Sunday, February 17, 2008

(on the couch):

"MIRACLE" -- [2004] story of the 1980 American Olympic hockey team that whupped the Soviet posterior -- bunch of 20-year-old college boys who rolled over the hardened meaty Muscovites of Glorious Soviet Armsky. CSI-NY's criminally cute Eddie Cahill plays star goalie Jim Craig, whose flag-draped circumnavigation of the rink after the U.S.A. gold medal game (against some ridiculous snow-nation like Finland or something a few days after the Russky-smash) is a sight never to be forgotten by anyone who ever enjoyed being American. Kurt Russell plays hard-bitten super-coach Herb Brooks.

Those were the days -- "malaise days" during the reign of the toothiest and (second?) worst president of the 20th century, James Earl Carter, whose snivelling, sanctimonious voice-overs gum up the background of the film sound track, against archival footage of the hostage-taking in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and re-enactments of gas station line-ups.

It's almost impossible to imagine (or, if you watched those games, as I did, to remember) how it felt to have a nation so united in the sheer joy of its own identity, in the knowledge that we had the character to survive defeat and humiliation, and to take on the neighbourhood bullies in the name of the neighbourhood. Today we stand in an arena against a team who play by no rules, who cheat and batter on every shift, while the good guys' team consists solely of Jim Craig and a towel boy against a thousand ruthless toothless forwards. But rather than uniting with our banner over our shoulders, roughly half the country is throwing pennies in our goal crease and and tying Craig's skate laces together. And no chants of "U.S.A" can be heard over the chorus of "We Are Scum".

/hockey metaphor off