Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Remember the Mayans

The Mayans, according to pie-eyed optimist Dee Finney, take a decidedly different approach than say Frank Sinatra might in contemplating life in 2012:

The Mayan calendar is divided into Seven Ages of Man. The fourth epoch ended in August 1987. The Mayan calendar comes to an end on Sunday, December 23, 2012. Only a few people will survive the catastrophe that ensues. In the fifth age, humanity will realize its spiritual destiny. In the sixth age, we will realize God within ourselves, and in the seventh age we will become so spiritual that we will be telepathic.

Are they right? Are they wrong? I have no idea. I would note parenthetically however that less than two months after the "fourth epoch" ended, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins played a seven-game World Series in which the visiting team lost every game. That had never happened in the history of baseball. Full disclosure dictates that I mention that it has happened on two occasions since....for which I also blame the Mayans.

Perhaps the end of the world is fast approaching? It would explain the breathless way in which NBC is heralding the return of Meredith Vieira to its airwaves (Quick - show of hands of everyone who had no idea (a) she had been gone; and/or (b) what the heck it was she did before she went away) tonight on the news magazine "Rock Center" that Brian Williams hosts. [TANGENT ALERT: Full disclosure dictates that I confess that I am a big fan of Brian Williams. He is a Jersey guy, a Springsteen fanatic and (by all accounts) an actual person. Last summer when all three networks sent their anchors to England for the marriage of Will & Kate only hours before tornadoes did to the folks of Alabama what Sherman's troops had done to the folks of Georgia a century and a half earlier, only one anchor hopped an immediate return flight to the States. Williams not only anchored NBC's Nightly News from Alabama, he, Lester Holt and their crew rolled up their sleeves and helped the locals.]

In addition to hosting the Nightly News, Williams hosts "Rock Center", which to date has been faithfully viewed by most members of his immediate family and - sadly - scant others. NBC has an action plan. According to the promos I saw on Super Sunday and have heard on the radio since, tonight's episode shall feature Vieira's interview with Mimi Alford. Once upon a lifetime ago - more than a half-century to be precise - Alford was a White House intern. She was at the White House while John F. Kennedy was President and, surprise, surprise, she is one of the 1,932 women who slept with JFK while he was President, which proves if nothing else I suppose that Teddy Roosevelt was not the only Commander-in-Chief who knew the value of a big stick.

Why is Alford coming forward now - at age 68 - to discuss the details of the intimate relationship she had with JFK when she was 19? She has a book to sell of course. Her memoir is written and primed for release. While I do not know her, I am quite confident that Caroline Kennedy is thrilled by both the memoir and the TV spot. It has been at least seven to ten days since someone tried to get rich and famous on the memory of one of the deceased members of her immediate family; right?

This whole tale leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Worse yet, it makes me doubt the Almighty. I said it. Sunday night I watched, you watched and another 110,999,998 Americans did as well when Clint Eastwood promised us that we are far from the world's end. He promised us that it is only halftime:

....I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.

But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one....

....This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.

Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.



That might have been the message NBC was selling Sunday night. A mere seventy-two hours later? Not so much. Is the end of the world bearing down upon us? Tonight the evidence in support of that hypothesis is offered not by Mayans but by the M n' M Girls, Meredith and Mimi, trading upon the belief that no matter its age, people love dirty laundry.

How about we all watch CSI or read a book instead? Anything but a memoir. Ask Caroline Kennedy for a title. The woman knows her way around a library.

-AK

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