WHEELS (AND ROCKETS) OF FORTUNE

Rockets are scary and those wheels of fortune do grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.

I confess I watch Wheel of Fortune and recorded last night’s “episode”. (It  truly IS an “episode” and “adventure” for the souls who wait weeks, if not months, to try their puzzle-solving skills on national television after being duly vetted, interviewed and tested for sportsmanship so unflagging that they smile and applaud fellow contestants even after losing thousands of dollars and a trip to an exotic venue at the capricious click and bump of a stupid wheel).

But my recording of last night’s episode was abruptly pre-empted at the outset by a special network bulletin and I was soon looking at the face of CBS’s Nora O’Donnell — appearing to my eyes equal parts alarmed and indignant  — urgently informing us that Iranian rockets were raining down on a U.S. base in Iraq, ominously launched not by Iran’s terrorist surrogates but by — and from within —  Iran itself.

Ah-hah!! Fiery chickens were coming home — in this case, falling out of the sky  — to roost on American property,  and every mainstream network prognosticator of Trump-instigated doom was being vindicated. Up to this point, I’d heard, among other things, one mid-day female CNN host who, to my eyes, seems always to bear a permanent sneer on her otherwise dazzlingly  pancaked countenance, describe arch-fiend, “General” Qassem Soleimani as a “beloved figure.” I understand that we was merely seeing the so-called “general”  through Iranian eyes. However, while I take pride in my contemptuous refusal to learn that particular anchor’s name, I would like to ask her: are you joking?

I believe this is just another example — and a deplorably transparent one — of how, in the era of Trump,  the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Trump is CNN’s enemy. Therefore a guy known to kill some of his enemies by drilling into their skulls while they’re still alive is temporarily CNN’s friend — at least until Trump is out of office.  Had Barrack Obama and his people launched this strike on Soleimani, he’d have been hailed as a bold tactical genius, taking the necessary risk of poking the Iranian hornet’s next in order to rid the world of evil and save lives imminently in danger.

Nameless Anchorwoman had offered that description of Soleimani while we watched split-screen video images of that all-too-familiar choreography of swarming angry grief in the streets of Tehran at the “beloved figure’s”  funeral.  Question: if you lived under the regime of the Iranian mullahs, would you dare stay home during that funeral? Do you doubt that many of those who pressed onto the streets secretly harbored a great hatred (and formerly, a great fear) of Soleimani and a deep desire to rid themselves of the mullahs? Might many of them not secretly wish us Americans well in affecting change over there?

The Iranians have cancelled the nuclear deal. Was it worth the paper it was written on? Had Iran not already begun cheating on it copiously?  Has appeasement ever worked as a path to peace? I recall in the wake of John F. Kenndy’s assassination a TIME magazine headline over a picture of JFK observing the launch of a carrier-based missile. It read: HIS PURPOSE IN POWER WAS PEACE. It was what an increasingly liberal media believed about an essentially liberal President. And it struck me as the de facto motto of every President who has ever managed to bring our enemies to the bargaining table. You know — the old “walk softly and carry a big stick” thing.

Iran wants the bomb. Her current leaders will never negotiate in peace. And I fear that we have just spoken to them in the only language they understand. They have predictably rattled their rocket-sabers back at us. And — no question about it — they are looking to hurt us again. No, to kill us. Yes, scary. But I’ve been perversely gratified to read on Facebook that one of the greatest Trump-haters I know has vociferously applauded the strike on Soleimani whom he referred to as a P.O.S.. I won’t translate that; just affirm it. That same Facebook friend is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment and thinks this might be a good time for all of us to bear arms. Well, I’m unarmed, but don’t doubt that a potential Time Square bomber’s death at the hands of a gun-toting citizen would be a good thing. So, too, would be a world in which we weren’t all so afraid that we feel like we need a gun. I pray for that world.

I ultimately fast-forwarded back to the resumed episode of Wheel of Fortune in which a wonderful African-American woman won a bunch of money but couldn’t quite piece together the bonus round phrase that would have gotten her an extra $37,000. (I know a woman who won it all on the Wheel out there in Hollywood and learned to her chagrin that the California tax man takes a big bite out of your winnings on that show. Figures.)  Vanna White is still filling in for ailing Pat Sajack. Pat’s daughter is turning ( or touching) the letters. She’s no Vanna and Vanna is no Pat. But, hey, they’re all doing their best.

And, no, I wouldn’t watch Wheel if my significant other didn’t. It’s like a damn addiction. And it’s followed by Jeopardy! putting more glue on the armchair.

Drones, Rockets. Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune.  I think I’ll take a walk….

 

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