Let me begin by saying that I watched the video of Jason McElwain sink those 3-pointers. Not only did I watch it, but I watched it over and over again since every media station on the planet was playing it. While the story on it's own was of the caliber "Hey neat-o. Bet he can't do that again. Oh look, he did!," the whole story should've ended there.
Instead, the media grabs it and runs with it as if it's the greatest thing to grace the airwaves and newsprint in 50 years; it was as if someone had finally achieved world peace. Then it just got blown out of control. Not only did the media cover it, but then suddenly there's 30 something movie deals for this kid. A movie deal? Come on. As if that's not bad enough, Bush makes it all worse. How? By having himself immortalized in a movie not for how he handled the country, but for his inclusion now in the J-Mac story.
I can picture the movie now. All-American kid with disability faces trials and tribulations growing up always hoping to one day be able to play basketball, like all the other normal kids. His heroes growing up are Shaq, Kobe, Jordan. He's got pictures of famous basketball stars up in his room and all he can think about, all he can dream about - is playing basketball as a pro one day.
Then, in high school, he gets his break. He's been managing the team all year and on the last game of the season, the star player on the team suffers a groin or ankle injury. The score is tied and there's no one else to play. The team suddenly experiences the anxiety that without their star player, they won't win the game and go onto to regional fame. What to do, what to do. Then the coach, in a moment of doubtful desperation says "J-mac, yeah you. Get in there, son. We don't stand much of a chance anyways, so...go ahead kid. You deserve it."
Then, in some Kellogg's Cornflakes, slow-motion, Chariots of Fire fueled cinematic masterpiece, someone passes J-Mac the ball. J-Mac looks furiously around the court, eyes darting left, then right, scanning the court for who might be blocking him. The camera pans the students in the bleachers. They, too, have a fierce look of anxiety in their face, half skeptical of J-Mac even making the shot, half-hoping he may. As the clock counts down to the last two seconds, and with the game tied, J-Mac, seeing an opening, strides to the 3-point line, jumps, shoots....
The crowd goes wild! The ball swooshes right in the net as if an expert marksman hit his bullseye. With the net still swirling from the perfect shot, the buzzer goes off, awarding three points to J-mac's team and also handing victory to the team and the school. The hero is apparent as a crowd rushes the court to hoist J-mac onto their shoulders. Everyone's holding his likeness on a tongue depressor a loud chant is heard: "J-mac! J-mac! J-mac!" The camera does a slow pan around him, huge ear-to-ear smile, as the image fades away...
As if it isn't typical sickening Hollywood style, it will now get worse, and all because of one man, George Bush. See, after the camera dimmed on the basketball court, it then fades back in on George Bush, one year later, working behind his desk with some staff members about the current "positive" situation in Iraq. George, another All-American hero, is talking about all the successes in Iraq and how the American people have had such strong resolve and unparalleled commitment when it comes to sticking out the mission until it's accomplished. Then, George gets up and goes through a door and arrives in the Press Corps room where he goes in front of the podium to deliver a speech to the American people about resolve and how oftentimes, in the midst of the overall picture, some lesser heard but just as important stories of true Americanism, get drowned out. In the midst of this speech, he changes direction to that of heroes and how Americans need to be reminded of unsung heroes from time to time to bring back that good old fashioned, American pie form of patriotism. George wants to tell a little story.
George Bush talks about J-Mac. He tells the story of the underachiever who scored big at his high school. J-Mac, he says, can inspire a nation. He even makes statements like...like the ones he made just yesterday.
Bush said someone brought it to him, but that he wept when he saw it.
Bush also added his typical visionary take on the situation:
"Our country was captivated by an amazing story on the basketball court," he said. "It's the story of a young man who found his touch on the basketball court, which, in turn, touched the hearts of citizens all around the country."
And this is where I step back in since I have some problems with Bush's choice of words from yesterday. First off, I have a hard time believing Bush wept when he heard the story of J-Mac sinking some 3-pointers. Look, sure, J-Mac has some autism but I've seen far worse cases that would literally make your stomach turn and your heart turn cold, leaving your soul to fathom how something like this can even happen to people; what did they do to deserve this. The severe cases are the ones that make me want to cry. J-mac's story makes me want to...thank the students he went to school with since they seemed so cool and unbothered by the fact that this kid has a disability. I mean, show me a high school where the kids with physical limitations, weight problems, or mental issues aren't
made fun of. This kid wasn't that kid. Sure, he seems a little slow in terms of responding, but from what I could see on the countless interviews, he's all there mentally, has a huge network of friends, and people are proud of him. That's the real
great story here, isn't it?
Continuing, the country was "captivated"? Really? I think entertained would be a more appropriate description for the country's reaction. I think captivated would better describe the mood of the country with regards to Bush's sinking approval rating and the ongoing situation in Iraq and the current rhetoric build-up on Iran. Captivated would be a suitable word to descrive my mood for how the President wages war based on lies, breaks the law and eavesdrops on Americans, approves a port security deal without even knowing what the deal was, continues with the same line of "support this," "freedom that," "win the hearts and minds," and...nobody is able to break through his armor or take advantage of his increasing and extremely low approval on almost all facets of his job? That's what captivates the FUCK out of me!
And lastly, "touched the hearts of citizens" all over the world? I wonder if your average Iraqi Joe McAllah Doe took pause for a moment amidst suicide bombings and careful navigation of Baghdad streets to avoid IED's and sectarian violence, saw a broadcast on Al-Jazeera of Bush and J-Mac meeting on the tarmac, complete with replays of J-Mac's 3-pointer shots, and took pause to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye and hug a young Iraqi.
I doubt a terrorist and a US soldier, locked and loaded, aimed at each other, about to pull the trigger, simultaneously heard the J-Mac story, looked a relaxed and wet eye towards each other, and slowly lowered the weapons, all ending in an embrace.
Touched the hearts of citizens all over the world? I'm sorry, but no. It's a great story, sure, but not one that changes the world overall in a positive direction. Call me a pessimist, and perhaps it's just your reputation to ignore the worst, no matter how much the truth hurts and continue blowing rose-colored smoke up everybody's ass but, there's a time and a place for everything and with the place you're in right now, I think concentrating on the facts on the ground and finally accepting the truth of the matter publicly would "touch the hearts of citizens all over the world."