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"My dad, Master Sergeant Joe Myers, is in Iraq right now ... "
November 3, 2009 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Tricked on Halloween (in the nicest way imaginable).
posted by WCityMike (90 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not ashamed to say I'm goin' through the Kleenex over on this end. Took me about five seconds to well up. I think it's that you can just see the emotional changes show so clearly on her face ...
posted by WCityMike at 11:07 PM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Very nice for her and her Dad.

The website offered to show me a video called "Couple Caught Having Sex in Bank" immediately afterward.
posted by meadowlark lime at 11:12 PM on November 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


Genuine emotions are so rare in life. I feel somewhat shocked, and somewhat renewed. How can 30 seconds of video of people I've never met, and know nothing about, leave me misty?
posted by jabberjaw at 11:18 PM on November 3, 2009


Wow, zero to tears in 49 seconds...
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:22 PM on November 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Wow. I don't think of it at all but to have a dad 'over in Iraq' is a lot for a kid. Somehow this really brought that home.

God I hate GWB.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:27 PM on November 3, 2009


I sure am glad someone was there to record this child's reaction and post it to YouTube.
posted by Clave at 11:28 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


the set-up made me want to puke but that was actually really sweet.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:32 PM on November 3, 2009


Wow. It's rare to see such real, raw emotions play over someone's face. Even her arms blush, she's so moved.
posted by twistofrhyme at 11:36 PM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I remember when this was making the rounds of news programs; it was so touching. Here's a little more of the story.
posted by heyho at 11:51 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The website offered to show me a video called "Couple Caught Having Sex in Bank" immediately afterward.

Good thing those kleenex are already nearby.
posted by chillmost at 12:00 AM on November 4, 2009 [40 favorites]


Yay! So sweet.
posted by maxwelton at 12:11 AM on November 4, 2009


"(in the nicest way imaginable)."

Meh.

I was hoping for a NSFW video link.
posted by markkraft at 12:20 AM on November 4, 2009


"Good thing those kleenex are already nearby."

I repeat... I was hoping for a NSFW video link.
posted by markkraft at 12:21 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yuk. Sorry. 3 cameras there just to record it? markkraft is half right. This is emotional porn. Her emotions are real enough, but the rest of it just feels a bit cheap.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:29 AM on November 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Wonder whose idea it was that she wear a peace sign tank top?
posted by Scram at 12:40 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yuk. Sorry. 3 cameras there just to record it? markkraft is half right. This is emotional porn. Her emotions are real enough, but the rest of it just feels a bit cheap.

Oh for Christ's sake, it last 30 seconds and had no soundtrack with swelling orchestral music. Have a heart and just pray for the day all soldiers get to come home and stay home.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:42 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is emotional porn. Her emotions are real enough, but the rest of it just feels a bit cheap.

That's because it's propaganda. Second post in 24 hours overly humanizing US soldiers in Iraq. Raytheon and Haliburton should get together and cut Metafilter a check.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:48 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's such a thing as overly humanizing a soldier?
posted by incessant at 1:16 AM on November 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


This is emotional porn.

Jesus, where is your soul?

That said ...

MetaFilter: emotional porn
posted by bwg at 1:18 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate George Bush and the right-wing fascist agenda with an ugly passion. The war in a Iraq is a filthy travesty of post-colonial cynicism. Yet I still feel nothing but unbridled joy for that obviously loving young girl, and her father. It's called empathy, and if you are so dead inside that you can't feel it, then I truly feel sorry for you.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:30 AM on November 4, 2009 [16 favorites]


I am happy that the girl was reunited with her father, and it was interesting to see her expressions change when she saw him. But, I couldn't help but feel we were intruding on what should have been a somewhat private event. It was filmed by the local news, not a teacher with a digital camera. Why were they called? What if it had gone badly (I can't imagine how, but human emotion can be mysterious)? It felt weird and manipulative to me.
posted by bluefly at 1:35 AM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


If Hannah had been aware that she was on camera then it might have been manipulative, but she appeared to be completely oblivious; she was looking to see who was entering the classroom, just like any curious kid would do.

The whole thing was simply set up to maximise the surprise, and I can't see a thing wrong with that.

Besides, it's nice to see a happy story come out of the whole Iraq nightmare, instead of a sad story about yet another soldier coming home in box.
posted by bwg at 1:41 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can you "overly" humanize a, uhhh, human being?

