Let’s just enjoy this while we can.
That gripping, melodramatic rescue of nine miners from the all-but-clenched jaws of death was a news antidote counteracting media coverage of homeland insecurity, stock market trauma, kidnapped children and Middle East carnage. The Quecreek Mine drama embodied so much of the human spirit that we so easily take for granted in a world too mindful of mankind’s dark side.
No less impressive than the trapped miners’ presence of mind and notes to loved ones was the fortitude and technological know-how of their rescuers. A 77-hour reminder of the ingenuity and can-do ethic that is the American spirit.
Also associated with America, however, is media overkill that can turn people into public and private property.
Geraldo and Donahue had early dibs on interviews. Networks touted and teased their “exclusives.” Letterman and Leno are in line. The rights of the “Somerset 9” will need to be secured for a made-for-TV movie. Book scenarios and even endorsements — think Skoal — could be in the mix.
Not all miner-survivors are equally photogenic or articulate. Some will have opportunities outside the mines. Others, when their celebrity status wanes, will have to return to their sub-strata culture.
For now, however, let’s just revel with a cause and enjoy this for as long as it is what it is: a celebration of life against some really long odds.