It occurred to me the other day that my blogging is often well below the writing standards I usually demand of myself and other writers. I’m a veteran newspaperman (if the Charlotte Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace gets to be a “veteran power forward,” then I get to be a “veteran” too … we left U of Alabama the same year — I just decided to graduate). I’m the news editor/only full-time staffer of a small-town weekly newspaper.
So I thought I’d post something from my professional life, written the first week of November. It’s timely, since “Redacted” is still stinking up the box office and reports say other anti-war films are in the offing. So I present “Hollywood has turned against our country” from The Eclectic Observer (I’d post the link on our Web site, but I doubt the column is still up).
Have you seen the previews for Hollywood’s newest crop of war movies?
During and after World War II, the entertainment industry filmed scads of war movies. John Wayne became the stateside face of the American soldier: gallant, ferocious, but softened by the tender love of the land and people he left behind.
Performers like Jimmy Stewart and Elvis Presley took it a step further, and signed up to fight the enemies who would end our way of life. Presley fought bravely, and Stewart became one of America’s most decorated fighter pilots.
But in today’s Hollywood, a war movie is little more than an excuse to say what they always say. War is senseless and stupid, no matter the cause. America is evil, because we oppress these people, ignore these people and reward these other people (fill in the blanks as you see fit; their targets change too often to bother with clarity).
Who cares if our system of government is the one that made Hollywood’s charmed existence possible?
I grew up hearing stories of American exceptionalism, from the men who fought fascism abroad, and the women who worked to keep life going on the homefront. My PaPa, Robert Heaton, stormed the shore at Iwo Jima, one of the fiercest, deadliest battles in the Pacific theatre of World War II.
My ‘Ampaw, Doug Goodwin, dodged Luftwaffa air raids as he guided Allied fighters against Rommel in North Africa.
PaPa was never big on storytelling. Iwo Jima was a nasty place, and I always assumed the things he saw there didn’t bear relating to the little ones. ‘Ampaw didn’t see much combat, but he had a bevy of great stories, like the time he was on leave and spotted a sleeping giraffe. That giraffe wasn’t happy to wake up with a 200-pound American on his back, but ‘Ampaw and his buddies couldn’t stop laughing after the tall, spindly steed threw him into the dust.
Whatever the tale was, I always knew why they fought: to protect their families and the way of life they loved. Many professors at the University of Alabama tried to change that belief, just as Hollywood aims to slander our troops and leaders in the War on Terror.
It’s vital, to our future as a nation, that we don’t listen to them. More than that, we should counter their poison words whenever the opportunity arises.
Veteran’s Day is one of those opportunities. If you meet a veteran this week, tell him or her thank you.
And if you happen to run across Tom Cruise or Robert Redford, ask them to try something new with their career.