When I look back at this part of my archive, I’m ashamed at how timid I was in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. I knew in my heart that this was the world’s worst idea, and yet, the city was a flag-waving, patriotic fever swamp. If I’d been braver, I’d have said so every damn day and screw the letters to the editor. But instead, I pulled stupid, sneery shit like this. I was such a coward. I suck. This was from March 2003.
Every war has a home front. It’s our way of acknowledging that some of us are too old, too young, too infirm or too rich in draft deferments to risk dodging bullets, but we wish to do our part, too.
In the Civil War, we rolled bandages and sewed uniforms. In World War II, we saved tin for scrap drives and held blackout drills.
In Gulf War II, we’re rebranding our fried potatoes.
Maybe you’ve seen them around town, the fry formerly known as “french?” It’s now a “freedom fry.” That’ll show those cheese-eating surrender monkeys. If you’re not on the bus, you’re . . . well, you’re off the bus, somewhere, eating Montrachet with cowards. See you later, Pierre! And take your Dijon mustard with you!
Sorry. It’s so easy to get carried away with patriotic fervor.
If you’ve been able to tear yourself away from “Joe Millionaire” long enough to keep up with the events of the day, you know that in certain circles the French have become, if not public enemies, certainly ungrateful allies, unwilling to climb upon the Baghdad-or-bust bandwagon. What’s more, they’re turning their little Pepe LePew noses up! At us! Without whom they’d be speaking German now! And don’t even get us started on Germany, those jackbooted Fritzes. One more word from you, Herr Fischer, and you’re outta here too, with your Wiener schnitzel and hot potato salad.
OK, we’ve calmed down now. But the march to Americanize those pesky unsupportive foreign foods continues apace.
I called up Rick Hembrook, operations manager for Buckets Sports Pub & Grub, who took out a newspaper ad to announce the restaurant’s denunciation of all foods French. It was accompanied by a photo of a beret-wearing hag daring to arch one of her eyebrows in that time-honored way the French call “le snot,” probably fresh from a Jean-Luc Godard film festival.
“I thought, we serve a lot of French food here,” said Hembrook. “French fries, French dressing . . .”
From this week forward, Hembrook declared, Buckets would no longer serve french fries or French dressing. Or rather, the restaurant would serve them under new names, because it’s really un-American to ask us to do without anything, be it cheap gasoline or deep-fried potatoes.
Anyway, french fries come from Idaho. And French dressing comes from Kraft. The new names? “American fries.” And “American dressing.”
Take that, frere Jacques.
Over at Georgetown Bowl, the rechristening of their fries from french to “freedom fries” was “more as a joke,” said owner Dave Kerscher.
“My partner and I were kidding about it, and the next thing we knew, our snack-bar girl had gone ahead and changed it on her own,” he said. “It’s not a huge protest or anything.”
No, it’s not a huge protest. It’s just the little way we can all help. Perhaps the Army can make a short film about the New Francophobia: “Discover the Fun of Kissing Tongue-Free.” “Wouldn’t You Rather Have Pancakes Than Traitor Toast?” “Why Crusty, Chewy Bread is Unpatriotic.”
Oh, I can see it now: Take your dirty postcards, your berets, your fizzy water, your cheese that smells like old socks, your bernaise sauce and your stupid striped jerseys back to Gaul! (We’re keeping the Statue of Liberty and the 2000 Bordeaux.) Away, now, with all things French!
Of course, if we’re diligent, with most of Europe standing against us now, we won’t be left with much. Why, when we’re booting foreign cuisine, do we have to have an ally in Great Britain? Steak and kidney pie, anyone?
Dexter said on June 13, 2013 at 2:39 am
I spent hundreds of hours writing letters to editors (blogs weren’t all that big in 2003) denouncing Bush 43’s dirty plans to empty the US treasury down the rathole of Iraq just to enrich some private contractors’ deep pockets.
I was offended at the blanket support from Congress of Bush and Cheney.
Powell’s UN presentation was a farce; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz promised the captured oil fields would pay for the war with maximum profits to boot.
I could write a thousand words more right now but I have proved my point. In 2006 the new Congress had the power to de-fund the war and bring it to a halt. Hell no they didn’t cut the purse strings; Pelosi and crew insisted on military increased spending for that stupid war. John Kerry also always voted to keep the money rolling over to Iraq. Once Paul Tenet oversaw a shipment of cash, and I mean a whole fucking CARGO PLANE full of cash , delivered to Chalabi, who was a real jewel of a friend of Bush and Cheney. Bastards never even tried to track down the end recipients of that plane load of US cash. I haven’t even mentioned the great loss of American life and limb.
