RANGER AGAINST WAR: American Tribes <

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

American Tribes

There's still time to turn this around
You could be building this up instead of tearing it down
But I keep thinking
Maybe it's too late 
--Not Meant to Be, Theory of a Deadman

 It's a high school prom
It's a Springsteen song
It's a ride in a Chevrolet
It's a man on the moon 
--It's America, Rodney Atkins 

As long as our officers and troops perform tours of duty limited to one
year, they will remain dilettantes in war, and tourists in Vietnam. As
long as cold beer, hot food, rock 'n' roll, and all the other amenities
remain expected norm, our conduct of the war will only
gain impotence 
--Apocalypse Now (1979) 

[I'm on the road again to have my arm checked and hopefully be told that surgery is not necessary, and to get my fiberglass cast. In my kit bag were some crumpled notes from last trip. They remain valid, and set me on my path to considering my relationship with the "news". I'll be writing them out over the next week, interspersed with Ranger's more military sway.]

In the motel, Ranger struck up a convo with a women who's son was deployed in Afghanistan on his second tour. She was glowing over how nice the Afghans were, according to her son. It reminded Lisa of why she was tossed out of her neighborhood book club for questioning the veracity of favorites like Three Cups of Tea (later discredited) and The Kite Runner (a novel).

A pious member of the club who thought well of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq grumbled about the CDC-mandated vaccinations required before her upcoming 10-day church mission in South America; disgusted by the filth, she still enjoyed the cheap tchotchkes and photos of the gathered urchins whom she would soon leave behind as these things validated the worthiness of her travels and her faith. (The missionaries-for-life get the better postings, like Israel and New Zealand.)

It was at the time of the Haitian earthquake, and discussion centered around those poor folks and what would the United States be doing about it. When Lisa suggested there were generationally-needy dark-skinned people in her own city, the clouds gathered, and invites to future meetings were not forthcoming. The only antidote to belief is truth, and that is not to everyone's liking. The prospect of reading The Help was a bridge too far, in any event. C'est la vie.

This reverie dovetailed with the news du jour of Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man who was operative in the freeing of the Cleveland Three. People Lisa knows -- good and pious people -- laughed sheepishly at the enthusiasm of the man who performed this good deed after eating at McDonald's. What was there to laugh at, and yet the You Tube of the "Happy Negro" got hundreds of thousands of views -- why?

Who among the amused crowd had saved a person? It was a thinly-veiled superiority that said, "Our hair doesn't look like Don King and we don't eat at McDonald's. This man represents the inner city, a place where I do not live." That is our arrogance and tribalness -- we feel redeemed by something new for us to snicker at on our tech toys providing us streaming feeds of non-nutritive tripe.

The tripe that amuses us defines our tribe.

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Blogger no one said...

"She was glowing over how nice the Afghans were, according to her son."

That had to be a joke.

I wonder if her son ever left the big cushy FOB.

I recently commented to someone re; liberal fervor for "diversity" as if it something of unqualified value in and of itself. "We're so cool and open minded that those fascinating cannibals invited us for dinner tonight".

But you're right, it's not just liberals. It's anyone who has a need to pat themselves on the back.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 12:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Podunk Paul said...

All of us, liberals and conservatives alike, walk around categorizing people by their tribal affiliations, which is a burden because, deep in our hearts, we know better. One of the neat things about sci-fi programs like Star Trek is the way the human characters find common ground with really alien life forms. By washing the feet of prisoners the current Pope demonstrates the same openness. The Pope’s namesake Francis went further and addressed a rampaging wolf as “Brother.” That sounds very anthropomorphic, but there are times when animal behavior cuts to the quick. Not long ago in Houston a pair of young squirrels were rolling about in the yard, tickling each other. Listening closely, you could hear them giggle.
I’m curious, Lisa, what did you find amiss with the “The Kite Runner”?

Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 12:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I love the squirrel story; I love watching the animals who exist among us. I like Whitman's "Animals"; in part:

I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins

Per Kite Runner, it's just that many people think the book is non-fiction, when it's just a novel.

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 12:28:00 PM GMT-5  

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