial celebration from every conceivable angle. Like vultures picking through the bones of some succulent road kill, the news networks would have spent countless hours regurgitating
the “Wedding of the Century” and force-feeding it to the general public. Instead we got something far more newsworthy… actual news.

Actual news is something the powers that be at CNN, MSNBC and FOX News seem reticent to broadcast these days. It’s far easier and cheaper to simply follow the downward spirals of celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan or give Donald Trump an arena to spout his ridiculous bullshit. And, of course, if Sarah Palin Tweets something, they’re all over it.


But now that the details of Operation Kill Bearded Ass Clown are coming to light, actual news seems to be the in back in vogue. Okay, mostly it’s rampant speculation about the effects of Bin Laden’s death and most of it is crap. But at least it’s crap derived from a meaningful, newsworthy event as opposed to being crap for crap’s sake. And that’s really the best we can hope for.

So I say thank you, Mr. President. Not just for having the guts and intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on a harrowing mission that rid the world of a horrific mass murderer, but for forcing the 24-hour news channels to actually focus their attention on something of actual substance. And much like our glorious Sundays this trend towards actual news won’t last nearly long enough. So I’ll just try to enjoy it while I can.

Advertisements

The Greatest

You know what I’ve been thinking about lately?  The Greatest.

This past Sunday was no ordinary Sunday.  It was Super Bowl Sunday.  And for the second year in a row, the game lived up to the ridiculous amount of hype – as much as that’s actually possible.  The underdog Arizona Cardinals stormed back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, to take the lead with under three minutes left.  But alas the Pittsburgh Steelers answered with their own monumental 78-yard touchdown drive, securing their record sixth Super Bowl Title.

Minutes after the game ended, commentators, columnists and pundits were lining up to proclaim Super Bowl XLIII “the greatest” Super Bowl ever, a mere year after collectively declaring the New York Giants upset win over the then undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII “the greatest.”  Pittsburgh’s interception return at the end of the first half was being hailed by some as “the greatest” Super Bowl play ever, Santonio Holmes’ acrobatic game winning touchdown was, according to some, “the greatest” Super Bowl TD catch in history and I even heard a few voices proclaim Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of the national anthem as “the greatest.”

80670228ZZ310_Super_Bowl_XL

The greatest confetti ever!

Apparently, if you missed this year’s Super Bowl, you missed out on a lot of greatness.

So much greatness, in fact, that if anyone at home was playing a drinking game which required participants to consume their alcoholic beverages of choice anytime one of the myriad of post-game talking heads threw around “the greatest” moniker, they most certainly found themselves suffering “the greatest” hangover of all-time Monday morning.

What’s wrong with simply basking in the glow of a very, very good game – maybe even a great game – and leaving its true greatness to be figured out at some point down the road?  Why the rush to declare it and everything associated with it “the greatest” right away?  Was there a cash prize awarded the person who most definitively and decisively convinced football fans that last Sunday’s championship game was “the greatest” ever?

This recent obsession with labeling anything that’s highly above average “the greatest” is not just a sports cliché, but rather a trend that is slowly eroding the very foundation of our society.  Okay, that might be overstating it somewhat, but it is, at the very least, starting to get really annoying.  Let’s look back at this past year.

Michael Phelps?  Greatest Olympian ever.

Barack Obama?  Greatest campaign ever.

The ShamWow?  Greatest infomercial ever.

While I can’t argue with the greatness that is the ShamWow, I do wonder when all these pointless declarations might come to an end.

And yet as I sit at my keyboard and throw stones, I must admit I’m no better than the rest of the country.  Just a few weeks ago, after my son did something both intelligent and adorable, I declared him “the greatest” kid ever.  Now don’t get me wrong, he’s really, really great.  But the greatest kid ever?  Hardly.

Perhaps our real problem is a deep-rooted societal need to prove our worth by outdoing (or at least thinking we’ve outdone) those things that came before.  So by constantly referring to things as “the greatest” or “the best ever,” we’re in essence convincing ourselves that the exact time we live  in is vastly superior to the years, decades and centuries that have past.   As if things like Tivo and the internet didn’t already accomplish this.

Well, I for one, will no longer take part in this national inferiority complex.   In the future I pledge to refrain from using overblown hyperbole.  All I’m asking is that the rest of America follow my lead and do the same.  We’re better than this.  We’re a nation that collectively put our checkered past behind us and found it in our hearts to elect an African-American President.  We should have no problem shedding the overuse of an obnoxious adjective.

And when we do, well, I just think it’ll be “the greatest.”