Archive for November, 2006

Doonesbury Passes the Buck

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

I was going to wait until the end of the week to do this, but I’ve had enough. This week’s Doonesbury strips feature three-war veteran B.D. along with pacifist Reverend Scott Sloan speaking to a group of Sloan’s ethics students, students who are pro-war but “quick to explain why they’re not enlisting.”

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve railed on Doonesbury for its portrayal of young people, but here he isn’t just misrepresenting the younger generation, but laying the blame for the Iraq War at our feet. Trudeau must realize how truly unlikely it is that B.D., a man old enough to have served in Vietnam, actually saw combat in Iraq. This is not a war that is being fought by baby boomers: the people coming home dead or wounded are mostly between 18 and 23.

And the university students are not the complacent flag-waving SUV drivers that he’s describing here. Young voters turned out in record numbers to vote the Republican Congress out of office. Howard Dean was propelled to stardom because of the enthusiasm of young people. Yeah, young people talk about politics, but we say fuck and shit while doing it. I’ll take the Daily Show over Meet the Press any day, thank you.

This is not our war. This is a boomer war. It was started by boomers, it’s supported by boomers, and the only thing that we have anything to do with is that it’s our friends and our classmates that are out there fighting and dying by the thousands. So fuck you, Trudeau.

I understand that you are also making a statement about class here. That it’s the poor that end up enlisting because it seems like a way to pay for college and get ahead in life. But this isn’t some young trust-fund kid’s excuse for not enlisting, it’s a serious problem, and one that deserves more attention.

I read an article in the New York Times similarly pointing their fingers at the younger generation for never protesting. The fact is we did, hundreds of thousands in cities all over the world. Before the war, back when the Times was beating the drum for an invasion. And before 9/11, prostesters were out in the tens to hundreds of thousands for a global redistribution of wealth.

There’s been no protests because it’s apparently pointless. It didn’t work before the war started, it didn’t work in Vietnam, and we had our minds on bigger and more important problems until the boomers fucked everything up and started another pointless war just like their parents did. Now we’re so desperate to end this bloodshed we’ll try anything, even electing Democrats.

Sweet Linkage

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Hey a big thanks to Mike over at Crooks and Liars for featuring me on his blog roundup for today! For those who don’t know, Crooks and Liars is an excellent and extremely popular political blog specializing in video clips, cool music videos, and general lefty politics. If you haven’t seen it before, surf on over.

Hey! Where’s my color?

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. Attentive readers will notice I occasionally run late on the coloring, leaving it until the next afternoon, especially on Mondays. This week I really have to work ahead as the next storyline requires some planning, especially visually. And damn it, coloring is boring!

I’m incrementally pushing further ahead, and I’m expecting a little time off soon, so we’ll see how much time I can manage to work on comics. As I said in a recent cartoon, it ain’t easy. And the lack of color isn’t permanent by any means — before long I’d like to go back and color the ones I’m missing now to make the archives more complete.

Also, I’m getting work done on the site again! Like some behind-the-scenes stuff on the blog, and on the links page!

Sit down, please. War is the answer.

Monday, November 6th, 2006

When we are children, we are told that we are Americans, and that we will always be Americans. We stand for what this country stands for, we have to. When I was in second grade, we spent our time writing letters to soldiers, putting together care packages wrapped in popcorn, so they could eat it. Apparently in the first Gulf War, the troops weren’t very well supplied, either.

My letter to a soldier included a drawing of a swaying army tent, blasting music for the world to hear. Its lyrics went, “I want the real world, no war!” Over and over. The teacher wouldn’t let me send it.

I didn’t understand why and I never questioned it directly. Back then I didn’t even see the underlying message. To me war, justified or not, was something undesirable and we, everyone, would certainly want things to go back to normal. Now I realize an anti-war tone led the teacher to intercept my drawing.

I was no activist. In fact, I believed in the war, for no other reason than I had no choice but to believe in my leaders unless my parents showed some strong opposition to it. Certainly my teacher wouldn’t dare oppose it.

Later on that year, I read a story about several heroic soldiers in front of a panel from the PTA, with an illustrated yellow ribbon on the cover. The parents cheered and clapped, I was a minor celebrity.

What kind of society is it that reprimands children who see value in peace? I very much doubt I would have read an essay in front of those parents that read, in all childhood innocence, “war is bad at all times, and we should wish for this war to be over.” Everybody loves a good war.

I learned about big, important wars past. Like the Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. Those wars were all for great causes, I was told, and we won them and we were right to do so. I was also vaguely aware of something past called Vietnam. Once as a child I remember quizzing my father about whether we won or lost certain wars. When I finally got to Vietnam, it was the only one when he said, “we lost.”

Many would like us to look at war that way, like a game, drawing up scorecards of winners and losers. In the arena in conflict, destruction and death, our team comes out ahead each time. The way to sell a war to the people is to tell them it will be easy, that we can take that country down with a minimum of deaths on our side.

Modern wars are quick and surgical, our planes do all the work, bombing a country into submission. In politics, only the tally on our side is worth any concern; Bush can dismiss the deaths of 30,000 Iraqis with a shrug.

Much is made that the United States is a “civilized” country. I contend that a country that glorifies and encourages war in rhetoric, action and popular fiction, and discourages peaceful thinking in children, cannot possibly be civilized. And even growing anti-war sentiment often represents the sinking heart of a losing battle. Everything we do is war: war on crime, war on drugs, war on poverty. We are bred to believe that war is the answer, but war only leads to monstrous deed and action, and therefore can never be the answer.