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Friday, December 8, 2006

does anything mean anything anymore?

I was going to make some amusing comments about my life but I realized I didn't want to subject any one to any kind of navel gazing so I'm going to talk about something else now.

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I read some stories in the Tribune about it over the last couple of days, note the plural. Something that occurred to me is that FDR was wrong: the date doesn't live in "infamy" at all. For people who didn't live through it, along with D-Day and Iwo Jima and so much else, that date lives in awesomeness.

"World War II was totally awesome!" say so many of the Baby Boom generation, albeit in their own vernacular, "It filled our parents lives with moral clarity and purpose and it gave them meaning and shit and all we got was lousy Vietnam! Which most of us didn't go to!" This twisted fetishizing reached its peak in the late nineties when Tom Brokaw wrote his stupid book and Stephen Spielberg made his stupid movie, both of which could have saved a lot of space by just saying "I'm sorry, Daddy, I'm sorry I didn't go kill evil foreigners the way you did. You are the big, strong man I will never be."

When the twin towers came down a couple of years later, the sickest of these sickos, many of whom have jobs writing editorials in major newspapers, came all over themselves with pleasure and anticipation. They were going to achieve "moral clarity and purpose" through mass slaughter, albeit from a greater distance than their fathers and forefathers did. Off to fight the Axis and the fascists we were, once again. How marvelous! We'll pretend to be somber and reverent and so forth but really we can't wait to write the songs of the glorious battles against evil yet to be waged.

It's pathetic. It's pathetic because they don't understand that World War II was not in fact totally awesome. World War II was the worst thing that ever happened. It was not about brave young men hoisting flags over mounds of dirt, it was about millions upon millions upon millions of men, women and children being killed, in horrible ways.

Pearl Harbor should live in infamy. It should live as the beginning (for Americans) of something truly terrible. We shouldn't spend our time looking for ways to make it happen again we should devote every ounce of our strength to making sure that it doesn't.

We're not going to though.

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