Friday, December 12, 2008

Sacrosanct (Updated)

Some things are sacrosanct. Period. When someone in our family or our circle of friends crosses that line, they are chastised. When someone crosses that line who is outside of our circle of friends, we take action as well. Recently we (meaning those who read this blog and are willing to send an email) chastised Nick Meo and The Telegraph for his asinine portrayal of a small American team that he was embedded with in Afghanistan and the attack which cost CPL Dimond his life.

That had an effect.

I don't relish the idea of attacking those who cross the line; but sometimes something comes up which is just beyond the pale. I have held no grudge against The Onion, and have been amused by their satire in the past; but now there's this:


In The Know: How Can We Make The Iraq War More Handicap Accessible?

Last night I watched the UFC raise money for The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to build a new National Center for Excellence to concentrate on treating soldiers affected by TBI (Traumatic Brain Injuries.) Numerous soldiers and Marines were shown in vignettes that showed the affects that their injuries have had on their lives. Also shown were a couple of UFC fighters who went to an Army medical facility talking and even wrestling with wounded warriors who had lost limbs or were severely burned in combat. Good stuff.

Today, I get an email from Mrs Greyhawk over at Mudville Gazette with a heads-up about this video. I was appalled. I am appalled. As I did when I read the Meo story, I feel compelled to act. I feel compelled to use my voice.

I'm hoping you will, too.

Each one of us who wears the uniform and who goes downrange knowingly risks being put in that physical therapy room, learning to recover from grievous injuries. Each of us know that this risk affects not only us but everyone in our family. Sons who may never get to throw a baseball with us again, daughters who may never dance with us at their wedding, wives or significant others who will be forced to deal with a maimed husband or find that they can't.

None of us offer our limbs, lives, or mental faculties as a willing sacrifice. We don't go to war intending to be maimed. We all put our chits in the hat, and some are called on it. At a higher level, you can call it the price of freedom. It looks great on a website with an eagle and a flag and a really nice font. That is patriotic and clean; but these guys live every day in a world changed in an instant to one of pain and challenge and loss.

It's the ugly, gritty place where the pretty graphics and nice fonts roost.

One of the biggest things that they lose is their place in the brotherhood that they were a part of. Each of us gets a taste of that when he comes home for his mid-tour leave and the rest of the unit soldiers on with the mission. That's just a tiny taste, like the faint taste of cherry chapstick left on my lips when my daughter kissed me goodbye as I left for Afghanistan. These wounded warriors don't just taste it; they live it from the time they awaken each day to the time they go to sleep. They cannot rejoin their units, their band of brothers; for many, ever.

The commitment to serve, as well as the bond and feeling of responsibility to that band of brothers is something that cannot be explained easily. What I can tell you is that it is a powerful thing; so powerful, in fact, that many who have physically given a part of themselves sometimes do find a way back to the fold. This path was pioneered by people like GEN Tommy Franks and SFC Dana Bowman. Men like these showed the way for severely wounded warriors who want to continue the fight to make their way back to active duty to serve again with their brothers; sometimes in combat.

Again; for many, there is no way back to their brothers. Their service, their career, their place in formation, their place in the turret; gone forever though they live and the spirit is willing. But most of them would gladly take a road that was shown to them to find their way back. All would rather not have lost their limbs, their appearance, or their mental abilities.

For a soldier's humor, there are few things that are off the table. We often laugh at things that would appall even the editorial staff at The Onion. We tease each other seemingly without mercy, in the way that brothers often do. The Army teases the Marines, the Air Force, the Navy; we are equal opportunity abusers, and we get the same in return. There is one caveat; you must belong to that club. I'm sure that those men in the wards tease each other, but they belong to that club that none of us wants to pay the price of admission to.

The Onion is not in that club; nor are their advertisers.

I have written on this blog before to raise awareness (and funds) for The Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House (congratulations, Dana Anello White, for reaching your goal and completing yet another marathon,) and Project Valour IT. Valour IT provides laptops to wounded warriors so that they can, among other things, pass some time amidst their painful recovery surfing the net. If you think that these wounded heroes, who are in significant emotional pain, won't see this, you are delusional.

That pisses me off. It's just not #(^$@!*& funny. Here are a bunch of clowns making fun of what for many if not most of these guys is one of their deepest desires; the return to normal and to serve with their brothers downrange again. For most of them, this is now completely out of reach. That's not funny at all. These guys went and served and gave nearly all, and now you're going to make fun of them?

Intolerable.

So, what's a person to do? Well, this soldier is going to send emails. This soldier is going to send emails to The Onion's editorial staff and to as many advertisers as I can, as well as the people at Sonic.

One of the actors in the skit, Brian Huskey, is on the Sonic commercials.

I'm not going to eat at Sonic until this video is removed from The Onion's website. I'm not going to buy from Foster's Lager, Screenlife LLC (makers of DVD games like "Scene It?") and Burger King, who I've seen advertised on the Onion, until they remove the offending skit.

Looks like I'm running short on fast food. Well, it's a small sacrifice for the guys who are learning to walk on new legs. They sacrificed more.

