2. Jacklash: I cannot take credit for the coining of a term that so aptly expresses my state of Michael Jackson overload; that belongs to my boyfriend. "Jacklash" also refers of course to the day local and world news stopped to cover everything from Vitiligo to Demerol to giraffes once kept at Neverland. And don't get me wrong, I LOVED me some Michael growing up. I even went as far as trying to recreate the "Thriller" video with my third grade class at recess; spending most of my evenings cutting out cardboard tombstones to resemble a graveyard. (My plan was going well until at a scheduled recess rehearsal Hasaan, the closest color we had to Michael at the time, decided he'd much rather play a "game" than go over, repeatedly, my choreography. Eh, showbiz isn't for everyone.) And yes, I cried watching the memorial service and even cried some more watching stock footage of the Jackson 5 for the umpteenth time, but frankly, we've gone mad, especially Larry King. He in particular has gone insane. It seems too that you can’t even read a profile on Nora Ephron without The New Yorker overtly sticking in a black and white photo of the gloved one in the middle of it (and, you can’t, because, they did).
3. North Korea: I'm normally overjoyed at being a woman and getting to live in a free world, but dammit if Lisa Ling's documentary Inside North Korea didn't make me want to get down on my knees and praise God (and whomever else might be responsible). The mere mention of no Internet access, a ban on cell phones, and continuous and mandatory laudations of a dictator would petrify most Americans, but throw in malnutrition, severe poverty, a closed door policy to outside aid and concentration camps, and we would all surely reenact a scene a la Jim Jones. And not only are there concentration camps for defectors, but in the case of camp #22, there are camps for families of those who commit crimes. Which begs you to recall the old warning you took away from grammar school: "Don't spoil it for everyone else."
As this short documentary follows an eye doctor as he performs hundreds of operations on North Koreans who have gone blind, there are North Korean minders along the way watching his and Lisa Ling's every move. You will most likely cry, I warn you, as did I when they talked about small children fighting over a kernel of corn in cow dung, or when a woman swears out loud to "the dear leader" that she will work harder in the salt mines because he, Kim Jong Il, helped her see again.
Nope, not a RomCom, but surely an inside look you might not have gotten anywhere else.
4. Jesus: And since we are on the topic of Godly things and the universe, I will share a scene that occurred while riding the subway a few weeks ago: I was sitting next to a woman who was cradling a small child to her breast. She wasn't breast-feeding mind you, but cooing at the young girl and turning to her husband intermittently. I, nose in book, was rereading for the fifth time a sentence that had to compete with the chorus of South Pacific's "Happy Talk" running through my head (a war that would span the rest of the train ride in and include the time it took me to order a salad, before heading into work to hear that very song, again).
The train stopped and I heard the doors open. At which point, I heard collective gasps. I don't know how it came to be, but when I happened to look up, that very woman sitting next to me was now at the door, pulling at her child's hand which was somehow wedged between the subway car and the retracted door. People were staring and still gasping as this woman's husband (whom I assume was trying to depart before this fiasco occurred) was trying to pull out tiny fingers. Horrified by the whole situation I turned towards the door and contributed in this way: "JESUS CHRIST!!!" That's right, "Jesus Christ." Loudly and passionately, this was my contribution. I don't know if I thought this would conjure Him up and have Him in turn, shimmy down one of the stripper poles each subway car provides to save the day, but He, was apparently foremost on my mind.
The response? Shock, and even more horror. Who knew I was such a fan..