Remember the millions of dollars, hundreds of staff and hours of coverage spent on a wedding in London when crises around the globe and here at home festered. Remember the unseemly pas de deux between the press and a reality TV show huckster peddling racially-fraught falsehoods, as both interviewers and the interviewee seek a bump in ratings.
And then please take a moment to remember the eight American soldiers and one contractor killed by an Afghan soldier at the Kabul airport in a war too easily forgotten. Remember the hundreds likely being killed in Syria and Libya, not to mention the death and unrest plaguing countries like the Ivory Coast, which almost never earn more than a mention on our most-watched newscasts. (Dan Rather, Huffington Post, 4/28/11)
As I consider the news that yesterday's royal wedding party at the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg drew nearly 400 people to watch the event transmitted "live" on the big screen, the words of Dan Rather trouble. A sold-out crowd bought tickets to show up at 5 AM (!$#!). They ate wedding cake, sipped tea and partied early in the morning before most of us were out of bed. Many wore wacky "wedding" attire to compete for a prize. Rumor has it that even the mayor came in costume. About now, some of you will tell me that I do not know how to have any fun. And I freely admit I do not get such "fun" things as the Red Hat Society. So, of course, I will not get this. And yet, here is the thing: Outside of the April 16th vigils, we have not been able to rally that many people for anything since 2003, when 500 people turned out in the rain to rally against the war in Iraq. This supposedly energized town with about 28,000 students and all the employees to support them cannot stay engaged with the world for long-except yesterday and for football and basketball games. And, though I did not coin the term, I call that beer and circus, not engagement with the world.
Cole is on the left of legal thoughts. Disclosure: I have once been a guest in his home more almost two decades ago when he hosted a Tikkun magazine salon which featured Rabbi Michael Lerner. At that time Cole told me he was an adherent of Critical Legal Studies. Having said that, and also acknowledged that I am not a lawyer, I found his op ed both useful and troubling, which is why I both urge you to read and ponder his words, and invite you to explore my reaction to the issues he raises.