Monday, May 30, 2005

Preventing outrage fatigue

I read a piece today by a man named Charles Grist. From what I read he sounds like a guy whom I’d agree with 364 days a year, but there was something about this piece that sort of rubbed me the wrong way. It was written about Bill Maher’s most recent moronic comments, or at least his most recent moronic comments that someone actually heard and paid attention to.

Jane Fonda's despicable behavior in North Vietnam was the act of a traitor. She can apologize all she wants, now (so that people will see her latest movie or buy her book), but those of us who served in Vietnam will not forget what she did, or forget how our prisoners of war suffered because of her actions.

Now, we have some new Hollywood military experts. The latest is comedian Bill Maher, who made a fool out of himself after Sept. 11, 2001, by arguing that the terrorists weren't cowards when they flew airplanes into our neighbors. He apologized for that remark, but now he is at it again.

On the May 13 broadcast of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, he referred to the Army's recruiting difficulties by saying that "we've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies." This comment does a great disservice to the brave members of all the military services.

Maher's lack of common sense is comparable to Sean Penn's pre-war visit to his buddy, Saddam Hussein. These guys are hungry for publicity in any form, and honestly believe that their celebrity status makes them experts in world affairs. These two "famous" men are probably not capable of understanding the level of sacrifice it takes for a man or woman to enlist, train under unbelievably difficult circumstances, and go thousands of miles away to fight for their country.

Yes, Bill Maher is a dipshit, but we really need to settle down with the daily outrage. As execrable as Mr. Maher is, I don’t think he meant to imply that all of our soldiers are of the same class as the magnificent stereotype embodied in PVT England. There are plenty of really despicable people out there who, at best, believe our men and women in uniform are clueless dupes; victims to be pitied who wouldn’t be there if our society were just a bit more egalitarian. What I would say to Mr. Grist is conserve your outrage. It’s a target rich environment

Update: Just when I thought maybe the right was too quick to become outraged I saw this. This guy is all a twitter because someone was drinking some brand of bottled water in an ad that Arnold Schwartzenegger did. He thinks it's product placement. I can't even tell what brand it is.