A lazy Sunday evening of television watching has left me with a few impressions. The abode of ladder-climbing sychophants on ABC's reality mini-series, "The Hamptons," where 30 young professionals are packed into a house so that each can realize his or her fatuous dreams and social aspirations, ought to have been obliterated. My apologies to my friends in New York, but where was bin Laden when we needed him? Everyone, save for the shy, retiring girl who felt like she did not belong - she would have been spared - ought to have been Jaws fodder out on the waters of Montauk Point. These people are emblematic of why we are hated by so much of the rest of the world. Especially Josh, the smarmy Squid Extraordinaire, Captain Douche Bag, who symbolizes everything that is wrong with American culture - ignorant, materialistic, arrogant, unthinking. I haven't read Carina Chocano's article on the show for Salon.com all the way through yet, but I'm sure it's good.
The most compelling moments of game seven between the Lakers and Kings did not occur until after the buzzer had sounded and the Kings had been vanquished. First, NBC sideline reporter Jim Grey (and more on this guy later) shoves out of the way another reporter who was trying to horn in on his exclusive post-game interview with Kobe Bryant and Mike Bibby with the emotionless efficiency of Robert Patrick in Terminator 2. Second, when Grey is interviewing the victorious Lakers in their locker room, Kobe Bryant materializes with a can of Sprite in his hand. If you think that product placement was a coincidence, you're sorely mistaken. I can only imagine the behind-the-scenes machinations by a Sprite suit (Bryant stars in Sprite's "Obey Your Thirst" ad campaign) that landed that soda in Bryant's mitts. Mmmm, after an exhausting overtime game, there's nothing I like better than a carbonated beverage. As Bryant took swigs from the can, I pictured a guy behind the camera frantically making "drinking" gestures with one wrist while waving a blank check in his other hand.
To wrap up the story below about my trip to the zoo in Australia when I was in sixth grade, here's the question that I'd like to see answered: Was the gorilla, as he rumbled from one side of his enclosure to the other, throwing his feces at the mesh fence separating him from his audience, spraying a fine mist of dung over the unsuspecting zoo visitors, conscious of what he was doing, or was he merely exhibiting a standard behavior as a means of defending his territory and dissuading the intruding spectators from continuing to bother him? I.e., was the action motivated by disgust or mere dumb anger? Clearly, these animals are capable of feelings we have only begun to appreciate. I once saw a chimpanzee in Berlin's zoo that was clinically depressed. Trapped in a concrete and metal cell with nothing to sustain his imagination, he lay slumped against a wall, staring pathetically into the distance. This was an animal that was too intelligent for its environment. It was heart-breaking.