I'd always thought that was more or less their default state.
posted by Limiter at 2:05 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was filmed by the local news, not a teacher with a digital camera. Why were they called?

From heyho's link: "To make it happen, Tami Myers worked with the public affairs department at Randolph AFB and with the school, which serves the children of military parents, many of whom are deployed in combat zones and elsewhere overseas."
posted by Ljubljana at 2:20 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


How can you "overly" humanize a, uhhh, human being?

I'd always thought that was more or less their default state.


When you sign up to do whatever's asked for you, including killing foreigners for their petroleum, you move from the default state to "a little less than." There are little girls in Iraq whose faces will never again light up at the sight of their fathers walking in the door because of the work that Master Sergeant Myers and others like him have done.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:34 AM on November 4, 2009 [14 favorites]


I also found it very affecting at first. But then a youtube search turns up this list of related links, and you start watching these videos -- there are many, many of them -- and damned if after the third one you don't start to feel angry that these kids have been separated from their parents in the first place. Which I think is how this girl will feel when she sees this video in fifteen years.

Exploitative and pornographic.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:51 AM on November 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


... there are many, many of them

Which tells me it's not a unique idea, so what?
posted by bwg at 3:04 AM on November 4, 2009


I've seen a few of these and you know? It's so, so, SO much better without slow motion, orchestral music, and fuzzy focus. You'd think news stations could learn a thing or two about less is more production.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 3:49 AM on November 4, 2009


From heyho's link: "To make it happen, Tami Myers worked with the public affairs department at Randolph AFB and with the school, which serves the children of military parents, many of whom are deployed in combat zones and elsewhere overseas."

I read that before. But that still doesn't explain to me why you needed news coverage of a moment, that to me, seems to be a kind of private thing -- not private in the sense that it's only 2 people, but private in the sense that it doesn't need to be on TV. Anyway, obviously I'm in the minority in feeling that this is hinky.
posted by bluefly at 3:54 AM on November 4, 2009


There is nothing so heartwarming that Metafilter can't find something wrong with it.

Next up: The tragedy of lolcats...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:06 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


When you sign up to do whatever's asked for you, including killing foreigners for their petroleum, you move from the default state to "a little less than."

Hey, does anybody have the link to that script that lets you block a specific user's comments?

I mean, jesus, dude.
posted by jbickers at 4:16 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is nothing so heartwarming that Metafilter can't find something wrong with it.

Well, taken totally on its own, this moment is beautiful.

Taken in context of all the unpleasantness that had to take place for the heartwarming moment to occur, it's a lot less heartwarming.

Personally, I liked it. And then felt dirty afterwards.
posted by Netzapper at 4:18 AM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


There is nothing so heartwarming that Metafilter can't find something wrong with it.

Well, this bit after the FPP is meant for discussion, after all. Do you really think it'd be a better thread if it were solely full of 'So sweet - thx 4 making my day!' comments? It's not as if people are personally emailing the girl telling her: 'You have no right to be happy because your daddy is an ILLEGAL MURDERER!!!11' It seems fair enough to make a distinction between 'Ahh that's so cute her school gave her a lovely surprise' and 'Ahh she's relieved her daddy is briefly in the same country as her and not dead'.
posted by RokkitNite at 4:37 AM on November 4, 2009


I think it would have been better if he showed up as a trick or treater to her house dressed as an army man.

I am very happy for her, but I felt bad watching that for some reason. Her pain is so visible. I feel yucky watching it.
posted by milarepa at 4:42 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorry to derail (like that's not already happening) but as a UKer I'm surprised that both the girl and the article refer to 'daddy'. TV has always led me to believe that Americans all call their fathers 'Pa', 'Pop' or 'sir'.

Yes, that's right... all I got out of this staged sappy but strangely touching video was a weird linguistic comment...
posted by twine42 at 4:46 AM on November 4, 2009


Well, taken totally on its own, this moment is beautiful.

Taken in context of all the unpleasantness that had to take place for the heartwarming moment to occur, it's a lot less heartwarming.


Shoot, that could be said for any heartwarming moment, anywhere, anytime.

The world is a mightily screwed up place, which is perhaps why heartwarming stories touch us the way they do, and why we need heartwarming stories more than ever.

Unless of course we become completely cynical bastards that have to dissect every little thing because know there is hidden, lurking evil behind it. How dare anyone feel good, even for a moment?
posted by bwg at 4:48 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is nothing so heartwarming that Metafilter can't find something wrong with it.

