Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nit picking the Super Bowl live

One of the most famous quotes of F. Scott Fitzgerald is "There are no second acts in American lives." A lot of people think this means there are no second chances in American lives, but that is a silly misreading of the structure of dramas. The first act is where characters are introduced, the second act is full of setbacks and troubles, the third act is where everything is resolved and, usually, the hero prevails.

Some sideline bimbo I don't recognize on NBC brought up Kurt Warner talking about his second chance to win a Super Bowl, but Warner's second act was really all the troubles he had before he made it to the NFL.

Let me say two things.

1. There are plenty of American lives that have had second acts, even in the 18th and 19th Centuries, so Fitzgerald was better at writing and drinking than he was at reading history.

2. A second chance is NOT a second act. A second chance is more likely to happen in the third act.

Please read this post before discussing Fitzgerald's quote again. Thank you for your kind attention.


FranIAm said...

Thank you Matty!

Padre Mickey said...

As a historian, I'm all for successful drinking.

Matty Boy said...

Have you visited the abuelo today? I certainly have.

I think the Fitzgerald quote may be my least favorite cliche from an American writer. My second least favorite is from a guy who may be kin of mine, Will Rogers, who is quoted with "I never met a man I didn't like." People always follow this with "He never met [fill in the blank, with the most obvious choice Dick Cheney]." Maybe it isn't Rogers' fault completely, but it does open an obvious door to anyone in a cynical mood.

jolie said...

KO talked about the fitzgerald quote on his show last night, too.

couple more cliches to include in least fav list: "take my wife. please." and "I want to pick your brain." (ye-owww)

Matty Boy said...

I saw KO give some people a worst person award for ragging on the reporter I refer to as a bimbo. Technically, she was right about calling Kurt Warner's early setbacks a second act, but one you are a championship QB, does the part of your life between championships count as a second second act?

Anyway, I hate the quote with a white hot hate, whether or not people get it right. The only famous quote by a famous writer that annoys me more might be "That which does not kill us only makes us stronger", and I've already written a blog post smashing that stupid crap to pieces.