The title of this year’s seven-time Oscar winner, including for best picture, seems perfectly timed to fit this week’s media landscape. Crises abound. Scan the headlines and you find multiple stories with descriptors like “unprecedented,” “unique,” “extraordinary.” And there is the underlying dread that any of these plot lines could suddenly spin wildly out of control. Here’s just a cursory list:
Tensions run high in Israel/Palestine as violence escalates against the backdrop of political uncertainty in Tel Aviv. Reporting for NBC News, Josh Lederman writes, “With the exception of West Bank clashes, all of the recent incidents were in retaliation for rockets launched into Israel, which in turn were retaliation for Israeli raids at a site in Jerusalem holy to Jews and Muslims during the Passover and Ramadan holidays.”
And what’s going on in the South China Sea? Moves and ominous counter moves as part of saber-rattling exercises that seem to tread dangerously close to outright hostilities despite feeble attempts at diplomacy from Paris to Washington to Taipei.
Then there was the breaking news of those national security documents leaked from the Pentagon. Who linked them and why? Probing these questions led to this bizarre report in the Daily Mail, “Leaked Pentagon papers that plunged US espionage into crisis first emerged in an obscure online meme group of gamer nerds. The community is dedicated to a 20-year-old British college student known as Wow Mao.” Say what?!
Of course, missing documents also factor into the ongoing legal woes of the former guy, although the current headlines are more about paying hush money to a porn star than withholding documents at Mar-a-Lago. Video of a sullen Donald Trump in a Manhattan courthouse cast a dramatically contrasting image to the bodacious buffoon who peacocked around the White House for four years.
There are growing concerns, not only in the US, but globally, of an increasingly bleak future as economies shrink, inflation remains unchecked and lingering issues from the pandemic and supply chain disruptions continue.
And recently we learned of unprecedented water shortages on the Colorado River, prompting the Biden administration to propose cutting water supplies and overseeing distribution of this precious life-giving commodity.
And in Texas—ah, Texas—a federal judge had the arrogance to order an end to the world’s country’s most widely used medical abortion drug, making it that much more difficult for women to receive the health care they need.
All at Once
There was yet another mass shooting (this has become more than a daily occurrence in this country), this time it was a workplace-related killing spree that killed five at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. Too many guns. Way too many guns.
And then, in a seemingly unrelated story, two young Black legislators were expelled from the Tennessee statehouse. They were protesting—you guessed it—lack of action on gun violence as a direct result of yet another mass shooting that took six lives—three of them nine-year-old children, in Nashville. A third legislator survived the attempt to expel her. Of course, she was white.
These are only this week’s stories, current crises that lay against a backdrop of slower moving but equally horrific concerns: the continuing war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, ongoing discrimination against the trans community, violence at the southern border. Yes, it seems everything is happening everywhere all at once. Really, it is tough just to keep up.