Patterico's Pontifications

1/22/2007

The L.A. Times’s Definition of Irony Is Different From Mine

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Morons — Patterico @ 12:02 am



This piece by Paul Whitefield of the L.A. Times is labeled a “Modest Proposal.” I guess that means it is supposed to be funny, or at least ironic. But instead, it merely revels pointlessly in offensive stereotypes of Vietnam veterans:

LISTENING TO President Bush’s speech on Iraq earlier this month, my first thought was: “Where the heck are we going to get 21,500 more soldiers to send to Iraq?” Our Reserves are depleted, our National Guard is worn out, our Army and Marine Corps are stretched to the limit.

Then it hit me: Re-up our Vietnam War veterans and send them.

They’re trained. They’re battle-hardened. Many already have post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, some have their own vehicles — Harleys mostly, which are cheap to run, make small targets and are highly mobile. I’ll even bet that lots of these guys still have guns (you know, just in case).

So: Vietnam vets are crazy guys with post-traumatic stress syndrome, Harleys, and lots of guns. Savor the irony!

Finally, these Vietnam War guys are hungry for revenge. After all, they fought in the only war the U.S. ever lost. And they didn’t even get a parade. So this is their chance. We can throw them that big parade when they come marching home.

So they’re not only crazy — they’re losers, too! The irony is delicious! Jonathan Swift himself would be jealous.

Let me get serious for a moment and ask: just what the hell is this guy’s point?

He doesn’t really want to send Vietnam vets to Iraq. I get that. But why does he spend a good chunk of the piece riffing off of hoary stereotypes of Vietnam Vets?

If you read the actual piece “A Modest Proposal,” you’ll see that author Jonathan Swift actually had a point. This was evident in his subtle digs at landlords, like this:

I grant this food may be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for Landlords, who as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children.

or this:

Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients [such as] teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants.

Heh. He’s slagging landlords. It’s funny because it has a point.

Whitefield’s piece doesn’t. The only digs I see in Paul Whitefield’s piece are jokes at the expense of Vietnam veterans, consisting of snide references to discredited and offensive stereotypes. What’s the point of that?

I have the sense that the author is trying to be Joel Stein — the self-absorbed contrarian who gets a lot of page views. But for all his failings, you can at least understand what Joel Stein is trying to say, even if it’s nothing more than: look at me! I’m a self-absorbed contrarian!

By contrast, this piece by Whitefield is just offensive — and pointlessly so.

Thanks to F15C.

29 Responses to “The L.A. Times’s Definition of Irony Is Different From Mine”

  1. I do not know why this article affects me at all. This guy obviously isn’t worth my time. But reading that shit was like a punch to the stomach.

    We did lose the War in Vietnam. Because of the press at home, because of pandering and confusion at the White House and Congress. And millions of people died who the war had set out to save.

    The Vietnam Veteran is needed, but only because his memory should be clear about what will happen if this war should fail. What are the real stakes? Whether the troops really make the difference or not, aren’t those stakes so high that we really can’t pretend the 20k is some sort of unbearable burden?

    Dustin (de8bf1)

  2. What you’ve missed is that the Liberal Left, on some level, actually believes each and every one of those offensive cliches. They have to. If they DON’T believe that the Vietnam war was a cartoon horror show that deranged everyone involved in it, they might have to actually examine the facts – which would show that they are accessories to enslavement, mind control, and genocide.

    C. S. P. Schofield (c1cf21)

  3. I don’t expect anything else from the LA Times and the Democratic Party. What is discouraging is to see Chuck Hagel, John Warner and Olympia Snow planning to support a resolution of no confidence in our troops. Hugh Hewitt has a letter posted from a career military officer. I have several brothers-in-law who are retired military officers. They all assume the Democrats do not suppprt them but rely on the Republicans to do what they can to see that they are supported and appreciated. This may be changing as Republicans, who care more for their careers than for the country, head for the tall grass.

    After Vietnam, the Republicans lost heavily in the 1974 election. That election gave us a Congress that gutted the CIA with the Church Committee, brought the 1970s inflation with wild spending, high taxes and poisonous interest rates. It may be that today’s Republicans see the risk of a similar debacle in 2008 and have decided to save themselves by abandoning the president on Iraq. That means abandoning the troops. We have a volunteer military and they are not going to volunteer to lose their lives for cowards in Congress. We will pay dearly for these Republican turncoats. The LA Times today is read only by people who agree with them anyway. I expect nothing from them. I expect more from Republicans but may be disappointed. At least McCain held firm yesterday on Meet The Press.

    Mike K (416363)

  4. The irony is that Chuck Hagel is himself a VietNam vet. In an interview in yesterday’s paper he gives as his main reason for opposing the war memories of seeing buddies killed in Nam. He also claimed three times that there is no policy behind the Iraq war and that as a youngster in Nam, he would’ve loved to hear criticism of the war in Congress like the criticism he’s spouting these days.

