Monday, February 5, 2024

Moments in Time for Vergara, Biden, King Charles

Sofia Vergara is having a Sophia-Loren-“Two Women” moment. Her tour-de-force portrayal of Miami cocaine drug godmother Griselda Blanco in Netflix’s “Griselda” mini series is sure to amass for her streams of accolades and nominations, if not awards, for her dynamic, intense, captivating, and, to be honest, unexpected, performance. 

Just as “Two Women” propelled Loren beyond buxom women roles, “Griselda” highlights Vergara’s acting chops beyond the sexy, comic housewife caricature she portrayed for 11 seasons on ABC’s “Modern Family” sitcom.

Loren won a best actress Academy Award for “Two Women.” It’s too early to say which awards Vergara might take home (“Griselda” is not a film so an Oscar is not possible), though her bravura acting might open up for her roles she previously would not have been considered for.

Her age might work against her ascendancy to more meaty engagements. Loren was 25 when “Two Women” debuted in 1960. Vargara is 51. Though other actresses her age and older, such as “Nyad’s” Jodie Foster (61) and Annette Bening (65), and “May December’s” Julianne Moore (63) have secured prime roles this past year, they have enjoyed decades as leading ladies. 

“Griselda” is an intense, six-part series, more compact but just as deadly as the multi-year “Gomorrah,” an Italian series centered on the drug trade in Naples. “Gomorrah” was fictitious. “Griselda” is based on a real-life character who transformed the Miami drug experience. 

As long as we’re on the subject of a “moment” that can change perception of an individual, President Biden is having a “Barbary Coast Pirate” moment. 

Just as President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 sent the navy and marines to “the shores of Tripoli” to deal with Muslim pirates interfering with commercial seafare in the Mediterranean, Biden has unleashed our military to thwart southern Yemen Houthi rebels/pirates from attacking shipping in the Red Sea. 

Stifling piracy from nearby Somalia in the early 21st century required international cooperation from America, Russia, China, India and other nations. Biden similarly has enlisted allies, but the Houthis pose a more dangerous foe as they are not so much interested in booty but rather in disrupting, even destroying, shipping as a means of forcing Israel to stop its war in Gaza. The Houthis mostly operate from their territory adjacent to a critical passage way leading into and out of the Red Sea. 

The mobility of modern missile warfare complicates Biden’s moment. It is difficult to imagine permanently stopping the Houthis, just as Israel is finding it nearly impossible to end rockets from the Gaza Strip being launched from areas supposedly secured by its military. 

Having waited so long to ascend the throne, King Charles III is in a moment hardly anyone is ever prepared to face. Cancer has invaded his body. 

Though the palace has declined to specify the type of cancer, it almost certainly is one that emerges suddenly without prior warning, such as pancreatic, bladder or liver cancer. 

No matter what one feels about Charles from his relationship with Diana, a degree of sympathy for his predicament is in order. He has always been an outspoken conservationist and more public than his mother, Queen Elizabeth, on matters of state. To be king for less than two years is disheartening. 

One also has to feel sorry for William, the heir apparent Prince of Wales, who already was contending with an undisclosed medical matter that hospitalized his wife for two weeks. 

It is during times like these that health issues reinforce the shared humanity of the royals, their subjects and their followers around the world.