Monday, September 22, 2003

The Lesson

Lileks turned me on to this one, but didn't link. James, James! Specificity is the soul of credibility!

Anyway, read this story about those fine examples of humanity, the folks who guard the tomb of the unknowns in Arlington National cemetery. They were offered the chance to bug out when Isabel was barreling down on Virginia.

Thanks, but no thanks, was their reply.

In essence, these guys were willing to sacrifice their lives to guard some dust brought back from overseas. I'm not going to make a point about how great this country is because these men were willing to stand guard at the tomb. Because if you read the story, and the quote from the ringleader of the decision to stay behind, it had nothing at all to do with this country. It had everything to do with the anonymous soldiers buried under the granite.

"Did they volunteer? Did they get drafted? How did they die? They did their job and this country paid them back by not remembering who they were ...."

The humanity in this statement is overwhelming. I feel honored to be guarded by men and women who believe as such. At the end of this war, when the forces of civilization have triumphed, it will have been not because of the strength of our armies, or the superiority of our technology, but because of the human heart that beats within each and every American, British, Polish, and, yes, French and German man and woman. It is because of the clearly apparent superiority of a culture that places value in an individual, and regards each human life as sacred.

We may not win this war for a long, long time. There will be more events that will shock and depress us. We have much work to do on the homefront as well; taking on a "Fifth Column" within that forgets the ascendancy of our nations is because of our trust and respect in the individual. Those that forget; they that revel in power, control, and disrespect for inconvenient life (the unborn, the aged, the powerless), those that forget must be reminded. Gently, and with love. One gesture at a time. One lesson at a time. Lessons given by the most unlikely of teachers, like a member of the Old Guard who refuses to leave his post: not because the charnal remains he protects are those of American soldiers -- but because they are those of another human being.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Performance enhancing drugs in football...

See this story, I'll wait while you go and read it:

Patriots ink Levitra marketing deal.


Okay, baseball is one thing. Rafael Palmeiro can go and talk about Viagra and he'll get razzed, but it doesn't hurt his team. There's something vaguely not quite right with Baseball anyway, as baseball has references to players with "three balls" and bats are called "wood". Maybe baseball is appropriate for groinal issues.

But please, "The New England Patriots football performance brought to you by Levitra: when you're flogging a wet noodle, think Levitra and the New England Patriots!"

"Brady sets up to pass, the rush is on, he scrambles, evades the sack!, And remember, when you're penile dysfunction problems cause you to evade the sack, think Levitra and the New England Patriots!"

"The snap, the ball is down, Vinateri kicks, Patriots score!!! Which is more than you're doing if you don't take Levitra, the Official Erectile Aid of the New England Patriots."

Actually, this works on many levels. Perhaps they could bring back Zeke Mowatt as a celebrity endorser. Maybe even Lisa Olsen.

Well, that's it. Say goodnight, Gracie. The 2003 New England Patriots football season is officially over.

(Note, this was written before today's dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles. All is forgiven. Go and support your team, go out and buy some Levitra today.)

Friday, September 5, 2003

It's All... Stupid

Ok, there's a new show on ABC this fall, It's All Relative, that they've been promoting up the wazoo (so it must suck like an electrolux), which is billed as a sort of La Cage Aux Folles taken to the "what next" stage.

Lenny Clarke plays a Boston Irish Catholic whose son is engaged to a Harvard Medical student. Lenny's son is a bartender, and his fiancee has two gay dads.

Comic goodness ensues.

The ads run last night feature delightful light hearted name calling, featuring such lovey words as sissy-boy, pansy, etc etc.

It's being billed as sort of an Archie Bunker for the new millenia. Three episodes. I hope this thing keels in three episodes. How do I hate this? Let me count the ways....

1) Stereotype-o-rama. You want to offend? This baby's got it all!!! Gay men are well-coiffed, wordly, sophisticated and bitchy. Boston Irish Catholics are knuckle-dragging troglodytes who would call their prospective inlaws derogatory names (to their faces, and before the wedding, all true Boston Irish Catholics know to wait until at least the reception). Harvard students?: Modern and progressive. Working class joes?: Backward and offensive.

2) Fact idiocy. If you're going to offend people, do it with some intelligence. On last night's promos, as Lenny Clarke was bringing the nationwide view of Boston Irish Catholics (they hammered that point endlessly: he's not just from Boston... He's Irish! He's Catholic! My goodness, he probably is a repressed altar boy abuser himself!!!!) down a peg or eight, the two sophisticated gay gentlemen spewed their own invective: "Irish Catholic" "caveman" "Republican".


Just as now nation divided may long endure, and as a house built on sand will fall into the sea, no television show with writers for an abject disdain for truth will long entertain an audience. The strength of situational comedy lay in believable absurdity. Take a memory, event, or truth, particularly something painful or hurtful, push it two degrees past truth and caricature to create a safe distance, and you have humor. But you've got to base these things in truth, so that people will see it, recognize it, and appreciate it's difference from reality.

This is where "It's all relative" drives off the cliff. There is no such thing as a Boston Irish Catholic Republican. There may be a Loch Ness Monster, there may be a Big Foot, and there may be a pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, but there ain't no such thing as a Boston Irish Republican.

(We gots plenty o' Boston Irish Republican Army sympathizers around here, but that ain't the same thing).