It is possible to feel moved by this, but not without realising emotions are being manipulated. There is no reason whatsoever that this young lady's facial response to seeing her father should be publicly available. She could not have consented to this in full knowledge of what was going to happen, because it would not have happened.

Hey, does anybody have the link to that script that lets you block a specific user's comments?

If you did this you might miss the answer to that essential AskMe question that Mayor Curley answered for you. Diversity of opinion is a good thing, assuming you have more than 'jesus (sic), dude' to contribute.
posted by asok at 4:50 AM on November 4, 2009


Just for clarification: I'm not calling Netzapper a cynical bastard, cause he ain't.
posted by bwg at 4:50 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


But that still doesn't explain to me why you needed news coverage of a moment, that to me, seems to be a kind of private thing -- not private in the sense that it's only 2 people, but private in the sense that it doesn't need to be on TV. Anyway, obviously I'm in the minority in feeling that this is hinky.

No, Bluefly you're not in the minority. I'm the daughter of a retired Air Force officer, who is the veteran of several wars. My dad almost missed my prom, missed the majority of my brother's terrible twos, teaching my brother to drive, deployed soon after my wedding, and a whole host of other memories that he should have been around for. (For the record, he was drafted, he didn't "sign up.") I understand Hannah's emotions - I've been there more than once. There's no feeling in the world like seeing a loved one return from a conflict, stepping off of a plane and dear sweet lord, returning to your arms. Having the media there, it changes things. When dad returned from his most recent deployment, it was the media who shoved their way across the barriers first, to get the best (and most exploitative) footage. The reporter from the local newspaper welcomed my father home before I or my mother did. And she's lucky I'm a peace loving hippie, because I almost popped her one. Military families have a very strange codependent relationship with the media. I'm glad Hannah's dad is home safe to her (and yes, I'm bawling at my desk this morning) but that's a moment that's going to be etched in her brain forever - regardless of it's on YouTube or not.
posted by librarianamy at 5:03 AM on November 4, 2009 [22 favorites]


I went to randolph elementary for kindergarten and half of first grade. That's really all i have to say about the matter.
posted by djduckie at 5:04 AM on November 4, 2009


what....what's that? My soul is dead, you feel sorry for me, I'm a cynical bastard because I think it's inappropriate to secretly videotape vulnerable children at extreme moments without their consent, because it's the only way we can find to push our desensitized emotional buttons?

Yeah, this is porn. And hey, we all like one kind of porn or another. At least my preferred porn is made with consenting adults.
posted by the bricabrac man at 5:06 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, there's this...she will always have this memory for herself on video, and maybe for her that's a good thing?

The media took pictures of my daughter and my first grandson the first time my son-in-law came back into port after his first sea deployment. In fact they did a little photo essay on them. My daughter was thrilled to have those pics taken, and it's pretty heartwarming to see-and hear-(they did some audio) their reactions as "daddy came home."
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:12 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


If she had been told that her father had died in Iraq, I imagine her facial expressions would be the same. This is a heartwarming moment, but only because she went to bed every night afraid that her dad was getting shot at and that she might wake up tomorrow to the news that he was dead.
posted by stavrogin at 5:22 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


When you sign up to do whatever's asked for you, including killing foreigners for their petroleum, you move from the default state to "a little less than." There are little girls in Iraq whose faces will never again light up at the sight of their fathers walking in the door because of the work that Master Sergeant Myers and others like him have done.

I think this point could have been expressed without implying that people who join the US Army to fight in Iraq become actually partially dehumanized. Once you start suggesting that some humans aren't fully human it becomes easier to stomach the crimes that have been committed in places like Iraq, many of them by US soldiers.

But on the other hand...

There is nothing so heartwarming that Metafilter can't find something wrong with it.

I do so dislike this scolding implication that the only acceptable way to interpret something like this video is to refuse to let yourself think about the shocking wider context, in which Master Sergeant Joe Myers is implicated in something more, and much more problematic, than just Being A Hero And A Great Daddy. You really don't have to be a cynic to see how this attitude — "Oh come on, can't we just ENJOY something LOVELY without all this cynicism??!" — helps reinforce the whole Hallmark idea of the US military as uncomplicated heroes.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:28 AM on November 4, 2009 [18 favorites]


(Oh, it's possible St Alia was responding to the "emotional porn" criticism, in which case my point is best directed at bwg.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:31 AM on November 4, 2009


I'd be pissed that I prepared a report for nothing. Thanks, dad. You just ruined my thesis.
posted by ColdChef at 5:34 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If she had been told that her father had died in Iraq, I imagine her facial expressions would be the same. This is a heartwarming moment, but only because she went to bed every night afraid that her dad was getting shot at and that she might wake up tomorrow to the news that he was dead.

