Morning bloggage roundup coming up. I’m feeling a bit better today, although it still seems as though something is standing out on the stoop of my immune system’s house, trying to quietly open the door with a credit card. I guess I should go drink something with antioxidants, or maybe just a big glass of water.
In the meantime, some light reading:
I’ve been quiet on the war of late, for lots of reasons. I tell myself my energies are best expended elsewhere. I get enough venting out of babbling at Alan over the newspaper every morning: “Is he kidding? Are they kidding? How stupid does Dick Cheney think we are?!?”
So I leave the heavy lifting to others. Richard Cohen hoists his share this morning:
If, as Samuel Johnson said, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” then “support our troops” is very close by. It is being used to deflect criticism of the war in Iraq, or to rebut those who call for a pullout or question how incompetents seized control of the government in a coup by ideologues. In the lexicon of some, the only way to support our troops is to ensure that more of them die.
But if you want your politics in a lighter mood, I can’t recommend The Poor Man highly enough. Nominations are now open for his Wanker of the Year, the coveted Palme d’Hair.
The end of an era: The restaurant decor theme of crap-on-the-wall takes a long step toward the door.
Top-level sportswriters are the most unjustifiably pampered and coddled human beings on the planet. Detroit Super Bowl host committee officials kick off the kneepads tour.
Finally, an activity for Boxing Day: Taking Kate to the Hanukkah parade. Rolling menorahs on Hummer limos! What’s not to like?
brian stouder said on December 8, 2005 at 11:24 am
mid morning salad indeed! Cohen�s position on the war is a fruit salad of contradictions�which is fair enough, as that would fairly describe my own view of it. But I gotta say, this passage is striking for it�s hypocrisy
�If, as Samuel Johnson said, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” then “support our troops” is very close by. It is being used to deflect criticism of the war in Iraq, or to rebut those who call for a pullout or question how incompetents seized control of the government in a coup by ideologues. In the lexicon of some, the only way to support our troops is to ensure that more of them die.�
He goes on to recall an �utterly tasteless� Cheney story. But there are plenty of conflicting (and conflicted) shibboleths that various factions utilize in this debate. �Support the troops� �Bush lied� �war on terrorism� �gathering threat� �war for oil� �war for Haliburton� –
and there are a few magical talismans that are used to try and freeze the opposition � the flag, pictures of flag-draped coffins, and family members of dead soldiers leap to mind�plus weaker ones like those magnets on the back of cars and so on.
If it is galling to hear a mindless self-justification like �support the troops� (and then be expected to nod in agreement) � what about when the mother of a dead soldier gives voice to all sorts of opinions which � if we�re polite � we are expected to either vocally agree with or simply be silent? Afterall, the bare-assed minimum that we owe to such a mom is respectful silence (unless you like to engage in arguments at funerals).
By the way � I am no more impressed by bereaved moms, whether they are avidly pro- or anti-Iraq war (and the one’s who make it onto teevee are always AVID); really, they evoke the same sort of conflicted response within me (deserving of respect, even as one senses a [perfectly understandable] grasping for validation)
Danny said on December 8, 2005 at 1:13 pm
Given that tides of war and fates of nations are influenced at a much higher level than any of us, I have choosen one practical way of supporting the troops. Sending stuff to them that they can use. Reading material (scarce over there), gatorade powder packs (it really helps the canteen/hyrdration pack water to taste better), etc.
Though I disagree with the vocal opposition to the war effort, I understand the position. My fear is that it undermines troop moral and is counterproductive.
Last year, I encountered a group of young marines in the airport who looked as if they could still hear their drill sergeant’s voice ringing in their ears. They were having an animated discussion when one spotted me and shyly asked, “Excuse me, sir. Do you know how to tie a tie? I could use some help.” I said sure, looped it around my neck, tied it, loosened it and handed it over for the young man to put around his neck. He thanked me and we all chatted a while. I walked away with a lump in my throat. He could have been my son.
Most of these young people understand the world less than we do. They are impressionable and need our help and support. Forget the political kabuki theater. Make it practical, make it human.
Claire said on December 8, 2005 at 2:11 pm
For today, I won’t touch the politics of the war. I’m so very thrilled to announce that my sister (a 41-year-old mother) has returned home safely to San Antonio after spending a year in Mosul, Iraq. She has finally been reunited with her dear 10-year-old son this past weekend, and they will come up to Michigan to visit us in a couple weeks. I look forward to discussing her experience and eliciting her perspective in the near future. (At 41, as a mother, a college graduate, a Democrat, as well as an Army Major, she should have an interesting perspective.)
Your comment touched me, Danny. I can add that my sister had requested things like nice body lotions, posters and contact paper to decorate her little space and make it “homey”(…amidst the almost daily incoming mortars), seeds for flowers, good chocolates, good cheese (not Middle Eastern varieties), etc. Not candy (except for the good chocolate) because they get tons of that over there.
Anyhow, I’m so glad she’s home. Thanks for letting me share here. My heart aches for those who lost their familly members and for those whose family members are still there.
Oh, and I’ve seen the Hanukkah parade over in West Bloomfield and it’s great!
Nance said on December 8, 2005 at 2:37 pm
Great news, Claire.
ashley said on December 8, 2005 at 9:33 pm
Read it again, Nance.
They’re not yanking the crap off the wall. They’re changing it. “Out, for Friday’s: farm implements. In: Pee-wee Herman’s “Tequila” platform shoes”
Oddly enough, in the TGIFridays in Prague, they had a sign from the Spearman Brewery…from Pensacola.
In other news, my alma mater just gutted their engineering school because of Katrina.
Another reason I love NOLA: no chain food.
basset said on December 8, 2005 at 11:15 pm
I have been in the warehouse in Nashville where a whole bunch of that TGI Friday’s junk is stored… and met a man whose entire business involved bringing in rusty bicycles, wooden fish, tin signs and other such ephemeral junk to hang on the walls of Friday’s all over the world.
when I was there… been a few years, things have probably changed by now… his crew had just finished loading a container full of TGI Clutter for shipment to Hong Kong.
good for him, I say. looks like it’d be fun.
basset said on December 8, 2005 at 11:16 pm
oops, I said “junk” twice. total lack of imagination. forgive me, it’s been a long day.
Michael G said on December 9, 2005 at 9:17 am
Hey, if any scouts from those restaurants are reading this stuff, I know where there are a couple of rusty bicycles.
mary said on December 9, 2005 at 1:03 pm
When I feel like I’m coming down with something, which lately has been pretty often, I drink some of that emergen-c stuff. Mix it with cold water and down two or three of those in a day. I swear it fights off the crud. My kids swear by it as well.