13 June 2014


Early Edition: Championship Game

It's always someone's idea of a slow news day

Since the Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, currently on Round 2, is more than filling this month's musical quota, I thought I'd pause my equally melodic series on Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran and resume blogging about Early Edition for a while.

They were bound to reach the Sport pages eventually

The big news in today's paper is that a teenage boy's heart nearly gives out during a high school basketball game. No one is happy about this . . . but is it any of a stranger's business?

Later, we learn that the boy has known for some time about his heart condition--the same one that led to his father's early death--and has decided to keep playing basketball anyway. Saving him is different from preventing a bank robbery from turning deadly or looking after a careless little girl injured in a hit-and-run. He has reached the age of reason and is free to choose the good--which he defines as doing what it takes to get into professional sports, that he might lift himself and his beloved younger brother out of poverty. Yes, there are risks, but he'll take his chances. Shouldn't the rest of us just mind our own business? 

This is the most character-driven Early Edition episode so far . . . which means that Gary Hobson and his magic newspaper have to take a backseat to the real players in this drama: the people who have long been in the boy's life and who will remain in it after Gary has to move on. And that's the best thing about it.

Too many episodes like this would hurt the concept of the show too much, but one in a bunch can keep the formula feeling fresh.

Your Turn to Be the Hero: Is there ever a point at which we should stop trying to change another person's mind?


Brandon said...

I had difficulty getting into this one; although some of the character moments were pretty good.

On the question, I think so. I actually think (for Platonic reasons!) we are usually too eager to try to persuade people. We should help them in the right direction -- but it's truth, goodness, beauty that needs to be doing the work; we shouldn't be trying to force it. (Easier said than done!) Of course, it's a harder question when dealing with a life and death matter, as in this episode -- but even here, it was actually pretty important that the young man come to see a solution in his own way, and on his own terms. I found it interesting that Gary is relatively hands-off -- obviously he does get thoroughly involved, but what he does right is give the kid room to see the matter for himself.

Enbrethiliel said...


I remember those Platonic reasons! ;-)

After reading your comment, Brandon, I could suddenly see this plot as Platonic dialogue: "The Michael"! =D It would be interesting to see how a talented writer with a good foundation in philosophy would rewrite this with Socrates instead of Gary, and with the intent to clarify the true, the good and the beautiful rather than to persuade.