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  #221  
Old 09 February 2019, 01:39 AM
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I don't know just how it connects to what ASL means, but there is quite a tendency, at least in large parts of the USA, to turn Memorial Day into a party; often accompanied by a shopping spree, or at least so all the stores advertising Memorial Day sales seem to hope.
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  #222  
Old 09 February 2019, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Havenít you ever heard And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda?
Yes, what about it?
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  #223  
Old 09 February 2019, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I don't know just how it connects to what ASL means, but there is quite a tendency, at least in large parts of the USA, to turn Memorial Day into a party; often accompanied by a shopping spree, or at least so all the stores advertising Memorial Day sales seem to hope.
See, I take the exact opposite stance compared to most, or at least the loudest, veterans (the sort of veterans who demand everyone drop everything for a moment of silence to remember someone they have no memory of—the death cultists). Let the living have their barbecues and their sales. There’s nothing you can do for the dead and, as I’ve said, I think what we do to put on displays of mourning can go over the top, bordering on a secular religion of the state (I believe someone very old and very famous has already likened patriotism in general to a sort of state religion, and I happen to share that view).

I would like to think that those who died in our nation’s wars, to the extent they died for anything "noble", could be said to have died, or to have at least been sold on the idea of dying, so you could go on living your life, barbecues and all, and not so much so that you’d drop everything for a day or an hour to stand around and make like you’re remembering people you never knew and have no real feeling for.
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Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
Yes, what about it?
I think the last lines are apropos:
Quote:
And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all
This was 1971, re: WWI. So, yes, WWI and WWII still have an influence on the world today, but then you could say the same about any given past event—you literally would not be here if your great-grandfather had sneezed differently once in his life. That’s in the academic sense. When it comes to emotional investment, though, I have to believe it’s virtually nil for WWI and it’s getting that way for WWII, sad as that may seem.

Last edited by ASL; 09 February 2019 at 02:56 AM. Reason: Sp
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  #224  
Old 09 February 2019, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I think it's really interesting how the attitude towards war, in general, seems to me to have changed over time.and proper reaction to the death of soldiers was to march on to the next battle.
I understand where you're coming from but I honestly don't think it's changed that much at all, at least not in the history of modern warfare. There have always been some who see war for it's foolishness and waste. During WWI there were war protests just like during the 60's, despite the fact that, as ASL points out, it could get you arrested. In the US the active peace movement, with pacifist political parties and protests by thousands goes at least back to the Civil War.

We don't hear much about it because a large portion (I personally think a majority) of people in the world still think the proper reaction is to buy more ships and bombs and keep a bigger standing army and forget about the terror of the last war and the one before that and the one before that... Especially forget that there has long been a vocal minority of people who oppose war.
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  #225  
Old 09 February 2019, 05:11 AM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
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the comeback is also weird because Halloween is not the same as Samhain, it's a Christian festival that replaced Samhain. If you're from a Christian nation then you get a free pass to observe Christian festivals as far as I'm concerned. (Christmas and Easter similarly replaced pagan festivals - Christmas trees and Easter eggs are based on old pagan traditions just the same as jack o-lanterns.
Isn't one culture taking over a tradition (usually watering down or minimizing the meaning) and then replacing the original what cultural appropriation is? In other words, Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc are examples of past appropriation, not celebrations free of such issues.

ETA: In war/veteran issues, my problem is the vast amount of lip service we pay vets. We trot them out for a parade or a sport event, let them wave, then stuff them back into their hole, secure in the knowledge that we have done all we need to for them until next year.

"For it's Tommy this, and Tommy that, and Tommy go away. But it's 'Thank you, Mr Atkins.' when the band begins to play."

Last edited by GenYus234; 09 February 2019 at 05:16 AM.
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  #226  
Old 09 February 2019, 06:43 AM
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A long time ago on this board we got to talking about the origins of Halloween. I was pretty sure it was a mixture of Christian and celtic or some other old rituals and so forth. After spending a lot of time researching it, I came to the conclusion that it's pretty much just a modern (that is, in the past 150-200 years) thing that has little or nothing to do with those - except for the name from the Catholic feast schedule. IMO, It was just a spooky time of year and kids used to have their own mischief night around the same time so someone invented trick or treating... If Christmas as we know it was invented in the past 150-200 years (and I think there's an argument for that), Halloween absolutely was. (I know if you look it up without checking the citations there are all sorts of origin stories on the web. Little more than Just So stories, IMO. No evidence. In some cases no evidence the supposed origin itself existed.)

