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Re: Dime Store Patriots

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by ZachAttack on 2005/5/3 5:38:35 (2361 reads)

Yeah, those "Support our Troops" ribbons bother me. I'm sure that many if not most of the people who post them have a genuine desire to show support. But, for too many people, I think the meaning is more subtle, and there is an implied political message -- that they support the troops and you don't because A)You disagree with the decision to go to war, or B) You are a warmonger and are putting the troops in harms way by your support of the war. This is evident by the political messages on the decals that often accompany these ribbons, and of course it should be noted that most of these ribbons don't say "In support of the troops", but are imperatives -- they actually tell us to support the troops, as if we otherwise wanted them to fail -- or to die. The talking-heads on both political sides, from Rush Limbaugh to Michael Moore, often seem to think thats just what the other side wants to happen. I think that's nuts.
For some reason, this all reminds me of a favorite section of mine from Ernest Hemmingway's "A Farewell to Arms":

[Gino] "Have you ever noticed the difference food makes in the way you think?"
"Yes," I said. "It can't win a war but it can lose one."
"We won't talk about losing. There is enough talk about losing. What has been done this summer cannot have been done in vain."
I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene besides the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rives, the numbers of regiments and the dates. Gino was a patriot, so he said things that separated us sometimes, but he was also a fine boy and I understood his being a patriot. He was born one.

And hey, while I'm at it, here's one from Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus:

"The two houses, of course, were the Montagues and the Capulets, the feuding families of Romeo and Juliet, who's nitwit hatred would indirectly cause Mercutio's departure for Paradise... If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people's vanity and foolishness."

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