So, here's the information I've gathered to date:

The Onion editorial email: editorial@theonion.com

Advertising at The Onion: advertising@theonion.com

Director of PR for Screen life, LLC: anita.lavine@screenlifegames.com

Sonic Director of External Communications: christi.woodworth@sonicdrivein.com

Sonic regional contact information can be found at:

http://www.sonicdrivein.com/business/newsroom/viewContactUs.jsp?publishType=Contact+Us


If you are as offended as I am and wish to stand up for our wounded warriors, please send an email to The Onion's editorial staff and at least one of the advertisers listed. Let them know that you are offended by the skit and will not buy from the advertisers until the skit is removed. This is how we chastise those whose sense of humor has gotten out of bounds. This is how we let those who have no filters know that we won't tolerate this poor excuse for humor.

It's more than unfunny. It's hurtful to those who have given a part of themselves so that those guys can enjoy freedom of speech; people who hurt every day anyway. Let them know that adding insult to wounds is intolerable.

Some things are sacrosanct.



Here are a list of other bloggers who are on this:

http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/031296.html

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/12/the-onion-cross.html

http://bouhammer.com/wordpress/?p=2391

http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/

http://hooahwife.com/?p=3123

http://susankatzkeating.blogspot.com/2008/12/onion-making-me-cry.html

http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/2008/12/heh_satire_is_s.html

7 comments:

  1. Ay, yi yi... despicable. Thanks for the heads-up on this one. I linked to you in today's post. http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_how_can_we_make_the_0

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  2. Thanks for this important post. The onion has definitely crossed the line ...Absolutely disgusting. You can bet they'll hear from me and I'll link to your post to spread the word.

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  3. Do you know if organizations like Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) are aware of this despicable video! I know they would be appalled by this video and they would rally their membership base to write and speak out against the Onion and their advertisers for this tasteless and heartless attack. I fully intend to follow through and send a version of this
    post to all addresses you have listed, as well as a few of my own.

    Not only has the line been crossed but an egregious assault has taken place here! How dare these people betray our wounded warriors in this way? By creating and posting such a video, the Onion has demonstrated that it clearly lacks even the smallest measure of understanding regarding these soldiers and the catastrophic nature of their injuries. As citizens it is incumbent upon us to try to understand the enormity of the wounds these soldier’s have endured and losses they have experienced on our behalf.

    It will take years to repair the emotional, physical, and psychological scars of this latest generation of warriors and some may never fully recover. The complexity of this issue requires thoughtful and educated study, political awareness, and a willingness by our citizenry to participate in the process. This will ultimately serve to ensure that our returning veterans receive the care and treatment they deserve. With so many of our soldiers suffering from TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), how can anyone in good conscience create something so blatantly condescending and demoralizing to any soldier who has served in our military, let alone those who are still in the fragile early phases of their recovery?

    This video is an affront to all soldiers, their families and the citizens of this country. It serves to illuminate its creators as insensitive and inhumane. Our wounded soldiers and their families have enough obstacles to overcome without the added insult of this video. As our wounded soldiers return from the battlefield, they need to be welcomed with compassion and love; in this way they will find the willpower, strength and courage to heal.

    “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” ~ Clara Barton RN

    “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” ~ Jose Narosky

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  4. I tried to also check that out on the Onion but I think they took it down, the page came up and told me that I was unauthorized to view it. Thank you for the heads up as well that shit is despicable. I hope that it not being accessible is from your efforts to get it removed. It looked like Adam West was the dick head playing the role of the General what a sorry fuck that guy is and the rest of them to even go along with the skit.

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  5. just so you know, the actor you started your sonic boycott against has been discontinued. he is a father who supports his wife and child through his acting, you cost him a good portion of his livelihood, congratulations.
    you also cost the actress who worked on those commercials her job in those spots, while she did nothing to offend you, you cost her much of her income as well, congratulations.

    the satire of that piece was meant to point out the fact that there are thousands of soldiers being injured in this war, and not enough is being done to help them. you may disagree with the delivery, but that was the point. it was not against soldiers, it was against a government that puts them in harms way and doesn't deal with the ramifications.

    perhaps you should think twice before simply reacting and hurting other people.

    also, actors have to take jobs that they may not personally agree with (such as a vegetarian in a mcdonalds commercial)

    though it isn't even close to the same thing, i'm sure there are times that soldiers are asked to do things they don't agree with, but it is their job. it is how they make a living and they go about their jobs as professionals, doing what they are asked to the best of their ability.

    your boycott should have been the onion, not the actors.

    i look forward to your reply and your explanation for causing harm to innocent people. i look forward to your apology to those people as well but i won't hold my breath.

    congratulations again, you really did something.

    maybe next time you will apply the obvious time and energy you have to spare to attacking the proper parties. not just the easiest targets.

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  6. i was hoping to find your well thought out reply defending your position.

    though i'm not surprised you had nothing to say. probably the best course of action when you realize you are wrong.

    just take a second to think next time, that's all.

    thanks.

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