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!
November 17, 2009
The cover-upBy Greyhawk
Back around the Fourth of July when Sarah Palin's Runner's World profile appeared online, web luminaries were amused to discover the shamefully disrespectful treatment the American flag was given in one of the accompanying photos.
Daily Kos: "Today, I noticed an odd-seeming photo of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska in a recently posted feature at Runner's World, which was linked to by the Huffington Post..."
Andrew Sullivan: "I'm not a stickler for this kind of thing, and don't think it's that big a deal, but..."
Readers of both were treated to explanations of how this sort of thing wouldn't play well with their fellow Runner's World subscribers (presumably that's how this came to their attention - no one else was likely to see these pictures) who might also support Sarah Palin and tend to get outraged at pictures like this one:
I'm not sure how large that demographic is, but for whatever reason (her resignation as Governor of Alaska, perhaps - an obvious cover-up!!!) no outrage on any significant scale materialized, the story was forgotten. In this case, Alinsky's Rules for Radicals ("Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.") didn't really come through.
But this week Newsweek recycled that very same Runner's World photo for its cover story on Palin.
And before the ink could dry "media watchdog" Media Matters for America was expressing outrage at the media's refusal to condemn the former Governor's shocking disrespect for Old Glory:
If the press is going to robotically follow the lead of the right-wing media and spend time actually dissecting Obama's bow over the weekend before Japan's Japan's Emperor Akihito, and if the press is going to legitimize the notion that perhaps all kinds of (evil) motives can be interpreted by the common act of protocol, and that maybe Americans can learn all sorts of things about how Obama views America's role in the world from the passing action, than why hasn't the press turned its attention to this week's Newsweek's cover which features Sarah Palin in an apparent breach of protocol?
Yes, that was all one sentence. This is another: "The fact that it featured her apparently disrespecting the flag is of no concern." This is another: "But so far, crickets from the right-wing press regarding the fact that Palin trampled etiquette and inappropriately used the United States flag as a photo prop."
Elsewhere, Palin and others on the right are shocked, shocked I tell you, that Newsweek would use a picture of an attractive and obviously healthy woman in short pants to sell magazines. And that's part of the point Media Matters was trying to hint at so subtly. You see, they ignored the fact that she disrespected the flag. See? See it? That's why that photo was chosen, hypocrites!!. Now stop ignoring it or we'll call you hypocrites again!
What's any of that got to do with anything that matters? Nothing, really. I'm more amused than anything else over the cottage industry that's sprung up around Sarah Palin. (Yesterday I visited the Indianapolis Star web site to get the local version of the Colts/Pats game and actually found a headline above the game-of-the-year on the front page - it seems Sarah would be visiting Indy-suburb Noblesville for a book signing...) And honestly I enjoy watching people tremble at the mention of her name.
And strangely enough, when I first saw the Newsweek cover I recognized the months-old Runner's World photo immediately. I actually am a runner but don't have much time to read about running. So I was aware of the Runner's World photo only because my email inbox filled up last July with messages alerting me to the horror Palin had perpetrated against America's symbol of right, might, and purity. I was less than impressed then, I'm even less so now.
But I also noticed something slick Newsweek had done with the cover layout:
The other item you might notice in the original picture is a Blue Star flag, symbol of a family member overseas. (In this case, Track Palin.) It's clearer still in the original, but you won't be noticing that on the cover of Newsweek.
It didn't get any big media attention, but Palin's unit rotated out of Iraq in September, so perhaps Newsweek's goal was to hide the age of this particular recycled photo. More likely, no one involved at Newsweek had any idea what that thing she had hanging in the window was. They aren't exactly common in America these days.
But for the record: I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you. Aghast even. Stunned at Newsweek's callous disregard for the symbol of sacrifice on the part of all military families on the home front with a loved one risking everything in an overseas contingency operation half a world away.
Update: This blast from the past reminds me why so many people fear Sarah Palin more than anything in this world:
Posted by Greyhawk / November 17, 2009 1:12 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