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July 27, 2005

Ah, Hail the Grey Lady...

Alessandra Stanley, (registration required, see writing in the New York Times shows the near breathtaking insularity that people in her circle usually ascribe to us Red State Redneck Morons.

She's writing about Fx's new show, Over There, which debuts today. We can talk about whether or not the show is a good idea (which Stanley does) but that's not what just had me struck dumb... but still able to type, unfortunately for you.

Timing is the questionable element in "Over There," Steven Bochco's 13-episode series about soldiers fighting in Iraq. It is not only the first television drama about the conflict, but also the first American television series that has tried to process a war as entertainment while it was still being fought.

Hey, I'm with ya here, Alessandra.

But she loses me here... and displays the insular world she lives in.

... "Over There" dramatizes wartime slaughter and suffering that all too often go unnoticed. For all the lives lost and billions spent, the Iraq conflict has raged on with surprisingly little impact on most Americans. Gas is not rationed, neighbors do not plant victory gardens, and there are no gold stars in the windows of grieving mothers.

Where you live, Alessandra, and among your circle. Which, I suppose is an argument for a draft, huh? No, we don't have rationing, Victory Gardens, etc... but around here, where I live, and in places around the country I've been, I've seen Blue Stars (In Service) and Gold Stars (fatality). But, gee, whatta surprise, not among the literati. Usetabe we at least got some officers in that crowd, but not much any more.

But wait! There's more! It get's better!

Except perhaps in the cartoon strip "Doonesbury," reminders of war in the media are fleeting. Live battle scenes and Pentagon briefings flicker across television newscasts as fast as weather bulletins and weight-loss features; even live events become dulled by repetition on cable news programs and radio. Fiction, however, has a way of slowing time and putting a frame on a shifting, fragmented reality.

Hey, Alessandra... I know that it's like, illegal for an MSM type to go slumming this way... but welcome to the Milblog world. Surf around in there and you'll find all of that and more. To include the "not-pretty" side of things.

Just sayin', you self-absorbed, gated-community, oh-so-tony crowd, local TV critic. Ain't it nice to live in a world where there is such an economic surplus that such a superfluous job can actually earn you a living? With no need to enter into reality with the Rest of Us? But, because you are such a keen observer of the Zeitgeist as expressed in the little glowing screen (or huge one, for you guys with the big 'uns) you just *know* what it's like out here among us little people, so unaffected by the war (in part, truth) but you, oh you of such a sensitive soul, you are tortured by it, right? All that fluttery angst as you watched Bochco copy Spielberg in his combat sequences.

Please. Can you even name a casualty, without looking 'em up? Do you know one? In my crowd, most of us know one or more personally. And while I'm sure that many many many people can't - lemme tell ya, toots - the Blue and Gold Stars are out for the seeing where I've been.

Comments on Ah, Hail the Grey Lady...
BloodSpite briefed on July 27, 2005 09:04 AM


Well said.

And yea, I think we all know at least one. I'm at 3 and counting.

ken briefed on July 27, 2005 10:53 AM

Well done.

armynurseboy briefed on July 27, 2005 12:26 PM

I'm going to watch it tonite to see how it is. Might be worth the time to watch, might not. I'm interested how Hollywood is going to spin it....

Neutral briefed on July 27, 2005 01:44 PM

if you watch it, let me know what it's like...I rather doubt that we will ever get to see it here ...though it probably would be quite fun to see how they render it in French

cricket briefed on July 27, 2005 05:34 PM

You know, I was all fired up to be sympathetic about the so called apathy toward this war that she was attempting to convey until I realized the apathy she deplores is the apparent 'let's go about our business anyway' that we all do.

I can't name one soldier that died over there either, but that is off the top of my head.

I have a news flash for the Worthy One: Life has to go on in spite of ugliness and the horror. But for those men and women who are taking it on the chin over there, I wouldn't have a peaceful moment, thank you very much.

I wasn't going to broadcast this here until it was pretty much over, but my nephew is at Fort Benning.
I am very proud of him and his decision.

He is finishing up some schools and training now that he has finished basic, but his decision to put off his life for a few years to keep me safe is a sacrifice I won't forget.

I know his name. I know his history. I watched him grow up and while I am not as close to him as his mother (my oldest sister, not the moonbat member of the Sierra Club that is my other sister)
I still have a vested interest in his welfare.

I love him like he was my own, and pray he is safe and smart and comes home.

Good points John. You said it so well and far better than we could have.

I am not indifferent. Nor am I going to ration if I don't have to. And if it comes to that, will the
liberals be the first to give up their creature comforts or complain even louder?

