October 13, 2004


I'm not in the military myself, but at least I know how to talk about it like I'm a normal person. Twice in the past 24 hours, I've found myself laughing at perceptions of the military.

I saw most of Smallville Season 2 when it was on AFN last year, but I borrowed the DVDs from the library and have been filling in the gaps. One character joined the Marines, and they've woven that storyline into the regular Smallville stuff. In this one episode, he came back and entered Smallville High in his uniform. He walked down the hallway, slow-mo style, in his Marine uniform and dramatically took off his cover right as Lana Lang threw her arms around him. I literally laughed out loud. It was the cheesiest thing ever. He got deployed to Indonesia? What is that about? What a silly storyline.

I think it's hilarious that I can completely accept that a girl could have meteor rocks on her spine that make her able to transform into other people's body shapes, but the fact that a Marine enters a building and doesn't remove his cover makes me seethe with anger at how unrealistic it is. How come when TV shows have a military theme, it's always over-the-top generic? "Whitney is missing in action!" "He got shipped out this morning." "I can't believe he just finished Basic Training and then got shipped off to war." It all sounds so cheesy and irritating.

Then today I made the time-wasting mistake of reading Hud's link to who certain novelists are voting for. What a bunch of rambling nonsense. My favorite came from someone named David Amsden. No wonder he's voting for Kerry; they both confuse the heck out of me!

I'm voting for John Kerry. This will be my first foray into the voting booth, actually—for the most part I find politics alienating, difficult to process. I'll save the bulk of my anti-Bush rant for late-night bar chatter, and simply say that a cousin of mine spent a year fighting with the Army in Iraq. He was a harder man when he returned, tweaked, difficult to relate to. His stories were crushing—did you know that there are giant spiders that creep up on sleeping soliders at night? That this is the sort of thing that causes nightmares, even more than random mortar fire?—and didn't exactly bring hope that anyone understands what's going on over there. Does Bush care about any of this, the nuanced ways his global policies affect individuals—how this, really, in the end, is what politics is all about? Yeah, I believe he does, but I don't think he's got the gumption to talk about it—or, for that matter, anything—honestly. For all his swaggering bravado, the guy has no real backbone, no confidence in anything but his squinty little grin, which is frightening.

But why Kerry, aside from his status as Democratic Other Guy, which, frankly, would be enough for me this year? Well, I like his stoicism—he seems smart, and serious, and sort of boring, and exactly like the kind of man I can't relate to, which is what I want from a leader. I don't understand why we're so keen on having someone who seems cool and perfectly personable—I have friends for that, late-night TV, strangers in parks. Really, though, the clincher came when I stumbled across some excerpts of Kerry's Vietnam journals. I couldn't help but think: the writing, the writing, the writing. It was hard and real and surprisingly beautiful, which, for me, was something I could believe in.

Um, what? Bush doesn't care about these people, well ok maybe he does. Maybe he cared for them before he didn't care for them. I love the plug for Kerry: Vote for Kerry! He's boring! And you can't relate to him either!

The stuff about the spider killed me though. That's the kind of stuff that someone who is completely out of touch with what's going on downrange gets worked up about. Did you hear the Soldiers are changed when they get home? No, man, they have to deal with spiders. Real big ones. It's like life-changing, man. At least that's what my cousin told me. Yeah, when he shipped out.

Most of the time I feel like a poser when I talk about the military, but when a novelist who writes about cokeheads and Playmates weighs in on the military, it makes me laugh.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:40 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 742 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Gasp! SPIDERS! Oh, my! Thank goodness there are no such creatures here in America to terrorize our soldiers! What a twit. I'm with you, girl...the stereotypes of military life would be hilarious, if they weren't so freaking IGNORANT.

Posted by: david at October 13, 2004 08:45 AM (1+76a)

2 It's a cliche with these peacenik writers that being in the military is tragic and scary. It's never shown as fun, or educational or enriching. The real capper for me is, in that one guy's quote you see he rambles and his thoughts are all over the place. Not exactly the sign of a good writer. And the fact that he thinks commie symp Kerry's journals are beautiful reveals what a lameo he is. A writer on that list whose work I really like, and I've actually traded letters with him back in the day, is Robert Ferrigno. He writes great crime novels. Orson Scott Card writes great science fiction and has a decent blog.

Posted by: James Hudnall at October 13, 2004 12:02 PM (FV8Tp)

3 "He was a harder man when he returned, tweaked, difficult to relate to." In other words, no longer consumed by the superficiality that rules the Left. My God, what has that eeevil Bush done to him?

Posted by: CavalierX at October 13, 2004 12:06 PM (9u+uv)

4 I liked this sentence about his reason for voting for Kerry. "Well, I like his stoicism—he seems smart, and serious, and sort of boring, and exactly like the kind of man I can't relate to, which is what I want from a leader." What does that say about the writer? He wants a leader he can't relate to? GAAHHH!! What a dolt. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 13, 2004 01:57 PM (gXnBX)

5 "...a cousin of mine spent a year fighting with the Army in Iraq. He was a harder man when he returned, tweaked, difficult to relate to." I've heard about that! It's weird. Young boys join the military and come home "men", no longer in touch with their feminine side, unable to relate to softer, more sensitive guys who scream like girls whenever they see a spider. Hopefully, John Kerry will change all that.

Posted by: Larry at October 13, 2004 02:40 PM (7ldvV)

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