Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

Don't Be Offended, But...

When I found out about the Virginia Tech shootings yesterday, the first thing I did was call all of my friends at the school to see if they were O.K. After I spent zero seconds doing that, I turned off CNN, and got on with my life.

Too soon?

Yes, cable news companies and newspapers will do everything to ensure this latest massacre in the U.S. stays fresh in our minds so we mindlessly continue to watch hour upon hour of programming, but the outpouring of sympathy and sending of hearts out to victims will only last a couple of days. Then everyone will be in the stage of grief I'm already at: forgetting.

What's ridiculous about the coverage of this massacre is the relative non-coverage and ignorance of daily massacres in Iraq and other states around the world. Where are our hearts for those victims? Oh, I know: We care, it's just that this is Virginia Tech! We like their basketball team. And, and, well, this happened in America. This isn't supposed to happen in America.

Check out the side-bars in most of the sensationalized newspapers this morning and you realize this shoot-up isn't exactly unique in America. It's probably more shocking that a massacre doesn't happen more often in a country in love with guns. Anyone who wants to use the Virginia Tech killings as evidence for the need for stricter gun-control laws in the U.S. ought to realize it could have been 92 dead instead of 32, and it wouldn't make a difference.

In the end, the killings make great television. CNN executives probably locked themselves in a meeting room yesterday afternoon and enjoyed a large, fun circle jerk dreaming about the great ratings this "tragedy" will give the network. And that goes for every cable news network and every newspaper who trades its profits on dead bodies. Red equals green, and it's a wonder all the dead Iraqis barely register in our minds. I guess we're just more used to it.


Monday, April 09, 2007

A Relief

Another Long Summer

Commentators have been quick to point out that the elimination of the Toronto Maple Leafs from playoff contention means that the club will have failed to win the Stanley Cup for 40 years. I'll be quick to point out that had the Leafs made the playoffs, the team still would have failed to win the Cup in 40 years.

We knew before yesterday's game between New Jersey and the New York Islanders that if the Leafs did in fact qualify for the playoffs, they would play the best team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres. Average hockey fans knew the Leafs would have a long shot at beating the Sabres, but we thought that the resilience of this year's Leafs team would make them The One -- defy odds and win the Cup.

When New Jersey tied the Islanders with one second left in the game, I even thought this year's Leafs may be the Team of Destiny. But that was delusion: how many times since 1967 have Leafs fans thought that year's team was destined to win the Cup?

But missing the playoffs, it feels like being castrated. And commentators and fans will call for firings, and trades, and people foolish enough to think their plan, the one that will guarantee a Cup parade next summer in Toronto, should be implemented are wasting their time daydreaming and worrying about a team that knows more about disappointment than destiny.

Some sympathetic Leafs fans will suggest this year's team struggled because of injuries. Yes, there were many, but the reason the Leafs are packing their lockers today for a long summer is their Jekyll and Hyde approach to playing games. At times, they were good enough to fool the most skeptical Leafs fans. At times, the Leafs looked like a failed suicide attempt -- losing streaks, blown games, undisciplined play. In the end, added up, they succeeded.

Yesterday, after the Islanders won the shoot-out to clinch a playoff berth, I was surprised at how quickly I recovered from the disappointment. I was surprised in my relief. Now, I could put away my silly game-day superstitions for another five months, take a deep breathe, and worry about something I could change by myself.