Degrees of Freedom: Playing Games with Justice

Many of you may be familiar with a game that has been sweeping the Left Coast for about two years called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." The object is to pick an actor and somehow link him or her up with Kevin Bacon through a series of movie-related associations.

As an example, start with Geoffrey Rush, Academy Award-winner for "Shine." Another actor in "Shine" was Noah Taylor, who was also in "Flirting," as was Nicole Kidman, who was also in "Far and Away" with Tom Cruise, who was in "A Few Good Men" with…Kevin Bacon!

See how it works? Try a tougher one: Emily Watson.

Give up? Watson was in "Breaking the Waves" with Stella Skaarsgard, who was in the film "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" with Lena Olin, who was in "Romeo is Bleeding" which also starred Gary Oldman, who was in "JFK" with…Kevin Bacon!

I haven’t heard of any actor who can’t be linked to Bacon this way. Similarly, I’ve never heard of any suspect in a high-profile crime the media can’t link to its commission.

Here’s how it works: Richard Jewell is a security guard, he reported a suspicious package in Centennial Park, he was there when it went off, he was first on the scene helping people, he also wanted to be a cop, he failed and was bitter, he likes guns and attention, he had a job in a department store and the manager said he had a hero complex…he’s the Olympic Park bomber!

See how easy that is?

Now you try: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. John Huang and Democratic fundraising. Hillary Clinton and Whitewater.

[Your name here] and the Kennedy assassination.

Have fun! Make up your own! First prize: a job with the Washington Post.

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