Monday, August 22, 2005

Making the Cut in the NFL vs the Mainstream Media

Quick, name two members of the American armed forces who have died in the "War Against Terror?". Let me guess, most of you got Casey Sheehan and Pat Tillman. Sheehan's name has been in the news lately because his mother went to Crawford. Tillman left the NFL to fight on America's Real Team and was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. For the other 2,300 Americans who have died in this war, 1864 reported in Iraq, 230 in Afghanistan, and some 240 civilian contractors who in past wars would have been miltary personnel, dying for the administration's noble cause has meant dying anonymously. So a 23 year old man dies in the San Francisco 49er locker room while trying to make the team and all of America knows the name of Thomas Herrion, well at least for a week or so.

Weirder yet, the articles tell the story of a brave and fine young man who lived for the dream of making the NFL so he might buy his mother a house and a car for himself.
This, to the mainstream media, is a noble cause worth several columns and endless medical reports. I am perfectly happy believing that Thomas Herrion was good guy, even a very good guy, but doesn't anyone notice the tiniest bit of irony here?
The media will no doubt cover the funeral. Famous athletes will serve as pallbearers. Someone will likely start a trust fund for the family back in Texas, if there isn't a lawsuit instead. Why all this? Because we will be told that Herrion was just a hardworking young man pursuing his dream.

Last weekend, four young men allegedly protecting our dreams in Afghanistan were blown up and another young man was killed in Iraq. Why doesn't anyone want us to know their names? Shouldn't we at least understand what they died for? Aren't their lives worth a good reason backed by solid evidence? Even if it's just to keep the rest of us in new cars.

Am I the only one that thinks it's odd that President Bush is more likely to attend or comment on the Texas funeral of Thomas Herrion than any funeral for a fallen service man or woman or to meet with any members of Goldstar Mothers for Peace?



At 8/22/2005 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't just the names -- it is the images. I graduated from high school in 1970 and so grew up with images of Viet Nam on the evening news. Every night. And eventually the people of this country said stop. As long as this administration controls access to information (both words and pictures) it will be able to continue this tragedy.

Look at these images posted on and then tell me about George's "noble" effort in Iraq.

At 8/22/2005 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree and the Salon photos are very moving. Mother Jones ran a similar thing at the beginning of the war, a series of pictures of wounded soldiers who had returned home.

At 8/23/2005 01:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can name one more than the two. Ken Ballard 26 yr old son of my friend Karen Meredith. Only because I know the ghastly story.

Please, after you Comment on chancelucky's post, go read Karen's detailed Letter from Crawford. Definitely the most transporting piece of material print or video that I've seen from there.

I'm so embarrassed by your point, chancelucky. It's true that sports and other engines of celebrity completely dominate our pipsqueak consciousnesses.

Emperor George keeps saying that we must Stay the Course so all these "brave soldiers won't have died in vain." But they sure will have died Anonymous, as you note.

A little bit in my defense I did watch both NightLine namings. At least I watched the faces go by. Not much.

I'm making the Salon Gallery a live link here -- Salon Iraq War Gallery -- and I'll follow with how to do that in these html posts.

angled bracket no space a space href="url">your word or phrase angled bracket forward slash a no space end angled bracket

Gods know if you can translate that. It won't let me "show" you!

Clearly it should be 24 hour war pictures and screams and stench of exploded bodies until we stop it FOREVER.

the abolition of war begins today with you

... .. .

At 8/26/2005 11:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the lesson of Vietnam is that if you show coffins then the public will (more quickly) tire of the war. If you have reporters running around the country instead of under the control of the military, the correct interpretation of the news will be missed.

So are the lessons the neo-cons took from Vietnam. If only the US had gone to Hanoi, we would have won the Vietnam war and made Vietnam safe for capitalism. (Upps, it already is safe for capitalism -- its just that the winners don't happen to match the winners we would have liked.)

If only there were no anti-war protests.

If only men had returned from Vietnam in anonymous coffins instead of ones shown on the nightly news -- the world would be a better place...


At 8/27/2005 02:13:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

One of the odd things about the modern US policy of kee[ing war abstract and anonymous to the American people is that making your enemies "less human and immediate" is one of the things that allows one to become a terrorist.


Post a Comment

<< Home