Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Refreshing New
Hero for Our Era

He cooly maneuvered his damaged jet, US Airways flight 1549, into the first successful water landing in commercial aviation history, quickly becoming one of the most admired people in America. Suddenly, Chesley B. Sullenberger III and his nicely reserved it's-all-in-a-day's-work demeanor can be seen feted at the Super Bowl, lionized at the presidential inauguration and celebrated during an appearance on the Letterman show. Politico now asks the question, when dissecting the maneuverings over the stimulus bill, what would Sully do? We thought New York Magazine did perhaps the best comprehensive piece on the event that made him famous. What's behind all the adulation? We think he's a perfectly timed reminder of America's old can-do spirit in the face of adversity. After eight years of bumbling incompetence from on high and the more recent realization that the country's financial wizards had no clothes, the country that once put men on the moon was ready to celebrate someone who represented a merger of technical competence and steely cool under fire (with just a pinch of good luck tossed in), culminating in the saving of 155 lives. We tip our caps to you, Sully. Now, gentle readers, we'd like to hear your take.


At 10:42 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

And don't forget that the copilot was from Wisconsin. A little bush experience there. :)

I think you're right about the reminder of the can-do spirit in the face of adversity. This is who we are, really. It may be a myth more often than it's a fact, but it's who we aspire to be, it's a positive myth to try to live up to.

It's nice to have a real, genuine hero to give laurels to, for once, surrounded as we are so often of late by self-proclaimed heroes who are hollow at core.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, that co-pilot was pretty damn appealing on Letterman also. Didn't realize he was from Wisconsin, so thanks for noting that. Your point about hollow heroes is a great one. That pretty much encompasses what I was implying about our political and financial leaders of late, so thanks for making that point more explicit.

Finally, we should always remember that the narrative myths we individually and collectively aspire to have a way of becoming self-fulfilling realities. So we should put some real thought into those beforehand.

At 1:10 AM, Blogger redhorse said...

John, I think you nailed it with calm competence.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Takes one (calmly competent type) to know one, Red. We miss having that side of you to read.


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