On the other hand, I've never heard of anyone begrudging celebration of Lunar New Year. That's a bit puzzling. I'm tempted to say that some of that online must be trolling against the other actual complaints of cultural appropriation by making an example of it. Then the same types say that whole bit about Halloween... But I don't know. Maybe some people actually think appropriation of a holiday about half the planet's inhabitants celebrate is a thing. Maybe it is. Hard for me to imagine but...
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  #227  
Old 09 February 2019, 09:53 AM
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Whalephant

Maybe it's because for a chunk of people "celebrating" actually means " eat ethnic food associated, however vaguely, with the people/country celebrating, and party. A lot. "

Look at Cinco de Mayo. It's widely celebrated here with the tasteful theme of "eat tacos, drink lots of beer and get drunk".
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  #228  
Old 09 February 2019, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
When it comes to emotional investment, though, I have to believe itís virtually nil for WWI and itís getting that way for WWII, sad as that may seem.
What are you basing that on? Because I attended Remembrance Day service with my Dad (a Vietnam vet) and my brother last year and there were thousands of people in that one town alone that had a lot of emotional investment in WWI and WWII, including quite a lot of school children. Student representatives from all the local schools laid wreaths, a choir from one school sang the national anthem and some older students read the memorial poems.
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  #229  
Old 09 February 2019, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
Student representatives from all the local schools laid wreaths, a choir from one school sang the national anthem and some older students read the memorial poems.
Don’t you see? You’re only making my point. These children don’t know any of the dead. It’s a religion. A religion based on death and a veneration of the dead. It’s not about catharsis or shared grief; I don’t even think it’s about discouraging future wars when you get down into the mind of a child like that. I think it’s about the majesty and the beauty of "dying for one’s country," oh how sweet and fitting it is.
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  #230  
Old 10 February 2019, 03:39 AM
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Don’t you see? You’re only making my point. These children don’t know any of the dead. It’s a religion. A religion based on death and a veneration of the dead. It’s not about catharsis or shared grief; I don’t even think it’s about discouraging future wars when you get down into the mind of a child like that. I think it’s about the majesty and the beauty of "dying for one’s country," oh how sweet and fitting it is.
How do you know these children don't know any of the dead? Many of them would have had grandparents who served in wars, or even parents who served in wars. They also would have heard stories from their family about grandparents who passed away.

And what exactly is your point in posting all this? Are you trying to encourage people not to attend remembrance Day events? Are you complaining about Remembrance Day interfering in your life? I don't understand why you're so upset about this.
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  #231  
Old 10 February 2019, 03:59 AM
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I'm not ASL and should be taken as speaking only for myself: but the problem may be with this:

Quote:
I think it’s about the majesty and the beauty of "dying for one’s country," oh how sweet and fitting it is.
ASL may well not think it's majestic, beautiful, sweet, and fitting to 'die for one's country'; at least when the cause is dubious. And presenting deaths in a dubious cause as being majestic, beautiful, sweet, and fitting may lead to more of them. On both, or usually more accurately all, sides.

It also, arguably, disrespects the people who so died, while pretending to respect them. What they might actually want to say to their grandchildren, had they lived to be able to do so, might have been in at least some cases quite different.


ETA: actually, even if the cause is just, I don't think that makes the deaths majestic, beautiful, or sweet. They may be necessary; but that's not the same thing. Bravery can still be bitter while it's going down.

Last edited by thorny locust; 10 February 2019 at 04:14 AM.
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  #232  
Old 10 February 2019, 05:49 AM
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IOW, the issue is fetishizing (the earlier meaning) those who have died fighting in the armed services.
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  #233  
Old 10 February 2019, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
How do you know these children don't know any of the dead?
The test is pretty simple. Were they alive when the other person was alive? If no, then they couldn’t possibly have known them. Guaranteed any children now living fall into that category for both world wars. They’re memorializing people they have no memory of. How does that make any sense, removed from the borderline cultish aspects of it?

Quote:
Are you trying to encourage people not to attend remembrance Day events?
Yes.

As to how this effects me... well let me put it this way. I went to Arlington (the "premiere" US military cemetery) once as a kid. As a tourist. I suspect many visitors go there or are taken there for similar reasons.

Think about that. One, that there is such a thing as a "premiere" US military cemetery (it’s the one where everybody who's anybody wants to be buried, to the point they continue to get more and more restrictive on who can be buried there). Two, that we’ve effectively made a tourist industry of dead service members. The tomb of the unknowns, complete with ceremonial guards, is a particular favorite and gosh it sure does look pretty from the stands (there are viewing stands for people to crowd in and watch the changing of the guards—no flash photography please).

Now, conversely, I haven’t been back since, even as I now actually know, or rather knew, some of the people buried there. It’s a NFBSKing tourist attraction!

