Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stars Earn Stripes

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What kind of country have we become? Have we completely lost the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality? Every time I think we've reached the bottom, I'm surprised by a new low.

I remember thinking about this when the Rambo movies were popular. Sure, we might have lost the real Vietnam War, but in the fantasy world of the movies, Rambo could kick butt. Yeah, that was real macho, wasn't it? We could all be tough vicariously, in our imaginations.

Likewise, chickenhawks in the Bush administration, who'd been very, very careful to avoid serving in the Vietnam War themselves, viewed war as a spectator sport. Well, they were all faith-based. They didn't seem to have any mechanism for distinguishing fantasy from reality. War was fun and politically popular.

Yes, without a draft - we're all "loyal Bushies" in that respect, in the care we take to avoid danger ourselves - America loved it. When Afghanistan got boring - how dare they have no good targets for our high-tech missiles? - it was time to boost ratings with a new war in Iraq.

Sure, we didn't have any real excuse for invading Iraq, not even the poor excuse we had for invading Afghanistan. (The 9/11 terrorists were actually Saudi Arabian. And Barack Obama showed us how we could have gone after Osama bin Laden in the first place, even if we hadn't been smart enough to consider terrorism to be a crime, rather than 'war.')

But Iraq had lots of oil, so the war would "pay for itself," right? And they had lots of targets for our high-tech weapons. Military contractors were giddy at the prospect of shooting off our whole stock of enormously expensive missiles.

Ordinary Americans loved it, too. It was like the Fourth of July. We got to see the explosions in real-time without getting off the couch - and certainly without being in any danger ourselves. Reality TV! What fun!

And it was all free, since we just put it on the nation's credit card. I mean, you can hardly pass up a free war, can you?

But now, I guess, we're bored again. And until the Republicans regain power, we probably won't have a new war to watch. (I can't wait until we can all watch the explosions in Tehran! What about you?)

I mean, that stuff's not real, is it? It's just television, right? And the Obama administration just doesn't know how to entertain us. Afghanistan? That was boring a decade ago! Come on! We need a fresh war to keep ratings high.

Or maybe just 'reality' TV. Yeah, that's the stuff. For Americans, this is 'real,' I guess. Or, at least, real enough, since these days we seem to have a harder and harder time telling the difference.

Is anyone else as embarrassed at this as I am?


Chimeradave said...

Wow, this is really awful. It's like something out of a science fiction novel. Except that anyone with a brain knows that the celebs aren't in any real danger which just makes this pathetic. If it was a science fiction novel it would be the celebs enlisting for real and half of them would die actually doing something heroic.

WCG said...

We don't even need science fiction for that, John. It happens. Which makes this pretend stuff all the more disgusting, doesn't it?