Uh, yeah? WE KNOW THAT.

Did you not notice her shirt?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:35 AM on November 4, 2009


You really don't have to be a cynic to see how this attitude — "Oh come on, can't we just ENJOY something LOVELY without all this cynicism??!" — helps reinforce the whole Hallmark idea of the US military as uncomplicated heroes.

This is interesting, because for me, the video isn't about the dad or the military at all. It would have been just as moving if the dad were a police officer or a firefighter or a doctor who had spent the year in Darfur. It's all about the little girl and her reaction.
posted by jbickers at 5:38 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you sign up to do whatever's asked for you, including killing foreigners for their petroleum, you move from the default state to "a little less than." There are little girls in Iraq whose faces will never again light up at the sight of their fathers walking in the door because of the work that Master Sergeant Myers and others like him have done.

This from a guy who keeps a statue of Lenin on his desk.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:40 AM on November 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, where's the footage of the kids who find out their parent isn't coming home?
posted by MrVisible at 5:44 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Game warden:

I do so dislike this scolding implication that the only acceptable way to interpret something like this video is to refuse to let yourself think about anything except the shocking wider context.

Those of us who see something touching aren't sticking our heads in the sand and pretending there isn't something else to consider, we're simply enjoying the moment for what it is.

I just watched the video again and my initial emotional response is exactly the same as the first time: I felt good for Hannah.

And that's good enough for me.
posted by bwg at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also feel like we were intruding on what should have been a private moment. There is a reason her naked emotions are so painful to watch-- they are meant only for her daddy and the rest of us have no business being in that room. And then what happened? Did she have to "share" her Daddy with her classmates?

We have home movies of my Dad getting off his ship after being away for 9 months and it is some of the loveliest, most unselfconscious reactions of my parents on film. My Dad had shipped out when I was only a few days old and my mom (20 years old) is dying to hold a him and show me off at the same time and there is nothing artificial or intrusive about the filmed meeting. All the other sailors are greeting their families so nobody else is watching except my mom's friend with the camera. I'm so glad it wasn't the media and my parents were able to kiss and hug and then go home without interacting with anyone else.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you did this you might miss the answer to that essential AskMe question that Mayor Curley answered for you.

Did you actually go back through all of jbickers AskMes to see if Mayor Curley had provided any useful input?
posted by HopperFan at 5:47 AM on November 4, 2009


My soul is dead, you feel sorry for me, I'm a cynical bastard because I think it's inappropriate to secretly videotape vulnerable children at extreme moments without their consent, because it's the only way we can find to push our desensitized emotional buttons?

I think you need some sort of happy intervention.
posted by phaedon at 6:11 AM on November 4, 2009


. . . as a UKer I'm surprised that both the girl and the article refer to 'daddy'. TV has always led me to believe that Americans all call their fathers 'Pa', 'Pop' or 'sir'.

Do you only watch _Little House on the Prarie_? Seriously, I've never heard an American kid call his or her dad those names except once in a great while in an ironic way.
posted by meadowlark lime at 6:12 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is definitely emotional porn and propaganda. We're constantly bombarded by these feel-good moments that are designed to make us forget that the men and women of the military could possibly do harm. Instead we're expected only to think of the fact that they're family men and women, that they're serving their country, that they're heroes.

This happy moment was brought to you by the fact that Master Sergeant Joe Myers signed on to kill people. The military isn't a completely evil organization headed by mustache-twirling big-wigs and cartoonish generals, but what other jobs require you to take up arms with the expectation that you will be taking a life? Even police officers can go their entire careers without ever firing on a single person.

The blame, of course, doesn't fully sit on every soldier. The U.S. has a huge corporate interest in keeping the military running, and there is not a peaceful program in the nation so funded as the military. That said, if joining a government-sponsored program to go to impoverished parts of the country to provide medical and sanitary equipment existed on the scale of the Army, I doubt they'd see as many people sign up. There are just so many people who sign up for the adventure and glory of war, and too many invested in it to properly explain to youths that war is hell, and that they're not indisputably on the side of good.