Cricket briefed on July 27, 2005 05:36 PM

PS and addenda:

The apathy she deplores is the apathy of the non protestor. We aren't paying attention to it HER way.
So? I support the troops in many ways aside from the yellow ribbon magnet.

Heartless Libertarian briefed on July 27, 2005 10:55 PM

So far, I've been lucky enough to know only one person killed in this war...and that one actually killed by a traitor in our own uniform (the fragging in the 101st back in 2003).

It doesn't even take that much getting the Costco today in Issaquah, WA (about 20 min from Seattle) my wife pointed out to me a triple Blue Star banner hanging on the wall. I didn't ask, but can only assume it was for three store employees serving overseas. And this is in a Blue store (Costco gives overwhelmingly to the Dems) in the Bluest County (King) in a Blue state (WA).

ry briefed on July 28, 2005 01:17 AM

Okay, 'Over There' report:
It's pretty bad. Has just about all the old war movie cliches and ALL the lefty anti-war chliches(everyone's there because they're screw ups or poor, or the one guy who is dumb and actually wants to be there).
War Movie Cliches:
It has the hard bitten sargent who yells, but really cares.
The philospher.
The brotha' who just wants to get along, and sings gospel.
The O-G brotha' who's rather racist.
The officers are stupid and do things to get the men killed because they're stupid. THe officers face no danger and live rather high on the hog.(A captain drives up in a humvee with gangsta rap playing real loud, and his utilities aren't even dusty).
Anti-war cliches:
War reveals Man to be the Beast that he is. (Oooooh. Deep.).
Everyone who is there, except for the one gung-ho fool from Texas(Texas! Get it?), doesn't want to be there and joined because of misfortune.
The openly religious character is rather cruel(she crushes the hand of dead Iraqi).
Almost all the soldiers come from poor families.
Ah, and the song. 'Where someone has to die.' Deep.

Then there's all the errors in the stupid thing.
They have a transport squad holding the perimeter on a mosque for three days, where the transport just happened to be shot up.
An Abrahms tank is on hand, but isn't used in the assault on the mosque AT ALL.
During a night movement all the soldiers move line abreast standing more or less straight up, and don't even attempt to utilize any cover at all as they move.
While digging foxholes a female soldier(who happens to be the religious one) starts to whine, get in a shouting match with one of her squad mates, and of course draws all hell down on the squad.
A squad member goes wandering off on their own to go #2, and of course gets ambushed and nearly killed. Having to be rescued by the rest of the squad.

They tried to play this off as neutral in the press. It's anything but. It's hackneyed. It's poorly written(if I can point out technical flaws you know it's got a lot of problems). It's the typical backdrop for doing other issues(like race, like gender, the role of mankind, etc).
Don't waste your time. Hopefully this will go down in flames like Cop Rock.

Cricket briefed on July 28, 2005 01:33 AM

Well, I dunno about the cliches. This was is the 'first' one I have been directly affected by and involved in. Vietnam was played out in our family room and I was in my mid teens when Saigon fell.

All I know is that in every conflict we have had since then, I have been sick to death of a Fearless Leader like Clinton who cut into the military without any regard for the future and then had the gall to start the Kosovo issue. I say gall because that is exactly what it was. Ten years later we are done with a what, 'six month' mission? Is that like the three hour tour that Gilligan took for seven seasons?

I don't like being the World Playground Police. I would love for other nations to be responsible for their own security which would make it a lot harder for twisted turbans to murder and kill.

I am not going to debate the rightness or wrongness of this, but in terms of why we are there, when we will be done is anyone's guess, and so, I am in it for the long haul. I don't want to see our troops treated like garbage like they were forty years ago.

I actually know MY reasons for supporting this war, but we sent professionally trained human beings to
an ugly fight. We have now let ourselves be wide open for anything else that comes.

My time for thinking that the world was fairly safe was shattered on the morning of September 11th, 2001. My children saw their world change forever in ten minutes. My youngest child wasn't even a year old when it happened, and he will never know about a pre 9-11 world. It will define his generation the way Pearl Harbor defined my parent's generation.

It takes all kinds to make a world great, but terrorism and evil shouldn't be a part of it.
Keeping it at bay is what we are doing now with
imperfect people and there are those who have an agenda that are going to be ugly about it.

Now that we have the internet, it doesn't have to be that way. We can hold journalists to a higher standard than what they have been showing as of late.

