Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Crazy Summer Wrap-Up

Fall semester at Idaho State begins Monday. The fool in me has allowed the nerd in me to take seventeen credits. Understandably, I'm going to be busy. But before I dive into learning the dead language of Latin and before there are books to read, papers to write, and real informative posts to create, I have a few clarifications, explanations, and observations.

In the craziest summer of my life...never thought I'd be saying that after the summer following my high school graduation...I've learned some unbelievable lessons. A few I could have done without and a few were lessons it may take me the rest of my life to learn, but nonetheless, the lessons were numerous.

One of those lessons came a few days ago in some reading I was doing on Arlen Specter. Specter who is the chairman of the judiciary committee in the United States Senate recently requested a meeting with none other than Fidel Castro. At first I thought this is ridiculous. Who does he think he is? But more and more as I read and as I considered his point of view I realized that this man isn't seeking publicity or controversy. Specter serves in one of the most influential seats as the Supreme Court battle rolls around. Though often referred to as a RINO, he is Pennsylvania's first 5-term senator. And most importantly Specter served on the Warren Commission (the body that investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of President Kennedy) where he authored the "single bullet theory" (also known as the magic bullet which perplexes me to this day). Specter doesn't need publicity. He's dying of cancer. He stands on the Senate floor day after day giving his last speeches. He wanted nothing more than to live his life as a public servant. If the man wants to meet Castro and has the capabilities to do so, let it be. I never thought in a million years I'd be the one to say Arlen Specter has taught me an incredible lesson, but he has. He has taught me that you can't leave this world knowing that the things you wanted the very most were unattainable because you weren't willing to go out on a limb. For whatever reason he wants to speak to Castro, whether it be for his understanding of history or whatever, his request is an admirable one.

Specter is observation number one. Clarification comes in the form of one simple song. Last month I wrote a post on "Landed" the new single from Ben Folds. I probably said it was Ben Folds Five, which it isn't, just Ben all by himself at that piano. Anyway, tonight Ben was on Jay Leno and as he sat there, I sat admiring what raw talent that man has. Just looking at him you'd not think he was anything special, just a geeky looking guy sitting at a piano, but no. Ben Folds is amazing. If you don't play the piano you can't really understand it and I'm not sure I can put it into words, but when you sit with your fingers gently playing the keys, there is the solitude and completeness. Sitting there you can pound out your anger, fear, and disappointment. There is nothing like playing "Morning Has Broken" on a baby grand. I've played a lot of instruments in my life and none have the same effect on me. Ben Folds as a pianist gets that, I think that's why I like him so much. The song hit a nerve with me tonight. It's much deeper than I gave it credit. Like "Brick" it has many layers. And as I reread my post on it I realized I really dissed the Backstreet Boys. Sadly that boy band phase hit me too, but the comeback album of the Backstreet Boys is awesome. I would recommend listening to and even purchasing Never Gone.

Okay, last, but not least, the explanation. All summer there has been hype over Jane Fonda's return to the big screen. Starring in Monster-in-Law and with a recent book publishing, Fonda has been everywhere. I watched her on Dateline talk about her sex life. I listened to her on NPR. She's everywhere. AND I HATE IT!! I've avoided the topic all summer, not because I don't find it interesting, but because it makes me livid. Some of us weren't around to know her as Hanoi Jane, but for an entire generation, Jane Fonda's name is not to be mentioned. Her trip to North Vietnam was one of those moments where a whole nation sat and watched the line being crossed. Hollywood suffered, the troops suffered, and Jane's reputation has never recovered. On a personal level I despise Jane Fonda because of the public relationship she had with her children, neglect, abandonment, the works, but that's not why I've avoided the topic. Jane Fonda is just as guilty as wrongdoing in Vietnam as the U.S. soldiers who participated in the My Lai Massacre and I realize that, but my problem is this: Jane Fonda has spent the last 30 years apologizing to everyone who will listen for her actions. She once upon a time felt strongly enough about Vietnam to do what she did and as she did it there were no regrets. It wasn't until much later that she took the nation enforced guilt trip. My message to Jane Fonda--quit apologizing for something you did 30 years ago! Stand by your actions. Believe what you believe. Do what you do. Don't apologize for it.

Okay, that's about a novel and more than I thought I had to say. Who knew three of those crazy summer lessons would come from Arlen Specter, Ben Folds, and Jane Fonda. As school starts there will be less frequent attempts at posting, but I promise to try and keep on top of it.

No comments :