Everybody’s God; Everybody’s Country
I’m not being disrespectful when I say this: Sure, the Americans who served in war were honorable, courageous patriots — but so was every single soldier against whom they fired their rifles or dropped their bombs.
Every soldier who’s ever picked up a gun and donned her/his country’s uniform has done so in the name of god, the flag, freedom, and honor.
Oddly, only people who’ve actually been in combat really understand that truth. When former enemy combatants cross each others’ paths, they often feel a kinship, a spiritual connection.
Only the chicken hawks think honor and courage are the sole possessions of American soldiers.
Funny how the subtle use of language can change how news is presented on big-money mass media.
To wit: This AM, while driving down to Lake Monroe with Steve the Dog to catch the sunrise, I had NPR’s Morning Edition on the car radio. At the top of the hour, the news headlines came on and the anchor, a fellow named Dave Mattingly, reported that the town of Elicott City, Maryland was “just beginning to assess the damage” from flash floods that tore through it yesterday.
Steve and I first visited the Cutright ramp on the south end of the causeway where we found ourselves fogged in. We jumped back in the hot rod and crossed the causeway again to hit the larger Paynetown SRA where, we had seen from our southerly vantage point, the sun was burning off the fog. By then the 20-minutes-past-the-hour report came on. This time, Mattingly reported that officials in Elicott City were “still assessing the damage.”
See the subtle change in message brought about by the use of one little word? Twenty minutes earlier, Mattingly implied rescue workers etc. were just climbing out of bed and pulling their waders on in preparation for their work of the day. Not a half hour later, he then implied, those same workers seemingly had been at it for long hours, maybe even days.
Now, this particular example doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things but it’s a textbook lesson in how the message can be, well, massaged. How do these little quirks and implications by minuscule variations in vocabulary affect how we perceive the news?
Honestly, it takes work to listen to or read about the news. Most people elect not to devote any real effort to that process. They want sharp, tight messages that demand nothing of them. And therein lies part of the genius of our current president. He speaks in blurbs that are rapidly digested by those who adore him and even a hell of a lot of people who think he’s a dick. Because his lines are so unchallenging, these people conclude he’s a plain speaker telling a truth.
My gals & guys, the Dems, think all they have to do is present good, cogent, often complicated arguments or explanations and the gen. public will buy their positions. Those Dem pols are not geniuses. In fact, they are woefully ignorant of the people whom they purport to represent.
Apparently, there’s a new problem among major league baseball players these days. It’s become trendy for a lot of them to wear big, dangly, diamond-laden necklaces while they play the game. And often, these dangly necklaces get snagged on their uniform jerseys or entangled in their or the opposition players’ fingers and mitts as they collide, busting open the necklaces and spilling the diamonds.
As you know, baseball is played on dirt — at least around the base paths. All those spilled little diamonds are tough to find in the dirt and occasionally, the game has to be delayed while players’ sift through the soil looking for thier precious stones.
Just a reminder that major league baseball players are, like most professional athletes, by and large, a bunch of overgrown kids whose priorities tend toward crass displays of wealth and, perhaps relatedly, the acquisition and accumulation of female sex partners.
It makes me wonder why I’m still enthralled by watching these goofy kids play their game.
The Astronaut As Artist
Alan Bean was the fourth human to walk on the moon. He and his colleague, Pete Conrad, flew down to the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite from Apollo 12, the second humaned-mission to the moon, in November, 1969.
Bean worked as an astronaut for the next six years, commanding Skylab 3 in 1973. After retiring from active flight service in 1975, he ran the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group for another six years. He’d spent a total of more than 1600 hours in space and had floated around outside his space capsules in EVAs for some ten and a half hours.
When he left NASA, he elected to become a painter. Some of his former astro-mates snickered at his choice. The rest were baffled by his post-career career. They’d done things like go to work for NASA’s private vendors where they could earn scads of dough. A former astronaut becoming a painter of pictures? Well, hell, that was just weird.
When I learned what Bean had done after his astro-days, he immediately became one of my favorite American spacepeople, along with John Glenn, who’d won gobs of money as a contestant on the game show Name That Tune a few years before he sat atop a rocket. Glenn, BTW, named all 15 songs thrown at him during his appearance on the show in 1957.
Anyway, Alan Bean died last week at the age of 86. It’s going on 50 years since he walked on the men. The original few generations of astronauts either are creaky, frail old coots or they’re dead. They flew farther than any humans ever had. But they couldn’t outfly time.