Stress of Waiting for the All-American Shootout

It’s so exciting; I don’t know how we’ll stand the wait until early February, when The Event will take place. For the first time ever (but surely not the last) the three major contests of the young quadrennial year will be combined into the All-American Shootout. We will simultaneously produce a Superbowl champion, Oscar winners, and, at the Super Tuesday primaries, the presumptive presidential nominees.

All three affairs have become such popularity contests, and have been competing so fiercely with one another to sell airtime and the most expensive commercials ever made, that it certainly makes sense to combine them. They have so much overlap as it is — ballplayers becoming movie stars, presidential candidates being treated like rock stars, and movie stars interjecting themselves into politics.


Like every good movie, every viable political candidate must have a Story. And in that story they must triumph over others. All three depend on telegenicity and good Q ratings — a Superbowl team from a city that is not a major TV market is considered a terrible thing.


The three also share what is irrelevant — reality, in the sense of a realistic foreign policy, honest and effective ways to right the wrongs of the economy (such as the subprime mortgage vortex that is swallowing many middle- and lower-class families), and global warming. And all three have Causes to which they lend their celebrity; as with politicians, football players and movie stars these days have opinions to offer on subjects about which they are painfully ignorant.


The Superbowl, the Oscars and Super Tuesday have been willing to accept some accommodations to their usual uniqueness to make The Event work, and we should laud them for that.
It was very gracious of the National Football League to assent to shifting the Big Game from a Sunday to a Tuesday, so as to synergize with the presidential primaries in a dozen major states being held that day. No sense competing with one another when you can combine and raise the number of people in the potential audience by a factor of 10! We’ll be glued to our TV sets from early morning to late at night, awaiting the winners. What a great thing for advertisers.
It was also very good of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give up their usual Monday evening slot to join with the other two extravaganzas. (Of course, we know that what with the strike by my own union, the Writers Guild of America, and without written patter, the Oscars weren’t going to be what they used to be anyway, but still, it was a bold move.)


Then, too, the fact that voting for all of these entities has become largely electronic and digitized helped the decision. As with “American Idol,� the public needs to have a hand in choosing winners and losers at the Oscars and Superbowl, as well as in the Presidential Sweepstakes.


Therefore, I am proposing some further alterations. It will be very salutary for our audience psyches, I believe, to anoint definitive losers as well as winners in The Event. We do this regularly in the primaries, but I think Oscar losers ought to make concession speeches to the people who have beaten them out for the awards. Perhaps Tom Cruise, when he loses the Oscar for best actor, can bring out his wife and little Suri, wave at the crowd, thank his supporters, and make a gracious little speech about the emotive power of Daniel Day-Lewis or George Clooney.
I also propose that some of the political candidates suit up and go in for a play or two during the Superbowl; I have spoken to the New York Giants about this, but as yet they have refused to commit to permitting Senator Hillary Clinton to play for them, even though she is very good at tackling other players at the knees. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is, of course, known to excel at pass-rushing and trash talk, and has already expressed his willingness to root for any team that has good airtime.


I look forward to a half-time show in which candidates for political office and the nominees for Hollywood stardom will perform, competing for our attention and our applause, and where the outcome of the primaries will depend on how well they do in that sort of high-pressure situation. It will be good, too, for us to be permitted to add or subtract points from the Superbowl contender teams, based on their likeability, style, ingenuity and other performance indicators.

Here are my confident predictions for the ultimate awards:
Best Movie Story: Senator Barack Obama
Superbowl Champion: Julia Roberts, in overtime.
Super Tuesday Winning Republican Nominee: “There Will Be Blood.�
Super Tuesday Winning Democratic Nominee: New England Patriots.

Salisbury resident Tom Shachtman has written more than two dozen books and many television documentaries.

Latest News

Fresh perspectives in Norfolk Library film series

Diego Ongaro

Photo submitted

Parisian filmmaker Diego Ongaro, who has been living in Norfolk for the past 20 years, has composed a collection of films for viewing based on his unique taste.

The series, titled “Visions of Europe,” began over the winter at the Norfolk Library with a focus on under-the-radar contemporary films with unique voices, highlighting the creative richness and vitality of the European film landscape.

Keep ReadingShow less
New ground to cover and plenty of groundcover

Young native pachysandra from Lindera Nursery shows a variety of color and delicate flowers.

Dee Salomon

It is still too early to sow seeds outside, except for peas, both the edible and floral kind. I have transplanted a few shrubs and a dogwood tree that was root pruned in the fall. I have also moved a few hellebores that seeded in the near woods back into their garden beds near the house; they seem not to mind the few frosty mornings we have recently had. In years past I would have been cleaning up the plant beds but I now know better and will wait at least six weeks more. I have instead found the most perfect time-consuming activity for early spring: teasing out Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle and myrtle, from the ground in places it was never meant to be.

Planting the stuff in the first place is my biggest ever garden regret. It was recommended to me as a groundcover that would hold together a hillside, bare after a removal of invasive plants save for a dozen or so trees. And here we are, twelve years later; there is vinca everywhere. It blankets the hillside and has crept over the top into the woods. It has made its way left and right. I am convinced that vinca is the plastic of the plant world. The stuff won’t die. (The name Vinca comes from the Latin ‘vincire’ which means ‘to bind or fetter.’) Last year I pulled a bunch and left it strewn on the roof of the root cellar for 6 months and the leaves were still green.

Keep ReadingShow less
Matza Lasagne by 'The Cook and the Rabbi'

Culinary craftsmanship intersects with spiritual insights in the wonderfully collaborative book, “The Cook and the Rabbi.” On April 14 at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck (6422 Montgomery Street), the cook, Susan Simon, and the rabbi, Zoe B. Zak, will lead a conversation about food, tradition, holidays, resilience and what to cook this Passover.

Passover, marked by the traditional seder meal, holds profound significance within Jewish culture and for many carries extra meaning this year at a time of great conflict. The word seder, meaning “order” in Hebrew, unfolds in a 15-step progression intertwining prayers, blessings, stories, and songs that narrate the ancient saga of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. It’s a narrative that has endured for over two millennia, evolving with time yet retaining its essence, a theme echoed beautifully in “The Cook and the Rabbi.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Housy baseball drops 3-2 to Northwestern

Freshman pitcher Wyatt Bayer threw three strikeouts when HVRHS played Northwestern April 9.

Riley Klein

WINSTED — A back-and-forth baseball game between Housatonic Valley Regional High School and Northwestern Regional High School ended 3-2 in favor of Northwestern on Tuesday, April 9.

The Highlanders played a disciplined defensive game and kept errors to a minimum. Wyatt Bayer pitched a strong six innings for HVRHS, but the Mountaineers fell behind late and were unable to come back in the seventh.

Keep ReadingShow less