Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sound and Fury

This Mother's Day - in what's becoming a tradition - I took my mom to see Iron Man 3. She's into these movies way more than I am but I couldn't help enjoying the spectacle. Robert Downey Jr. knows enough to keep things funny and the whole thing was leagues better than the self-serious and desperate to be clever Avengers.

"And now to grab my monkey!"

But a spectacle is all it is, and as the climax rolled on and Gwenyth Paltrow got red-hot superpowers, I just couldn't feel all that invested anymore...

Kinda like what's passed for news recently. The media's still getting good traction out of Ariel Castro and his personal dungeon, but look for anything else and it's Tea Party dweebs complaining about the IRS or Dick Cheney saying Benghazi was worse than 9/11. In a sensible country, it would be a given that a tax agency would keep a close eye on a group that explicitly declares its raison d'etre to be opposition to taxes and Dick Cheney would be hanging from a lamp post. And on fire.

But America is not a reasonable country. It's a histrionic culture, constantly acting out or throwing a fit to validate itself. A brainwave that leads to such huge and ultimately meaningless spectacles as Iron Man 3 and that has been bleeding into everything else, even how we follow current events.

Here's some stuff that wasn't loud and empty enough to garner much coverage - the deficit is still falling, stocks are still overvalued, and Syria is still a snakepit with no good guys. That's all real and important, but it's just not sexy enough to command the same attention. We'd rather have a whole bunch of noise about nothing.

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