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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Support Our Fucking Troops

Hopefully you watched Frontline’s A Company Of Soldiers on your local PBS affiliate Tuesday night. This documentary takes you right into the heart of the tactical operations of Dog Company, part of the Army’s 1-8 Cavalry Regiment, stationed in South Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris. The Frontline documentarians were embedded with Dog Company for 30 days, participating in 26 tactical missions.

The documentary is quite even-handed and non-partisan, not espousing any particular position on the right-or-wrong aspect of the Iraq War and current occupation. It is very powerful and moving in its straightforward simplicity.

What it shows most graphically is the frustration with which these soldiers are striving to do their job. It is very good-guys-bad-guys stuff, and the ever-shifting milieu of Iraqi civilians – each with their own issues of anger, frustration, and grief – makes it nearly impossible to use this with much discernment as an operative dynamic. Nobody is wearing white or black hats, or even uniforms. The terrorists are wearing masks to hide their identities, but then so are the police.

What we want to discuss here is the minor controversy which arose with the release of the documentary. Because it exclusively features military personnel in the belly of the beast, conducting actual operations, there is some salty language, as they say. PBS issued the documentary with the proviso of allowing each local affiliate to make their own call as to whether they would show the uncensored version, or the bleeped version, so as to avoid possible FCC action due to viewer complaints.

Our local affiliate chose to show the bleeped version. What surprised us most, after watching the entire thing, was how little language was bleeped. Maybe two or three “fucks”, a couple “goddamn”s (with just the “god” bleeped), and a half-dozen “shits”.

Now, the bleeping did not necessarily detract or distract from the overall point of the film. But keeping in mind the context in which the new fear of the FCC has arisen (i.e., a split-second side view of one of Janet Jackson’s nipples during the Super Bowl halftime show), and keeping in mind that dozens of ABC affiliates flat refused to air Saving Private Ryan last Veterans’ Day, we simply have to wonder at this point just what brand of glue these moral guardians are sniffing.

Enough is enough, goddammit. Some circumstances are simply above and beyond the normal call to just sit down and shut the fuck up with the constant braying nannyism, and this is most definitely one of those instances. Any person who thinks that merely slapping a $2 made-in-China yellow ribbon on the back of their Expedition is all that is necessary to show support can piss up a rope, as far as I’m concerned.

Without a genuine understanding of the totality of the troops' current circumstances, the reality of their mission, and the geopolitical ramifications of overall strategy and current tactics, the ribbons mean nothing – maybe less than nothing. If anything, displayed on a giant gas-guzzler, they display an unconscionable disregard for reality, an unforgiveable cognitive dissonance.

It is not too much to ask the Brent Bozells of this misbegotten cultural landscape to publicly announce that they can take a day off from griping about our hell-bound moral decline, for a special type of informative program that discusses events which affect us all. Go count semen references in one of the forensic porn shows or something, you tireless (and tiresome) nags. Not every “dirty” word has a prurient connotation.

6 comments:

onna monopia said...

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Ha!

xo,
Onna

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