And anyways, what good would it do? They can’t hear me; they wouldn’t know I was there; they’re dead.

Fundamentally, I guess what I’d like people to do, whether it’s going to Remembrance/Memorial Day events, military cemeteries, parades for the dead, etc that they just ask themselves who they’re really there for, and what kind of message they’re sending by putting on a show of affection for people they don’t know.

You want to support the troops? Great, encourage your representatives to expand funding for medical and other social services (it doesn’t even have to be for the VA or for military-only stuff!). You want to support deceased veterans? How about support their widow or widowers instead? Assuming they’re still alive. Or, failing that, their children (if they lived long enough to have any and they’re still alive). But these shows we put on, year after year, or day after day in places like Arlington and the Somme? Forget about it. The dead can’t smell the flowers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
It also, arguably, disrespects the people who so died, while pretending to respect them. What they might actually want to say to their grandchildren, had they lived to be able to do so, might have been in at least some cases quite different.
I would say I personally find such displays, particularly where the display itself takes center stage rather than any sincere effort to deal with feelings of grief for the survivors, are disrespectful, yes. But obviously mileage varies here. A lot, it seems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
IOW, the issue is fetishizing (the earlier meaning) those who have died fighting in the armed services.
Fetishizing. Good word.

Last edited by ASL; 10 February 2019 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Miscellaneous iPad issues (spacing, spelling, etc)
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  #234  
Old 10 February 2019, 01:58 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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ASL, I see your point as that most 'displays' of respect for the veterans are simply a display. I see a similar attitude with most people in regard to patriotism. They fly their flag but don't do anything to actually help the community. Most people practice their religion in the same way. They stand up and proclaim how good and holy they are without actually practicing the underlying tenets.
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  #235  
Old 10 February 2019, 08:32 PM
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Pageantry is so much more pleasant than doing work.
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  #236  
Old 11 February 2019, 01:54 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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Glasses

And on a completely different subject...

Over the weekend, this area got slammed by snow (you may have read about it; I understand there are a lot of articles). I was out of town. On Sunday I had no trouble getting home and into my driveway to unpack. However, when I went to back out to turn the car around. At which point, I discovered I could not get out of my driveway. Oh, well.

We got about 8-9" on Friday/Saturday. Yesterday and last night, I got 2", and another storm is supposed to arrive today, another 8 or so inches.

This is going to be interesting, in the worst sense of the world.

Seaboe
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  #237  
Old 11 February 2019, 09:42 PM
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Default oh brother where art thou

Wasn't sure where to put this.

About 20-21 years ago, my brother (One of four) packed some belongings into his car, left his apartment in the middle of the night, and dropped out of sight. We never heard from, or saw him again.

He simply vanished.

We made various attempts over the years to locate him. No luck. We even once hired a private detective who specialized in locating hard-to-find people to have a quick go at it. All to no avail. My dad, who passed away 2 years ago this July, figured he was dead, buried in an unmarked grave somewhere. But my mom, who passed away in 2003, was convinced to the end he was alive.

This last Saturday, I received a cryptic text message from my youngest brother that he may have a lead on the lost brother. Turns out he did. A mutual friend, who was at the time both brother's landlord, and a good friend to both, always wondered what happened to "S". Every once in a while he'd do a search for him, using the same procedures he uses when doing a background and credit check on prospective renters. He apparently, struck gold last Saturday.

Said brother turned up, alive, in the northwest. He's been managing a hotel there for 20 years. He's been living on the property and has been pretty much off the grid. Doesn't use the internet much (He was never comfortable with technology.) Never owned a computer. Was not a particularly good driver even. Doesn't have a cell phone.

I. Am. Gobsmacked. As are the other two brothers.

We had suspicions about the reasons he did this. Those reasons are unimportant now.

For the moment, only the one brother is talking to him. We found him. He didn't reach out to us. We're afraid if we all try and contact him at once, and interrogate him about when what and why, he'll spook out, and disappear again.

Boy though, it sure is GOOD to know he's alive and well.
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  #238  
Old 11 February 2019, 10:13 PM
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That's crazy! I only just learned of this person's existence and I'm dying to know what his deal is; I don't know how you can contain your curiosity!
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  #239  
Old 11 February 2019, 10:25 PM
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He's been managing a hotel there for 20 years. He's been living on the property and has been pretty much off the grid.
I really don't mean to make light of this whole situation, but am I the only one who immediately thought of Norman Bates upon reading this detail?
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  #240  
Old 11 February 2019, 11:36 PM
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No. No you’re not. But I’m sick like that.
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