When the national religion is war…

This is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, and literally not worth the minute it takes to read it.  So here’s the shorter version: Americans so strongly support the troops because it’s the one issue, in our hopelessly fractured political culture, upon which we can all agree and thus satisfy our collective yearning for a sense of national unity.  And here I thought it was because we’ve been fed a relentless barrage of propaganda our entire lives about how the soldiers fight and die to protect our freedoms and only an ingrate or a heretic would fail to profess his support.


Happy War Glorification Day

Remember to take a little time out today from stuffing your faces with hot dogs and drinking beer to pay tribute to the brave men and women who are busy protecting your freedom by killing people who have no intention of doing you harm, in places you’ve never heard of.

Fucking and Killing

Not long after this story initially broke, we had some family over for dinner and the subject was brought up.  There was much agreement about what a disgrace it was, and then one person said, “They should all be fired and replaced with veterans returning from overseas.”  I love how it’s a “scandal” that a bunch of dudes on business—oh, but it’s official government business of the utmost importance, and our tax money!—in a foreign country hired women for sex.  I mean, who ever heard of such a thing?!  Seriously, it strains all credulity to think that any grown person, even an American, could in any way be shocked by this.  Meanwhile, of course, the ongoing slaughter of children with remote control airplanes elicits not a peep of (for-public-consumption) outrage from our illustrious elected idiots and the media organs that serve them.  And best of all, we get to watch Joe Lieberman, the man who gets a hard on just thinking about dropping bombs on people in sandy, faraway places, play arbiter of good taste and proper moral conduct.   Americans can spill all the blood they want.  But as soon as they start spilling semen, look out—heads are gonna roll!

History 101

So far, no one has a clear answer for why the Afghan sergeant turned his AK-47 on Huling, shooting him in the stomach and killing him.

National Public Relations

For a country that celebrates its own armed insurgency against a foreign imperial power (well, its own government, actually, but nevermind) every July 4th—not only celebrates it but views it as its defining act—America sure has a difficult time wrapping its head around the whole occupier-occupiee relationship.

When Sports and Politics Collide

People on sports sites, or the sports sections of newspapers, often complain when politics is injected into the discussion—whether by the author or one of the commenters—as if it’s somehow inappropriate to taint an otherwise diversionary topic with real-world ugliness.  I have to disagree.  I think it’s fun.  It livens things up a bit.  And besides, what’s the difference, really, between talking about sports and politics (especially of the electoral variety)?  Both involve spectators rooting for their favorite teams while on some level indulging in the fantasy that they have an actual stake in the outcome.

In this case, the topic is actually worth discussing—whether the police used excessive force while removing an unruly fan from a baseball game and whether this is part of a larger trend.  Well, some commenter going by the name “frankvzappa” dropped this flaming bag of shit on the front porch and rang the doorbell: “How dare anyone suggest that the militarized jackbooted police use too much force?”  Even better, he embedded an hour-long video of anti-cop agitprop beneath his comment.  Of course, as this kind of thing never fails to do, it brought out the apologists in full force who proceeded to accuse him of being a paranoid and, my favorite, someone who obviously thinks the U.S. is a “horrible” country and yet for some reason hasn’t left.

It’s funny, accusing someone of paranoia for pointing out something that happens all the time (and, yes, it still counts even if it’s not reported on the evening “news”).  It’s also a bit ironic to accuse somebody of hatin’ on The Land of the Free for noting the gestapo-like behavior of its cops.  If the habitual mistreatment of minorities and other fringe types by our supposed protectors isn’t enough to convince good Americans that we’re excessively policed, maybe it won’t seem like such an outlandish idea when there are drones buzzing around overhead.

BYO Busybodies

I can’t say I really give two shits whether Ocean City, New Jersey remains a “dry”(*) town, but you gotta love a system where about one-third of registered voters (not to mention those eligible to vote but not registered) get to make decisions for everyone else.  And it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that we’re talking about whether to allow people to bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant to drink with dinner.  This is democracy in action: A bunch of geezers in bad leisure wear and white sneakers voting to protect their town from the menace of BYOB.

(*)The dry designation is a farce, too, since you’re allowed to drink in private residences and there’s a massive booze distributor right at the foot of the main bridge leading onto the island.  My mother-in-law rents a place there every year in the off-season and we just stock up on wine and beer before going over the bridge, or bring it from home.

Waitin’ Around to Lose

The Phillies’ monochromatic color man, Chris Wheeler, who explains the purpose of the “no-doubles defense” every single game (like the name isn’t self-explanatory enough, or like we haven’t heard it a few thousand times already), actually said something worthwhile last night in the post-game segment: “They’re waiting around to lose.”  This was after the Phils blew a 4-1 lead in the 7th inning on the road to an eventual 7-4 loss, and after losing the fourth of their last five games (and the fourth out of five to the Mets this year, all of them at home).  It’s become something of a trend lately for them to jump out to an early lead and then score nothing the rest of the game, squandering plenty of opportunities to pick up extra runs, while the other team gradually chips away.  And with the bullpen they have, the worst in the league so far, this is like adding cargo to a sinking ship.

Lifestyle Libertarianism

It looks like Kennedy has joined her old MTV colleague Kurt Loder among the ranks of the Reason libertarians.  Here she is taking potshots at something called “attachment parenting.”  I’m not entirely sure what attachment parenting is, even after reading the article, except that it’s apparently something practiced by “commies,” which is apparently a term for “killjoys” who don’t like the idea of ingesting petrochemicals and high fructose corn syrup.  I can’t say I have much truck with people who make a religion out of their dietary preferences (religion in the sense of a pedestal upon which to look down on the unwashed unbelievers), but it’s hard to take someone seriously whose idea of rational skepticism is pooh-poohing the legitimate concerns of earnest lefty types just because they’re earnest and lefty.  Kennedy comes off as yet another “libertarian” whose schtick seems designed to validate the liberal caricature of libertarianism.  And her goofy polemic fails even on its own terms.  She mocks vegans for their knee-jerk animus towards Monsanto, while, a few paragraphs later, extolling the virtues of “autonomy” and “success through competition.”  Because nothing embodies such supposed libertarian values quite like Big Agra, with the massive subsidies they soak up and the ever-revolving door between the FDA and their corporate board rooms.  I know I probably shouldn’t expect much from an obnoxious former “VJ,” but she makes it too easy.  It’s like making fun of vegans.