Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Yankee Doodle Shock and Awe

I prefer watching fireworks live so I can feel the thump in my chest from the distant heavenly eruptions. But my boy's bedtime takes precedence over my entertainment from time to time, so this year's pompoms of color bursting over the Washington Monument were viewed through 32 inches of Sony's finest handiwork. And I've gotta say, the whole event was kinda anticlimatic. Not even the energetic score of John Philip Sousa could pump up my flagging enthusiasm.

Admittedly, it wasn't such a terrible thing to skip the sweaty crowds on the Mall, or ignore the performances of vaguely C-list stars of the stage and screen. But the pounding rhythm, the crackling explosions, the quiet drift of dying embers back to earth...well, these are things that are better experienced in person.

All of that aside, I had the nagging feeling that I'd seen this before. Duh, right? Most Americans have seen fireworks every New Year and Fourth of July since birth, but there was something about the whistle and pop of flames over an urban skyline that caused a wicked sense of déjà vu.

Then I put my finger on it. The DC fireworks looked very much like some of the footage of nighttime airstrikes in the middle east (check out file A270-230). These aren't twin images, of course; I don't know that you could ever completely mistake fireworks for firepower. But I don't know that I'll ever again innocently 'ooh' and 'aah' over fireworks while watching them spin and shatter and shower the earth below.

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