Sunday, February 8, 2009
Part IV: The New American Hero
As I watch this evening's edition of 60 minutes, I am in awe of a man who is humble, eloquent, intelligent and cuts through the bull shit like a hot butter knife.
On January 15 of this year, Chelsey Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III became the antithesis of a widow-maker. He showed the world his brass balls by successfully laying US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River without causality. Since that day, Captain Sullenberger has enjoyed the Inauguration of President Obama, Super Bowl XLIII, an exclusive interview on 60 Minutes and the creation of his very own Wikipedia page--all in the span of 3 weeks. Boy, do we live in an accelerated society or what.
And if we didn't like Capt. Sully enough, a news story popped up this last week that he called the Fresno State library and confessed that a book he checked out (a book about professional ethics, the guy can't miss) might have a new home at the bottom of the Hudson River. The library forgave any late fees and decided to dedicate the book's replacement to him (and while yer at it FS, name the entire wing of the library after him).
It's rare to have heroes again--and it's something we must embrace and hold high above these other stories of gloom/doom, if-it-bleeds-it-leads media coverage. He said the perfect thing to Couric, that he won't embrace heroism, but he won't deny it either. Goddamn! The man do no wrong.
Sully trumps 'em all. He trumps the passenger on his plane who wasn't satisfied with the settlement from US Airways and is suing the company because he "doesn't feel whole." He trumps the passenger that is taking advantage of her 15 minutes by recording a song about the incident. He trumps Christian Bale's sailor-mouth. He trumps Shane Hurlbut's lack of professionalism. He trumps Nadya Suleman for reasons that are obvious. He even trumps Micheal Phelps because in the end, Sully saved 155 people and inspired a nation to embrace good news again.
And that is a good thing.
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That ends my weekend-long evaluation of our Brave New World. What I learned is that just when it looks as if we're going down the crapper as a society, things right themselves, eventually. I hope that Christian Bale gets some help for the demons that haunt him. He's made some really good movies in a climate where there is nothing but diarrhea coming out of Hollywood's arse. I hope that Nadya Suleman gets forced into treatment and all her children are put up for adoption and end up in good homes. I hope that the Michael Phelps ordeal turns into a new dialogue on why drug laws are as archaic as the attitudes towards gay marriage--to evolve we must advance...
And finally, in Captain Sully, I learned that humility is not a lost quality in America--it's just forgotten. All of us could learn a thing or two from this man's sense of doing the right thing before doing the "me thing."
This Obama world is getting weird...