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Friday, April 30, 2004
Google Search Results

Just thought I'd look up exactly what the Scouts call that promise to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc., so i looked up the term "Boy Scout Pledge. I knew it wasn't the pledge--iirc that has to do with doing one's "duty to god and country, to obey the Scout Law," etc.

The first result was a page at about the vicious hatecrimes perpetrated by the Boy Scouts against gay boys and men.

BTW, the trustworthy, loyal... bit comes from the Scout Law.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Survivor Comments

The Mogo Mogo tribe finally disappears. Every week somebody (usually Amber) says something like "This is all-stars! This is so much different than regular Survivor."

To a certain degree it's true. But it's mainly true because they seem to have intentionally picked the dumbest, worst-playing contestants from the first seven series. The Mogo Mogo tribe forgot one thing; You can't be weaker than the other guys going into the merger. They committed boneheaded maneuvers three weeks in a row, voting off Colby, probably the best person ever at the immunity challenges, then Ethan, a former winner, and then most oddly, Jerri, one of their own team members instead of Amber. Dumb.

Consider who's left:

Long Tom. I rest my case.

Amber. Though she's cute and reasonably athletic and intelligent, she was a terrible player in the Australian Outback, allying herself with Jerri throughout the game and failing to catch on to Colby's alliance with Tina. She could have used her obvious charms to entice some of the other people to form an alliance with her, but she didn't. She seems to have done one very smart thing in allying herself with Rob so far. He's a good partner as he's shown his ability to win immunity challenges.

Boston Rob. I wonder about him. At times he seems like the master manipulator and at times he seems like a buffoon. I was surprised last week when everybody voted him the most trustworthy.

Jenna. Pissing everybody else off. Somebody may see that as the way to make it to the finals. Didn't work for Johnny Fairplay and it ain't working for her either. Next person voted off unless she wins immunity.

Ruppert. Our hero is in trouble. Logic says next week it's Jenna or Ruppert who goes; it looks like Long Tom has made his decision as to with which group he wants to be allied. Was it the sloppy kiss that did him in? He needs Jenna to lose next week and then hope to win the last two immunity challenges, which is going to be tough.
Why Tillman Resonates

I was thinking about this on the way into the office today. Initially I was surprised that the response to the death of Pat Tillman had so much resonance around the country. I had more or less assumed that it would get some attention nationally, but that it would be mostly a local story. Obviously that has not been the case, and I've figured out why.

America needs real heroes again.

For most of our country's history, heroes have been idolized and lionized. In books and films they were trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent--the Boy Scout grown up. Think of the Golden Age Batman--the lantern jaw, the ready quip, the unquestionable honesty.

But in the late 1960s, the anti-hero arose. Suddenly it was acceptable if the hero was not always courteous or kind or reverent, as long as he was fighting on the right side. Of course, the definition of the right side became a little fuzzy as well. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were on the right side in Easy Rider--the side that smoked pot, dropped acid and smuggled cocaine or heroin into the country (in the film's opening sequence). Anti-war protestor Jon Voight was on the right side in Coming Home.

Conversely, the old heroes became the villains. Suddenly John Wayne was unhip, and unhip meant you were one of the bad guys. These changes started in books and film, but they eventually filtered throughout pop culture. By the 1980s, Frank Miller's Return of the Dark Knight presented Batman as a brooding and bitter alcoholic. Indeed, of the Boy Scout qualities named above, about the only one that remained was "brave".

The trend continued throughout the 1990s. Two of my favorite shows of that decade were The Simpsons and Married With Children. Both presented extremely disfunctional families with unloving fathers and bratty kids as the "heroes".

All that changed on 9-11, at least for some of us. I found myself almost overwhelmed with grief and sadness in the first few days afterwards, especially during the services on the Saturday after, and began to get concerned for my own mental health. So on Sunday, I decided to shift my focus from the victims of 9-11 to the heroes. I spent that day learning everything I could about the passengers of Flight 93, the heroes who fought back and prevented the fourth plane from crashing into yet another building on the ground. And almost immediately, reading about Glick and Burnett and Nacke and Bingham and Beamer my depression started to lift.