Don’t feel bad, nance; Bill Maher was a cheerleader all the way for Shock and Awe. That little weasel only turned against Bush and Cheney when his audience wised up and he turned to keep his audience. I haven’t watched that creep’s HBO show since that night he praised Bush up and down. What a little shit.
Brandon said on June 13, 2013 at 4:08 am
The congressman who had French fries renamed freedom fries later regretted doing that, and supporting the Iraq war. Better late than never, I say.
coozledad said on June 13, 2013 at 5:20 am
Brandon: Jones is from a district that includes Camp Lejeune. He helped to instigate the maiming and slaughter of a sizable number of his constituents. “Freedom fries” was the least of his sins.
It’s real nice he’s sorry now.
His family has had the old 1948 Strom Thurmond franchise in his hellhole of a district for a long time. They got them a few nice boards of elections.
beb said on June 13, 2013 at 8:34 am
No one was allowed to question the reasons for invading Iraq or the practicality of invasion. It wouldn’t have matter if you had shown a room full of Congressmen the movie Red Dawn and afterward ask them ‘do you think Iraqis are any less patriotic than Americans? Do you think any nation enjoys being invaded by another? And it wouldn’t have changed their minds.They were hellbent for stupid.
coozledad said on June 13, 2013 at 8:43 am
I just remember the din of helicopters and transport aircraft flying over our house heading to Norfolk and out. The nation’s wad being shot for fratboy revenge.
That stuff ain’t coming back, either. Makes me want to smack the shit out of Republicans when they talk about the need for belt-tightening.
alex said on June 13, 2013 at 8:44 am
Nance, don’t beat up on yourself so badly. The absurdity of the jingoism of the time still shines through. And even if you didn’t condemn the stupid war, it’s pretty clear to anyone with half a brain (which wouldn’t have been most News-Sentinel subscribers) that you weren’t exactly on board with it.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
Those were strange days all-around. Nancy pointed at the pop-culch absurdity that lifelong soft-clothes people like me were seeing and experiencing, while people who really did understand the nature of the beast we were taunting (such as Dexter or my mom’s long-time next door neighbor, who flew his flag upside down for a few weeks, back then) must have experienced a mixture of disbelief, anger, and frustration.
For a chucklehead like me, Colin Powell was the go-to guy; he’d not advocate for our country to jump into a pointless war, right? And, Iraq had been trouble for years; and in any case, after the attacks on NYC, the bad guys needed to get pounded on by that massive military we’re always hearing about, yes?
Once again, Telling Tales captured the inanity of that moment in our history; telling, indeed. (the name of Nancy’s column encapsulates the mission statement perfectly; this week’s posts reminds me anew how she always succeeded at delivering telling tales of the times)
Deborah said on June 13, 2013 at 10:09 am
Another good one. I wouldn’t chastise yourself so much Nancy, you clearly captured the absurdity of the whole situation.
JWfromNJ said on June 13, 2013 at 10:24 am
The anti-French sentiment has deeper roots than 2001. It started when they rolled over for the Nazis and achieved surrender monkey status. They seemed ungrateful that the allies saved their collective asses. I’m not saying the criticism was valid but I find their culture to be empty despite the art and food.And for all the rude NY comments last week France has them beat tenfold, and at least NY’ers use deodorant and soap.
They cemented the anti-Franco sentiments among the conservatives when they refused to let out F-111 bombers overfly France during the bombing of Libya under Ronnie Raygun.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 10:40 am
Well, here’s a little America-centric thought experiment for you. In 5 seconds or less, name the nation that deserves the most credit – and/or did the most (and paid the highest butcher’s bill) to defeat the damned Germans in the World War One (aka The Great War).
Then, in 5 seconds or less, name the nation that deserves the most credit – and/or did the most (and paid the highest butcher’s bill) to defeat the damned Germans in the World War Two.
I think France delivered (and received) the most crippling blows upon the German war machine in the first world war; and Russia delivered (and received) the most crippling blows in the second world war.
And leaving that aside, if you go to Yorktown, Virginia, you’ll see a great monument to the nation that did the most to help secure American independence from Britain….
Bitter Scribe said on June 13, 2013 at 11:10 am
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the French did an honest, dispassionate assessment of the situation, and especially of George W. Bush’s judgment and capabilities, and said to themselves whatever is the French equivalent of, “We’re not getting our fingerprints on this train wreck”?
