My first reaction to the video released recently of the four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Afghans was that it was too ham-fisted and bombastic a metaphor to add anything of real value to the ongoing critique and analysis of this country’s über-mortiferous foreign policy. I began to wonder if I wasn’t, in fact, witnessing the censorship of an enlightening fact rather than the shutting down of mere prurience.
Clint Eastwood doesn't mince words about his opinion concerning Spike Lee's criticisms of Eastwood films like "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Bird." Lee has repeatedly called Eastwood on the carpet for his racial politics in those movies. Well, Eastwood has offered Lee quite the definitive comeback: "A guy like him should shut his face." Updated
President Bush gave his final Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and declaring: "It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place like this grows with every Memorial Day."
It's become a visual meme in our culture, but some World War II veterans don't believe that Joe Rosenthal's seminal image of Americans hoisting the flag on Mount Suribachi should be appropriated or altered in any way. In fact, some vets, like Donald Mates, believe repurposing the photo, as Time magazine has just done for an issue about global warming, is tantamount to blasphemy.
On the 100th anniversary of John Wayne's birth, falling as it does on Memorial Day weekend, Truthdig presents two pieces connecting the hype of the celluloid "war hero" who never fought to the hard human costs of war. It was the Duke's deadly myth, after all, that would lead young men like Ron Kovic to sacrifice life and limb in needless wars.