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August 21, 2007
The Boo Radleys (VI)By Greyhawk
Sorry for the delay – got a little busy with this whole war thing for a while.
Now, where were we?
The Literatti are atwitter...:
Uncut edition of Kerouac's 'On The Road' issued 50 years laterThe original having been just too spicy for the masses, circa 1960. One wonders how many would have followed that pied piper had they heard the actual song.
Let the man of learning, the man of lettered leisure, beware of that queer and cheap temptation to pose to himself and to others as a cynic, as the man who has outgrown emotions and beliefs, the man to whom good and evil are as one. The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.
As they made their way back from the restrooms the line began to move slowly forward. In one of his more observant moments he noticed the expressions on faces remained unchanged from the dull disinterest displayed prior to this small display of progress. He scanned about 20 faces after making that observation to ensure he hadn't simply drawn a conclusion based on what he expected to be the case, but (while acknowledging that his sample was finite) he determined that with unanimity the individuals in line appeared to be about as excited as a group inbound to a license branch, or perhaps even traffic court.
Make that one exception...
"Ohhh wonderful, you've returned just in time" She said with a smile and a small wave, "we're on our way at last."
"Well then," he replied, "thank you for watching the boy."
"Not a problem at all." She replied, waving him off. "Boys need watching. That's been true for years. This one had allowed his shirt to come un-tucked a bit there in the back. I had him correct the infraction."
"She combed my hair, too" the boy whispered, in a tone that left no doubt whether the action met his approval. His hand, consciously or not, began pulling at his shirt, drawing it upward but not completely out of his pants.
"Well then, hopefully we'll pass the scrutiny of the guards." The old man tried to deliver his thought without sarcasm, and offered a conspiratorial wink.
"I should hope so." She replied. "'A Free Society has no place for those who can't follow even the simplest of rules'" She added, reverting to political cliche - albeit a current one.
Surprise! More developments in the Beauchamp story.
Or perhaps not surprised.
But here's what I noticed in the DFAC today: young faces. Young determined faces. Not much older (but far wiser and much more mature) than the crowd at a high school lunch room. You can tell without asking what these guys think. They look you in the eye. And if you can stand to look back you'll see into the eyes of the undefeated. There is no quit here, no early out, no cut and run. These are young men with an ugly job, America's finest sent to do our worst and best, and they make me feel old and inspired all at the same time.Has that changed? You asked.
There is nothing new under the sun...
There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement....but there has been much water under the bridge...
"And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women...
"...so we’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there [Afghanistan]," Obama said.
Let's pause for entertainment news. Movies to watch for in 2009:
A half-century after Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" crashed through the literary establishment's blockade and accelerated into history as the most influential novel of its generation, the book finally is making its journey to film.One wonders if the homosexuality and pedophilia will be considered "too racy" for 21st-century audiences.
And you just can't make this stuff up:
Beat poet Anne Waldman, a professor at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colo., said Kerouac's influence remains immeasurable.Elsewhere:
GI Joe is a real American hero -- and that might be a bit of problem for both Paramount Pictures and Hasbro.
Looking at America from Iraq:
Rep. John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” after allegedly responding to a roadside bomb ambush that killed a Marine during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, Nov. 19.July, 2007:
Throughout this Haditha investigation our family has believed in the innocence of our son L/Cpl Justin Sharratt, we knew he was innocent. There are things I do not understand and I would like to find the answers. We do not seek revenge, but we would like to see justice. In a conversation with Congressman John Murtha, my questions still remain unanswered. With the help of the American people, I hope to find justice.August , 2007:
"You have served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq where our nation is fighting a shadowy enemy who hides among the innocent people, does not comply with any aspect of the law of war, and routinely targets and intentionally draws fire toward civilians," Mattis wrote in his decision.
But do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country?Daily Kos:
When it comes to training killing machines, the military really does create “an Army of one.”Bill O'Reilly:
As you may know, we've exposed the far-left Daily Kos web site as being a hate enterprise and have questioned why the Democratic presidential candidates are speaking at its convention, thereby putting a stamp of approval on hate.At the convention:
As the Military and Progressives panel came to an end, a young man in uniform stood up to argue that the surge was working, and cutting down on Iraqi casualties. The moderator largely freaked out. When other members of the panel tried to answer his question, he demanded they “stand down.” He demanded the questioner give his name, the name of his commander, and the name of his unit. And then he closed the panel, no answer offered or allowed, and stalked off the stage.
Let's make this simple. In these peoples' minds there are two types of model veterans.
The Jake Barnes:
Barnes suffered an injury during World War I which makes him unable to consummate a sexual relationship with Brett Ashley, who was widowed when her husband was killed during the war.And the Boo Radleys:
Boo is infamous for the rumors that abound about him in Maycomb County as a result of his reclusiveness, the most famous being that he once stabbed his father in the leg on an impulse, and that he sneaks out of the house every night, eats squirrels and cats and lurks outside people's houses.Note that both are fictional (a trait they share in common with the Scott Thomas Beauchamp of current and popular myth)...
There are two types of Iraq war veterans that have a tremendous appeal to the anti-war crowd - the fictional and the dead..
A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier...
The story continues here.
Posted by Greyhawk / August 21, 2007 9:55 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.
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