If the U.S. actually had a policy of only engaging in defensive military operations, I could more readily support the military. As it is now, it's made up not of people who want to defend their country, but too often, people who want to kill, and the military is all too happy sending these folks out to do just that.
posted by explosion at 6:13 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


That said, if joining a government-sponsored program to go to impoverished parts of the country to provide medical and sanitary equipment

Soldiers do indeed do a lot of humanitarian stuff overseas. If you lived in a military community, like I do, you might know that your viewpoint of the military is skewed. People don't sign up because they are bloodthirsty fiends, and it is offensive in the extreme for you to imply that. Besides, setting aside the fact that at times the government sends them to do jobs that are questionable, these are people who can and do give up their lives so that you live in freedom. Because I guarantee you that if there wasn't a military your life would be immeasurably different and not in a good way. If you have issues with how this war is conducted, go to the White House and go to the Congress and leave our troops alone.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:24 AM on November 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't mind the humanizing of a soldier, and I don't subscribe to the view that he's a warmongering capitalist running dog etc etc. It's great that he got back safely. Many don't, more's the pity. Nobody should begrudge them their moment of happiness at all.

I just really, really, dislike that what should be joyful, spontaneous and private becomes public, somewhat manipulated and exploitative.

It's exploitative because the entire scene has been set up so 3 cameras can record a little girl's emotions... so some TV channel can run an emotionally manipulative story, and viewers can collectively go "awwh" and then go back to whatever else they were doing. That's why it's cheap - it's using a little girl's sincere emotions, knowing in advance that is what she'd do. That's why it's emotional porn.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:25 AM on November 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


I am touched and angry because there's no reason for these folks to be away from their families.

I'm happy for Hannah and I only hope that all children of deployed parents have the same opportunity to be happily surprised. Sooner rather than later.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:32 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's why it's emotional porn.

Balloon boy is emotional porn. Guys, if anything this clip was pretty touching and candid. And on break.com. You're jumping the gun into loco-land. There are three cameras in the room because dad's coming home. Not because they're going to capture that sweet, sweet nectar of a moment and make millions off of it. Or change the course of American history.

Any wordsmiths that come into this thread to dump on this video really need to take a step back and deal with the contradiction of their own lives first.

"ohhh my goddd it's propagannnnda, the warrr is unjusssst." Goddamn. Aren't you paying taxes that help fund this operation? Please don't go around using loaded phrases "the blame does not fully sit on every soldier equally." That really takes it off your plate completely, doesn't it? What a joke.
posted by phaedon at 6:35 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Asok does have a point, though - at least for me personally, if I hadn't read Mayor Curley's somewhat assholish comments (including the completely offensive one that got deleted) I probably would have never gone out and done a little searching on the idea of the military and "emotional porn," coming upon the very interesting article by Susan Sontag : "Fascinating Fascism."
posted by HopperFan at 6:35 AM on November 4, 2009


The website offered to show me a video called "Couple Caught Having Sex in Bank" immediately afterward.

No, it said "related video: couple caught having sex in a bank" above the video, as an emotional little girl hugged her dad who she thought, moments before, was in Iraq.

I think you need some sort of happy intervention.

Well, we do have a box of these hats that don't seem to be selling too well (something about a stabbing sensation in the cheek).

As for the little girl wearing a peace symbol on her shirt: for whatever reason, I the peace symbol is popular with kids. I don't mean now that we've been in a war on terror so god damned long that they don't know what it's like to not have a significant population overseas in active combat, but in general. I remember being in elementary school, before Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and drawing peace symbols was fairly common. I have a journal from junior high where I drew peace symbols at the bottom of many pages. Why? I really can't tell you. I wasn't a mini-peacenik, and I wasn't following any gruesome events in the world. I just drew peace symbols. In short: peace symbols on young kids aren't that surprising (and maybe more common at military schools, given our recent history of active deployment and whatnot).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:46 AM on November 4, 2009


People don't sign up because they are bloodthirsty fiends, and it is offensive in the extreme for you to imply that.

Not all people sign up because they're bloodthirsty, but there are plenty that sign up because they're gonna "shoot up some Ay-rabs."

these are people who can and do give up their lives so that you live in freedom.

This meme is tired and worn out. The last righteous war the U.S. fought was WWII. Which isn't to say that the soldiers since then have been evil, but Korea, Vietnam, our various covert operations, the first Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan now, none of them really "protect our freedom." If anything, they actually endanger us more, because the main weapon against U.S. citizens is terrorism, and these operations embolden and influence terrorists, and stiffen opposition to the U.S.

