by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
This Is The End*
*The judges have also accepted “Death To America!”
How did we get here, to the end of democracy? Been thinking about this all week. About how at a certain point Americans stopped doing what was right and began doing what feels good in the moment. I’m sure it extends back before this, but for me it begins with the Rodney King verdict…which led to the O.J. verdict… which led to then-president Bill Clinton saying, “That depends what your definition of ‘is’ is.”
Continue on to the hanging chad election… and then the “weapons of mass destruction” ruse… the TARP bailout, when suddenly Wall Street, for one brief moment, embraced socialism and welfare and tried to tell the rest of us that we just don’t understand, i.e. TOO BIG TO FAIL. Time after time Americans in position to DO THE RIGHT THING have instead done the palliative thing in the moment.
And so here we are. The U.S. Senate cannot be bothered to adhere to the same strict standards as My Cousin Vinny. They don’t want witnesses, they don’t want evidence, they just want to acquit. And America is supposed to believe that November’s election will be fair?
This institutional practice of “If It Feels Good, Do It” was abetted by a few very intelligent and cunning outside actors, chief among them Vladimir Putin and Osama bin Laden, who decided that geopolitical jujitsu was the best way to take down the USA: In other words, you can’t topple the USA head-on. The only way to do so is to inveigle it to use its own power against itself. America must be destroyed from within. Bravo, gentlemen. You’ve succeeded.
The MAGA types don’t see it yet. They’re too happy celebrating the stock market or the death of an Iranian general, etc. But the core of this country—the rule of law—has been sacrificed, Perhaps for good. The rot is deep within. Now it’s just a matter of time until the tree dies.
Every great empire falls. You get the advantage of being able to tell your children and grandchildren that you were there when it did.
Is This The End?
If this is how Tom Brady goes out, that’s cool. Honestly cannot see him playing anywhere else next season. Also wondering if the death of Kobe Bryant last Sunday in any way impacted whatever decision he’s about to make. Or has made. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Kobe’s untimely and tragic demise (he was one year younger than Brady) is about the NBA equivalent to if this had happened to Brady.
Two notable snubs for next month’s All-Star Game. Both players are guards for teams who haven’t been to the postseason much if at all: Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns.
Beal: sixth in the NBA in scoring at 28.7 ppg.
Booker: eighth in the NBA in scoring at 27.1 ppg.
The only other player among the top 15 in scoring who failed to make the team is in the same class as these two: Zach LaVine of the Bulls.
Meanwhile, Chris Paul, who is not among the Top 50 in scoring or even among the Top 15 in Assists, was named as a reserve. It’s hardly the most egregious voting decision America has seen this week; just sports’ worst.
Hackman Turner Overdrive
Actor Gene Hackman celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. He’s sort of been a middle-aged man forever in our minds. But man, one of the all-time greats as a character actor.
Films of Hackman’s that you absolutely must see if you haven’t already (I’m assuming you’ve seen Superman and Hoosiers):
—The French Connection (1971)
—Night Moves (1975)
—Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
—The Conversation (1974)
And if you think Hoosiers is his best performance, you’ll get no argument here. He plays against his type, and convincingly. He is the consummate pro’s pro.
Hackman was born in San Bernardino in 1930, but grew up in Danville, Illinois. From Hackman’s Wikipedia page:
In 1956 he began pursuing an acting career; he joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California. It was there that he forged a friendship with another aspiring actor, Dustin Hoffman. Already seen as outsiders by their classmates, they were later voted “The Least Likely To Succeed”. Furthermore, Hackman got the all time lowest score at the Pasadena Playhouse at the time.
Five Films: 2006
I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of films of this decade. For some reason I had my “OK, Boomer” hat on and thought everything after Saving Private Ryan was godawful. I was wrong. Again.
- Pan’s Labyrinth: Easily the most pleasant surprise of the decade in terms of walking into a theater and being blown away by what was on the screen. Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy revolving around the Spanish Civil War is gripping and magical, tragic and sublime. Should have at least won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Was only nominated.
- Once: Glen Hansard’s musical triumph about a busker in Dublin who finds a kindred spirit and a muse, if not romance. What a soundtrack. Passed Hansard as I was running along the Hudson in 2009 and he was on a bike. Gave him a smile and a thumbs up. He replied with a knowing nod and a smile.
- The Last King of Scotland: Powerful performance by Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin (is this the same guy who went apesh*t against the rival high school after Spicoli crashed his car?) and James Macavoy as the young and slowly corrupted doc.
- The Departed: Okay, maybe there’s a little too much of guys stealing glances at their cell phones, but too many good performances to ignore: Leo, Damon, Sheen, Nicholson, Baldwin and of course, Wahlberg: “I’m the guy doing his job. You must be the other guy.”
- Borat: Verrrrrry niiiice!
Worthy but did not crack Top 5: “The Lives of Others,” “Children Of Men,” “Blood Diamond,” “Casino Royale,” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Never saw: Volver. I’ll do that.