August 28, 2011
W on Nat Geo
|[Posted by kris]|
I was watching the George W. Bush interview on Nat Geo tonight and was struck by a few things:
- W. looked so much younger then. I mean, way more than 10 years younger. He looked like a baby. Now he's suddenly kind of an old man. I know that happens to Presidents, but it's still shocking.
- Not being about the immediately fly to DC was a huge deal to Bush. He talked about how obviously he felt that he needed to be there, and you can tell how even now he's uncomfortable with this notion that his own safety was so important. I mean, to the world he was President of the United States of America, but I don't think he had come to terms with that yet. He was just himself still. That must be very weird. When you're that important and powerful, it isn't you that changes, it's how everyone else changes toward you.
- For all of the subsequent talk about what a cowboy W was, he really does deserve some credit for not flying off all half-cocked on 9/11. He was right to understand that we needed calm leadership, nothing more, that day. And, days later at Ground Zero, he got that what the rescue workers needed to hear wasn't that people were praying for them, but rather that we we're going to go after who did this. It occurs to me that a big part of leadership is simply the ability to read a crowd.
- One thing that really did bother me about the show, though, is that when Bush talks about his thoughts at day's end and how he wanted to know why we didn't know about this, the producers choose to shift the camera away from W's face and focus on the infamous pre 9/11 memo that talks about al Qaeda's desire to attack the U.S. (duh). I guess what made me mad about it was that it was so unfair. The whole show is supposed to be about Bush's recollections of 9/11. It's his story, not history, and by showing that memo they're trying to take the narrative from him and say something else, without giving him a chance to respond to it.
One thing I've been trying to do lately is find original source material from 9/11. I'm more interested in reading what people said then now than reading what people say now about what they thought then. I haven't found too much - it's amazing how much of the internet of 2001 is already gone, but I did find bits & pieces of a Yahoo! message board from that morning. The one odd post just said:
This is incredible!! Highlight of the year!!
That's kind of incredibly tasteless, but it's real and I kind of get it. It was exciting, at least from a safe distance away. That's what I what to read, what people really thought, rather than what they think they thought or think they should thought with 10 years' distance behind them.
August 21, 2011
A new theory of time travel
|[Posted by kris]|
I was at Madison's Union Terrace yesterday when I spied a woman that looked as if she was dropped onto her Union sunburst chair directly from 1985. She had that 80s hairstyle where you curl the front of your hair, but leave the back straight and stringy and she was sporting a pair of long, tight-at-the-knee jorts.
I wondered how anyone could be so oblivious to the fashion of the last 30 odd years. It's not that she wasn't trendy, it's that she was so dated. It was as if she was a...time traveler! With that thought I realized I had made a huge discovery. Maybe unfashionable people are really time travelers from the past or future. Rather than being the targets of our bitchy comments, they should be the targets of our jealousy!
Think about it, if you were traveling here from 1985, would you care about your clothes? Of course not, you'd just unthinkingly wear the most normal thing you could think of - in this case jorts & a t-shirt, thinking that of course you'd fit in. I mean, you wouldn't even imagine an America sans feathered hair and denim shorts, right?
It kind of explains why fashion is so ultimately cyclical. Looks like this aren't the work of visionary designers, they're the work of time travelers from the late 80s and early 90s who walked the streets of New York in pinch rolled jeans.
One of the disturbing things about these time travelers is that it's not as easy to spot time travelers from the future. Maybe it's because when you travel into the past you know how to look to fit in or maybe it's because there is no future. Maybe bums are future time travelers riding out the last days of civilization the best way they know how: drunk.
My take on time travel might seem a little shallow, but if shows like Star Trek and the Twilight Zone have taught me anything it's that you can't change anything major via time travel. You can't go kill baby Hitler, but maybe, just maybe, you could kill acid-washed jeans.
August 17, 2011
Measuring the pulse of Wisconsin
|[Posted by kris]|
You might think this post is about Wisconsin's recall elections. But nah, I thought this would be an easy, but unscientific way to gauge how much of our audience is in Wisconsin.
August 16, 2011
The plushdamentals of sports fandom
|[Posted by kris]|
When I was a kid, we christened the neighborhood backyard baseball diamond "Lezcano Field" after the Milwaukee Brewers' right fielder Sixto Lezcano. When Lezcano was traded, I remember not quite getting it. How were we supposed to now feel about this player we gave our loyalty to? I had no idea.
Up until last September, I never owned a player's jersey, or even a t-shirt with a the player's name & number on the back. Oh sure, I was tempted by Favre (but everybody had one) and I'd still be proud to wear a C.C. Sabathia shirt, but I never pledged my allegiance to a player like that until I succumbed to cool charm of Aaron Rodgers. My Aaron Rodgers jersey served me well in Minneapolis' Skyway, at playoff parties and all of the way to the Super Bowl. But I still have this nagging feeling around it. What if Rodgers turns into a jackass? What if he starts to suck? What if goes to the Vikings in 15 years?
And you can't even play it safe and only get retired player's jerseys. Do you think anyone in Buffalo is rocking a Simpson #32?
I've often said that horse racing is the hardest sport to love. That's still true. The horses will break your heart, but the horses won't let you down because they turn into jerks or they hold out for more money or start sexting that sexy filly down the shedrow.
I love this whole Tony Plush thing that's sweeping Wisconsin, but I can't help but envision a day in the near future when I'm pulling a "Plushdamentals" t-shirt out of the bottom of the drawer and putting it in my purge pile.
But maybe that's okay. Maybe the key to sports loyalty is that it's temporary. I think that's how players think, so why shouldn't we fans adopt that same attitude? I don't know. I don't want to be as cavalier to the next Brett Favre as the last Brett Favre was to us, and I take pride in things like how Packer fans stepped up to help Reggie White's Tennessee church back in the day.
For now I compromise with a Brewers jersey with no name on the back (and seriously people, getting your own name on the back is just lame). But I'm tempted, even though I know how it will turn out.