Cheering on the Enemy

Monday, July 24, 2006

We're at war, and CNN admits to being on the other side.


truepeers said...

On the other hand... you watch BBC World and there's no question of them admitting to being on the other side: they leave absolutely no doubt about it. They are clearly and simply pro-fascist.

loner said...
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loner said...

It's my usual practice to try to refrain from commenting, no matter what the provocation, on military action while that action is taking place. I don't know enough about anything material and I do know that most of what I'm seeing and hearing has little to nothing to do with what is actually happening. Then there is the fact that where the fighting is going on people with all sorts of stories are persevering and suffering and dying in ways that I hope never to know firsthand.

There are a few of my favorite movies which my wife has never seen for one reason or another, but among the more recent ones it's usually had to do with snakes and/or realistic violence. Tonight we watched one of those movies together. I still get a lump in my throat during certain scenes in Black Hawk Down. My wife had a lot of questions.

Anyway, I'm going to stop reading here for awhile. I do know something about elections so I'll probably be back in late September or October and, who knows, I might send MHA another movie review one of these weeks, but maybe not.

I started Ulysses by James Joyce today. It isn't the first time I've started it and it may not end up being the first time I finish it, but then again...

The shell had his number on it.

The blood ran into the ground.

The service record dropped out of the filing cabinet when the quartermaster sergeant got blotto that time they had to pack and leave the billets in a hurry.
The identification tag was in the bottom of the Marne.

The blood ran into the ground, the brains oozed out of the cracked skull and were licked up by the trenchrats, the belly swelled and raised a generation of bluebottle flies,
and the incorruptible skeleton,
and the scraps of dried viscera and skin bundled in khaki

they took to Chalons-sur-Marne
and laid it out neat in a pine coffin
and took it home to God's Country on a battleship
and buried it in a sarcophagus in the Memorial Amphitheater in the Arlington National Cemetery
and draped the Old Glory over it
and the bugler played taps
and Mr. Harding prayed to God and the diplomats and the generals and the admirals and the brasshats and the politicians and the handsomely dressed ladies out of the society column of the Washington Post stood up solemn
and thought how beautiful sad Old Glory God's Country it was to have the bugler play taps and the three volleys made their ears ring.

Where his chest ought to have been they pinned
the Congressional Medal, the D.S.C., the Medaille Militaire, the Belguim Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, the Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania, the Czechoslovak War Cross, the Virtuti Militari of the Poles, a wreath sent by Hamilton Fish, Jr., of New York, and a little wampum presented by a deputation of Arizona redskins in warpaint and feathers. All the Washingtonians brought flowers.

Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies.

—John Dos Passos, the conclusion of The Body of an American which concludes the middle novel, Nineteen Nineteen, in his U.S.A. Trilogy

That I've read in God's Country as I do.


Peter UK said...

Anybody know the arabic lyrics for Tomorrow Belongs to Me?

chuck said...

John Dos Passos

Ah, back before the Spanish Civil War and the execution of his friend Jose Robles Pazos started him on his journey to rabid anti-communism. In this he was probably better than the poseur Hemingway. It is strange how self absorbed folk like Hemingway are attracted to extreme movements, although like Picasso and Sartre they don't seem to actually do much.

I read Dos Passos' Three Soldiers way back when and think it gives an excellent feeling for the strange, almost surreal, atmosphere on the left after the Great War and the Russian Revolution. It is like taking drugs and entering into a hallucinatory world of dragons and sorcerers.

Good luck with Ulysses.

Fresh Air said...


I haven't read any Dos Passos. I would like to tackle USA, though. Is Three Soldiers a good warm-up or a waste of time.

chuck said...

Fresh Air,

I couldn't say. I haven't read much that is considered literature since high school and it was then that I read Three Soldiers. It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Loner could probably give you better advice if he comes back to the thread and doesn't abandon us completely.

Rick Ballard said...


I would suggest tackling the trilogy straight on. If you read Three Soldiers after The Big Money it's rather humorous. It will lead you to reflect on Dalton Trumbo's frantic excercise in trying to buy up all the copies of Johnny Got His Gun after the collapse of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - only to republish it in 1971.

I wonder if CNN/BBC use Johnny Got His Gun as part of their employee 'training'? Just to get the proper mind meld to 'understand' the new totalitarianism.

