What We Fought For

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Ah, Memorial Day.

Since nobody's working today, nobody's reading the column. Not that I actively resent the fact that you only swing by to distract yourselves from your day-to-day drudgery - all providers of free Internet content must make themselves quite comfortable with their productivity-ruining nature. But it does mean I can say whatever I want, and as long as there's something else in this space tomorrow, you won't even notice.

But since it's Memorial Day, the day in which we honor the millions who've died for our country - fighting global tyranny, annexing foreign lands, unnecessarily fighting the forces of communism in the jungle, or making sure Dubya got a second term - let's take a moment and see how well we're using the freedom we spent all those lives on.

Judith and Jeff Landreth decided to use their freedom to send a stupid letter to the newspaper. In it, they ask: "Does Newsweek magazine understand the damage it has done to our sons and daughters serving in Afghanistan and Iraq?". Whatever hole they live in must have a very impressive, advanced Knowledge Osmosis Filter on top of it, because they managed to learn that Newsweek had allegedly done something wrong, but failed to grok that Newsweek had its facts right.

They continue. "Does it even give a thought to the harm it has inflicted on our troops and on our country?" I guarantee you they gave more of a thought than Lynndie England did. But that's just me. Oh, and Newsweek had its facts right, in case I hadn't mentioned it. Or in case I had, since it apparently bears repeating. Any other words, oh wise Landreths of Bloomington, home of the Mall of America, Ikea, and thickies with matching initials?

"In our view, Newsweek and other news media outlets lack honesty and integrity in their reporting to the point of treason." - Well, if getting your facts right means being guilty of treason, then at least the Landreths will never find themselves guilty of THAT crime. Just the crime of idiocy.

And speaking of crimes, I can't tell what our fine men and women fought and died for. Did they fight so that moms could hire strippers for their sixteen-year-old sons, or did they fight to bring the mom up on charges as a result? Let's just say they fought so that Tennessee could be Tennessee, and leave it at that. Because really, isn't that bad enough?

On the one hand, how sexually repressed are we again, that we have to charge a mother with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" when she brings her son a naked dancing lady for his birthday? How, exactly, does that contribute to his delinquency? Nashville police spokesman Ron Aaron explained that since minors aren't allowed in strip clubs, "a person shouldn't be allowed to circumvent that law by hiring a stripper, a lady who took all her clothes off and spent a good amount of time dancing around minors." - It seems to me that by bypassing the strip club, you bypass most of the actual delinquency - the booze, the smoke, and the people you're likely to find in a Nashville titteria.

Oh, and I know he spends most of his time around people who live in Tennessee, but I think even there, they don't need the police to actually define the word "stripper". We'll probably be able to manage on an etymological basis without Ron Aaron's comma clauses, thanks.

Unfortunately, every last shred of sympathy I might have for the mom in question, Anette Pharris, is sucked away by the incredible white-trash quotient of the whole sordid affair. Mom is 34, son is 16. So doing the math, there's a fair amount of family tradition involving naked women and the teen years. Second, just hiring a stripper for a birthday party in the first place, if you'll pardon my East coast liberal elitism for a second, is just fucking tacky. The kid's sixteen. It's not like he needs help masturbating.

But mostly, at the end of the day, it's how she got caught. She took pictures. Of the stripper. At the party. And took them to the drug store to get them developed. And the drug store busybodies turned them in. There are only two kinds of people working in drug store photo labs - the kind who make copies, and the kind who call coppies. And you don't want to bring your titty film to either one. That's why God invented the charge-coupled device, folks. Even in Tennessee, you should be able to get a cheap digital camera for a fraction of the price of a stripper housecall. Or at least I assume. My knowledge of consumer electronics pricing is a lot deeper than the economics of girlflesh - probably because that's what I got for my sixteenth birthday. And nobody got arrested.