For once let me say President Obama is getting a bad rap. In between shutting the White House to tourists and ogling California’s attorney general, he took to the basketball court during this year’s Easter Egg Roll and, according to official scorers, missed 20 of the 22 shots he attempted. Even more embarrassing, he was unguarded. Scores of adoring kids looked on. Yet there is no evidence he was on any Easter candy sugar high. He didn’t appear to be the least concerned about the crazy threats coming out of North Korea. The latest, ever lousier job numbers were still five days away. So what possible excuse did he have?
That one’s easy. Have you ever tried shooting baskets on a hard court in a dress shirt, dress slacks, and dress shoes, and, on top of that, with a heavy wristwatch strapped to your shooting hand? It can’t be done. End of discussion. I’m only surprised he smiled through the whole ordeal. A real B-baller would have called time and gone to the locker room to change into shorts and sneakers. Once again Mr. Obama was not up to the demands of his job.
Truth be told, we’re not too good anymore in crisis situations. Sticking to the world of basketball, we all saw the horrific leg break suffered by Louisville Cardinal Kevin Ware in his team’s regional final against Duke. The understandable instinct of most everyone, even the TV cameras, was to turn away. With one heroic exception, that included every one of the Ware’s teammates, many of whom seemed to be on the verge of emotional collapse and thus in need of emergency care themselves. The TV announcers seemed more concerned about those players’ “emotions” than about the injured player’s plight. And they certainly paid next to no attention to the one player—the great Luke Hancock—who had immediately rushed to Ware’s side and consoled and prayed with him while medical personnel stabilized his broken leg. In the old days Ronald Reagan would play Hancock in the movie.
Alas, in Lena Dunham’s very funny if widely derided HBO series Girls, in which our heroine Hannah exists in permanent crisis, we don’t see very many Reagan-Hancock types. The closest perhaps was the doctor played by Patrick Wilson, but that was in an episode many have dismissed as a dream sequence. There is Hannah’s on-and-off-again boyfriend Adam, but he seems serially demented and lucky not be living on Rikers Island. As for the series’ Charlie and Ray, the first may be thought of as a nice girlie boy, the second as a mean-tongued loser and ultimately a wimp. And don’t get me started on the Girls themselves. Matthew Walther has all their numbers (p. 20)—as does Dunham, conservative disapprovers notwithstanding. The Way They Live Now isn’t pretty, and when the laughs and their youths run out there will be hell to pay.