The Man, The Mission, And The Message

Kish and I listened to President Obama’s speech tonight about the United States’ participation in the international coalition efforts in Libya.  I am glad that he decided to speak to the American people about the nature and scope of the United States’ mission in Libya, because I think Presidents have a responsibility give the American people an explanation whenever they determine that military force is necessary.

I say this not because I think people should second-guess the President’s reasons for action — in my view, performing the kind of complex foreign policy balancing that tonight’s speech described is one of the reasons why we elect a President in the first place — but because I agree with the President that the decision to use military force is one of the most momentous decisions any President can make.  The sons and daughters of Americans are put at risk whenever the United States military is summoned to duty, and it is not unfair to require a President to explain why that risk is necessary.  Indeed, if a President were unable to bring himself to address the nation to provide such an explanation, that probably would indicate that the decision was not a well-reasoned one.

I do not understand why President Obama delayed in providing his explanation about Libya.  Perhaps he wanted to wait until he could announce a date certain for the hand-off of responsibility to NATO forces, or until the military situation was clarified.  In any case, I am relieved that he has now spoken to the nation and described the basis for his decision.  Having that explanation, all Americans now can decide whether we agree with the President’s reasoning and can draw our own conclusions.  That is how democracy should work.



Hall Pass

Kish and I decided to go to a movie yesterday.  The film pickings are pretty slim right now, so we chose what we knew would be a sophomoric comedy — the Farrelly Brothers’ Hall Pass.

The basic premise of Hall Pass is that men are pathetic.  Two sex-obsessed suburban husbands, played by Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, behave so crassly that their fed-up wives decide to give them a “hall pass” — a week off from marriage where they can sow their wild oats while their wives go to some vacation community.  High jinks ensue.  The two men talk a good game but don’t have the slightest idea how to meet or talk to women.  After being goaded into action by their male friends their bumbling hook-up efforts result in wretched failure and humiliation.  Eventually they link up with an old guy who is a combination Yoda and Sherlock Holmes of the pick-up bar scene; he schools them in the necessary techniques, and they start to make some progress.  In the meantime, their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, are themselves enjoying the hall pass week with some dalliances of their own.

This movie had some funny lines and scenes, and everything ends well, but after it was over we were struck by how truly coarse low-brow humor films have become.  Hall Pass shows a fat guy taking a dump in a sand trap and includes another gross bowel-related scene.  It features a double full Monty and male genitalia humor.  There are a number of sex scenes that don’t leave much to the imagination.  And seemingly everyone in the movie — the husbands, the wives, their friends, babysitters and their aunts, baseball players and coaches — has sex constantly on the brain.  Maybe the ultimate premise of Hall Pass is that everyone is pathetic.