Friday, May 9, 2008

To my daughter and her 2008 classmates

We go to the movies to laugh, to be inspired and to escape. Every so often, even a television show comes along that speaks to our better selves.
To some they are sappy, unrealistic expressions by sappy, unrealistic people. To others, they are a glimmer of hope that perhaps we can get past the petty self-serving bullshit and make things better. You know, the It's A Wonderful Life kind of stuff. Over time, our movies and tv shows have come to represent the actual state of the country at the time. WTF?

Around the time I became a father, a movie was released; Amazing Grace and Chuck. I won't review it or provide a plot summary. You can get that by clicking the link. William Petersen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gregory Peck...
but chances are you neither saw nor heard much about it. It "starred" NBA star Alex English as Amazing Grace Smith and Joshua Zuehlke as Chuck, a Little League "star" in Montana.
Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up, but this was 1987. The top grossing films were Three Men and a Baby, Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II. You had Wall Street's Gordon Gekko and the whole "Greed is Good" thing.

Ronnie Raygun was defeating the evil empire single handedly and the last thing being discussed was nuclear disarmament. We were just saying NO to drugs. We were clipping along, making such good time, that the segment of the population who were saying "Yeah that's wonderful, but hey LOOK! we're on the wrong fucking road!" were drowned out by the oblivious rowdy partiers. It was all such great fun. We had our swagger back, we were spending obscene sums building new and better weapons systems, but people were feeling good about the whole swagger thing...

How colloquial to harken back to simpler, saner days. As we watched the missed exit fade into the horizon, we were boldly going nowhere in a hurry. Big chunks of our combined assets were "privatized", budget numbers became surrealistic expressions and the rest of the economy followed. That was so long ago that the baby I held while watching AG & C on cable will graduate from COLLEGE on Sunday. As she embarks on her carefully prodded life, I can only apologize that she's entering Gordon Gekko's world rather than Chuck's. I really did try.

I hope her generation fares better than mine did. She's optimistic and eager to make a difference. I hope I'm around to see them bring it to fruition. That's a world I think I will like.
Steep odds, but in the immortal (to me) words of Amazing Grace Smith...

But wouldn't it be nice...

I offer three items as hopeful signs that things will be fixed. They all have shelf life.
One older, one newer, one fictional but reflective of the other real ideals.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

Your proud Dad.


Anonymous said...

nice. thanks. best to daughter.

i'm a sucker for that speech from 'american president.'
call me cheap, but one of the best speeches ever - and the right attitude.

also 'you claim to love america, but hate americans' always resonates.

i sure would love to hear some more of the same - soon.

Anonymous said...

Heck of a post, hoss.

Congrats to Daughter, and all of her '08's.

Pretty much had me busted out bawlin like a baby.

The Obama clip made me, well, IBOBLAB.

May your daughter take us places we haven't been yet.

We could USE some decent salvation.

Thanks for sharin, hoss.