Bracingly different topics in ‘60 Minutes’By Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The best thing that happened to me this month was my discovery last October 3 that the iconic documentary program “60 Minutes” is now being shown on the TalkTV channel. Talk about Christmas in October!
The show focused on two bracingly different topics, the dangers facing American troops in Afghanistan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new autobiography.
The first feature was chilling to watch because it showed, in graphic detail, the risks that US soldiers take on a daily basis to keep the peace in that strife-torn land.
What made their situation even more dangerous was the fact that the threat often came from within, from the very people the Americans were training to take over the war and peace efforts in Afghanistan in less than two years’ time!
What made the feature a definitive take on the issue was the fact that the production was able to interview no less than the top American general in charge (Gen. John Allen). So, viewers got a truly “insider” report —which was made even more gripping by the American commander’s readiness to share, not just the hard facts, but also his own feelings about the crisis he was trying to keep on top of.
He summed up the supreme irony of the situation when he revealed that, even as his men were training their Afghan recruits, a US soldier would have a gun trained on them, just in case an insider attack was being secretly planned!
As for the show’s interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was made special by the actor-politician’s candid responses to the sometimes blunt and even harsh questions thrown his way by the interviewer (Lesley Stahl), who belonged to the “hard talk” school of broadcast journalism.
Before zeroing in on Schwarzenegger’s divorce from Maria Shriver after his many infidelities, the production established the right chronological context by showing old photos and/or footage of his childhood and teenage years.
Schwarzenegger has trimmed down a lot since his champion bodybuilder years, so it was a shock to view old photos of him looking so huge, all bulked up to gigantic proportions, a veritable Incredible Hulk without the signature green coloration!
It was efficiently established that the future actor came from an exceedingly poor family and faced a similarly grim future— until he used bodybuilding as his ticket to success.
The escape hatch worked so well for him that it also led to screen stardom by way of “Conan the Barbarian”—and, even more unexpectedly, to a political career that peaked when, against all odds and expectations, he became the “Governator” of the state of California!
All that went down the drain, however, especially when the actor-politician was caught with his pants down, and belatedly identified as the father of his family’s housekeeper!
Stunned and deeply hurt, his wife Maria dropped him like a hot potato, and he suddenly became bad news in the political realm. Only in the world of show biz has his star continued to shine—in fits and spurts: Despite all his personal woes, he has five new movies in various stages of production.
But, at 65, Schwarzenegger is nowhere near the dazzling star he used to be, so I hope that he’s learned from his humbling experience, and will be kinder to himself—and others—from here on in!
Recent Stories:Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.