This is America

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“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” – so sings Roger Daltrey on The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

So it’s a New Year, feeling much the same as the last year, with one final day of restorative idleness before months of toil (if measured until my next paid Holiday, May 28th).  On a quasi related note between the old and new, or in this case, the old and older, I’ve found the below to be quite interesting.  It’s a comparison of the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie classic in my time, with snippets from other adventure movies made over the previous decades, with some sharp editing.


What’s new… may actually be old.  It was known that Raiders was a tribute to the old serials – I hadn’t really appreciated how much time and effort Spielberg must have put into finding suitable scenes for “inspiration.”  But that is much of the nature of literary, personal, societal, relational, etc. evolution – building on the past to make something new. If there’s a point to learning history, it would be to repeat past successes and learn from past failures in the hopes of avoiding them.  Similarly, the old year transitions to the new.

I’m hoping for some new things this year – great political ideas, if not execution; a restored economy; an agreeable entrance to the college experience for my son; tangible rewards for my wife’s hard work; a great new musical “find.”  The basis for any of these in different ways has already found its origin last year or in earlier years, but the outcome remains as yet uncertain.  This isn’t to say that I’m not thankful for some things as they are.  I hope that they continue, employment and family health foremost.  But the above short list is what comes to mind for “new” hopes in 2012. 

Now, if I were one to find symbolism in anything, then I’d have to remark on two New Year’s Eve events.

The first is ESPN’s Red Bull “No Limits” motorcycle/snow ski dual jump in San Diego.  Should it bother someone that most everyone who watches does so to see if there will be a crash?  Should it bother me that I watched the same tired idea, again?  I personally don’t know anyone who keeps track of distance measurements for motorcycle jumps.  Add a snowmobile for breaking new ground?  Please.  The major miss, as transitions go, was that the cameras did great showing each driver zooming down their respective launch lanes then, *POOF*, they’re landing on the other side.  The change was so abrupt it was as if they edited the aerial portion out.  Replays 10 minutes later actually showed the airborne moments, but this was as big a live miss as I’ve seen in quite a while.  Hello New Year.

Secondly, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve.  God bless him; he tries, and the spirit is still there. But overall, NYE is an excuse for a party, okay.  Got it.  We had a small one ourselves.  Still, from the few minutes I watched of the beloved 40 year Dick Clark tradition, I can’t help but reflect on the shallowness of everything that is pop culture (no one needs to point out that pop culture is over half of what I end up writing about.  I write about the good parts, of course). 

Lady Gaga, whose burst into stardom remains unexplained, actually has a great soulful voice.  Still, cast with the young kid with the famous haircut who is (gag) an American (teen) Idol and whose whose name I shall never include in my blog, a rapper named Pitbull, a Dick Clark wannabe host, a (gifted) musician whose head remains in a pillbox in the 60’s, and a former Playboy Bunny who celebrates the New Year by making out with a random NYC police officer… it occurs to me.  This is America.  Inspiration needed.

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