Tag Archives: Army

The Real Meaning of Christmas Memorial Day

Well readers, it’s Memorial Day in America, meaning that you’re almost certainly going to stumble over one of these pictures today…

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These have a habit of rearing their heads from the depths of the internet whenever a holiday rolls around. Memorial Day. Veteran’s Day. Our sense of patriotic duty and military sympathy is so strong that we’ll even claim Labor Day “isn’t just a long weekend.”

And regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, your Facebook feed is almost certainly going to be drenched in emotional “tributes” to the armed forces.

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And it’s that last one there that really irked me. “The real meaning of Memorial Day.”

The real” meaning of Memorial Day.

Because apparently everyone’s been grossly incorrect about what Memorial Day means. Because the “realmeaning- like the city of Atlantis or the paintings of Botticelli- has been lost to mankind. Because it must mean something. It can’t be just a day for BBQs, right?

Well readers, yours truly has undertaken an intrepid journey into the heart of American culture to uncover that legendary “lost meaning.”

Here’s what I’ve discovered. Continue reading

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The Internet, The Military, And Feminism – A Brief Interaction Between Two Facebook Pages

First things first, this is going to be another one of my shorter posts. The days ahead are packed so I’ve sat down to rattle something off on Wednesday night just to keep the content coming. Secondly, when it comes to the military and feminism I am very confident in my feelings towards one and very uncomfortable and unsure about the other.

I’m not one to bandy around words like “liberal” and “conservative”, proper nouns or otherwise, but in general the profession of killing others isn’t one that sits easily with me. To say that I think we can solve all of the world’s problems by just sitting down, talking, and hugging it out is a step too far, however. There is clearly a need for such men and women, with World War II being the obvious go-to example of when war is right [literal decades of video games have communicated how evil the Nazis were]. Not everyone can be negotiated with or see reason, no matter how badly we would like that to be true.

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Nazis are so evil that Nazi zombies are actually better, not worse, because zombies can’t be antisemites.

So no, at bare minimum I do not hate the military or its existence. That of course does not mean I don’t get uneasy about the whole semper-fi-oorah-[yes-I-know-those-are-both-specifically-USMC-related] mentality that appears to be a requirement of serving in the armed forces. It makes sense, of course, to want to foster an unbreakable kinship between people who depend on each other for their survival, but it’s also obvious that this kind of impregnable bond can lead to a lot of terrible things being covered up [see literally any recent news article about police brutality].

It should also go without saying that this club, if we can call it that, is primarily male. According to CNN as of four years ago only “about 203,000 [. . .] or 14.5% of the active duty force of nearly 1.4 million” is made up of women. Even without this statistic it isn’t surprising that the vast majority is men, and that such a male-dominated environment results in particular attitudes and opinions being fostered.

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Feminist-Grunts11bravo, U.S. Infantry Soldiers is a mouthful [and referred to from this point on as Feminist-Grunts], but also the name of a Facebook page I came across with a very unique mission. It claims to be “for Infantry dedicated to respecting women and kicking ass of chauvinistic a**holes,” which doesn’t sound like something I have any problem with whatsoever. It’s also run by a single “feminist female veteran” who describes the page as being a “parody account”. To dig deeper into what she means by that, she says:

“This page is really a parody satire project where I pretend that feminist grunts exist, that they run this page, and that they believe in fairness, equality, and that everyone regardless of sex, gender, race, class, religion, has an undeniable right to pursue whatever careers they want to the best of their ability.”

Continue reading

Culture War Reporters’ Memorial Day Montage

War.

For the vast majority of the lives of every writer here at CWR, wars and rumors of war have been a part of daily life. As of 2013, over 43% of the US military is comprised of men and women aged 25 or younger, an additional 22% just barely older. The majority of this nation’s army are tasked with fighting in conflicts many are barely old enough to remember the start of. The once rare presence of a person in uniform has now become a commonplace in airports all across the continent, and for good or ill, the armed forces have become a major element in our culture, and we here at CWR have engaged the subject over and over again.

Today’s post comes to you on Memorial Day for Americans. In the spirit of the day, I figured we should take a moment to offer a review on the material we’ve produced on the subject of the military. The good, the bad, the ugly- altogether.

Why We Need Graphic Violence

Violence in media is often cited as being one of the chief sources of violence in everyday life. But is our paralytic fear of showing blood and gore actually a good thing? Here we argue that disturbing images need to be seen for us to be really and truly disturbed, and that there’s no better place to start than with war. How else can we measure the real cost?

