Monday, January 15, 2007

1.15.07: A Uniquely American Day

It’s Martin Luther King Day. The only national individual besides the looooooong dead Presidents Washington and Lincoln to be so honored. It was first formally observed in January 1986 and had a bumpy start, with holdouts in the South and Arizonia for years.

But it seems to have settled into the national consciousness, and the idea of “A day On, not a day Off,” is building, to do something—-paint a schoolroom, help seniors fill out paperwork, help outpatients get to a doctor’s visit—-coordinated by the MLK Day Organization and a great website.

In the midst of our constant East-looking, this holiday redirects our attention, for a national nanosecond, to our own history, and issues.

In recent years it overlaps with the Golden Globe Awards.
From the sublime to . . . . .

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. If it didn’t exist, Evelyn Waugh would have had to create it in order to mock it. Sixty years ago, reporters from foreign publications banded together in their quest to disperse news about Hollywood to countries outside North America. It’s an association of about 86 journalists, although many of the most prominent foreign publications, like Le Monde of the Time of London, are not represented, according to a NY Times article.

Whatever its genesis or original purpose, HFPA is the animus behind the Golden Globe awards—-those precursors to the Oscars that bring the film and tv people together in one room for a "party."

There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging excellence and, along with jazz, we certainly contribute the award show to world culture.

The third part of the day’s trifecta is hours 3 and 4 of the 6th season of 24. I haven’t been watching this series, and this season premiere seemed a good time to jump in.

The action, the suspense, and the suspension of belief is everything they say. It is the most riveting tv watching there is—you can’t read or do the crossword puzzle during screentime.

I have finally met Jack Bauer, our idealized American, that individual who can think on his feet, who can accurately assess complex situations quickly, and who continually, personally, makes things happen.

No wonder this show is so popular, especially now.

As a projection of national psyche, there is much about the storytelling of 24 to talk about.

But on MLK day, when Kiefer Sutherland and 24 are both up for Golden Globe awards, let's leave it at, "Goodnight, America." Steed and I are going to go catch the second half of Lawrence of Arabia over on TCM before turning in.

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