Friday, November 26, 2004

Cigarettes Can Kill You

We've all seen him. The soldier having a smoke break after a long, hard day of fighting war. Today's Guardian has
Naomi Klein's astute, wicked smart analysis of American reaction to that photo. Seems a lot of people are upset because the soldier is smoking--and that's not a very good role model for kids who may want to idolize the warrior hero.

I would assume that many of these people have not been able to bring themselves to go to the real photographs because they don't want their versions of reality messed with. And when reading the comments that have been posted on that blog, it's clear that, even when people are looking at the photos, they're still not seeing what's in front of them. They've accused the brave soul who posts those pictures of getting American soldiers killed. The mind boggles.

I find myself without words at the moment. Instead, I feel some ancient keen rising to the surface, or perhaps a Banshee-like wail. Today, it's just too much.


1138 said...


Thanks for the blog enty and the links to the pictures.
If America can't handle the images of war, then America can't handle war and they should rethink the concept of 'just war'.

If a GI wants a Cig during a quiet moment while trying to protect his own life, and the lives of his fellows then let him have it. I don't care if it costs $40 a pack. In the case of these guys the cost could average out to much less. I wonder what the cost of a pack of cigarettes is to society in Iraq vs. the cost of an M16 in Iraq is.

Sheryl said...

I see your point, Lorraine. On the other hand, I could live quite happily in a world with neither war nor cigarette smoking.

Naomi Klein is probably right here. If didn't see her as just as manipulative of the left as these people are of the right, then I'd probably be forwarding this link around myself.

I lost all interest in what she had to say after I looked at the beginning of her book "No Logo" and saw how she was using exchange rates to make comparisons about economies that were clearly manipulative.

When someone tries to tell me that someone is living on 27 cents a day. We already know that no one actually could live on 27 cents a day if 27 cents meant in country X what it means here. You have to know what the costs are in the country before you know what a given wage buys. But she was given half the picture in things in order to lead people to her conclusions. So I don't like her. She pulls people's strings, and what's more she knows she is pulling people's strings.

lorraine said...

I hadn't read Klein's book. I also hate when someone leads you to conclusions by only presenting you with half the information--it happens so often in our culture, it's become unremarkable, but it's distressing when leftists use it as a lazy way to make a point. So thanks for pointing all of this out--I would have missed it completely.
What I loved about the essay, and if I hadn't been so lazy myself I would have written something--is I've been seeing on all the journalism sites I visit that readers are complaining about the cigarette. Not the war. The cigarette. And it reminds me of that whole notion of when people are overwhelmed, they pick on one tiny detail they feel they can pick out. So they see the tree instead of the forest--the cigarette instead of the war.

Sheryl said...

Oh, yeah. Her article here is probably entirely valid.

She is just a very crafty writer, and she knows how to twist words. I tell you how I felt about her writing. I see her as a liberal version of Ayn Rand. Both have the writing skills to turn black into white and neither are adverse to doing that. Only smug.

jo said...

Hassidim--and Naomi ought to know this--are perhaps the dancingest motherfuckers on the planet. It's Baptists who don't dance.