Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Jarhead on "JARHEAD"

Sometimes my baby boy still does what I tell him.

He's the one in Marine flight school (just about to get "winged," having just passed his big instrumentation test) and I told him he had to get out and see Jarhead ASAP so I could hear what real Marines had to say about it. Apparently they made up about 90% of the audience in attendance down there in Pensacola-land. His general comment was "thumbs sideways" sporting a fashionable khaki "neutral"-- he puts it best
in his own words (I keep telling him to be a military journalist).

Money quotes (PETA discretion advised):
The training scenes (apparently borrowing the formula of Full Metal Jacket) were reminiscent of my own experience at TBS ...I don't know if I buy the machine gun shooting live rounds right over the Marines' heads. On the other hand, we participated in several live-fire exercises at TBS which, despite all our safeguards, are inherently dangerous. As for the paintball-guns: we used those. (And they're the most fun you can have without setting a small animal on fire).
But what about the soul of the story? What was it trying to tell us? I was never sure... Was it trying to tell us of the monotony of warfare? That's nothing new: Roman legionaries could have told us the same thing... Though when it comes to Marines being deadly, brutal, and somewhat insane, I'll let you all in on a little secret: true or not, we cultivate that image because when it comes time to go into battle and Abu Musab Whoever learns that he's got Marines charging toward him, he's already half-terrified. And if he's scared, we've already beaten his mind, which makes beating his body that much easier and much less costly for us.
Ooh-rah. (And, no, they don't say it every other sentence.) And that business about "already half-terrified"? Oh yes-- confirmed from many sources, over many wars.

Duly noted: My other baby boys occasionally do what I tell them too. All this is pretty amazing, since it's a very long-distance affair, receiving their Canadian-based orders, as they do, in:



Inner Mongolia


The first place-name reported as the fires erupted in suburban Paris was "St. Denis", a name which means only one thing to me: the birthplace of what we now call "Gothic" architectural style.

The abbey church th
ere, today sadly marooned among warehouses and other inglorious structures, was once home to a Benedictine monastic community whose 12th-century Abbot, Suger, masterminded the overhaul of the existing Romanesque church to embody his new theology of the meaning and power of light as an image God, by incoporating all the latest ideas and construction technologies of his age. Under his supervision (really his micro-management, it's fair to say) St. Denis became the model for architectural innovation all over Europe, its style transported almost immediately to Canterbury, England, among other places.

Ironically (it now seems), St. Denis was the first building in Christian Europe to fully exploit the structural possibilities of the pointed arch -- a feature borrowed from the architectural wonders of Moorish (Islamic) Spain.

So I think about St. Denis, and the Jihad-fuelled rage now literally inflaming the Muslim ghettos around it, and in cities across France-- and I whisper through clenched teeth, "Don't you dare. Don't even think about it."

Rose Window