The Parable Of Rick

« February 2005 »

Happy President's Day! Let's all take a moment to reflect on our many, many presidents over the years, and how much better nearly every last one of them was than the one we have now. A man who, despite having dozens of private tutors on staff, has failed his class in Remedial Dipshit.

And speaking of right-wing bullshit, memo to Matt Friedeman: YOU ARE DUMB.

None of us will really know why Hunter S. Thompson shot himself over the weekend. And since none of us will ever really know, I get to draw my own conclusions. So I'm gonna assume he read a column full of bovine BMfrom Friedeman and couldn't take it anymore. I know if I'd read "Applause In The Airport? Beyond The Beer Commercial" after a life as one of the country's pre-eminent drunk* junkie* journalists, I'd probably want to eat a bullet too.

Apparently, during our national football orgy last month, Budweiser aired an ad in which a returning American soldier got a round of applause from his fellow citizens in an airport. It was a very touching, moving, and accurate commercial. I know that my own patriotism is never higher than after I've been in line for 90 minutes and had my identity verified by the authorities four times before having to take my shoes off and make sure that every last atom higher than 11 on the periodic table is in that fucking plastic basket. USA! USA! USA! USA!

Don't mind me, though, I'm just the kind of cynical leftist "AITA:BTBC" is aimed at. Friedeman, a right-wing radio host from Mississippi who's also a Professor of Jesusy Jesusness in the Christ, Christ, And More Christ Studies Department of the University of Ain't Jesus Great or some damn such thing. And he relates a tale, a tale of a caller to his radio show, who can provide corroboration that those who doubt the veracity of the means by which shitty beer is sold are COMMUNISTS. Or worse, Europeans.

You see, meet "Rick". Rick, who has no last name, because who needs last names in journalism, is a soldier. If he is a REAL solder, he is an idiot. If he is some kind of fake soldier, then he is an asshole. In other words, he's either a vegetable or a plant.

Ranger Rick, you see, claims he was terrified when he returned home from Iraq. Understandable - it must be tough going from a place where you're given flowers every day by grateful, liberated children to a harsh, barren landscape where the government is constantly trying to lower your benefits. But that's not what Rick was terrified of. He was terrified of a public that he thought had turned against him. ACTUAL QUOTE OF A QUOTE TIME!

"...there were seven other soldiers that came home with me that day. We flew into JFK, and we were talking on the way back: What's going to happen? What will we be facing? Is it going to be like the Vietnam era, are there going to be people spitting at us? We didn't know. We had that much trepidation about it."

FOR FUCK'S SAKE. If Henry Kissinger can still walk around freely, talk to people, and be paid to be an 'expert' after what HE did during the Vietnam era, I think the anti-war movement could finally get a fucking pass for the overreactions of some of their people at the same time. And unlike Kissinger, we've LEARNED from the experience. Nobody blames "the troops" anymore. Everyone supports "the troops". Have those stupid ribbons taught us nothing? Public officials can't even say "boo" about the fucked-up policy in Iraq without waxing rhapsodic for half an hour about the noble sacrifices of brave troops like Rick, who are all heroic armies of one and great guys and pure patriots. And not C students tricked by recruiters as high school juniors, nope. Not a one.

So despite the fact that "spitting on the troops" hasn't been in vogue since I stopped wearing diapers, where did Rick get the idea that he might get spit on? Why, from the DASTARDLY LIBERAL MEDIA he watched while recovering from his WAR WOUNDS.

"We watched the news to see what's going on. And we saw the protests, and we saw what the media was saying about what's going on, and we were worried about what we were actually going to face when we came home. We didn't know what to expect, to be honest with you. From the news media we were seeing, the whole country was basically telling us we're a bunch of jerks." BULLSHIT. I follow the absolutely most liberal of the liberal media that someone in a military hospital might possibly come across. And some there's no way in hell they'd be able to see. And none of them touch "the troops", much less portray them as jerks. Not Salon, not Air America, not alternative weeklies, not the major blogs, NONE OF THEM. It's not happening.

So Rick is either lying or delusional. But why would he lie? Could there be some... agenda at work here? Let me quote "Rick" again and see if you can find the subtle subtext of what "Rick", and his puppet master Friedeman, are trying to get across here.

"I thank God that the troops that are there don't see the news coverage. I thank God every day, because there'd be ten times the number getting killed, just because it would so un-motivate [sic] them." - And there you have it. The media is so awful, it wuuld KILL BRAVE SOLDIERS if they could only see it. The soldier's biggest fear in Iraq isn't the insurgency. It isn't a populace that wants them out and will do anything to make that happen. It's not roadside bombs or snipers. It's UN-MOTIVATION.

And they eat this shit up. They love it. From the strawman opening to the happy ending of hundreds of people spontaneously clapping - they eat it and believe it and love it and tell their friends about it. And "Rick's" final message, that "It was so refreshing to know that what we were seeing on the news is just a bunch of garbage that's being concocted by the media, that 99.9 percent of the country doesn't believe that way.", is what gets carried and propagated forth, even though it stems from a strawman, a blatant fucking lie.

And then these same fucking people, the self-proclaimed "Jesus-loving", talk-show hosting Friedemans of the world, are the first ones to yell at the first whiff of opposition from the left, jumping on it and branding it as "polarizing". And that gets bought into too. USA! USA! USA!

*AKA an "irresponsible youth", if you're the President