Every now and again, inspiration pushes its way through the mundane and the miserable and into our everyday consciousness. The most recent instance of this all too rare occurrence comes in the unlikely embodiment of a 47 year Scottish charity worker and self-reported virgin...Susan Boyle.
On the latest episode of Britain's Got Talent, Boyle made her way to the stage, endured the cynicism of the audience and the judges, and then proceeded to bring the house to its feet with her spectacular rendition of the acclaimed Les Miserables tune, I Dreamed A Dream.
You can see Boyle's performance in the following YouTube video. As of this moment, the video has been viewed over eight million times...jumping by well over two million views just today. Her story was featured on tonight's national news and you can expect to see her in numerous other interviews and appearances.
I suspect Susan Boyle symbolizes the ray of hope many are seeking in these times of economic uncertainty. Her story also begins the difficult task of restoring our faith that living a decent life will not go unnoticed. While Wall Street weasels wag the dog, the Susan Boyle's of the world serve to remind us that fame need not be flashy...in fact it is far more real when it is authentic. Susan Boyle, thank you for helping us put our feet back where they belong...firmly planted in the solid soil of sincerity.
Having watched this video numerous times, it sent my synapses into overdrive...connecting this event with other inspirational moments long seared in my memory banks. What they all have in common is the simplicity that comes with knowing something is right...even when the darkness seems destined to distort our ability to distinguish it from the demons that surround us.
With that in mind, I've included two videos from a little known 1991 movie, Hear My Song, featuring Ned Beatty as the renowned true life tenor Josef Locke. In the movie, a nightclub owner believes he can save his struggling business by booking Locke, an iconic figure in self-exile from the UK due to pending tax troubles. Locke, in a daring and risky return to the UK, makes his triumphant appearance before an adoring crowd eager for inspiration. Hear My Song is a story of triump reminiscent of Susan Boyle's roof-raising moment. Both are a reminder of the power of the human spirit so often found in song.
The final video is from Alejandro Amenabar's 2004 movie, The Sea Inside, chronicling the true story of Ramon Sampedro's efforts to end his life many years after an accident has left him a quadriplegic. In this video, Sampedro (played brilliantly by Javier Bardem) employs the only tactic that has enabled him to endure his dilemma...he imagines himself flying out his bedroom window...across the beautiful terrain on his way to the sea...the singular source of tranquility in his troubling existence. He does so while listening to one of the quintessential tenor arias in opera, Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot.
Each of these stories have at their core the unyielding nature of the human spirit...a belief that beauty and bounty can be found in all that encompasses our often exasperating and existential existence. All remind us that this life is precarious at best...but also that a life well-lived and a life well-ended may be the essential elements over which we're able to exert any meaningful influence. When we do either well, all of humanity is enhanced. Susan Boyle may be our most recent protagonist to prove as much.
Tagged as: Alejandro Amenabar, Britain's Got Talent, Hear My Song, I Dreamed A Dream, Josef Locke, Les Miserables, Ned Beatty, Nessun Dorma, Puccini, Simon Cowell, Susan Boyle, The Sea Inside, Torna a Surriento, Turandot
Daniel DiRito | April 15, 2009 | 6:05 PM |
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The following video is the latest special comment by Keith Olbermann. In it, he offers an impassioned rejection of the passage of Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. We can only hope that more Americans will stand up to defend the rights of their fellow citizens.
Tagged as: Civil Rights, Equality, Gay Marriage, Keith Olbermann, LGBT, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | November 11, 2008 | 7:36 AM |
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When John McCain first commented on Sarah Palin's debate performance, I found his manner of speech rather annoying (you'll see it for yourself in the video). When I saw what Craig Ferguson did with that speech, I was rolling on the floor.
While we wait on pins and needles for Election Day, I thought we could all use a little laughter. Besides, it tickles me to see John McCain lampooned.
Tagged as: Craig Ferguson, Humor, John McCain, Sarah Palin, The Penguin
Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 4:30 PM |
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Have you ever wondered who in the hell can remain undecided with the election less than 24 hours away? I'm not sure if it speaks to a need for attention or if it might be a sign of diminished capacity. Whatever it is, David Sedaris isn't buying it.
From The New Yorker:
I don't know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. "Who are they?" the news anchors ask. "And how might they determine the outcome of this election?"
Then you'll see this man or woman-- someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. "Well, Charlie," they say, "I've gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can't seem to make up my mind!" Some insist that there's very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they're with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.
I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?
Be sure to follow the above link to read the full article. If you like what you read, the following video is an added bonus since it ads some catchy lyrics to Sedaris' sentiments and some much needed prodding to our undecided friends.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, David Sedaris, Elections, Humor, Voting
Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 10:21 AM |
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In the following video, Mo laments our seeming obsession with all things political and he offers some closing thoughts on the 2008...as well as a preview of the 2012 election. After all, it's never too early to think ahead, eh? How does Palin & The Plumber sound to you?
