So I'm using this forum as a soapbox for my political agenda. At least for today. So if there is an issue with the misuse of this space, please feel free to take your readership elsewhere. (I hear Delirious is an excellent read)
It's Olympic season again, the highlight of my life every 2 years (I don't discriminate between summer and winter sports I enjoy them equally, though one I'm wearing tank tops to watch and the other underarmour.) In addition to the wonder that is the Olympic movement and the fact that for 14 days every two years Xen feels neglected while I watch sports, there is always this great upsurge in warm fuzzy sentiment towards our country. All of a sudden men and women who spend their days working towards 2 minutes of fame are our national heroes. In 15 more days, they will sink back into oblivion with those rare exceptions who can capitalize on their winnings. How many of you had heard of Chad Hennrick or Chris Witty before the opening ceremonies on February 11th? You knew of Michelle Kwan, and maybe Sarah Hughes. You knew the NFL had hockey players in the Olympics but did you know that the majority of those players and actually on teams for other countries? Did you care? It is likely that the only one to whom it makes a difference is me. But in my own megalomaniacal meanderings I have to stop and give pause to this.
Our athletes have in interesting life. They live as insects with a life span of 6.17 minutes until they go back into their cocoon where they will remain doing their own work until you, the public, decide to reexamine them again in 4 years. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a parade in your honour and then to live in relative peace for 3 ½ more years. "So?" The confused reader asks. "Why do you care, and really why should I? I mean if I wanted to hear about this stuff, I would listen to the news not surf indie web magazines run by twenty-somethings." Well, I care because it is a symptom, a byproduct, of a disease that creeps into our placated American systems. Months ago, Terri Schiavo was the big thing in the news. We as a nation waited with baited breath to see what would happen to the young woman whose very life had become the thing of news fodder. What should have been a private albeit painful event for a husband and wife became legend and the top news story of the moment. Emphasis on moment. How many people have thought about her since? How many people have dedicated, since then, any time to think about her and her highly debated death? Once she wasn't in the news on page one she ceased to exist in our minds. When Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area, hundreds of thousands of people rushed in to help. We saw celebrities on their boats, with their dogs, in LL Bean trying to help out those whose lives had been decimated, and we wept, and sent money and traveled hundreds of miles to help. Now they are planning Mardi Gras in what is left of the French Quarter. Does anyone care? This event in which most of the money is donated by corporate sponsors is having trouble securing any major funds in order to hold the celebration. Companies are feeling that they "gave at the office" and that they cannot be troubled in order that Mardi Gras continue as planned. I do not wholly disagree with that assessment but only because there are still people homeless in Louisiana. Where are our priorities as a nation? How much money did we spend investigating Bush's lack of response to this disaster instead of fixing the disaster? With the cash that was used to create a dossier on our inability to handle a natural disaster we helped aid its very existence. None of this ranting is anything new, unfortunately. What is new is this: Dick Cheney's hunting habits.
No, I'm not kidding, Dick Cheney made the news last night (amazingly enough I think it's the first time he's ever been on the news in my recollection. At least this time it wasn't because we as a nation thought him either dead or kidnapped.) No, what made last nights prime TV spot was the fact that he accidentally shot his hunting partner yesterday, and that his partner was in good condition waiting to be released today. Now, its not so much that I think that its ludicrous that with our nation at war, and new British intelligence showing videos of soldiers beating Iraqis that this is our top story, but that people are going to genuinely care- and here's why- They were hunting cute fuzzy little animals. I was discussing this with Xen last night as it is good pillow talk to discuss Dick Cheney and said jokingly "Just wait until the media finds out it was a canned hunt!" Xen disagreed with my assumption that anyone would care and mentioned that I overestimated the American public in my thoughts that anyone would take notice. I looked at him askance when he concluded that we have documented proof that our president lied on a number of occasions and that no one cared about that. Why would they care if this was a canned hunt? I dryly retorted that the nation is tired of hearing about lying chiefs of staff, but cute fuzzy bunnies being released only to be shot? This would not only make news, but would be an uprising of immense proportion.