    I guess those firefights made him deaf and his tin ear isn’t working these days either.

    Dubya (c16726)

  5. I don’t understand Hagel. Webb seems to hold similar opinions. I’ve read his books and he has a sort of dreamy, ambivalent feeling about Vietnam. Fields of Fire has the Harvard guy who comes home and is frustrated by the anti-war movement after the protagonist is killed. Mixed messages. That was a conscript army, largely there unwillingly but most did their job. The present situation is that we have a volunteer army and, unlike Vietnam, the motivation of enlisted, as well as officers, is dependent on a feeling that their efforts are appreciated. They do not expect Democrats to appreciate them. Mogadishu showed that. It isn’t that they want to be loved, or treated like children or victims as Democrats seem to do. They want to have serious policy choices and support when called upon to do a tough job. That is what is lacking from so many now.

    Hagel and Murtha seem to be appropriators. The military is another bureaucracy with funding issues and government contracts to manipulate. Hagel also just looks angry all the time. Webb is similar. What do they want to do ? Has anyone heard serious policy suggestions from them ? I haven’t.

    Mike K (416363)

  6. Hagel’s latest buffoonery involves claiming that he didn’t join Democrats in proposing a non-binding resolution opposing the surge, rather that he sought out Democrats to join his resolution efforts.

    WTF is a non-binding resolution other than another message to jihadists and our own military that Congress is a bunch of spineless douchebags?

    Dubya (c16726)

  7. WSJ had a good interview with Lieberman Saturday. Too bad there aren’t more in Congress with the cojones to say what’s right and stick with what they say.

    Dubya (c16726)

  8. Yeah, it takes real cojones to not admit when you’re wrong.

    Wait a minute…

    Leviticus (43095b)

  9. “Yeah, it takes real cojones to not admit when you’re wrong.

    Wait a minute…

    Comment by Leviticus ”

    By your standards, Hagel and Pelosi and the rest should be demanding we evacuate the troops tomorrow. Why don’t they ? We’d disagree but at least they would be honest. Instead we get non-binding resolutions saying they are unhappy but have no suggestion. I give Murtha credit for saying what he believes even if he cloaks it in idiocy about redeploying to Okinawa.

    Mike K (416363)

  10. My God, where are you on the hierarchy of celebrity when you aspire to be Joel Stein?

    Army Lawyer (6853dd)

  11. The lesson of Vietnam is that there are no depths too low for Liberals to sink to. To betray our soldiers and allies, to spit on the graves of our fallen soldiers, to humiliate America in the eyes of the world. To condemn another generation of “third world people” to either constant warfare or tyranny. To let mass murderers continue to commit murder with impunity.

    I do not have particular respect for Arab culture as it exists today but I would not visit the sins of the fathers on the heads of the children. In an earlier post here, Lance Corporal Nathan (Chad)Yeager was quoted:

    “Why do you want to sit back and be QRF, what’s that going to help? That’s not going to help a thing. It’s gonna take y’all to balls up, get some fight in you. Because yeah, some of y’all are gonna die. But your kids are gonna grow up to do the same thing you’re doing, 20 years from now. You’ve gotta step up and be the leader.”

    Whether it’s our kids or whether it’s Iraqi kids, it is the epitome of evil to put off wars for, or continue them to, the next generation.

    nk (5a2f98)

  12. By your standards, Hagel and Pelosi and the rest should be demanding we evacuate the troops tomorrow. Why don’t they ?

    Because they can’t and they know it. Congress authorized use of military force, so the War Powers Resolution’s automatic withdrawal without Congressional action does not apply. They also know that withdrawl is the wrong thing to do, so all they can do is throw more poo on Bush via non-binding bullshit!

    Dubya (c16726)

  13. It’s likely to backfire on them though as people who think about the situation will see that the opposition is totally political and the opposers have no better ideas. Thoughtful people will also realize that Democrats and others have been calling/screaming for a change in plan for months and now that they got one, they’re unwilling to STFU and see if it works. They all want to be “first on record” as being against it.

    Dubya (c16726)

  14. The only lesson we learned from Vietnam was how to let the press and our spineless, self-serving POS congress jerkoffs lose to a vastly inferior opponent much more quickly and with even ever greater dishonor.

    Hogarth (a721ef)

  15. “It’s likely to backfire on them though as people who think about the situation will see that the opposition is totally political and the opposers have no better ideas.”

    -Dubya

    Do you see any problem with this statement?

    You accuse the Democrats of being “political”, and I tend to agree with you (“Politician” kinda gives it away).

    Then you say that they “have no better ideas”.

