Tuesday, July 26, 2011
MAGIC J VERSUS HENRY K.
What are 51-year-old Magic and 88-year-old Henry K doing on this page together?
Magic Johnson plays the life game, scoring, winning, fleetly obeying the rules, buddy-buddying with others, effortlessly winning, exemplifying bold, courageous, spur of the moment, amazing inventiveness. He's a big man -- a famous man, with laughter and joy in his bones, a spirit that warms me like sunshine.
Henry Kissinger, the weighty-wise, opinionated, knowledgeable, authoritarian statesman whose very presence demands respect and inspires awe, is a big man -- a famous man whose every word we listen to attentively and are inclined to absorb respectfully, despite his somewhat off-putting superior tone and his German accent.
Big men they both are, who take up more space than most men, because of who they are and what they can do.
Dry, gravel-voiced Kissinger bestows his knowledge like gold coins, as he tells renown world leaders what to do. Jolly, mellifluously drawling Magic spouts practical, basic advice to his peers, be they CEO's or average ordinary guys.
Magic is utterly in today's world, participating, joining, fund-raising, supporting worthy causes, while Kissinger is looking down from above, from his own Mount Olympus, where he doesn't need approval, applause, or anyone's input, or money.
When Magic, 20 years after he announced he had HIV, talks about his struggles, fears and triumphs, I am touched and excited.
When Kissinger, an authority on world affairs for almost 40 years, who's publishing his 16th book, is answering questions about it for a Time Magazine Interview, I feel weary.
At the end of the interview, the reporter commented cordially, "Artists from Monty Python to Bob Dylan have songs about you, Mr. Kissinger. Do you have a favorite?"
Mr. Kissinger said: "This will be shocking to you: I don't know any of them."
Whambam! That remark insulted me, insulted the world that's been profoundly affected by Dylan.
I feel Kissinger belongs on his Mount Olympus, with plenty of moth balls to keep out the today things that I am sure Magic thoroughly understands and enjoys.
I put them on this page together so that when you grow up, you'll be a "Magic," and beware of turning into a un-kissable Kissinger.