Two weeks ago Bill O’Reilly and a passenger who hinted that he’d like some money threatened to spoil our Flight 1549 buzz. The passenger got named and shamed and appears to be laying low, and no one cares what O’Reilly thinks. But what greed and stupidity could not tarnish, careerism and religion might.
You may remember Emma Sophina, an Australian singer who happened to be on board the flight as it landed in the Hudson last month. 26 years old and cute, she made pleasant fodder for a Daily News human-interest story, saying on January 16 that “I’m going to write a song about this called, ‘My Life in the Bottom of the Hudson River.'”
That was pretty cute, too, and we felt good about Sophina until we got our press release today from Decca, the music company representing her. It turns out she has indeed written a song about her experience — but it’s called “Send Anther Prayer,” and you can hear some of it on her MySpace page. “Before I lay my head down,” she sings over a Bubblicious dance track, “there’s just one thing to do; I’m gonna send another prayer to heaven, to say I’m thankful for the things that you done… ’cause tomorrow has just begun.”
Decca says this thing is Sophina’s “inspirational tribute to hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his entire crew.” We expect his mustached visage will appear in the video, on a bedroom wall poster or heart-shaped pillow.
Not only is Sophina milking her accidental involvement with near-tragedy for career advantage — she’s also dragging God into it.
Sophina performed “Send Anther Prayer” today on CBS’ Early Show, apparently, and told them that the song “is a tribute to God and the good fortune shared by all aboard Flight 1549 stemming from the heroic efforts of the plane’s pilots.”
And this disaster was going so well.
We are no fans of Mayor Bloomberg, but we appreciate what he was doing today when, in giving Sullenberger and his crew the keys to the city, he said the Miracle on the Hudson would be “no miracle without the years of experience” of the Flight 1549 crew and responders. He was acknowledging New Yorkers’ distaste for superstition, and that we put our faith in people who actually know how to do things rather than in supernatural forces.
In fact, one of the pleasures of this heroic event has been its distinct lack of Lordy-Lordy of the sort we’ve been hearing after successes great and small for years now, from football games to awards competitions to NASCAR races to life-and-death situations.
Captain Sullenberger did not at today’s press conference thank God, nor speak in tongues, nor read from the Bible, nor point to the sky and kiss the cross on his necklace. He simply gave thanks and honor to his colleagues, rescuers, riders, without excess emotion or religious commercials, and stepped back out of the spotlight.
After years in which it seemed everyone who momentarily found fame or honor had to ostentatiously thank God for it, this was refreshing change of pace. It implied not only a sense of proportion, but also of individual responsibility — that is, a sense that a person rises and falls on his merits and those of the good people around him, not on cosmic waves, and even if fate or the almighty do have something to do with it, that should be no concern of ours. And it suggests that we should focus on what we can control rather than what we can’t — which is the better way to approach disaster, which, come to think of it, our country faces today. Under the circumstances, we could stand a little less breast-beating and garment-rending, and a little more of the Sullenberger steel.