Okay, I lied yesterday – or was mistaken, anyway - when I said those random notes on aging were unlikely to yield a full-blown blog post. I scribbled out this quote, as I read the novel a couple of years ago, because it nicely stated some feelings I had begun to experience occasionally:
"...an old man's impatience at seeing the show come 'round again one too many times.”
- - John Le Carre, Absolute Friends
When Jayson Blair got caught making up stuff for his New York Times reports, I skipped most of the details. Been there, I thought, how many times before? Janet Cooke fabricated the existence of an eight-year old heroin addict about 20 years ago and nearly won a Pulitzer Prize before she was found out. There followed Patricia Smith and Stephen Glass and many others who fictitiously dressed up their news pieces.
This lapse is so common that although there is no way to know two millennia later, it wouldn’t surprise me if Flavius Josephus embellished his reports of the Roman wars in Judea and Homer probably fiddled the facts in the Odyssey too.
Then there are the weekly tabloid sagas of celebrity “scandals.” Please. Nothing from Hollywood is scandalous these days. We’ve heard so many versions of drug and sexual shenanigans in high circles during the last 30 or 40 years the sleaze and shock value are long gone. How much of this can we consume before our brains atrophy?
And while I’m discussing Hollywood, it’s commonly said there are only seven basic plots, but the movie and TV people don’t even bother to use all seven. What are we up to now, the third remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? They are all cheesy compared to the first. I hear tell there’s a remake of To Kill a Mockingbird in the works. You tell me: is there anyone alive who could match Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch? Another cinematic telling is one too many.
In the world of public affairs, executives steal the corporate revenue. Government contractors can’t account for billions of dollars. Politicians skim taxpayer money to build bridges to nowhere. Elected officials lie. So what else is new? There was the Yazoo Land Scandal that started in 1795. The Whiskey Ring 80 years later. Tammany Hall. Teapot Dome. And all the gates since Water.
It’s déjà vu all over again and some of these shows have started to come around a few too many times for me. It is wearisome that none of it ever changes except in scale.
Maybe the very elderly who famously nod off in their rocking chairs aren’t succumbing to age but, like Le Carre, to boredom with the same old story.