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Humor, Joe The Plumber, Mo Rocca, Politics, Sarah Palin
Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 10:08 AM |
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Stephen Colbert isn't going to be left on the outside looking in. Colbert, "angered" by the seeming rush of prominent Republicans to endorse Barack Obama, decides it may be time for him to toss his hat in with the rest of 'em.
In this segment of "The Word", Colbert provides the startling rationale for switching his endorsement to none other than Barack Obama - Stephen's not getting enough attention and he doesn't like it. There is one caveat...Colbert tells us an endorsement isn't the same as a vote.
In a puzzling afterthought, Colbert suggests that John McCain can still win this election...if he'll simply do what Stephen is doing and endorse Barack Obama...like the rest of the "mavericks" in the GOP.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Colbert Report, Colin Powell, Humor, John McCain, Stephen Colbert, William Weld
Daniel DiRito | October 30, 2008 | 9:59 AM |
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While it's difficult to measure the meaning of any single election, there is reason to believe that the 2008 election has the potential to be a transformational one...not just in terms of political affiliations but with regards to the tenor of political discourse, the importance of the middle class, and the latent racism that has continued to percolate in the background for many years.
I've been looking for the means to depict the significance and the importance of this election is simple terms...and I think I've found two videos that achieve that goal. In the first video, we witness a few McCain supporters exposing their racial animus towards Barack Obama...blatant in some instances and cloaked in code words with others. What is clear is that race will be the deciding factor for some segment of voters in 2008.
When that happens, the real issues that should determine one's vote are ignored and rational debate and dialogue have little, if any, influence. When this exists, it provides an opportunity for those politicos who would rather win elections than advance the issues necessary to benefit the nation. Hence, the politics of division (the past)...which has been the hallmark of the GOP for a number of years...is seemingly on trial in this election.
In the second video, "Generation WE" stakes its claim to the future. They argue that the size of the "Millennials" (those 95 million Americans born between 1978 and 2000) will make them the largest generation in this country since the "Baby Boomers"...and therefore grants them the power to remake this nation.
While it's impossible to generalize the make-up and mindset of any generation, there is reason to believe that this generation will be a counterbalancing reaction to the excesses of those that preceded them...making it more tolerant, more environmentally conscious, more engaged, and more interested in putting an end to the politics of division.
Returning to the significance of this election, one could argue that the election of Barack Obama may be their first salvo in securing their vision of the future. If they succeed in making that happen, the course of this country could be forever altered. Given the troubling tenor and tone of those who continue to cling to the past, we must not only hope that change is coming...WE must vote to bring it.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bigotry, Racism, We Generation
Daniel DiRito | October 29, 2008 | 12:02 AM |
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I don't have enough information to discern if Cindy McCain is as strange as she seems on the campaign trail or simply uncomfortable in such settings. Needless to say, she seems to be a rather strange duck. The Onion's recent spoof offers an even less favorable take on Mrs. McCain...suggesting she's a rather strange alien...with a hard "outer shell".
In the following video, The Onion gives us a matter of fact look at the potential first lady, inserting some rather "out there" statements. There's an image of Cindy McCain at 1:27 of the video that will leave you wondering if The Onion is offering something more than good satire and a few laughs.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Cindy McCain, Humor, Spoof, The Onion
Daniel DiRito | October 27, 2008 | 1:54 PM |
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While "no child left behind" is the battle cry of many Americans who worry about the state of our education system, there's more evidence that far too many parents were left behind.
Look, I realize that politics makes people emotional...but the fact that so many adults devolve into uneducated irrationality is frightening. Yes, it makes for great comedy on The Daily Show but the fact that the Republican Party has chosen to capitalize on this vulnerability and what seems to be a growing disregard of logic and reason is an unfortunate development at a time when this country needs clarity and calm.
In the following two videos, taken at a Sarah Palin rally in Henderson, Nevada, we see the degree to which some McCain supporters have been led to believe that Barack Obama is a threat to this country. The responsibility for fostering this notion rests squarely on the McCain-Palin campaign's shoulders. For every instance where John McCain corrects the misconception of a follower, he and his minions incite the same in thousands of others by resorting to the politics of fear.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure what can be done to repair the damage being done and reverse these unfounded impressions. Fomenting these views with code words and innuendo may be politically expedient for John McCain but it is clearly contrary to his assertion that he puts country first.
