Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is That Really Helpful?

When we suddenly realize—thanks to a happy (or should I say unhappy) context—that we have one child older than Angela Merkel of Germany (11-17-1954), two older than Barack H. Obama (8-4-1961), and a third child who is just two years younger than the President, why then one sits down for a moment to think.

Such a moment came recently in this household. And it recurred again today when both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal featured front page photographs of Angela Merkel enthusing with raised arms over Germany’s victory over Greece in the quarter finals of the World Cup held in—of all places—Gdansk in Poland.

Here is a conjunction of venues, individuals, pop culture, and media that signals to the fading adults in this space that things are really out of joint—but we feel too feeble, actually, to intervene. Our time of routinely intervening passed about 30 years ago.

Is it all that helpful for world leaders to be seen exulting at an event that they are surely old enough to know will be exploited massively by the hyenas of the media? Is it responsible for the New York Times to splash the picture on its front page—or is that just a reflexive hatred for all things German combined with a revulsion for austerity? Does it make fiscal sense for the Wall Street Journal to inflame the markets with the same image? Is that responsible journalism? The context here, of course, is soccer, surely the biggest modern circus sport and almost automatically linked to the word “hooliganism.” Should adults, be they elected officials or the guardians of the “people’s right to know,” engage in such tactics?

Is there a subtle sophistication involved here? Is Merkel signaling to German voters? Do the papers have an agenda? Or is immature behavior the very meat they want to serve a public even more infantilized than its masters?

Thank God the sun is out. Next to a brick that holds up our sagging miniature picnic table we bought when our grandchildren were small, tiny ants are busy raising large mounds of very fine dirt. I think I’ll go out there to have a conversation with them. There are still real adults around, however small.

No comments:

Post a Comment