So, cliches aside, I will pray for all of the stereotypes and the hackneyed cynics. They are keeping me and mine safe at night.

ry briefed on July 28, 2005 02:05 AM

Cricket, see my problem is that this show seems to be making cheap points off of those who step up and put it on the line. It's like making a buck off a dead man. they trivialize things in certain situations that turned my stomach.
One could easily do a non-John Wayne pro-war movie/series without being real preachy about it. But Bochco didn't do that. He wanted to preach. He wanted to rub peoples nose in things(the far lefties for being reflexively anti-war(the speech that 'Dim' makes) and everyone else because it's only the poor that goes to war). That isn't storytelling, and it sure isn't good tv.

My real problem with it is the people in the mil aren't these stereotypes. They're real, living breathing, complex people. This shorts them so much it's pathetic. They aren't presented as people, but as props for making a point. It isn't drama. It's melodrama. Making a buck off a dead man.
I'd say a better military series, even if it's fictional, is Battlestar Galactica. The characters aren't 2d(even in the first episode they aren't 2d) cardboard stereotype cut outs. They're people and presented as such.
Maybe I'm stepping on toes here, and if so Cricket I appologize(or just have John slap me). But I thought this show was terrible because it's melodrama--not a fair look at the military and what it's like over there.

John of Argghhh! briefed on July 28, 2005 06:17 AM

HL - I'm guessing here, but I'm guessing Ms. Stanley doesn't shop at COSTCO...

Cricket briefed on July 28, 2005 06:38 AM

I was agreeing with you. You didn't offend at all.
They look for something or edit it to fit a pre concieved notion. In the real world that these twits think they are a part of and dramatizing, we would call that prejudice, narrowmindedness, etc.

Moore did that with Farenheit 911 and other crocumentaries. He is guilty of doing what the MSM
is accusing the Bush administration of doing:
Twisting the intel to fit the policy.

I was just stating that that is why it can't be a cliche to me because I don't know anyone who fits the stereotypes they have trotted out.

The war, not the Botchedco thing.

Tom briefed on July 28, 2005 09:32 AM

The show stinks - and this is no political opinion.For the purpose of adding credibility to my comments I was active duty in the Army for 9 years and 17 in the Reserves. I am a retired Lieutenant Colonel. I commanded an aviation unit in Desert Storm (MEDEVAC). The show is anything but realistic. A sergeant threatening to shoot his own man for rescuing a wounded soldier? What NCO in the Army would do that? - never happens period. An old UH-1 Medevac helicopter in the IED attack scene? - surprise folks we're flying Blackhawks as MEDEVAC in Iraq. I suppose the directors/producers figured the ignorant public wouldn't notice? This was complete nonsense!! Use of ranks on the tactical command radio net? -Never happens. "Where are you located Sergeant?" Please! There is a strict use of radio phraseology when making calls on a tactical radio net and referral to ranks or names id strictly prohibited! Give me a break! This show was complete garbage when it comes to realism. Oh yeah and the insurgency conducts a frontal assault against a dug in infantry platoon with automatic weapons capability? The insurgents are a LOT smarter than that as we have come to discover. If for the purposes of argument they did that the shooting would be over in about ten seconds! Any professional soldier with a modicum of familiarity about US Army doctrine and tactics must have been throwing things at the TV set. Does this show have a military advisor? you would NEVER know it. Save yourself the pain- watch MASH reruns they are more realistic than this lemon!

Justthisguy briefed on July 28, 2005 11:01 PM

But, but, does it have my favorite egregious war-movie wrongness which I love to execrate? The thing that they *always* seem to get wrong?

I refer, of course, the the weird idea they seem to have in Hollywood, that the speed of sound is the same as the speed of light. I haven't seen the thing, and after reading here I ain't gonna, but somehow I just psychically *know* that watchers of that will hear the bang from distant explosions simultaneously with the flash.

Sheesh! Haven't any of those folks ever had a cheap seat at a baseball game, and heard the bat striking the ball a half-second or so after seeing it?

Justthisguy briefed on July 28, 2005 11:07 PM

Umm, I meant to, and thought I did, write "*to* the weird idea.."

ry briefed on July 30, 2005 01:54 AM

From what I've seen JTG, no it doesn't do that. By my reckoning all the explosions were zoomed in or rather close to the camera. But, someone did note that the explosions for mortar fire are wrong. I wouldn't know about that--Armorer would you care to teach on your B-day weekend? Or is this a lecture for another day?

John of Argghhh! briefed on July 30, 2005 10:10 AM

Um, remember me, Ry, the guy being the classic Internet Critic? Of something I haven't seen? Though in my defense, I'm just being a aggregtor and analyst.

If it's typical Hollywood stuff, there's a lot of smoke and flame in the explosions, which, especially in smaller explosions, doesn't happen. You get black, dark grey smoke, kind of a high-pitched crack/boom (no long rolling noise), and dust and fragments hitting the ground puffs. I'll see if I can find some decent video.