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October 26, 2004
Trick or Treat (Part II)By Greyhawk
The Mrs emails: "I had a nightmare last night..."
I'm thinking, Uh-oh, here it comes, signs of stress. Sure, I'm in Iraq and she's in Germany handling the kids and the house and the cars and the dogs and the bills...
Here's what I'm expecting: "I had a dream and you were hurt" or killed or whatever. You tell people it's not that bad and they want to believe but they keep getting bombarded by slanted news stories and just because it's not that bad doesn't mean it's without danger and what about those rockets and it's Ramadan and I read in the paper where the troops were mutinying and refusing to complete their missions and...
But the Mrs. isn't one to let that stuff get to her. At least on the surface, or at least if she does she won't let me in on it because even though it's not that bad I've got my own issues to focus on, know what I mean? And if she wasn't tough enough she wouldn't have been doing this for the past 20 years.
So don't worry about me. Know what the worst thing to happen to me today was? I watched the movie "Stepford Wives". The new version. People deserve to be punished for that movie. I'd like to ask the presidential candidates what they can do to ensure America never again has a movie that bad shown in its theaters. Seriously, I'm on board for that campaign. This movie is not so bad it's good, it's bad. Is this klunker out on DVD yet? The version I saw was pirated, the local markets are famous for this stuff. Low rent movies, usually two to four films per DVD, usually selling for less than five bucks American. Anyhow, this one was actually a video shot in the theater where the movie was showing. The camera was so out of focus at the start that the credits were illegible. Unfortunately the focus improved. I say unfortunately because if not for that I would have stopped watching, instead I wasted an hour and 44 minutes of my life on this chunk of junk. Since this was a video of a showing of the movie you could actually hear people laughing at it in the theater. At least during the early part, before they all went home.
No wonder so many in Hollywood are opposed to the emancipation of Iraq. One: There are people in Hollywood responsible for this atrocity of a film. Two: GI's in Iraq are picking up copies of much of Hollywood's best work at approximately the fair market value; four movies for five bucks. I have access to a shared hard drive with approximately 200 movies on it. How's that grab you, Hollywood? We await the arrival of your best lawyers. Send Epstein and Liebowitz right over.
Okay, that was a cruel joke, but so are most of the 200 movies on that hard drive. Many are copies of those same low rent pirated videos anyway. But some of those pirated DVDs aren't bad. I saw one the other day with Spiderman I and II on one side and Shrek I and II on the other. I thought about buying that one, but really it's worth it to wait for the real thing, high quality with all the special features. For instance it would almost be worth a few moments pain to hear the director's
Some of the video pairings are more interesting. I saw one with Scream I, II, and III along with Mystic River. No idea how that combo came about. But today in a store I saw one that really made me laugh: Fahrenheit 911 paired with Fahrenheit 451. I never would have made the connection. There are similarities; one's a chilling look at a make-believe totalitarian world where truth is suppressed while the other is one of the best works of sci-fi of the 20th century.
I've heard that Ray Bradbury, easily one of America's finest authors, is none too happy over his pale imitator's choice of title. Who would be? I certainly hope he never sees what I saw, his nightmare story of censorship on the same DVD as a "documentary" unworthy of a trash heap. I wonder if George Orwell would be comfortable with the irony of it?
I call Moore's film garbage but like Bradbury I deplore censorship in all its forms. Truth usually wins out, at least in the minds of those seeking it. Those who want to be deceived are certainly beyond my help - you can hardly blame Moore for having the key to their wallets. If you want to be victimized by those who are willing to abuse free speech so be it. On the other hand folks genuinely looking to explore the issues could use some balance, and what's needed here in Iraq are copies of Fahrenhype 911 and Stolen Honor to go on that big shared drive with 'heit 911. If anyone wants to spearhead a campaign to get some over here I'm with you. Contact info is in the upper right corner of this web page.
Moore has a new book out featuring letters written to him from GIs who are attracted to his brand of 'patriotism'. Many of those troops discovered the rotund one via copies of his movie over here. In fact I met a guy just the other day who wrote one of the letters to Moore. He's a sharp young guy, and I haven't read his "essay" (as he described it) but I'm not too concerned. This young man is a product of a Poli Sci program of an American University. Eventually that will wear off, he'll begin thinking for himself again and some day he'll make a fine American. It's probably not hard to have a piece published in Moore's little book, and this guy is fairly well spoken, but he just arrived in country a couple weeks ago, and given that his bit was written some time back I'm not sure what sort of first-hand credibility he offers on the war on terror to Moore.
In fact I'll never know, since I don't have time to read that book in this lifetime. I have absolutely no desire to peruse something more pathetic than Stepford Wives, real-life versions of whom I'm sure are reading that book in Hollywood and elsewhere in America, and pondering whether to vote next week...
Oh, speaking of wives, I was discussing my wife and her nightmare email, wasn't I? Here's what she said:
"I had a nightmare the other night. I dreamt John Kerry had won the election."
And without me there to offer comfort. I'm sorry baby, I'll be there when I can.
Posted by Greyhawk / October 26, 2004 9:27 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com