    Now, think about this: Why would a cold-hearted politician start shelling out solutions with a Republican still in office? Why wouldn’t said cold-hearted politician let the situation deteriorate until the next election, when bristling public sentiment would ensure an easy victory?

    Don’t worry, Dubya…Hillary Clinton has a Secret Plan to get us out of Iraq. She’ll tell us what it is as soon as she gets into office.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  16. “By your standards, Hagel and Pelosi and the rest should be demanding we evacuate the troops tomorrow.”

    Our biggest problem, as a nation, is the folks who are blind to shades of grey, Black and white homilies do little for any discussion. Who, pray tell, is asking for an immediate withdrawal of troops? Even Teddy Kennedy says it should be phased over a period of approx 365 days during which more and more responsibility is given to the Iraqis (LONG

    Semanticleo (b2faa0)

  17. WTF?

    here’s the rest “(Long, Long overdue). during wihich they can exercise some of their precious autonomy.

    Really, this BS about ‘immediate withdrawal’ is just bellicose gas dischrges from the sour grapes crowd.

    Get over.

    Semanticleo (b2faa0)

  18. Yah, the dems got all the answers… They can cure cancer, give you free money, and end wars… They know how, they have the answers…

    but only if you vote for them!

    Anyway, Dubya accuses the democrats of being political, because the democrats put their quest for power above their ability to do their jobs. They do offer nothing but criticism and fail to get anything realistic actually done. Their decisions are based on getting more votes, not about making tough calls for our country.

    G (722480)

  19. Yeah, I thought “bad taste” when I glanced over it yesterday.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  20. ““By your standards, Hagel and Pelosi and the rest should be demanding we evacuate the troops tomorrow.”

    Our biggest problem, as a nation, is the folks who are blind to shades of grey, Black and white homilies do little for any discussion.”

    Shades of gray like fearing to say what you mean ? That’s what is going on.

    ” Who, pray tell, is asking for an immediate withdrawal of troops? Even Teddy Kennedy says it should be phased over a period of approx 365 days during which more and more responsibility is given to the Iraqis (LONG

    Comment by Semanticleo ”

    I see rhetoric that calls the war unwinnable. If that is true, why not leave immediately ? What you are saying is the same they are saying. We are too cowardly to say what we mean. 21% wants the “surge” to fail. What does that tell you ?

    Mike K (416363)

  21. This column is an example of what the anti-war Dhimmicrats mean when they insist they “support the troops.”

    Desert Rat (ee9fe2)

  22. …the anti-war Dhimmicrats mean when they insist they “support the troops.”

    Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more Republicans spouting the same BS.

    “We want to send a message to Bush,” they say. Well, what message will the dozens of proposed resolutions send that the constant face-time and criticism in front of the TV cameras over the last month doesn’t send?

    The single strong message sent globally by all this posturing and “resolving” is that our politicians are not committed to doing whatever it takes to make the Iraq effort or the anti-terrorism efforts successful. Music to the ears of Zawahiri as he gloated in his latest message: “…the whole American military cannot defeat us…”

    If Congress is so certain that 21,000 more troops won’t be able to stop the violence, then the message they should be sending is “send everything we’ve got and crush the insurgency and sectarian killers!”

    Clinton threatening to cut off aid to Iraqi gov’t and army is stupid. The Iraqis are trying to build a police force and army without adequate communications and transportation gear, so obviously they are going to have limited success. If we want them to be more successful, we shouldn’t be threatening to cut off the miserly support we’re currently giving them: we should be swamping them with gear instead.

    Dubya (c16726)

  23. Don’t worry, Dubya…Hillary Clinton has a Secret Plan to get us out of Iraq. She’ll tell us what it is as soon as she gets into office.

    Yeah, right. Like Pelosi’s “secret plan” to get us out of Iraq turned out to be a plan to increase our dependence of foreign oil production by reneging on tax incentives for domestic production and restrictions on domestic oil exploration. Brilliant! Even Californians were smart enough to vote down a similar proposal recently.

    Dubya (c16726)

  24. The really [un]funny thing about this whole opposition to the “surge” is that the 21,000 added troops will still not bring the total number of troops we “surged” to during their elections. Where was the opposition to those numbers then?

    Dubya (c16726)

  25. I thought you were old enough to remember Nixon.

    I guess the sarcasm wasn’t heavy-handed enough.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  26. Leviticus,

    I was just curious, have you declared a major there at U. of New Mexico ?

    Desert Rat (ee9fe2)

  27. I’ve declared Political Science.

    I’ll probably declare Spanish.

    Why?

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  28. Not that I’m opposed to curiosity, by the way.

    Damn, that’s a weird looking word: “curiosity”

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  29. Test.

    Dubya (c16726)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2525 secs.