Stars Earn Stripes (Is A Terrible, Awful, Idiotic Abomination)

Fortunately cancelled after only four weeks of airtime, NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes stands as a demonstration of just how depraved we can be when it comes to exploiting the horror of war and our sympathy for folks in uniform. Here we break down every repellent detail of why this show (and shows like it) are as damaging as they are deluding.

No War, No More

During the height of tensions with North Korea during the spring of 2013 there was more than a little bravado on the side of Americans mocking the little dictatorship and laughing at the prospect of bombing the country out of existence. Frustrated by the cavalier attitude of so many, we provided this reminder of the actual nature of war and conflict.

Shame Day: War As A Fashion Statement

Later that same year, Evan covered the trend on militaria as a fashion, targeting the ironic(?) use of Vietnam War caps specifically. Disrespectful to veterans? Trivializing of combat? Read on to see for yourself.

(Admittedly, the title’s probably a giveaway. It’s still a good piece- read it anyways.)

America Wants Dead Soldiers

In what was perhaps the most shocking titles ever given to a post here at CWR, yours truly argues that the sympathy offered the members of the armed services (especially on days such as today) are by and large crocodile tears. Actual gratitude to the men and women in uniform has a strange habit of disappearing when it involves any actual sacrifice or effort on our part. Read on to discover why.

The Black And White Of American Sniper [No, This Isn’t About Race]

While real support for the armed forces is no easy task, honest criticism’s no picnic either, as Evan demonstrates in his analysis of the reactions to American Sniper. In addressing the legacy of celebrated marksman Chris Kyle we examine how quickly both history and our depictions of it can be distorted to complement our own views. If you look at nothing else today, look at this one.

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On the ninth of this month Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown during a traffic stop. The subsequent days have seen massive protests in both the city and across the nation, matched only in their intensity by the crackdown of the local police.

Now while the police have just now cited that the deceased Michael Brown was the suspect in a local convenience store robbery (nothing has yet been proven), the cops have nevertheless come under widespread criticism. By all accounts, 18-year-old Michael Brown, who has no record of bad behavior- criminal or otherwise, surrendered to Wilson after a brief struggle. Despite his raised hands and his shouts that he was unarmed, Wilson opened fire anyway, shooting the teenager no less than six times.

We could talk about the struggle that allegedly occurred, the protocol in place for such events, and a host of other factors, but ultimately the fact that Wilson shot and killed an unarmed teen remains undisputed.

But we’re not here to talk about that.

We’re here to talk about the days that have since passed.

Continue reading

America Wants Dead Soldiers

Dead or silent- exactly which doesn’t seem to matter much. And for the vast majority of us, that statement’s going to sound absurd, perhaps even offensive. After all, this isn’t the tail end of Vietnam. Returning servicemen aren’t being spat on.

Unless you count Bowe Bergdahl.

In June of 2009, Sergeant Bergdahl was captured by Taliban forces after he disappeared from his base. He spent the past five years as a prisoner, repeatedly tortured and used for Taliban propaganda. After a prisoner exchange was made on May 31st of this year, Sergeant Bergdahl returned home at last…

…to a chorus of “coward!”, “deserter!”, and “traitor!”

Who needs “innocent until proven guilty?”

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Russia and the Ukraine

GORDON: The Culture “War” has more often than not been used as a metaphor, but every once in a while (and with increasing occurrence) battles of the heart and mind start to include blood and iron as well.

Today we’re going to be discussing the ongoing Crisis in the Ukraine, both in regards to its roots and its implications in our society as a whole.

EVAN: I’m going to be one hundred percent honest with you, Gordon, and with all of our readers, I’m primarily going to be viewing a lot of Russia’s actions, and the responses of the other world powers, almost purely as if this were all a game of Sid Meier’s Civilization V.

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Consequently, I can only imagine Putin like this.

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Shame Day: Zionism

This hasn’t been a great week.

My pick for the Zimbabwe elections lost to a 90-year old autocrat, white nose syndrome is devastating the American bat population, and the recent attempt to defund the NSA’s domestic spying programs has failed in Congress.

And in spite of all that, I’m going to be discussing issue I’ve been wanting to take an axe to for quite some time now.

Yep- Zionism. Continue reading