Peter UK said...
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Peter UK said...

The BBC does not have to give its employees such training - it advertises its job vacancies in the Guardian.

Skookumchuk said...

Ah, yes. John Dos Passos.

chuck said...


What was really annoying, besides the obviously selected or made up quotes from the troops that supported the author's point, was the implication that we were naturally responsible for relieving all of Europe. I have nothing against charity but when it is demanded as some sort of right then it becomes an resented imposition.

Heh, I turned up the following while googling Dos Passos

...being unconventionally born on January 14, 1896.

Unconventionally born? Oh Lordy, what a bizarre and meaningless circumlocution for illegitimate. The world has gone truly mad.

Skookumchuk said...


Yeah. Then we have:

We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

In other words:

We have swept away [insert name of tyranny here], but [those of us who are right and just and sensitive] feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

I think I've also heard this in other contexts, somehow...

Knucklehead said...


Some things never change... Whatever and wherever the misery if only the US had acted differently, had paid attention to our betters, the misery would be lessened or eliminated.

BTW, We have swept away Hitlerism [or communism for that matter], but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease is a common sentiment. Also note the use of "Hitlerism" rather than "fascism". In general the Euros really have no problem with fascism - makes perfect sense to them. Just a methodology for setting production and distribution, that's all. Give 'em somebody who does it well and they'll be just fine with it.

terrye said...

I have read a lot of antiwar novels in my time. Invariably war is seen as a cure that is worse than the disease, but always after the fact. In other words, once the facsists have been driven away by the war mongers the sensitive people write novels about how inhumane it all is.

Then there is the Diary of Anne Frank, written by a young girl who did not live long enough to see how the cure was worse than the disease.

Buddy Larsen said...

Loner, re Dos Passos passage, to me it seems that the more we see with our own eyes the reality of totalitarian fascism, the less the futility theme of the "lost generation" pertains.

loner said...

Not to get too much involved in what is essentially a meaningless exercise in judging a man who had a full, interesting and useful life, which ended in 1970, by this or that moment in his thinking, but I did close my second or third post in November 2003 elsewhere with this:

There has been some recent discussion elsewhere in the blogosphere regarding magazine articles that contended we were losing the peace in the aftermath of the Second World War. It should be remembered that the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were not enunciated and then enacted in the immediate aftermath of that war. They were enunciated and enacted in response to a resurgence of the "red menace." Americans were sold on the expense and effort involved not because of humanitarian concerns, but because of security concerns. So it may go in Iraq and Afghanistan as the occupations drag on and support for their continuance fades. The "red menace" may be resurrected as the "green threat." I prefer the "green wave" (a bit of a DUNE reference) myself, but history suggests it’s more likely, should it happen, that the nomenclature will more closely reference the "yellow peril" and the "red menace."

I agree with Rick. The trilogy first.

I also wanted to link once more to something Roger linked to back in February. All are worth the time invested. I'm going to read more Furst later...much later.

Bye for now.

Buddy, I will fight no more forever...or at least until September. Salut.

Skookumchuk said...


In general the Euros really have no problem with fascism - makes perfect sense to them... Give 'em somebody who does it well and they'll be just fine with it.

True. If Herr Hitler had been unopposed and the martial fires in the German heart had finally died away and energies redirected toward building autobahns and worker vacation resorts and in developing sound anti-smoking campaigns and good environmental policies, and sending rockets to space, and if they decided to make as the cornerstone of their diplomacy an alliance with the Grand Muftis of the Middle East, how different would Europe really be from the transnationalist paradise envisioned by EU planners today?

Skookumchuk said...

Though I must add that in Europe, there is a quiet and broad opposition to the centralizing anti-democratic forces at the heart of the EU experiment. How effective they will be is another question. Maybe more than we think.

Peter UK said...

In actuallity,the people of Europe don't give a "Tinker's Cuss" about the EU,it is simply a politicians plaything and a bureaucrats scam.

BTW Hitler was a National Socialist.
Mussolini was a Fascist.

Skookumchuk said...

Peter UK:

Yes - "a tinker's cuss".

Unfortunate that Europeans and Americans see each other through the prism of elite opinion and the MSM. There is more common sense about than we think.

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