Since 2002, the Winter Olympics has been becoming more interesting for two reasons. First, the high point of the Games is getting to be the two hockey games at the end, the women’s and the men’s matches. Second, that healthy competition is increasingly looked forward to as a match between Canada and the Unites States. Real rivalries tell us who we are. In 1980, in the so-called Miracle on Ice, the game between the United States and the Soviet Union claimed our identity as Cold Warriors and as European outlanders with an ancient legacy of contention. But that century and millennium is past and a new century is upon us. And if sports help tell our story, Canada today is our growing friend and competitor. As it should be with two New World countries very much alike.
Sports & Entertainment
Either television's star is rising again or this is the final nova, exploding into the Internet black hole. It doesn't matter. Forget primetime. Stay glued to your sets for the Daytime Olympics. Or at least set your DVR.
The television spectacular began last Friday, as we cringed while watching that golf automaton mechanically recite the contrite words and phrases his advisers had programmed into him. It was eerily amazing to see how human he almost seemed to be.
While I am not exactly addicted to the Winter Olympics, I have been catching snippets of NBC’s coverage at least a little bit every day.
I have been most fascinated by the diversity of the Olympics. Not the racial diversity, but the diversity in sporting events. You have curling, snowboarding, speed skating, figure skating. You have the long tracks, short tracks, the moguls, the aerials, the jumpers and everything else under the sun.
The Tea Party Convention in Nashville on Saturday night was funky and alive. And what a contrast to the formulaic and phony interview with President Barack Obama — a government/network joint-venture infomercial really — that Katie Couric and CBS interjected inappropriately into the Super Bowl pre-game programming.
The best writing is in TV these days, said Glenn Close when she went to work on FX’s “Damages.” It has been so now for quite a while. Nothing surpasses “The Sopranos” in writing and dramatic imagination, and “House” regularly surpasses Hollywood movies. The star system, the technology, the exploding cars and cities yield to the more complex art of the acting troupe, in which the star is the story told, and not the muscular or snarling actor. Greater subtlety can evolve as the telling develops over time.
While the national media is focused almost exclusively on the underwear bomber, another story has emanated from Washington that has captured my attention.The Washington Wizards basketball star Gilbert Arenas is in hot water with the NBA because he brought three handguns into the Wizards’ locker room as he argued with one of his teammates over a card game. The guns were unloaded, thankfully. His teammate then brandished his own loaded gun as a response.
From today's Washington Times:
When you have been trained to believe that you are beyond the rules of social decorum, it seems natural to act out your darker impulses. Indulging your personal vanity can be intoxicating. I suspect that Tiger Woods' sexual exploits are fairly representative of how most young men, bombarded with wealth and adulation, would act. It should not be surprising that Woods gave in to his impulses. In fact, it seems like the most human thing in the world.
It was hard to find anything to cheer me in today’s news. The president is going to war-demonstrating he can make awful blunders just like his predecessors— and the Redskins’ pathetic slide continues. But a small piece in the New York Times Arts section provided a glimmer of hope for our society.
Apparently, ABC canceled a free concert it had scheduled for its “Good Morning America” program by “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert. ABC’s action was based on Mr. Lambert’s earlier behavior on ABC’s American Music Awards. Reportedly (I missed the event, wisely) Lambert sang a song from his new album, and according to the Times, “variously thrust his crotch at dancers of different genders (how many genders are there?), kissed his male keyboardist and extended his middle finger to the camera.” Our standards are so low for performers’ behavior that one can imagine popular stars asking, “What’s wrong with that?” ABC received 1,500 complaints from grouches like me.
From my point of view, President Barack Obama is the most intelligent and savvy of Democratic presidents to come to power in the post-war period. He has a sensory intuition that allows him to catch up quickly on things and he is far better at external things than internal things.
China ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr., the best of the current China hands, gives him the highest marks on his visit to China. Even the Campaign for Tibet seemed cautiously optimistic. Obama’s problem is that history has cast his role at the end of a vast epoch. History has made him the last agent of a realm of ideas that are suited to an age long past and a vastly different America.
Historian Frank Owsley said that the two most representative figures in the Colonial period were Hamilton and Jefferson. But I can’t think of anyone today who represents America better than New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. The New England team logical and decision-based, the Indianapolis team a heart-driven, consistent and persistent model of “quiet strength.” Heart won over head late last Sunday night in a game that is still talked about up here, which may have turned the tide for the season. Or longer.