Meanwhile, of course, we ignore humanitarian disasters like Darfur or Rwanda, places where we could undoubtedly do real good. But "giving their lives" for "our freedom"? How about not spending so much on the military so that money was freed up for healthcare or charity? I hear the freedom from hunger or sickness is pretty great. I honestly do believe these men and women, most of them, anyway, truly believe they're helping America. Unfortunately, for the most part, they're doing it wrong, and have been for the past 60 years.
posted by explosion at 6:50 AM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


these are people who can and do give up their lives so that you live in freedom

There maybe be times when that has happened (the Revolution) or when some clear great good was at stake (WWII). But I'm tired of being asked to believe that every time we have a military engagement in another country, my freedom was at stake. George W. Bush did a lot more to limit my freedoms than Saddam Hussein could have managed in six more lifetimes. We need to admit that our government on numerous occasions has unleashed horrific tragedy in an action that had no discernible benefit to the folks back home. Saying that the soldiers are actively protecting my freedoms is often just a handy way of shutting down dissenting voices. It's a great strategy for that, which is why we see it all the time.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:57 AM on November 4, 2009 [27 favorites]


Not all people sign up because they're bloodthirsty, but there are plenty that sign up because they're gonna "shoot up some Ay-rabs."


Plenty? I seriously doubt it. Some? Maybe. Vanishingly small portion? Probably. This is the same sort of junk-thinking that brings us "liberals are bloodthirsty baby killers."
posted by milarepa at 6:58 AM on November 4, 2009


Yeah, what explosion said.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:58 AM on November 4, 2009


There are just so many people who sign up for the adventure and glory of war

there are plenty that sign up because they're gonna "shoot up some Ay-rabs."


You got any numbers to back all of that vitriol up?
posted by jbickers at 6:59 AM on November 4, 2009


I remember being in elementary school, before Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and drawing peace symbols was fairly common.

I won the Best Design Award in 6th grade in our annual kite contest in 1968-- my design was a clear background of see-through material with a large black peace symbol tacked on. It wasn't the best flier, but it looked good in the sky.

If you lived in a military community, like I do, you might know that your viewpoint of the military is skewed. People don't sign up because they are bloodthirsty fiends, and it is offensive in the extreme for you to imply that.

There is a different overall attitude towards the military here in the South-- make of it what you will. Tradition? More beneficial for the poor? More conservative outlook? I know a lot of teenagers in my neighborhood--which is mostly black-- who have signed up to escape the poverty/ jobs at McDonalds, learn some marketable skills, and as a way to attend college. Also, there are a number of men and women who work with my husband at the Post Office who joined the National Guard years ago as a way to make extra money and were caught unawares. One man, in fact had just completed the long grueling process to adopt a child when he was sent off overseas to serve for two years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2009


"liberals are bloodthirsty baby killers."

I thought it was well-established that liberals enjoy the taste of baby, but so many years of city-living has lead them to be uncomfortable and out-of-touch with the actual butchering process.

Me, I'm a vegetarian that eats only Morningstar Farms Veggie Baby Crumble.
posted by explosion at 7:22 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If this happens and someone happens to have a camera, I'm a witness (albeit at a distance). If the encounter is arranged to be filmed, I'm part of an audience.
posted by hawthorne at 7:34 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this point could have been expressed without implying that people who join the US Army to fight in Iraq become actually partially dehumanized.

That's the business the Army is in - dehumanization. They take humans and turn them into soldiers. A soldier is a very respectable thing in itself, and a lot of these humans are more respectable as soldiers than they ever were as humans, and a lot of soldiers retain a lot of their humanity. But, after all, this is an operation where they tell you what to do, when to eat, when to sleep, when to pee, what to wear... I'd say it's a little dehumanizing. Then again, so is office work.
posted by scrowdid at 7:34 AM on November 4, 2009


Exploitative. Give the girl some privacy in a situation like this, ffs.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:41 AM on November 4, 2009


I think it's beautiful. I hope all her classmates get to welcome their parents home, too, and as soon as possible.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:42 AM on November 4, 2009


Wait, wait... I don't think it's either exploitative, nor is it particularly emotionally touching. I think ... oh wait, this isn't the Horrie the Wog Dog thread? Next door you say? Ahhh well then, never mind. I thought it seemed a little too argybargy in here for that! Cheerio everyone! Have a super spiffy day!
posted by not_on_display at 7:43 AM on November 4, 2009


I think this point could have been expressed without implying that people who join the US Army to fight in Iraq become actually partially dehumanized.

