Getting a Little Bit Crazy in Iraq
Watch Generation Kill, read the review.
Prized Fray regular wmccomninel watched Generation Kill, read the review in "Culturebox", and started a great thread which led to his laying this thought on the line:
My own life was negatively affected by serving in both wars in Iraq, that much is certain. And yes, even if you just drove to the mall, when America went to war so did every American citizen, happily or not.
His top-post thoughts on the program were fascinating, worth quoting at length:
War is not just another slice-of-life experience. It tends to be thoroughly atypical in many dimensions simultaneously which makes its only points of reference internal to the experience of war itself. In other words it gets a little bit crazy when viewed from an external, normal frame of reference. When one goes home again and things are normal there is no way to translate the war experience into non-war terms. There simply are not enough common reference points upon which to draw for you to align the two different experiences in ways which are even vaguely accurate. The parallels to gang wars which the reviewer suggests that the producers have brought with them from their work on The Wire are perhaps as close as one could aspire to in such an effort. They are still woefully inadequate to the task however.
Crime within a society has a certain business-as-usual flavor (rare bizarre incidents excepted). That is why there are so many police shows, it is just too easy make another new one. War on the other hand defies all boundaries. It is the complete absence of normal law and order, hence the absurdity of trying to define 'war crimes' as if there were a proper way to conduct day-to-day war operations as we do with the goods and services of the civilian economy. Indeed I find the mix-up stems entirely from the way that so many people view war as being just 'business by other means' and not the last resort of a sovereign nation at severe risk of its own dissolution.
Geo140 had experience in the Marines and watched the original program with interest:
I don't know that I look at Generation Kill as a slap in the face to anyone who served in the military, or in the war. I simply see it as a pretty good story with some accurate details and a harsh exterior. If you're looking to this show to find a reason to hate the Marines or the military, or support an archaic view of what a soldier is, then you were lost before this show even aired. And if you're watching this show just to get a glimpse of what war could be, and what the men and women who fight those Wars might face, you may be better off--but only slightly.
Some of the arguments the program and article produced were very angry –just the list of thread titles would tell you that: Among the repeatable are "You're an idiot," "Same old tired story," and "Generation Wuss." The post featured above was called "ACME War Services, the musical"—you'll have to read it to find out why. 4 p.m. GMT
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Fray poster Expectator had a way to solve the whole New Yorker cover controversy:
Put the same drawing on a TV screen with the Fox emblem in the corner and a pair of couch potatoes parked in front of it--put that on your cover, and you've got satire.
Geoffrey Andersen, co-editor of the Fray, is a law student based in California.