Mr. Cope's Cave: American Sniping

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Oh for God's sake! Can't you get through a whole damn week without coming over here to bug me?

Well I'm sorry, Mr. Cope. But stuff keeps coming up and I want to get your take on it. 

Why? Don't you have a "take" on it yourself?

Sort of, yeah. But my takes are pretty much like everyone else's takes.

So, are you saying my takes are more interesting than other people's?

Um... either more interesting or more stupid. Sometimes I can't tell the difference.

Well thank you, Sonny. I'd hate to think I was getting predictable. So what's come up that you want my take on?

OK then, it's about this Deflategate...

No! Absolutely not! Uh-uh! I will not waste my time on another f***ing football controversy.

But the Super Bowl is this weekend, and this is an important thing to think about, don't you think? I mean, we're talking about the biggest, most spectacular event to happen every year in America, and one of the teams in it might be cheaters. Don't you think that's worth thinking about?

OK, Junior, here's what I think. They should either call off the f***ing Super Bowl, or delay it, pending the results of the investigation.

That's just stupid!

Ah! How do you know it's not just interesting? I thought you said you couldn't tell the difference.

Well I could that time. They couldn't call off the Super Bowl. Or delay it, either. All that money and planning and... and advertisements and ticket sales and plane reservations and half-time preparations and... why, it's... it's just stupid to think they could change that in any way without, like... like...

Without tearing a huge rip in the fabric of our economics, our entertainment habits, our society itself and the expectations we have of it functioning smoothly without us personally having to sacrifice anything in the pursuit of truth and justice?

Yeah. Something like that.

So the fact that someone might have cheated to get there turns into a relatively minor matter in comparison with the damage it would do should there be an appropriate punishment commensurate with the lip service our society pays to the concepts of honor and integrity and fair play?

Uuuuh... yeah. I think that's what I think.

OK, then. We're back to me not giving a shit about Deflategate any more than the most ardent football fan, since my opinion, or anyone else's, has no meaning or import whatsoever when it concerns something as indispensable to life as we know it as the f***ing Super Bowl, right? So let's move on to whatever's next on your list?

Um, OK. So who do you think is right in that movie controversy?

You mean Selma? Or the Cumberbatch movie?

No no. I mean the sniper movie. Do you think it's an anti-war statement that disrespects our military guys? Or that it's a jingoistic, propaganda piece that makes a hero out of a cold-blooded killer?

I haven't seen it yet. Come back in a year or so, after it's shown up on one of the cable stations and I don't have to pay 10 bucks to see it.

But nobody will care about the controversy in a year or so.

Exactly.

Gosh darnit, Mr. Cope. Sometimes you aren't any help at all.

Look, Scooter, all I can say is that over my adult lifetime, there have been several war movies that raised the same damn controversy. Take The Deer Hunter... some saw it as a justification for the Vietnam War. Others, myself included, saw it as an incredibly powerful anti-war statement. Coming Home, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Patton, Catch 22... they all raised the same themes and the same ambiguity. I'd say the only thing most people are ever going to take away from a movie is what they carried into that movie in the first place.

So you don't think anyone is right about it?

No, that's not quite what I'm saying. Somebody is probably right. And when, and if, I ever see the movie, I'll undoubtedly decide for myself who I think that was. Of course, it won't change a thing about whether the movie itself was right or wrong about the Iraq War. What we should be thinking about is whether the war itself was right or wrong, and if it was wrong, who should face justice for getting us into the goddamn thing in the first place. Of course, that'll never happen.

You don't think so?

Nope. No more than I expect them to call off the Super Bowl because someone cheated and then lied about it.

Because it would tear a big hole in our fabric, and all that?

That, and because if Americans are consistent on anything, it's that we preach honor, integrity and fair play far more than we actually work to achieve honor, integrity and fair play.

That's pretty cynical, Mr. Cope.

So, does the cynicism make it more interesting, or more stupid?

Uuuuuuh...