TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS 

TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS

AFTER THE BELL And so it’s over. The countdown to the so-called Rumble on the River is into the negatives. The red carpets have been shaken out and stowed away. The stars have gone back into their secret living quarters inside the Hollywood sign. And I guess that the city is, frown, sigh, getting back to normal. Which means no more special news reports. No more press conferences. No more celebrity hotlines lest the city miss an all-important “sighting.” We were working to find you Mr. Brad Pitt -- oh yes, we were. And I guess there’ll be no more after-the-fight news specials. At least I hope not. After a soul-crushing evening watching the Nets get way too close to lose in their own arena on Sunday, I partook of Action News 5’s special, which they called “After The Bell.” For the most part it was OK, interesting even, but then came the, uh, soulful conclusion. A little music video, if you will, which actually made me contemplate tossing my TV through the window and giving up on televised media forever. In this fight week video retrospective viewers were treated to a series of edits from the network’s coverage of the event. Fine. I could handle the revisiting of the weigh-ins, the shots of Lewis and Tyson after the fight, the aerial view of Lewis in his welcoming parade. But what, may I ask, was up with the music? If you weren’t so lucky as to catch the tail end of this broadcast, I’ll sum it up for you in one sentence. It was so full of mourning I felt like the Hallmark greeting card company was bashing me over the head with a hammer to the theme song for its sympathy on the loss of your loved one line. A way, way wistful female vocal track, worthy of the most tragic of new age funerals, shaped this instant nostalgia in images, and in my opinion it was absurd. Forlorn shots of Justin Timberlake were acoustically matched with a wail and a moan. Won’t he ever come back, the music asked us…won’t he? Will we never see Tyson’s swollen eye again? Will this be our very last visit from Morgan Freeman ever? Is our shining moment as a “real city” (as recent public discourse has debated in full) over and done with forever? Come on people, cheer up. OK, sure, the Daisy party was a refund-beckoning flop. Traffic was a nightmare. Security at the Pyramid was perhaps less efficient than one might have hoped. But by and large the city hosted this fight in a way that the supposed “real cities” could never match up to. Do we really want, or for that matter need, to become the next Vegas? And even if we do, do we have to seem so, well, consumed with an inferiority complex that our every news moment consists of amazed conversation over the fact that we actually pulled this off? Maybe everyone else is surprised, but I’m not. One of the things that makes Memphis a “real city,” at least in my mind, is the fact that there’s some semblance of personality here. A personality that doesn’t get lost the way it would in a place like New York or LA. What we have is a cohesiveness that united all of the city’s clubs and venues behind this one event, making it a citywide celebration. I mean Gregory Hines said he’d even come back here for a Redbirds game, for God’s sake. Since we have our international platform now, meaning possible opportunities for future events of this scale, lets stand up and say that we knew we could do it all along. Let’s be a real contender as an American city and stop worrying about what everybody else does. And let’s NOT mope around at home, wallowing in the lost glimmer of N’ Sync, Kevin Bacon and David Hasselhoff, feeling sorry for ourselves. I mean, really, don’t we have better things to do? Memphis doesn’t have to prove itself. It’s been doing that for years. So come on now. Stop crying. We did a great job hosting the little fight that no one else would take. Lets not throw in the towel just yet.

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