Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Hate The War

Welcome to non-Norton users or brave souls who are reading anyway.  (Yes, we are aware of it.  Rebecca's already addressing it as I type and we'll cover it at Third tomorrow morning.)

A European reader (not community member) e-mails to state that he could do without the news of veterans suicides and felt that Friday's snapshot didn't have enough Iraq.  That's someone's opinion.

And you're welcome to it.  But others would prefer I not cover this or that or whatever.  We cover Iraq related issues.  I'm a feminist and, as a woman online, if there's a woman's issue in the US that I need to weigh in on, I will do that as well.  Thursday's snapshot ends with a lengthy calling out of Anne-Marie Slaughter.  I was expecting a huge objection to that in e-mails.  There wasn't any.  Possbily because Anne-Marie was a known liar to people who care about Iraq, a known liar years ago because she evoked fear (kind of like in her Atlantic b.s.) and lied (ibid) to attempt to work the public into a frenzy (are we seeing a pattern) to go to war.  People who read, for example, The American Prospect in 2004 and 2005, must be amazed to visit the website this week and see Anne-Marie praised.  Back then, they were all about the talking heads and others who were wrong about the war.  Now they ignore the issue to whore for Anne-Marie.

But community members and readers and visitors of/to this site may have felt, "Anne-Marie Slaughter?  It's Iraq related."   And we do cover many Iraq related stories.

But the reason I'm writing about this is because of Jim.  At Third, he's noted a development before.  He's long told me about it. 

There are no counters on this page by me.  But Google has a thing that counts and provides information.  I don't go to that page, I'm not interested in seeing that information.  If I did, the temptation would be to write what was popular and reduce a daily website to a series of greatest hits sung over and over, day after day, for eternity.  Don't put me on the oldies circuit just yet, please.

So I don't visit that page.  Even not visiting it, I'm not unaware of certain issues because Jim points them out.  Like the veterans issue.

If I want to lose 400 to 500 visits in one day, include veterans issues.  If I want to lose a thousand or more, open with veterans issues.  If I really want to lose page views, emphasize veterans issues for two days in a row.

As a result of Jim noting this and other things, I know that veterans issues don't lead to popularity or site visits.  But we covered three veterans hearings this week despite my knowing that.  Wednesday and Friday's snapshots opened with veterans issues.  I'm not going to tailor content or focus for popularity.  If we dropped down to just the community members, that would be fine.  If even they bailed and did so because I was covering something I thought was important, I wouldn't care.

I don't know the people who go fleeing when the topic is veterans.  I haven't done a study but I have since the reaction (in e-mails) before.

When the US was more active in the Iraq War, there would be e-mails upset that a snapshot or entry had noted a child had died.  'We shouldn't cover the Iraqi children, we shouldn't.' 

Did our not covering that a child was kidnapped or killed mean that child suddenly, magically was safe?


And the e-mailers should have been smart enough to realize that.  The e-mailers then couldn't deal with the fact that the war was killing children.  They didn't want to know.  Like Big Babsie Bush, they didn't want reality to interfere with their 'beautiful mind.'

And I see a connection between that and other e-mail complaints over the years with the current batch ("current batch has been going on since 2010 -- since 2010, e-mails have regularly complained that the veterans coverage needed to be dropped).

The realities of war make a lot of people uncomfortable.  They don't want to know about dying children.  They certainly don't want to know about returning Americans who are wounded or denied the promises the government made to them.

They want the fairy tale.

And I would argue they'd had more than enough fairy tales provided to them by the press since 2001.  But that's what they clamor for and what so many alleged  'news' outlets and opinon journals will offer them.

It's a Red Cross kind of coverage, rushing to the hot spot.  But unlike the Red Cross, the press quickly leaves.  When the public interest is gone, when they've tired of a topic, the press moves on.  (Often they move on before the public tires.)

If you give people the fairy tale  (like Fox News or MSNBC; or the New York Times' columnists), you can be very popular.  You will say very little because you can only speak within the tiny confines that they will accept.  But you will be very popular.

You won't make any real impression and your work won't be remembered because it's nothing but bromides and fluff. 

You're not making any kind of a difference at all.

You're Helen Hayes on film.  In the 1930s, Helen Hayes was a popular actress in films.  She even won an Academy Award for Best Actress that decade.  That's the same decade that Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Greta Garbo, among others.  Today millions still watch the films of Hepburn, et al.  Helen Hayes?  She may create distant fantasies among the young who dream of Broadway in a better age but she's got nothing that's remembered on film.

Hayes wasn't awful or objectionable.  And that's probably why she had temporary and immediate popularity.  Like Norma Talmadge who was voted the number one box office draw in 1923 but who most people today would say "who?" too.   Jane Fonda and Jack Nicholson -- two names that will be remembered -- were born in 1937.  That year the top ten box office draws included Jane Withers and Sonja Henie.  I would bet very few people even know who Withers (still alive, I believe) and Henie were. Or Margaret O'Brien and Van Johson (top ten box office draws for 1945).

Point being, popularity is something for the terminally insecure to seek.  And the sad thing there is that even if they achieve it, they won't be able to enjoy it. 

We're not hear to tell you everything's okay.  If everything was okay, I would be on a lengthy and extended vacation, traveling all over Europe.

Instead, we're still covering the violence in Iraq, we're still covering the US troops stationed around Iraq, we're still covering the veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress and other issues.  Because the war doesn't end just because someone in the White House says it does.  And it doesn't end just because you struggle when confronted with the ongoing problems stemming from the war.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

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