On Friday, talking heads talked for hours about the hanging of Saddam which we could watch on-line the next day). Writes Alessandra Stanley:
The news that Mr. Hussein was indeed dead came late on Friday night, and anticlimactically after hour upon hour of creepy music, blood-colored graphics and montages of Mr. Hussein’s most infamous moments, particularly his spider hole capture in 2003, when an American military camera recorded a hairy, befuddled Mr. Hussein being prodded and poked like a vagrant being searched for lice.On Saturday, there was a long ceremony about Gerald Ford that sounded like the funeral as I overheard it from the next room where I was working. But the state funeral will be on Tuesday. Last night was a preliminary ceremony as the body was brought to the Capital rotunda:
As the deadline loomed, and commentators filled time with pronouncements like “the clock is ticking on Saddam Hussein,” even on-air personalities looked restless. After devoting his entire hour on CNN to the impending hanging, Larry King asked, “Is there something ghoulish about this?” Mr. King looked a little let down when he had to sign off before the execution, promising viewers, “It is really imminent now.”...
Fox was much less squeamish, pumping up the Friday night vigil with graphics that promised “The end is near!” and “Date with Death” and urging viewers to stay tuned to Fox News.
Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as Mr. Ford’s chief of staff and was an honorary pallbearer, said, “Few have ever risen so high with so little guile or calculation.”...Who can read that and not think he's pleading for respect for George W. Bush?
Mr. Cheney praised his former boss for his “capacity to forgive” and for being “always a striver — never working an angle, just working.” He noted that Mr. Ford had been treated more kindly in hindsight than when he was in office, after he pardoned former President Richard M. Nixon.
“In politics, it can take a generation or more for a matter to settle, for tempers to cool,” Mr. Cheney said. “The distance of time has clarified many things about Gerald Ford. And now death has done its part to reveal this man and the president for what he was.”
They say famous people die in threes, and the completion of this triad was James Brown. There was no night of television devoted to his funeral, though it too would have filled the screen:
Brown's body lay in an open-topped golden coffin in front of the stage at the James Brown Arena...
The legendary showman, known as the "Godfather of Soul," was dressed in a black suit and gloves with a ruby red shirt. Jewels sparkled on his lapels and the tips of his shoes....
"The whole world changed their beat because of James Brown," civil rights leader Al Sharpton said in a eulogy. "Nobody started lower and ended higher than James Brown did."
In a brief speech [Michael] Jackson, who wore a black leather jacket, black pants and sunglasses, said he'd watched Brown perform on television as a 6-year-old and was "mesmerized," deciding right then to follow in Brown's fancy footsteps.
"James Brown is my greatest inspiration," said Jackson, who has spent little time in the United States since being acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005....
In a passionate speech, comedian and activist Dick Gregory reminded the audience of the oppressive racial environment of Brown's early life rather than simply focusing on his music.
"We didn't get this (civil rights) out of the goodness of America's heart," he said. "We didn't get this because they sent the Marines in ... We got this because with love and willing to die we said, 'We gonna change it."'