Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

It is difficult to be inspiring for an hour. That is one reason why the State of the Union Address is generally more memorable for its gaffes and controversies than for its soaring rhetoric. This year’s edition is much the same. Biden gave his SOTU at a time of exhaustion for the American people. We have suffered through COVID for two years. Prices are going up and it seems there will be no immediate relief.

This was President Biden’s chance to call for national renewal. To capitalize on our disgust for Russia and falling COVID cases. The national moment called for a speaker like President Obama, who could inspire hope. Instead, President Biden spoke for 62 minutes about spending priorities. I watched the speech with other Saint Anselm students. I could feel no hope, only frustration.

66 countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. International sporting events have long symbolized peace and unity. When a country breaks that peace, they are ostracized. The 1980 boycott was triggered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Today, we are seeing a new boycott of Moscow.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nearly every international sporting organization has sought to distance itself from Russia. The IOC has announced a blanket ban on Russian and Belorussian athletes. The Paralympics opened this week without Russians. FIFA and the Premier League have taken dramatic actions to exclude Russian teams and owners from European Football. The International Judo Federation has suspended Putin’s symbolic presidency within the organization, and World Taekwondo has rescinded the autarch’s black belt. Even chess, the most Russophilic of international sports, has sought to separate itself from the invasion of Ukraine.

The sporting community’s response has been shockingly robust. The IOC and FIFA are known for their scandals and corruption more than their moral stands. Let it not be forgotten that the 2022 World Cup stadiums were built by slave labor and that the host of 2022 Olympics is currently committing genocide against a religious minority. Perhaps news coverage has made Russian sins harder to ignore than those of Qatar and China.

Streaming has ushered in a golden age of content, or so we’re told. One of the best shows released so far this year is Jack Reacher on Amazon’s Prime Video. Based on a book series previously adapted as a Tom Cruise movie, the show follows the titular Jack Reacher, a former MP. He wanders into the deep-fried town of Margrave, Georgia. As can be expected, there is more to Margrave than meets the eye. What makes the show so unique is how the writers and cinematographers deal with Reacher’s strength. One of the biggest fan complaints about the Tom Cruise version is just how short Cruise is. Canonically, Jack Reacher is six foot five. Alan Ritchson, who plays Reacher, is a respectable six foot two, but he becomes a hulking mass with some clever camera angles. This bulk is a significant source of dialogue and adds a novel element to an otherwise paint-by-numbers story. At times, even the viewer fears him. There is one episode where Reacher sets up a trap for a group of nameless bad guys. The score uses the deep baritones of a horror movie as Reacher stalks his prey. He is only revealed through flashes of lightning and fleeting shadows as he mangles goon after goon. It’s a memorable scene that maintains the tension throughout. The show does require somewhat of a strong stomach (you will find out why in episode two) but is certainly worth the watch.

Mid-semester recess begins this weekend. Conversatio students will have submitted the first essay of the semester and we are all in the middle of a stressful midterm season. Now is a time when it is easy to get burnt out and fall behind. If you are beginning to feel the symptoms of this mid-semester fatigue, take steps to address it before your work is affected. Take the time to eat a meal with friends. Try to make a study plan instead of letting the mass of assignments overwhelm you. Getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever. Eat well before your midterms and stay positive.