Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
May 9, 2006
The New York Times vs Patrick DollardBy Greyhawk
We first heard of Patrick Dollard via Marine Warrant Officer Michael Fay's blog Fire and Ice. Fay's description of the man:
He has found his long lost tribe, the Marines, and he's gone unapologetically native. A former Hollywood talent agent and producer, he's now living out a Hunter S. Thompsonesqute complete immersion into the Heart of Darkness I now see the light who are these incredible human beings called Marines experience. Other than a usually unshaved mug, lack of rank insignia and weapon, he is indistinguishable from the jarheads he follows everywhere with camera shouldered and jaunty cigarette dangling from his lip. But don't let this description lead you to believe that Dollard is not the genuine article or that he's going off half-cocked with nary a plan. This is an articulate film maker on a mission. There is method in his madness and hopefully in the very near future the fruits of his labor will grace our television screens.Although not the first, Pollard is one of a woefully small handful of independent folks who've gone to Iraq "in search of the real story". He's paid for his efforts, in more ways than one. On returning to America, Dollard contributed to the blog Hollywood Interrupted. They introduced him here:
Last year, Pat Dollard took leave from his family and ditched a lucrative career as a Hollywood agent representing the likes of Syriana producer Steven Soderbergh. Then he hit the front lines in Iraq, armed only with a camcorder and the vision to direct and produce his documentary series “Young Americans” from an unpopular pro-military/pro-war viewpoint.Pollard's work at the blog was (ahem) uncomplimentary of his fellow journalists.
The journalists I've met here, have, to a man, all been Democrats, and all have railed against the Bush administration and have, with much hope in their eyes, predicted failure for America in Iraq. The media simply cannot resist the temptation to test their power in the service of a domestic political agenda. The whole country is inflamed one way or another over this war. Only a drooling moron would argue that the members of the media are somehow exclusively immune to those passions.Today, one of those media outlets got their chance to strike back. The NY Times profiles Dollard - in what may be the most vicious personal attack on a non-public figure that I've ever seen a "legitimate" newspaper attempt. As we've demonstrated repeatedly, no (American) newspaper treats American GIs with more contempt than the New York Times does, never missing an opportunity to fabricate or twist a quote to make it fit their editorial purpose. But if you think that's bad, wait to you see the treatment they give a guy who tried to tell their real stories - and had the nerve to go to the front lines to do it.
First a gleeful explanation that Dollard's movie may never be seen:
Whether Mr. Dollard's planned documentary will ever see the light of day is far from certain. When he first went to Iraq with a camera for three months in early 2005, Mr. Soderbergh and George Clooney were involved with the project, and Mr. Dollard said he was negotiating with HBO and Mark Cuban, owner of the cable network HDNet.But perhaps most damaging (in the eyes of a starstruck Times' reporter) "Mr. Clooney said he was no longer involved."
A virtually unknown filmmaker’s difficulty bringing his vision to reality is hardly news - it happens many times a day. But this one gets special attention in the New York Times, along with apparently critical details provided by an ex wife
Alicia Allain, one of Mr. Dollard's four ex-wives, said: "He'd rather deal with a fantasy than a reality. Reality is very difficult."And while missing any substantial details of his trip to Iraq, the Times found many details "fit to print": "He has not been in touch with his mother in months", "He forgets there are other people besides him", experienced "several years of failed business ventures", and a "lifelong struggle against drug addiction" "...who during periods of sobriety attended Alcoholics Anonymous".
And perhaps most damning of all,
"From the time I knew him, he was a hard-core right-wing hawk, of the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz variety," said Jeremy Barber, a United Talent Agency agent who was once president of the production and management company Catch 23 and hired Mr. Dollard. In liberal Hollywood, Mr. Dollard proudly drove a Hummer with the license plate "US Wins."Or perhaps it's just this quote from Dollard himself that the folks who buy ink by the barrel can't abide:
"Liberals must begin to understand that the removal of their oppressors, often necessarily by violence, is the only hope for the protection of the world's future."For whatever reason, the NY Times seems awfully afraid of this guy.
Posted by Greyhawk / May 9, 2006 5:18 PM | 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