Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dos and Don'ts


Gosh, if only the US had invaded Iraq and sought to make it our permanent Power Rangers Lily Pad and Uber Oil Rig with more finesse and cultural sensitivity, then things would be hunky dory over in Mess O' Potamia. At least that's the word on ATC from Lt. Col. John Nagl one of NPR's counterinsurgency-genius darlings.

Nagl is on with Michele Norris to talk about Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II, a WWII era book updated and re-issued by the military advising soldiers how to behave in Iraq. The interview is nothing but a infomercial for the book (and by association for the new warm-fuzzy COIN in Iraq). Nagl was "instantly charmed" by the old book and Norris praises its "wonderful illustrations." Norris says, "I must say the writing of the book is impressive...an economy of words...the language is very bright." Not to be outdone in pretension, Rhodes Scholar Nagl adds, "There's something almost J.D. Salingeresque about the writing..." Wow, put that on your garden and watch it grow!

(Original "wonderful illustration" is from the book and posted on NPR's site. Additional image from BAGnewsNotes)

7 comments:

Porter Melmoth said...

Such are the lamest of duck days in this, Dubya's comfy afterburn(out). Truly arduous.

NPR is certainly the shore on which English majors aplenty have washed up on, keen to promote their 'book' sensitivities, and impatient to splatter their smug tastes on a kowtowing public. Adenoid Andie Seabrook should know, as she's one of NPR's most prominent egotists, and if she's panting to deliver a review of some military man's effort to impress the timid masses, she's the right gal to drool past the remains. Andie gets more jaunty the more she's on the air. She must be performing certain favors to the right people, perhaps her own kind, who not only think she's cute, but darn smart, as well. Just her 11 year old's mucus-clogged and throaty, even strangly, delivery is enough to consign ANY so-called 'segment' she may attempt to present to us, into regions down amongst the crab vomit, where it belongs.
Doesn't she bring out the best in us?
Ugh. Pure ugh.

Porter Melmoth said...

Actually, I guess Meechele Norris did the interview, but I still feel the same way about Adenoid Andie!

I am astounded that in this so-called Information Age, that the military didn't know about the regional customs in play in Iraq. Any Lonely Planet or Rough Guide covering Morocco to Indonesia could have told them the same things as this 'must have' WWII guidebook.

But then, when you're an invading army, you don't want to be too 'sensitive', do you?

By the way, NPR mentioned that one is supposed to eat with one's right hand only, but the reason WHY is daintily skipped. Reason: one wipes one's ass with one's left hand. Shocking!

Porter Melmoth said...

Incidentally, I sent a variation of the above message to NPR. As if they care!

Mytwords said...

Ooops...I can't believe I confused Norris with Seabrook, they are soooo different (sarcasm alert). Thanks for the heads up Porter. I've corrected the original post.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Friggin' enablers, I swear.

Loved reading everyone's retorts (ah, family...) and gave pause to ponder - is there at least one NPR personality that doesn't suck (sorry to use such a catch-all term but it seems the societal norm nowadays)?

.oO(thinks long and hard...)

Sorry, I'll have to get back to you on that.

Porter Melmoth said...

Well b!p!f!b!, you raise an interesting question to say the least. In days of yore, Noah Adams seemed to strive for a sort of gentle neutrality, mainly because he had the right voice for it. Bob Edwards had a kind of canniness, and never seemed to let the wool get pulled over him. But they either got sidelined/burnt out, or else they were 'ushered' to the door. Today we're left with the iron-ass lifers, who indeed both suck and spew rubbish. We know who they are. Out in the field, well, a few bright spots stand out. It's usually a matter of opinion, but Sylvia Poggioli gets respect from many of us here. And Daniel Zwerdling, who seems to be allowed to do his own thing (perhaps to get Peabody attention). I've previously mentioned a few who I like: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton (from DAKAR! Man, I love when she says Dakar!; it makes all the suffering almost worth it...) and Philip Reeves are standouts. Of course, they're more BBC in tone and training, but the NPR gig probably isn't bad moolah. As an India hand myself, I find Reeves top drawer. Michael Sullivan and Rob Gifford seemed to project at least professionalism, but they too have been a bit snotty, fussy, and judgmental on occasion. John McChesney usually projects credibility. Meechele Norris and her gravitas were obviously imported to counter the beloved and sticky candyassing of Missy Melissa, but Meechele quickly proved herself a wet firecracker. I have to say, I find Tom Ashbrook on 'On Point' to be pretty unimpeachable 95% of the time. But he's basically not NPR; he's loyal to WBUR first and foremost. There are a trickle of others, but I'd better leave it at that. Most of the rest of these 'on-air personalities' can go back to the Pottery Barn where they came from.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Forgive me, Porter. My sample-one judgement mirror had become too clouded by the "empty suits" to forget the more luminous contributors (Zwerdling's a great example - I say he did anchor the weekends quite ably back in the day).

Your "Pottery Barn" reference reminded me of a passage from James Wolcotts' volume of media criticism "Attack Poodles" - our 'favorite' network wasn't spared. Went something like this... "the dulcet tones at NPR - where the women sound like they're forming a clay pot and the men sound like they found their feminine side and can't leave it alone".... Bwah-ha-ha-a-ha!