Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cheney Almost Right

The bombs and gunfire may never stop in Iraq, but the nationwide celebration has begun over the transfer of power to the Iraqis over their cities. People with long memories might recall then Vice President Cheney's prediction early in 2003 that the Iraqis would welcome the American-led liberation of the country. Instead, "National Sovereignty Day" will now be marked as a day closer to the total US departure from Iraq. So Cheney was right about the rejoicing - but wrong about the time and the reason for all the dancing in the streets. Thanks, Dick.

I was stupefied to read that a survey of watchers of "The Colbert Report" showed that some conservatives (no numbers were given) watch the program believing that Colbert is really just one of their own, except that the show is on Comedy Central instead of Fox News. All the merciless spoofing and ridicule in the show, which was originally meant to be a sendup of Bill O'Reilly, evidently goes right over the heads of these folks. If you're Colbert, how do you take this news? Are you glad for the extra viewers, or frustrated that you're just not getting through to everyone? I guess it's an occupational risk of being in the "comedic irony" business. You fool some of the people all of the time without even intending to.

So what can I, your humble servant, tell you about Michael Jackson that you don't already know? Probably very little. You know he was famous from a very young age, that he became wildly popular all over the world while in his 20's, that his personal life and affairs spun out of control as he got older, that his musical influence is so pervasive that it shows up in every tryout for "American Idol", and that lawyers will live large for decades off the complications of the Jackson assets and the enormous debts he left.
Is that all there is to know? Well, no. But I didn't know him personally, and I have learned that just because we recognize a face doesn't mean we know what's behind it. We don't know the smallest details of his death yet, but soon will. Nor will we know for awhile the cost of having done so much, so well, at such an early age. It sometimes happens that the things we are best known for occur when we are in our twenties, or even younger. Then what?
Some folks will no doubt compare Jackson's life to that of his white counterpart, Elvis. Both lives blended elements of happiness and sorrow. The works both left behind will generate money for decades. Both changed the world, though we may not be far enough removed to know whether for good or bad. Both will require wise judgement when the Final Accounting comes around, but I can say that Michael Jackson worked hard at some things to make the world a little better. Hey, that was a song, too, right? Anyway, may he rest in peace.


Blogger jarafamily said...

I heard a story on NPR about the same topic regarding the Colbert Report. He seems to have quite the following, although I have never watched it.

As for Michael Jackson, I remember when I was in First Grade, I joined a Break Dancing Club with a couple of cute boys and one other girl. We would practice during breaks. I also remember staring at Michael's albums and thinking he was so Handsome! I agree, I hope he can rest in peace now.

3:35 PM  

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