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 11:18 am
Colin Powell sold his soul, poor man, and he didn’t get a good price for it.
My question back then was, okay, get rid of Hussein, and then what? It was clear that there was no plan for anything beyond “we’ll be greeted as liberators, and the Iraqi people will thank us and take over from there.” No question Hussein was a bad guy, but the likelihood of WMD seemed very low, given the inability of inspections to find any sign of them and years of sanctions, and the evidence linking him to 9/11 seemed to consist of “he doesn’t like us, so he must have been involved.”
But then I never really saw the point of attacking Afghanistan because a bunch of Saudis hung out there planning an attack. Again, yes, you can defeat the Taliban, but then what? Installing your own puppet government in an area of the world you don’t understand doesn’t usually work so well.
Charlotte said on June 13, 2013 at 11:23 am
Prospero? How was *that* for a hockey game, eh? It’s going to be a series to remember — those teams are so evenly matched.
Bitter Scribe said on June 13, 2013 at 11:35 am
Charlotte: I am going to be a gibbering wreck if every game turns out to be like the first one. (Although I’ll take the result.)
Surprisingly, the Chicago Tribune held its deadlines long enough to carry the result, which is remarkable in a game that lasted nearly until midnight. I was surprised because the Trib had gone without reporting the results of games in the L.A. series that had ended up to an hour earlier.
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 11:45 am
Good news this morning: the Supreme Court ruled against Myriad Genetics, throwing out their patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, the breast cancer genes. Even better, the decision was unanimous!
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Interesting factoid from the Stanley Cup Finals: Jaromir Jagr, the 41 year old Boston forward, is back 21 years after winning the Cup with the Pens back in 1992. That’s the longest gap between championship finals appearances in any of the 4 major sports.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Sherri – that IS interesting; and amazing that the guy isn’t a wreck after all those years of NHL hockey!
And while the news from SCOTUS is good, I bet this will begin a shit-storm:
HOUSTON (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide additional money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people.
FEMA denied the “major disaster declaration” both for public assistance — which would give money to the city to help rebuild — and for further individual aid, which would provide for crisis counseling and other services. “I’m not sure what their definition of a major disaster is, but I know what I see over there and it’s pretty bleak,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said. It’s not unusual for FEMA to turn down that level of assistance for emergencies not stemming from natural disasters. In 2010, for example, officials denied a request for millions in aid after a gas pipeline explosion that consumed a Northern California neighborhood.
President Obama needs to jump on this one, like a ton of bricks (so to speak)
beb said on June 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Mind you FEMA is paying for clean-up and related activities. They just decided that rebuilding the town was something that maybe the State and the fertilizer’s insurance company should pay for.
adrianne said on June 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm
Nance, don’t be too hard on yourself, your contempt for the sunshine patriots who are proudly eating “freedome fries” comes through.
Another reason I miss our fightin’ congressman from the Hudson Valley, Mo Hinchey – he voted repeatedly against Bush’s Iraq War and even called for his impeachment over the lies that led us into that mess. Sadly, Mo decided to retire after 22 years as a New York congressman because he was hit with colon cancer and the recovery was gruesome. Still one of my political heroes.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm
I always liked New York State’s own Jack Kemp, back in the day
Julie Robinson said on June 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm
At the time this town was very pro-Bush, and I got flack when I wrote a letter to the editor excoriating Bush for the money spent on that infamous Mission Accomplished speech on the carrier.
However,(and I really can’t believe I’m partly defending the man!) I think Bush believed his Gulf War would be like that of his Poppy; short, surgical air strikes. I don’t think he had any idea what a quagmire it would become. He’s stupid and foolish and listened to the wrong advisors, but I don’t agree with those who say he went in to enrich cronies.
That said, it’s book report time, and I want to thank everyone who steered me to The Warmth of Other Suns. What an eye-opener it’s been of our shameful past. I’ve learned how very little I really knew, which is the first step on the path to knowledge.
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm
BTW, on Afghanistan, one of the best books I’ve read is Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars, which looks at US involvement in the area from the time of the Soviet invasion to 9/11.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm
Julie, I traded with our 15 year old daughter; she has embarked upon reading The Warmth of Other Suns, and in turn, she has me reading Hunger Games….which hasn’t been half bad, so far.
Anyway – Warmth of Other Suns is just a beautiful book; and one comes to really love Ida Mae, and the many many people she represents
(and my opinion of Florida took a big hit)
Charlotte said on June 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Jagr is amazing — he’s one of those guys who while not making plays that log stats, seems to be enabling all the plays around him. And, since he came on board, the Bruins are shooting a lot more … their defense has always been great, but my Bostonian with whom I live, spent a lot of time early in the season yelling at the TV for them to shoot!