From the photo essay a few posts down

The first weeks of basic training are intended to break the recruits down to nothing – an intense period of sleep deprivation, heavy physical training and psychological harassment – so they can be built back up over time in the Army mold.


As for the video, I was surprised to see it posted here. As someone up thread pointed out, there are several videos exactly like this, different kid, different dad same reaction. The nightly news seems to show them at a rate of about two or three per month.

Personally, I would never willingly sign up for something that would take me away from my daughter for several months at a time with the real possibility of never coming back. My time with her is to precious.
posted by Sailormom at 7:54 AM on November 4, 2009


bwg: Those of us who see something touching aren't sticking our heads in the sand and pretending there isn't something else to consider, we're simply enjoying the moment for what it is... And that's good enough for me.

I didn't say you weren't allowed to interpret this moment with no regard for its context; I was responding to your labelling people who do take account of the context "cynical bastards". You're not enjoying the moment "for what it is", but for part of what it is, ie., the part that shows a father being reunited with his daughter. There's nothing cynical about also considering the fact that the father was only away from his daughter because he chose (though I'd need to know more about his economic situation to know how much of a free choice it was) to participate in a morally repugnant foreign policy disaster.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:06 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you did this you might miss the answer to that essential AskMe question that Mayor Curley answered for you.

Yeah, that's creepy and weird. Please don't do that.
posted by god hates math at 8:14 AM on November 4, 2009


This clip isn't from Halloween. It's from the end of the last school year. It was all over the place. Here's another angle of it. ..and another.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


stupidsexyflanders: lots of kids (now grownups) I am very close to (like, say, myself, my partner, our siblings and a bunch of other close friends) were forced by war to be separated from our fathers when we were young. Your assumption that she will be furiously angry about it at any point in her life does not comport with my experience of kids who grew up with fathers who served and were often absent because of it. Maybe she will grow up angry. Maybe she won't. I am, however, surprised and mildly distressed that you assume she will be angry at this memory because I wonder what assumptions lead you to that conclusion. I imagine assumptions that insult this father, that insult this daughter. I imagine you assume she will be furious because something bad was done to her and that bad thing is the only thing that matters, ever. I imagine you assume she will be furious because she won't learn to unpack the layers of her father's decision to serve; her father's options in serving; the politics that lead to war and the difficulty of withdrawing; or that she won't be able to see anything else in her whole life but the separation.

I found that my dad (who by the time I was in high school had an 80% travel assignment) was more involved in my life, more present at important events, more cognizant of the decisions I was making, than the fathers of most of my friends in high school (among them an alcoholic, an executive who worked 12 hours a day, "weekend" or completely absent dads). I don't understand the assumption that this separation by war will be the defining--and only--moment of this person's relationship with her father.

I guess that's the difference between the idea that this video will make her angry when she looks back on it and my understanding that she won't grow up resenting the military or her dad or the world for his absences. Your statement seems to be that this reunion would only happen because of War and we should all be angry about War. So, of course, she'll look back on this and see only another Reason to be Angry About War. I don't see it that way. I agree that war is bad and separation is painful and to some extent I agree that our childhoods are done to us, rather than chosen by us. I agree that an often underconsidered aspect of war is the effect on the families of those who serve. But the effect on the families of those I know who served has been much more complex than just anger that something was done to them by the uncaring government.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:53 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's why it's cheap - it's using a little girl's sincere emotions, knowing in advance that is what she'd do. That's why it's emotional porn.

Alright, let's continue your porn analogy. Let's classify it with porn -- emotional porn, to be sure, but porn nonetheless.

Now: say you're in the "special" section of the video store, browsing for something to your taste. You're in one section. Someone else is back there, in a different section -- say, you're looking for THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES or BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR or something from the classic high-production-values era. Meanwhile, the other guy's checking out what they've got in pregnancy fetish stuff.

At some point the guy asks a passing clerk whether they have something called "Knocked Up And Gun-Toting," something which combines pregnancy fetish with a gun fetish. The clerk says yes, and they have a very quick exchange, with the customer expressing enthusiasm and the clerk recommending it warmly.

