30 April 2008

One Nation

I was out in Las Vegas the week before last visiting my parents. There are a lot of non-TV reasons I love hanging out with them, but HBO is certainly a perk. This winter/spring, HBO ran a miniseries called John Adams, which covered the events of about 1775-1805 from the perspective of Mr. Adams himself. Though it did sometimes hilariously remind me of the musical 1776 (Sit down, John, Sit Down!) and it had too many Hollywood types involved in it which resulted in annoying cinematography...decisions (somehow, I don't think the late 18th century was tilted...), it really was a fun and sometimes even poignant look at early American history. If they could condense the four episodes I saw into one hour (I liked it as is, but I'm a history buff...), I might even suggest it be shown to every American alive today. Seems like we could use a reminder about what it means to be an American.

Though the scenes between John and Abigail (played by Paul Giamatti and the always fabulous Laura Linney) were great, I think the most memorable moment for me involved a discussion between the second president and the third. (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, respectively...please tell me you knew that). Said discussion took place during the presidency of Mr. Washington (everyone in the miniseries always referred to each other as Mr. this and Mrs. that...it was kind of nice). The United States was being drawn into the seemingly unending British-French conflict and a split arose over this between two groups who had already begun to grow apart: those who believed in individualism as the guiding principle for society (the Republicans, who sided with the French), and those who saw a need for greater governmental involvement (the Federalists, who were beginning to advocate joining the war on the side of the British).

Jefferson, if you know your history, was an unapologetic Francophile and a staunch Republican, and while Adams certainly did not wish to drag the new nation into a war, he was swayed by the potential he saw in a strong federal government and the National Bank idea in particular. The two former friends were clearly headed down different ideological paths by this point and had drifted apart socially as a result, but there's a scene with them walking down the street having an honest conversation about why each believed as he did. And it was striking to me because it made me wonder if this ever happens anymore. I know that Democrats and Republicans occasionally (though rarely) work together on bills and appear together for photo ops and things, but is there any effort to understand each other, to come together?

I'm a pretty solid Democrat, but it seems to me that if I were in the Senate or the House, I'd look for the most intelligent, most logical Republican I could find and make friends. We are (or were!), after all, working toward a common goal, even if our methods are different.

22 April 2008


I don't know if anyone besides me saw the NCAA Women's Basketball quarterfinals (judging by the ratings, that's a no), but there was an incredible display of toughness, possibly even "heart". Tennessee's Candace Parker dislocated her shoulder reaching back to steal a ball. Somehow, she actually came up with the ball and proceeded to dribble halfway down the court with one shoulder hanging out of its socket. She went to the locker room shortly before halftime, where they put everything back in its place, then came back in the game! At which point, it popped out again when someone tossed a pass directly into her outstretched hand. Once again, they put it back and once again, she returned and played the last 10 minutes. Pretty bad-ass, eh?

So later in the week leading up to the Final Four, I read a shorty article on espn.com about her injury status and how likely it was that she would play (she did in fact play, and win a national championship). The article mentioned her toughness and her decision to forgo her final year of college eligibilty (she got a medical redshirt for her freshman year) for the Olympics and the WNBA. In short, it was an article you wouldn't be surprised to see setting the stage for the men's Final Four, but it was kind of nice to see it done for the women.

I never really click on the comments pages, but I do tend to read the few comments that are stuck at the bottom of the article. On this article, one said, and I quote, "yawn. i still won't watch."

Now, I realize that the internet is not known as a forum for politeness, but this seems above and beyond to me. Why even bother? Are you such a pig that you can't even stand women getting any attention at all? Do you think women's sports are inappropriate? Taking up space on espn.com? How could you not have better things to do with your 30 seconds? And the kicker? YOU READ THE ARTICLE! How bored could you be with it?

As I've said before, thanks for being rude for absolutely no reason.