That was some game. And yeah, here’s hoping we don’t triple-overtime each one. I only had to stay up until 11 and that’s too late for me!
Julie Robinson said on June 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm
YA Dystopia is a favorite genre, and Hunger Games did not disappoint, unlike the conclusions of The Giver series and hye Delirium series. Both started as groundbreaking and compelling but wheezed to unsatisfying ends.
An added bonus of the audiobook version of The Warmth is the narrator, who has a rich and sassy voice. Her um-hums put me right in the room with her.
Deborah said on June 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm
I see that Rupert Murdoch and his tiger wife, Wendy have divorced. No surprises there.
Jenine said on June 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm
@Sherri: I don’t feel like I have an informed opinion but I am relieved that human genes were ruled un-patentable by the Supremes.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Deborah, thanks for the Murdoch update; it lead me to this article
which taught me that Rupert is worth a little more than $11 billion, and he’s 33rd on the list of American billionaires (!)
An excerpt, on how it’s done when you’re in the top .0000001 percent club:
“They sit down in a lawyer’s office and the lawyers prepare papers,” Felder said. “They’ll never see the inside of a courtroom.” He said that given Murdoch’s immense wealth, it’s likely his wife is getting enough of a payout that she would not challenge any agreement, especially since prenups are rarely overturned. “Money is a cheap currency when you have a lot of it,” Felder said. “I’m sure he was very generous.’
And then I ran into THIS picture, Deborah, from one of your fave cities:
I think it’s God saying that she prefers the name “Sears Tower” to what-choo-talkin’ ‘bout, Willis….but in any case, a striking photo!
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm
Interesting article about a nuclear energy startup: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/a-new-way-to-do-nuclear.html
Mark P said on June 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Julie, I don’t now whether the Iraq War was started to enrich cronies, but all the cronies certainly jumped into the action once it was underway. And they all made lots of money on it. Think about all the weapons that were used and had (and will have) to be replaced. Military contractors just love that. And that what about all the money made by outsourcing military activities to private contractors? It has been a bonanza for a lot of individuals and companies, and we, the taxpayers, have ended up paying for it.
Mark P said on June 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Edit: replace “now” in the first sentence with “know”.
Hattie said on June 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm
You have grown, as the John Lennon song says.
Suzanne said on June 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm
Seymour Hersh spoke at IPFW sometime during the Bush years. What I remember was his statement that he thought Bush was an honest guy, a decent guy, who really truly believed all the things he was pushing for. And this was what worried him most.
Dexter said on June 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Look at this little prick! STILL defending the Iraq War!
It’s Bill Maher again.
David C. said on June 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm
Human genes can’t be patented now, but you never know what can be accomplished by dragging a few bucks around Washington (well unfortunately, we do all know). My guess is that within a year something is going to be tucked away in some bill to allow it again – because freedom.
brian stouder said on June 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm
And let me just say – I don’t think Syria is worth risking one American life, and I will be quite disappointed in President Obama if we end up taking losses there.
Deborah said on June 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm
The Rupert Murdoch divorce reminds me of some gossip that has surfaced around our land in Abiquiu. We had this awful neighbor, who developed property out there in a most egregious way. He parceled out 6 acre plots when it takes 10 acres to sustain one person there, he drilled shared wells for his properties, he built a causeway over an arroyo which we said would get blown out by a flood in 5 years, it took 3. He resurfaced the dirt road in a way that made everyone’s vehicles need constant alignment. He did so many things singlehandedly without asking any of us what we thought or wanted. He alienated everyone. Well it turns out that he got divorced from his wife of 32 years, he had to sell his property at great loss and the speculation is that he was caught in flagrant, Larry Craig style. Karma anyone?
Deborah said on June 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm
It’s raining in Santa Fe! Yay!
Julie Robinson said on June 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm
Suzanne and Hersh said it better than I. I don’t disagree a bit with the consequences as stated by Mark P. Obama disappointed me by going back to Afghanistan. Even putting aside my moral objections to war and the horrible economic and political consequences (and I can’t), I know too many of the young men and women who are serving. They are my childrens’ friends and my friends’ children. What we are asking them to do is unjust, and I weep bitterly at the toll it takes on their lives.
Sherri said on June 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm
More Bruce Schneier: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/trading_privacy_1.html