It's hard to imagine the benefits of educating children when they suffer the bias and prejudice of their parents on a daily basis. Promoting the politics of ignorance is simply fuel on the fire. Absent the right leadership, this nation is apt to suffer further regression. Should that happen, we'll all be left behind.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bias, Education, John McCain, Prejudice, Racism, Sarah Palin, Socialism
Daniel DiRito | October 25, 2008 | 1:07 PM |
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John McCain takes great offense with the accusations that he's flip flopped on a number of issues. In fact, he's been so bold as to challenge anyone to prove he has done so. His problem is that there is ample footage to prove otherwise.
In the following video, we get to see where John McCain has been on the issue of clean energy and where he now says he is in order to win votes.
John McCain tells us he puts country first but it's looking more and more like the only thing John McCain puts first is John McCain.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Clean Energy, Energy, Flip Flopping, John McCain
Daniel DiRito | October 25, 2008 | 12:46 PM |
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There's a number of ways to frame elections. One of the most memorable is based upon Reagan's "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" With that said, do you remember the "Wasup commercial for Budweiser?
Well, there's a new version for the 2008 election that's certainly worth viewing. I think it may well be the most effective campaign commercial I've seen this election cycle. Take a look at both below and let me know what you think.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Budweiser, Iraq, Katrina, Wasup
Daniel DiRito | October 25, 2008 | 11:43 AM |
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How about a little lighthearted fun from The Onion? In the first video, we get our first look at the issues confronting gay racehorses. Ship's Captain will be the first openly gay horse to compete in a major race. Rumor has it that Richard Simmons will make his debut as Ship's Captain's jockey...wearing sassy sequined silks and sporting a rhinestone encrusted riding crop.
In the second, we hear the harrowing tale of John McCain being left unattended on the Straight Talk Express. No doubt he had know idea which way to turn. After all, McCain the marionette struggles mightily when his handlers aren't pulling the strings. I can only imagine how frightening it must have been to have to think on his own.
Tagged as: Horse Racing, Humor, John McCain, LGBT, Richard Simmons, Satire, Ship's Captain, The Onion
Daniel DiRito | October 22, 2008 | 11:40 AM |
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If the 2008 election is remembered for anything, I suspect it will be the utter disconnect between the rhetoric of the McCain campaign and the actual facts. It's as if McCain and Palin have looked at their weaknesses and decided the only plausible means to address them is to call them their strengths...while at the same time accusing their opponent of having those weaknesses they themselves been attempting to disown.
In the following video, The Daily Show travels to Wasilla, Alaska in hopes of discerning the truth about Sarah Palin's "executive" experience. Of course they can't ask the Alaska governor any questions about that since the McCain campaign won't let her conduct an interview until the media promises to play nicer.
Now I guess that's supposed to give us confidence in her competence and assure us that she is capable of assuming the presidency should that be necessary. Oh, and don't question any of this because it will undoubtedly mean that you're anti-American and filled with hatred for small town USA. If you push it too far, you might even warrant being labeled a terrorist, a socialist, or a communist.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Alaska, Humor, John Stewart, Sarah Palin, The Daily Show, Wasilla
Daniel DiRito | October 21, 2008 | 1:51 PM |
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If you want to get a reading on the validity of the assertion that the McCain campaign has been erratic, there's no better source than his fellow Republicans. In the following video compilation, you'll see a number of leading Republicans express their doubts about the inconsistent nature of the McCain campaign.
If hardcore GOP operatives are willing to go on the record in this manner, can you imagine what they're saying when the camera is off? Should Obama will this election, it will be interesting to hear the GOP elite's unfiltered views on the McCain candidacy.
I suspect the bickering is going to get much worse before it gets better. In the end, Karl Rove's vision of generational GOP dominance seems to have been more fantasy than fact. Something tells me the story of the GOP for the next few years will be more akin to A Nightmare On Elm Street than a feel-good saga on the order of Back To The Future.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, GOP, John McCain, Pundits. Media, Republicans
Daniel DiRito | October 15, 2008 | 12:16 PM |
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Keith Olbermann calls John McCain out on his feigned outrage at the remarks of Congressman John Lewis. Yes, a number of pundits and politicians believe Lewis went a step too far...but then again...who knows better how narrow the line between rhetoric and violence may actually be than a man who lived through historical examples wherein that line was crossed in the blink of an eye.
John McCain and Sarah Palin can justifiably claim that they don't share any of the virulent animosity George Wallace often exhibited...however...should their tacit acceptance of outrageous outbursts at their events precipitate the violence Lewis seeks to warns against, it will be difficult for them to avoid culpability. In that potential, the comments of Congressman Lewis may well be appropriate, poignant, and prescient.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, George Wallace, John Lewis, John McCain, Keith Olbermann, Racism, Sarah Palin, Special Comment, Violence
Daniel DiRito | October 14, 2008 | 9:29 PM |
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