Wednesday, January 21, 2015

And Jingo Was His Name. Ohhh.

The idea of "freedom of speech" is one of those things that resonates across the political spectrum, even if different people have radically different ideas about what exactly it means. What I think it means ultimately is that everyone has a right to be wrong, and even to be an obnoxious asshole about it. (See:  Party, Tea.) As long it doesn't pick anyone's pocket or break their arm, it can't -- and shouldn't -- be squelched.

So Bradley Cooper bought the film rights to deceased SEAL sniper (and serial fabulist) Chris Kyle's life, and got The Chair Haranguer to direct it. Oscars for everyone! And a perfect opportunity for Joe Average to refuse to flex his brain muscle one more blessed time. Who knew that people only want to see war movies where your side is clearly the good guys?

That's not to say that Michael Moore didn't know what he was instigating with his tweet about snipers being cowards. Moore has certainly made some wonderful movies and excellent points in the past, but he fails to understand what pretty much every liberal save Bill Clinton (who is a "liberal" only in the most technical sense, and only in comparison with the full-blood psychopaths on the other side) fails to understand -- the average 'murkin does not want the facts or discussion. He wants affirmation. He does not want to be challenged in his thoughts about The Troops, although he has yet to write his duly elected representatives to, you know, pay them better.

Even though the US military is obviously the largest in terms of firepower, one of the largest in terms of manpower, and by far the largest in area of deployment, there is actually only a very small percentage of Americans who serve or have served in the military, or even have a family member or friend in the military. Consequently, they are treated with a weird mix of misplaced reverence and outright ignorance. I'm not sure what you do, or why you do it, but I worship you for it, but not enough to keep you off food stamps, or to only send you to die for worthwhile causes. That's what all the ceremonial mumbo-jumbo boils down to, when the rubber meets the proverbial road.

Ceremony ends up mattering more than the people themselves; we would rather fold giant flags in football stadiums and participate in the obligatory 7th-inning stretch ritual than, I dunno, make the VA functional, get them jobs and counseling when they need it after returning. It's much easier to endlessly deal the more-patriotic-than-thou card off the bottom of the deck, than to think or do or say anything remotely useful to anyone besides themselves. Wrap it in a flag with plenty of empty benedictions, and you got yourself any random battle of twits virtually anywhere in this here fine country. It's not that difficult.

Here's what I suspect Joe 'murka's real take on snipers is:  their snipers are cowards, ours are heroes. That's all it ever is.

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