Thursday, October 27, 2005

oh say can you see

In a stunning move of Un-Americanism, I managed to watch all of two whole innings of the entire baseball post-season. And they happened to be the last two of the Series. Frankly (and here's the Un-American part), I couldn't have cared less. I know that's terrible, and I'm happy for the people of Chicago that the White Sox have won for the first time since 1917, but I just did not - could not - get excited about this Series.

On a more somber, unrelated but largely more important note: today someone sent me a link to an interactive page on the New York Times website entitled A Look at Those Who Died in Iraq. It memorializes the 2,000 Americans who have died in the Iraq War since March 2003 with a photo of each and brief biographical information when you move the mouse over each picture. To see all those faces - 80-90% of them younger than I - really puts the death toll of the war in perspective. Not only does it drive home just how many 2,000 is, it makes those 2,000 feel much more personal and immediate, not just an ambiguous and theoretical list of casualties.

The article has a subheading that reads, "Since the war in Iraq began in March of 2003, about 2,000 service members have died. The dead come from all branches of the armed services and represent the highest toll since the Vietnam War." I know it's not healthy or useful to dwell excessively on the negative aspects of our current state of being - but I feel as if these things should not be forgotten or ignored, either. We are so numb to disaster of late that most of it seems surreal. But these faces woke me up again.

I guess it's like staring at the sun: you can only look at it for so long until you're blind to it, and you have to turn to other distractions. I suppose baseball would have been as good as any.

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