The Unbearable Banishment: I call first tantrum of 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I call first tantrum of 2011

Over this past weekend I read a heartbreaking article in The New York Times about the war. There's no shortage of pencil-pushers in Washington who insist that American troops need to fight the fight in Afghanistan, but they make no personal sacrifices themselves towards that end.

The article, Families Bear Brunt of Deployment Strains, tells the story of families who are torn apart because of the overseas deployment of a mother or father. All the sacrifices are born by the troops and their loved ones. The politicians don't give a shit. It's always been that way. The article is full of quotes like this:

It's pretty hard worrying if he'll come back safe. I think about it, like, 10 or more times a day.

Isaac Eisch, 12, on this father, an Army Sergent deployed to Afghanistan

How does a little kid rise above something that?

It's a tough read. The article began on the font page. I opened the inside spread and finished it. On the opposite spread, my eyes fell on an article about the Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria this weekend.

It was about the difficulty of executing the perfect Texas Dip. The Texas Dip is a bow the Debutantes from Texas have to perform when they enter the ballroom and are announced to society. It's a maneuver that requires the Deb to throw their arms apart and bow forward to the floor until their chin almost touches the carpet.

The Dip is difficult to perform because the large white meringue dresses they wear limit their range of motion. One of the little princesses complained that it made her "quads hurt." Another was featured for her heroic act of performing The Dip with a broken collarbone. Her arm was bound in a raw silk sling that matched her dress perfectly.

The juxtaposition between the two article could not have been worse.

I don't consider myself an angry guy. By that, I mean that I lose my temper just like you do, but I don't get into fistfights, shout or kick walls. But the bile rose in me and I wanted to mash a Debutant in the face. Don't you?


Blogger savannah said...

i had to stop after watching the video online. those little boys broke my heart. how do we stop this mess, sugar? xoxox

January 2, 2011 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've got the Sunday NYT on my dining room table... was busy putting away christmas stuff, and running errands, and didn't read it. i will consider this a warning - i am QUITE certain i'm going into 'debutante bash' mode. that sort of crap always makes me want to barf...

but i know some of these military families. i see what it does. those kids are sadly getting used to it...

January 2, 2011 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Yes, I do. And we don't do the 'deb' thing up here in Canuckland. But we do have military families losing loved ones, albeit on a smaller scale than your country. It fractures lives and souls in a way so difficult to understand, but the pain is there for all to see.

All, except those bloody politicians, that is! Ship them all off to the war and send the soldiers home... see what happens to their sorry asses.

January 2, 2011 at 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I don't want to hit a silly little fluff-brained debutante. Not until I've had a damn' good swing at some WASHINGTON JAWS.

January 3, 2011 at 12:35 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I could only read the first page of that link. Too sad.

January 3, 2011 at 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Texan Dip ... I'm baffled. Can't believe this is considered newsworthy.

Anyway, the whole army thing ... is weird. Personally, I don't know anyone who WANTS to be in the army. The whole dying for you country thing, isn't big in SA. You enter the army if you're poor and want to get a free education.

January 3, 2011 at 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stooopid, even without a war to juxtapose.

January 3, 2011 at 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn something new every day. I always thought Texas Dip involved sour cream and onion.

January 3, 2011 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I abhor the war - particularly when so many 'high ups' say it can never be won.
And I think the deb thing is pointless and silly. But I don't see how the two are related. Really.

January 3, 2011 at 5:47 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sav: I could only read the article. I didn't have the gumption to view the vids.

Daisy: It's in the Saturday times. Don't look for it. It'll only spoil your morning.

Ponita: I saw family separation on a much smaller scale when I was in the Coast Guard. No doubt about it; military life is rough on the kids.

MIT: You're right. My anger is misplaced. Perhaps I should sock a local politician instead.

January 3, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Nurse: It's hard to take but I thought I should plow through out of respect.

Sid: The Texas Dip article was printed in the Saturday paper, which is when a lot of fluff is reported. They shouldn't have printed it right next to such a heavy, sad story.

Dolce: It's the world of the mega-wealthy. I'm sure it's important to their culture but it seems so superficial to me.

kykn: Nope. Just a lot of cheese.

Pat: Ironically, I approve of your Royals. At least they generate loads of tourist pounds for your country. But the wealthy layabouts we have here don't help a soul.

January 3, 2011 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

No, but I could swing for the parents who should know better for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because it feels like a way of keeping women as dolls. I wonder if someone at the NYT put the two together to show the absurdity, as well as the horror, of a world still ruled by archaic practices. How, with everything we've learned, do the working classes still get sent off to war, and women still get moulded into playthings, all so a few stupid men can postulate? I'm already boiling and I haven't read the article yet.

January 3, 2011 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason I thought reading the article would make me appreciate the things that I have more; it just angered me that for some people life is a daily struggle and for others they worry about how to bow-how is this fair?

January 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Eryl: That's very perceptive of you. I didn't see that angle but you're right. The it's shameful behavior by the parents, isn't it?

MT: Thank God someone is writing articles about it. For many decades, this sort of thing went unreported. I saw some separations while in the Coast Guard, but nothing like what these people go through.

January 3, 2011 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Sausage said...


January 3, 2011 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Eryl: I don't think anyone - whatever class they are - is conscripted now, are they? Tell me if I've got it wrong.
There may well be more working class recruits because it may be their only way of earning a living.

January 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

UB: and another thing I've probably got wrong was the belief that wealthy Americans were noted for their philanthropy. Their motives may have been questionable (we have some of those here in the UK)but presumably they do help in some way?

January 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger JZ said...

You can't gain public support to fight a war to preserve a way of life...too many grey areas to define. But you can get a slew of under-informed yahoos to mount a campaign to fight "EVIL". These wars protect the American right to have many, many, many more Deb Balls......the poor, huddled masses, yearning to protect the top 1%'s lifestyle.....

It was probably a godless pinko commie editor that decided to juxtapose the see how many people he could corrupt.

January 3, 2011 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sausage: Do you feel bad for feeling that? I do!

Pat: I'm going to continue to believe that the privileged are a philanthropic bunch and that a lot goes on that we never hear about. I might be naive but that's how I roll.

JZ: Boy, leave it to you to cast a whole new irritating light on this. Do you think it was intentional? Is that possible?

January 3, 2011 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

These contrasts are always blatent in the media. It beggars belief. It's like the World isn't properly integrated, which I suppose it isn't.

January 4, 2011 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger Jayne said...

Certainly on the top ten of my "reasons to have a tantrum" list. Your cries are heard near and far.

January 4, 2011 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: I can't count the number of times that the NY Times has run an ad from Tiffany's next to a starving child story. It happens all the time.

Jayne: Thank you, because I thought I was being a big whiner and envious of the wealthy.

January 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous annie said...

It's all relative UB, and honestly, I envy those little Texas debs if all they have to worry about is executing a dip. How lucky are they? And is luck really their fault?

Not sure how I feel about the war and the effect it has on soldiers and their families due to the whole "choice" thing. The soldier chose and his/her spouse chose and kids? Well, they deal, but that's no different than it has always been.

Who ever stops to think about the long term of their decisions in terms of others? When you join up, war is a possibility and if that happens you are forcing your family to deal with outcomes too. But no one thinks about that in the moment, probably.

And yeah, the war is dubious, but they have all been so regardless of what the history books (written by winners remember) tell us.

I was watching an episode of The Pacific the other night with Rob and it occurred to me that Americans are ill-suited to war. We fight for all the wrong reasons and we are too tender souled for the business of killing. jmo

January 4, 2011 at 1:32 PM  

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