Now -- would you interrupt them to say something like "y'all are both FREAKS, don't you understand what that does to our cultural idea of pregnant women?" or "what on god's green earth can you find erotic about those two elements?" or "you DO know that nine times out of ten the women in pregnancy fetish stuff aren't pregnant, they're just fat, right?"

No, you probably wouldn't. Most likely you'd just blink a few times and keep your thoughts to yourself. Because these people are free to appreciate this, just like you are free to ignore it.

....So those of you scoffing about this because it's "porn"? If that's what you think, well, then, you're always free to not indulge. If army-kid isn't your emotional-porn kink, leave those fetishists to have fun and you can go check out the "cute-puppy" emotional-porn section.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:00 AM on November 4, 2009


from heyho's link [emphasis added]
“We are privileged and blessed to serve this military community, and homecomings are the best part of military life,” said Principal Karen Bessette of Randolph Elementary.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder? I bet the girl honors & obeys a lot better than my 4th grader.
posted by morganw at 9:06 AM on November 4, 2009


There are three cameras in the room because dad's coming home.

Why is that cause for there to be ANY cameras in the room? This is a private family moment.

(I take that back...obviously it's NOT a private family moment, anymore.)


Maybe I'm a freak. I mean, there was a lot of joy in my brother's house a few days ago when my sister-in-law came home from successful brain surgery. If someone filmed that and put it on the internet, I'd very much want to punch them in the fucking face.

Heck, I can't even get the 2nd comment in the thread:

Genuine emotions are so rare in life.

WTF?
posted by the bricabrac man at 9:12 AM on November 4, 2009


Show up in your civves- not in your civilian-killing suit-- then I'll get emotional.
posted by Zambrano at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2009


"So those of you scoffing about this because it's "porn"? If that's what you think, well, then, you're always free to not indulge"

Well, to continue the prolonged dissection and torture of the metaphor, the FPP wasn't flagged as porn. So this user clicked through, didn't much like what he saw and won't be clicking through for a second time.

And as for expressing a view about the video? If a reaction wasn't sought, why was it posted?
posted by MuffinMan at 9:32 AM on November 4, 2009


Well, to continue the prolonged dissection and torture of the metaphor, the FPP wasn't flagged as porn. So this user clicked through, didn't much like what he saw and won't be clicking through for a second time.

And that's just great.

And as for expressing a view about the video? If a reaction wasn't sought, why was it posted?

I was referring more to the tone the general reception was taking rather than the motives of the OP. Or -- to link back to the metaphor and torture it even further -- I'm not talking about what the artistic views of the producer of "Knocked Up And Gun Toting" were, I'm talking about the little kaffeeklatch that sprang up between the clerk and the customer. I think it sucks, but if I run into two people who are excitedly talking amongst themselves about how much they loved it, exactly what good would my interrupting to tell them they were wrong do? What would the harm be to ME if I just held my tongue and left them to their fan club?

That's more what I'm getting at.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:46 AM on November 4, 2009


The reasons people sign up for the volunteer army are a bit more complex than some folks are letting on in this thread. Some do it for patriotism and some do it for the opportunity to kill [the enemy of the moment], but a lot of them also do it because they'd like to better themselves and the GI Bill is the best opportunity they've got for getting enough money to go to college.

I have no idea what motivated this particular soldier to sign up and/or stay in, but talking about why people sign up to be soldiers (for good or ill) without looking at the financial incentives, and thinking about the class issues involved, is a bit facile.
posted by immlass at 11:17 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was mostly shocked by the amount of hair and makeup the 10-year-old had on.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:48 AM on November 4, 2009


I was mostly shocked by the amount of hair and makeup the 10-year-old had on.

Personally,seeing a ten-year-old with hair didn't throw me, but to each their own...

;-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on November 4, 2009


....So those of you scoffing about this because it's "porn"? If that's what you think, well, then, you're always free to not indulge. If army-kid isn't your emotional-porn kink, leave those fetishists to have fun and you can go check out the "cute-puppy" emotional-porn section.

Are you seriously trying to tell people to shut up and stop commenting in this thread? Because, you know, that's what this sounds like..
posted by Chuckles at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2009


DAMN YOU WCityMike, YOU MADE ME FEEL REAL FEELINGS!

snif ... that was just aweseom ... snif ...

MY COLD HEART HATES YOU AND LOVE YOU FOR THAT!
posted by liza at 4:55 PM on November 4, 2009


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