Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Memorial Day Special

This week in New World Notes, #65, May 26 & 29:

Memorial Day is Monday, May 25, and this week's show commemorates it.

Just as the wrong sorts of people wave the flag, for all the wrong reasons--so the same people do their best to turn Memorial Day into a celebration of military service, unnecessary wars, belligerent foreign policies, and obscenely high and ever-increasing expenditures for quote-national defense-unquote.

Top: 2 flags.
Bottom: 20 flags

Personally, I prefer Christmas--the only national holiday in which the word "peace" is ever uttered, however insincerely.

And don't even get me started on Armistice Day! Originally a multinational holiday celebrating the end of the most gawdawful war in history, to that date. Now transformed into "Veterans Day" by our patriotic, peace-loving Congress. Quite a metamorphosis, eh?

This week, New World Notes offers an Alternative Memorial Day Celebration. The full title is, The Slippery Slope of Memorial Day.

First I elaborate on the main theme. To remember those whom the State caused to die is worthy. To celebrate a foreign policy consisting mainly of armed belligerance is unworthy. To call for ever more deaths and ever more killing so that "these honored dead shall not have died in vain" is obscene--the bottom of the slippery slope.

Guess where most conventional Memorial Day celebrations end up.

Top: Graphic by Eric Drooker
Bottom: "Spain, 1936" by Robert Capa

Then we hear veteran Middle-East correspondent Robert Fisk sharing his own thoughts on war.

Finally I'll read Howard Zinn's fine 1976 column on war and Memorial Day. At the time, he was a columnist for the Boston Globe. The day afterwards, he was no longer a columnist for the Boston Globe.

Well--to invert T.S. Eliot--at least he went out with a bang, not a whimper!

Happy motoring!

From The Phantom English Major:

Zinn's essay both begins and ends with a few words about drunken smashups. At the end, though, he's talking about more than just highway accidents. Clever.

This week's music:

  • Steppenwolf, Monster

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