It is similar with the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and Tillman. Day after day we are bombarded with negative news--10 Iraqi civilians killed in a car bombing, four American contractors killed and desecrated in Fallujah. Seven marines slain by a mine on the road. Captain Ed had a great post on his blog the other day, which linked to an article by Captain Roger Lee Crossland containing this observation:

In earlier times, the American public could recite names such as Boatswain's Mate Reuben James, Lieutenant William Cushing, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, Sergeant Alvin York, Mess Attendant Dorie Miller, and Sergeant Audie Murphy as easily as they could their own home addresses. The individual heroes of the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, generally are unknown. Deluged by lengthy, detailed stories of the extreme efforts taken by terrorists, we have heard little of the extreme efforts taken by members of the U.S. armed forces.

Exactly! During the early days of the war, when the reporters were embedded with the troops, we did get a little of this type of reporting (anybody remember the classic "Where do they get these guys," comment?). But lately, it's all negative, all the time. Chamberlain's emphasis is on the soldier as victim rather than hero, and in that sense, Tillman still fits the pattern. But there is a difference between the reporting on Tillman and the reporting on, say, Jessica Lynch. In Tillman's case the focus is on what happened before his death; in Lynch's it was on her capture and rescue.

And reading the articles about Tillman, it is not hard to hear the Boy Scout virtues creeping back into the reporting. Loyal? He turned down more money from the Rams to stick with the team that gave him a chance. Friendly and courteous? I've already read two stories that talk about him writing thank you notes to reporters who covered him. Thrifty? The anecdote about him showing up for training camp on a bicycle covers that. Brave? No question.
Poll Results Skewed

The media are reporting a "Big drop in support for war in Iraq, poll finds", based on a NY Times, CBS News poll. However, Real Clear Politics has the scoop:

THE NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Even after oversampling Democrats (35%) and Independents (36%) and undersampling Republicans (29%), CBS/NYT got the following result: Bush up 2 points on Kerry (43-41) in the three-way race among registered voters. I'm pretty sure that's not what they expected.

Get it? The Times disproportionately polled those likely to be against the war, and then reports it as a change in public opinion.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
SI Cover

Monday, April 26, 2004
Some Fellow Arizona Bloggers on Tillman

Hardworking Americans comments on Tillman from a non-football fan's perspective.

Most of us don’t answer that call to a higher purpose. We shield ourselves from it in our own little cocoon because we lack the sheer guts and integrity to do so. We are amazed when we see someone who does and we see ourselves for what we really are. We need role models like Pat Tillman. We need to get out of bed everyday with a goal that doesn’t just benefit ourselves. We need to hang tough in the face of adversity. We need to quit bitching about trivialities and minor inconveniences that consume us on a daily basis and find a purpose in this world. We need to answer that higher calling. Now.

John Moore comments on his visit to the impromptu Pat Tillman memorial.

Infinite Monkeys has some thoughts by Brad here.

Zonitics suggests naming the new football stadium in honor of Tillman. He also has lots of links to other Arizona bloggers and their thoughts.

Vox has some nice thoughts.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
More Tillman Coverage

Doug MacEachern has a good piece in the Arizona Republic.

Perhaps the most endearing aspect of Tillman's decision among reporters - you could see it oozing from their clips - was that he went into the service quietly, with no "farewell" statement at all. No bravado and no apparent wish to be seen as the hero he inevitably became. The modesty alone is breathtaking. Where do they, indeed, find people such as this?

Reid Collins in a flashback to when Tillman joined the Rangers.

He is 25. Born in San Jose, California, a graduate of Arizona State where he played football so well he was the Pac-10 conference defensive player of the year in 1997, who graduated in three-and-a-half years with a 3.84 grade-point average and was drafted by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Tillman turned down an offer of $9 million over five years to play for St. Louis because he was loyal to the Cardinals, who were offering him $3.6 million over the next three years. Tillman had it all. He married his high school sweetheart, Marie, honeymooned in Bora Bora in May, and returned to tell his agent and his coach of his decision. Tillman was joining the army. He wants to be a Ranger.

Paul Beston in another article from the Am Spec late last year:

Pat Tillman knows where the real war is, which is why he left the fake one behind. If he decides to return to football when his three-year tour of duty is up, he would have the impact of a human disinfectant on the NFL. And his fellow players would owe him their gratitude -- even Simeon Rice, assuming he can reach that high.

Spartacus has a nice post comparing Tillman with Kerry.


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