Thursday, November 25, 2004

If Orwell Watches Football...

A nice afternoon at my brother's house for thanksgiving, he and his wife, their kids, my kids, my parents, my sister-in-law's mom, and me. Two turkeys, one roasted and one Cajun fried (YUM!) and football - of course. If you happened to catch the games today, you saw that the Chicago/Dallas game was much more fun than the Detroit/Indianapolis fiasco, at least until Dallas brought Testaverde on in the second half (which was a snooze, tryptophane aside). Ah, the tradition of our national holiday...

The Bears/Cowboys game was on Fox and some attention was paid to the troops in Iraq, a live feed showed them cheering, holding up signs for their loved ones, generally having a great time at three in the morning. Cool, I thought, giving thanks definitely means acknowledging those overseas doing the real work for us back in the states. We're back here fat and happy on the couch and they're over there in the sand, dodging bullets (hopefully), getting their first hot meal in months, being away from their families. The least the networks could do was give our troops the "on air" light and let them hoot for the camera.

Earlier, during the Colts/Lions game, Jon Mellencamp did the half-time show. Good show. He went into "R-O-C-K in the USA" and the camera cut to stands where thousands of ticket-holders waved plastic American flags for the viewing public. Interesting, considering John Melancamp stumped for that commie John Kerry.

Fox had the extremely lame Destiny's Child doing the half-time show with a precision US Army drill team spinning rifles in time to the music. I don't know about you but the drill team looked PISSED, as if the faux-patriotism Fox was trying to stress was really ripping at their nerves. I mean, I assume the guys on the drill team have friends who have served in Iraq and felt the show was a complete sham. No wonder they looked like dancing to Destiny's Child was the equivalent of sacrificing a first born.

Think about all this hue-and cry and you'll see how pathetic it all appears. A drill team twirling weapons to beat the drum for the poor saps putting their life on the line in Iraq, picking up a few seconds of face time for those not fortunate enough to stomp in time to Destiny's Child. The service and sacrifice of our troops deserves far more thanks than just half-assed references by glum spit-and-polish smarties, gratuitous ham-it-up opportunities during the game, a few empty phrases by sportscasters. Thanksgiving should mean a lot more to them and us than cynical caresses of the national psyche.

When Fox took it's cameras to the troops in Iraq, a little flag at the bottom of the screen identified them as "Multinational Forces in Iraq". Not "Our men and women in Iraq" or "US forces in Iraq" but "Multinational". I noticed the "Multinational" designation from the git-go and so watched subsequent feeds from Iraq and... well, they all looked like US forces to me.

Bush has assured us that we're fighting over there with a "multilateral force" and somewhere in Roger Ailes tiny mind it was incumbent that this is true. Recognizing that at least 51% of Americans are stupid enough to believe that "multinational forces" are fighting in Iraq is a given. However, to me, on Thanksgiving of all days, not giving our troops their due is pretty goddamn unpatriotic.

Ok, I'll go there; fuck Fox and the 101st Warbloggers... if you think diminsishing the role of our troops in Iraq for the sake of abstract cheerleading is patriotic, then yes, we have radically different views on patriotism. Minimizing what our men and women are doing in Iraq for the sake of neocon conquest is no less unpatriotic than spitting on a Vietnam vet and calling him a "babykiller". To pan across a field of desrt camoflauge US BDU's and then call them "Multinational" is pure hypocricy.

Then again, I watched 60 Minutes the night before. Someone wrote an angry letter regarding a story about the US soldier abused at Gitmo (posing as a detainee and irreparably injured in that exercise),
Each week, you prove yourselves to be quasi-journalists, reaching for anything in the hopes of higher ratings. Why not try "digging" up a story that may unite Americans and show our strength, courage and fellowship towards one another, as well as towards the world? America is the greatest country on earth. Too bad CBS News and 60 Minutes portrays it as the most savage and despicable country on earth.
--Toni Klopfenstein

What was left out of the online version of the letter but was shown on 60 Minutes II was the last sentence: "God bless America".

Truth doesn't matter much in our country - at least not among the right. Toni Klopfenstein (was that name made up by Firesign Theatre?) wasn't as much concerned with a US soldier being abused, handicapped, and then forgotten by the US government as he was hearing CBS state how nice it is to live in the "Good ol' USA". Fox didn't care so much about honoring our soldiers in Iraq (much less 100,000 dead Iraqis) because it was far more concerned with presenting the chimerical "multinational" force meme for us to digest with our pecan pie, with whipped cream on top.

I can just see Winston Smith looking back on us, nodding: you have your games, you have your multinational force, you have your precision drill team and your Destiny's Child. Oh yes, and you have your turkey.


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