-- Hero Worship versus Heroics --
We haven't had one of these in a while, but this one's a gem . . . a little window on our time!
You see, yesterday afternoon (1/15), two considerable events were in the news simultaneously . . . Obama visits newspaper, versus multiple heroics mark amazing jet crash, with all miraculously surviving.
The first unfolded in a blog posting by Washington Post blogger (Achenblog), Joel Achenbach, memorializing for all the world to share, the historic visit by President-elect, Barack Obama, who had just finished waltzing through their offices, including a "circling" of the WaPo newsroom itself. He obviously caused near delerium, even amongst the assembled scribes who reportedly buzzed around the triumphal One, all scrambling to shake his hand. At one point, having circled the newsroom, he graced them with words upon which great memories are surely always built . . . "All right, back to work!" he said. As reported by Joel, and in the WaPo itself (Kurtz), all work in the newsroom had indeed come to a screeching halt.
Michael Calderone at Politico has wryly traced the related press kerfuffel, started by N.Y.Times reporter, Helene Cooper, who began the spat it by suggesting that there had been actual applause amongst the Washington Post press pool upon his arrival. The WaPo, per Auchenbach, denies -- though none denied the heavy enthusiasm.
And, in other news, in New York, a veteran airline pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, III, somehow managed to safely bring down a huge jet, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus 320, the two engines of which had just been critically damaged by impact with a flock of geese during take-off.* By turning the crippled jet plane sharply and "gliding" it south, he coasted over the vaunted two-tier George Washington Bridge by about 900 feet, warned the passengers to "brace for impact," and splashed it belly down in the frigid waters of the Hudson River, just off 50th Street, between Manhattan and the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal in Weehawken, New Jersey. It floated down river during the many extraordinary rescue actions, and was eventually pulled into a pier in lower Manhattan. The former U.S. Air Force pilot, and safety expert thereby spared the lives of every one of the obviously terrified 155 passengers and professional crew, all of whom were subsequently snatched from the icy drink by a nearly instantaniously cobbled-together rescue effort of boats from both states, many displaying the coordinated training and tempering developed in the wake of 9/11, plucking them all from the wings and on-plane inflated life rafts, a feat the likes of which, rarely happens without the occurrence of at least some fatalities. There were none . . . and few injuries.
But back to our lead story. Joel Achenbach's posting of the triumphal visit of the PE to the Post offices, contained his very own personal account of actually shaking the hand of Obama. Nearly unbelievable!
"I was going to tell him that if he needed any tickets to inaugural events, he should call me, because I've got connections. But I froze up and just shook his hand and said good luck."(Sigh!)
What spawned our funny comment of the day, printed below, can only completely be appreciated by scanning through the comments posted on the thread of Joel's drama-infested WaPo tale.
Said our funny commentier of the day, one RD_Padouk:
Joel, that is so cool that you got to meet the Pres-Elect in Person. Did he happen to mention me? No? We'll he has a lot on his mind.Heh! Ah, yes! Sarcasm is alive and well, even among some Washington Post readers.
See, this job of your does have some nice perks besides that whole, you know, minions bit.
Posted by: RD_Padouk January 15, 2009 4:33 PM
But to really appreciate the context of the impact of those two simultaneously braking stories, one also should surf through the "comments" thread of that WaPo blog post.
Therein, you will see comment after comment obliquly referencing over to the breaking dramatic story of the jet airline, but not breaking off from their fascination with the Obama appearance at the paper. Some of the comments even expressed annoyance at the coverage of the crash by television stations, when there are obviolusly such far more important events to pay attention to -- such as the historic visit by Mr. Obama to the Washington Post newsroom!
I kid you not! Read for yourself.
Thus spake Obama hero-worshiping commenter, one Badsneakers!
I came home sick today or I wouldn’t have seen the news of the plane so soon. MSNBC has not broken into their coverage of it for two hours. I know it’s news and I’m very glad that everyone is ok, but do we really need non-stop coverage?Or, check this opener by commenter firsttimeblogger.
Joel, I am filled with envy to the point of being speechless.
Posted by: badsneakers January 15, 2009 5:31 PM
Well, I think that meeting Obama is way more cool than watching an airplane ditch (and I only say it that way, since everyone got out alive and there appear to be no injuries -- otherwise I'd be way more circumspect).
. . .
Posted by: firsttimeblogger January 15, 2009 5:20 PM
More circumspect? What is the idiom in vogue these days? "You can't make this up!"
You don't have to. They're out there. And, they obviously vote.
Meanwhile, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger, III, First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, the professional crew, the passengers, and the band of rescuers from both New York and New Jersey, all somehow came together, and what unfolded was one of the great "good news" stories of our time!
That was the one that left me speechless!
* The NTSB identified them thusly: "'a string of primary targets' that may have been birds at an altitude of 2,900 to 3,000 feet, 90 seconds after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, said Kitty Higgins, a National Transportation Safety Board member." (Latest update: 1/17/09)