|Americans love a good
drama. This had it all: suspense, intrigue, high-tech collaboration among several
nations, and loved ones counting the moments. Best of all: a happy ending.
Of course the TV coverage was not without its comedic low-lights. CNN's Gary
Tuchman, reporting from "three football fields away," was moved to
tell viewers it felt to him like the time Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
What was he thinking? That the dusty ground near the San Jose mine reminded
him of the barren surface of the moon? That both missions used "capsules" for
transport? That one miner brought out a bag of Mine Rocks, just as the astronauts
brought home Moon Rocks?
Back in the CNN studio, host Larry King, upon learning that miner number two
was named Mario Sepulveda, asked Tuchman if the name might be somehow connected
to Supulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles. When Tuchman conceded he was stumped,
King suggested that the LA street might now be renamed "Mario Sepulveda
But this was a story that even inept reporters couldn't spoil. This was the
human spirit on display.
By comparison, the BP oil disaster off the U.S. Gulf Coast had many of the
same elements, yet basically left viewers sick to their stomachs -- even after
the leak was capped. Whereas the Chilean officials seemed genuine and dedicated,
and restrained to the point that they said rescue might not be possible until
December, the oil company people and even our government representatives often
I don't know much about the mood in Chile these days, but there was quite
a lot of joyous whooping and hollering as the rescue unfolded. Here in the U.S.
it's apparent that folks are desperate for any sign that the human spirit can
still defy the odds and rise to the surface.
We love to see the cat rescued from the tree, the toddler pulled from the
well, the miners saved in such miraculous fashion.
This was a feel-good moment if ever there was one. And these days it too often
seems as if such moments are hopelessly buried.
(c) Peter Funt. This column was orginally distributed by the Cagle Syndicate.