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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Does Time Know What Time It Is?

Folks of a certain age will remember the scene in the sappy 60s classic movie, "Love Story," in which our brave hero Oliver - a Harvard preppie played by a suitably callow Ryan Young - confronts his old fossil WASP father - Ray Milland in the twilight of his career - with plans to marry an Italian hottie from the wrong side of town played by Ali McGraw in her one notable role.

OFWP is not pleased: "If you marry that girl, I won't give you the time of day," he snarls. To which our hero heroically responds: "Father, you don't know the time of day." Oliver storms out of his father's club, free to throw off the shackles of WASP hypocrisy and pursue the pure love of his life.

Mention "Love Story" and people tend far more frequently to recall its signature line, which became something of a cultural icon: "Love means never having to say you are sorry." But for me the scene with the father is the one I recall as I've grown and matured and come to realize how perfectly it captures, among much else, the blind generational arrogance of the young.

And it came immediately to mind when I chanced upon this ad for Time magazine and read Powerline's confusion about what the marketeers were trying to say with the photo of an apparently exhausted U.S. soldier sitting in an airport somewhere.

With Powerline, I suspect the Time peddlers were assuming smart people would see it as a picture of a superpower confronting the futility of its plans to dominate places like, oh, I don't know, Iraq maybe?

Rather, the Love Story scene came immediately to mind for me because like that lunch scene the ad vividly demonstrates an institution wholly out of touch with reality. The evidence grows by day that the U.S. effort in Iraq is becoming an historic success. A murderous tyrant will soon face justice from the people he oppressed for nearly four decades. A democratically elected government is in place and solidifying a regime change that goes far beyond its own borders. And American military might has again been shown to be a force for peace and democracy, not conquest and death.

Clearly the world evoked by this Time display requires a special kind of myopia, the sort that doesn't have a clue about things like the truths of the times.