"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Why we write (Tim, Tom, Ted, and others)

Tom Tomorrow and Ted Rall are both linked over in my sidebar because they are both writers and thinkers, and many of their ideas parallel my own. This week, they've both generated lots of anger and misunderstanding. Sometimes that's what it takes to get people to move their butts and their minds.

Tom was probably caught completely off guard by the fracas which ensued after this cartoon making fun of "chickenhawk" bloggers; not all bloggers, not all warbloggers, and certainly not military veteran bloggers. A "MilBlogger" calling himself Lt. Smash (AKA Citizen Smash, AKA The IndePundit) took it upon himself to be offended by Tom's comic when it had nothing to do with him or anyone deserving of his support. Smash's readers followed suit, Tom's readers caught wind of the story and went over to try to straighten some of these misunderstandings out, and the resulting wildfire (an estimated 500 comments in all) will make you nauseous. Take a peek (if you have a strong stomach), and see if you notice anything "familiar."

Ted wrote a column called "Why we fight" (alternate link), named after the official U.S. government World War II propaganda film series directed by Frank Capra and others. In Ted's version, he writes from the perspective of an Iraqi military commander. It appears that he is trying to give his readers (more likely American than Iraqi) a sense of what's going on in the minds of those fighting against the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq. He wants his readers to try to understand why American soldiers are being killed every day. But he doesn't give you Bush's simplistic vision of "foreign insurgents" who "hate freedom" and all that. The way Ted says it might make you cringe. From InstaPundit to Pandagon, far too many people seem to be seriously misreading this one as well.

Back to the title of this post: Why we write. I think we write not just to provide information, but also to share our thoughts, to stimulate ideas, and even to provoke people. I think Tom and Ted were pretty successful at doing so this week (though they both apparently went over quite a few readers' heads). Tim? Hmmmm. I dunno. I seem to have merely pissed a few people off.

UPDATE (11/26/2003): Ted has replied to those who somehow think he finds pleasure in the deaths of American soldiers. Go read it, and see how you feel about Reagan's education cuts. Ted has also done another comic related to this subject. (See "Bush's simplistic vision" above, in this very post.)
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