Monday, August 02, 2010

"...Or We'll Shoot This Dog"

Time magazine is not so much a stranger to the truth as they are its torturers. The late Robert A. Heinlein remarked he'd been on the spot for several events later covered by the magazine and, um, one must proceed with delicacy, he'd found imperfect correlation between the broad outlines of what he had observed and what he later read. A little of that is inevitable; reporters are only human. A little is inherent; I think that all news coverage tends, by its necessarily focused nature, to remove the context required to really understand the deeper story. --But some of it's propaganda pure and simple, of the William Randolph Hearst sort, aimed at selling papers.

The most recent example starts with a genuinely tragic story -- a young woman mutilated by her in-laws after trying to run away -- presenting readers with a horrifying cover photo and proffering the headline "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan."

...Never you mind that her abuse happened while we were there. Never you mind that no matter how many troops we pour into Afghanistan, we can't turn their towns and citizenry into a copy of their fellowmen in Wabash or Winnetka, no more than the Soviets could make the place over in the spirit of Smolensk; in either case, a good many Afghans would deny those infidels were their fellow men anyhow.

In case anyone's keeping track -- Time does not appear to be -- the terrible way they treat their womenfolk was not why we sent troops to Afghanistan. If it was, we'd have gone there decades earlier -- and we'd've visited a few other miserable little hells-on-Earth as well.

Back in 1973 -- before my time but it's a famous example -- National Lampoon demonstrated much more clearly what Time is up to, with a cover photo featuring a revolver aimed at the head of an apprehensive-looking dog. A cute dog. The headline? "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog."

If You Don't Buy This Magazine, The Taliban Will Keep On Cutting Off Noses. And other parts. --And never mind that they or their philosophical forebears have been doing the same thing every day of your life; they've done it every day of your father's life and your grandfather's life and they will keep on doing it, even if they have to sneak around in the dead of night and do it on the sly. And it's wrong, it's plain wrong; it is cruel and criminal.

This world's full of terrible people doing terrible things. We can't stop 'em all, not even right here at home. And the only way to stop 'em with troops is to shoot everybody you catch doing it (see "slink around and do it in secret," above), which tends, eventually, to backfire. Hugely.

You care. Deeply. I care, yes, even a cold fish like me. But Time? One wonders. They may well have just been looking for a dog to shoot -- or to threaten to.


Tam said...

The Lightbringer will be keeping the boys over there longer than the voters were initially promised. The State Media Organs have to start spinning a new "Peace With No Honor-Killings" angle to appease the base.

Anonymous said...

If the controlling critera for sending in the troops is "how do they treat their womenfolk", should we send the SFG 19 to the Kennedy Compound, an MEU to the Hamptons and SEAL 8 and 10 into select townhouses in D.C., let alone all of Africa, South America, Asia, inter alia?

Shootin' Buddy

Old Grouch said...

Well, at least it's a step up from the traditional progressive attitudes of "it's all our fault" and "'getting out' is cost-free." (Maybe somebody actually DID learn a lesson from Vietnam!)

What next? Do you suppose they'll turn all 18th-century on us and begin viewing "imperialism" as a force for good, at least from a bringing-enlightenment-to-the-wogs standpoint? Who'd-a-thunk-it!

Anonymous said...

When the East India company was running India the tribal leaders were called in and told the practice of seti (the burning of a very alive wife on the funeral pyer of her deceased husband) Had to stop. The tribal leaders responded, "This is our culture". The East India company officials responded "In our culture we hang men who burn women." Remarkably the practice stoped. For a time.

Tam said...

It is not our job to oppose satī wherever it may be found.

Justthisguy said...

Whatever happened to "We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but the guardians only of our own."?

Anonymous said...

Thats true Tam. And "We" are not running Afganistan. It may be soon Barry and the boys will have us running out.

Skip said...

A hunnert bucks says they will revert back to the 7th century as soon as the last C-17 leaves. Yeah I know they have dishes made out of Coke cans and the intertubes, and ammo made by blind grandpas, but this is the same shit the SSR tried, and failed at.
It will be here that we fight.

Stranger said...

At one time Time, Life, and Look at least tried to make a pretense of center of the political road publications. That went by the wayside a week or so after McCarthy kicked the bucket.

Now, like the New York Times, Time Magazine caters to a very limited market. Both publications are aimed at those who consider Karl Marx a Conservative.

And yes, it is very likely we will be fighting those who consider women sub-human in our streets. Sooner than most think.