All life is a blur of Republicans and meat!
--Zippy the Pinhead
I am a sick man . . .
I am an angry man. I am an unattractive man.
I think there is something wrong with my liver
--Notes from the Underground,
Democracy is more vindictive than Cabinets.
The wars of peoples will be more terrible
than the wars of kings
Fuck my shit.
That's what war adds up to
Warriorhood has been establishing itself in our pleasant democracy lately, both in military and entertainment circles.
Michael Hastings writes in his recent book "The Operators", General McChrystal "appeared to represent a new kind of military elite, a member of a warrior class that had lost touch with the civilian world" (and vice versa, p. 74). Yet less than a lifetime ago, keen Infantry observer Ernie Pyle wrote, "They were really the hunters, but they looked like the hunted. They weren't warriors. They were American boys who by mere chance of fate had wound up with guns in their hands, sneaking up a death-laden street in a strange and shattered city in a faraway country in a driving rain. They were afraid but it was beyond their power to quit. They had no choice."
Archaeology Magazine ("The Gladiator Diet,"April 2012) mentions that gladiators were called "warriors", though they had no war-fighting functions. (Though often captured warriors, their actions were now constricted by the rink for entertainment purposes alone.) Gladiators fought for no higher good than to do the bidding of their masters and to amuse the crowds. Their deaths were gore fests, with tools of brutality often exclusive to the fighting ring. Among various gladiatorial weapons used only in the arena was the trident -- now a symbol on the elite Navy SEALs badge.
Have we morphed our soldiers into warriors because we see them as providing us gladiatorial entertainment? How do we benefit as a society by calling our soldiers "warriors"?
Does this indicated a regression to a more primitive state?
And a Monday poem:
Ready to Kill
by Carl Sandburg
TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.