Why Fight The Power Of Symbolism?
the rally be a somber and respectful memorial to our troops -- or a fun and exciting "death party"?Obviously, we're supposed to decide the rally is a fun and exciting death party - what with all the smiling folk pictured. Hang on. As much as I take umbrage with many of the inostensible aims and motivations of the anti-war crowd, I wonder what a bunch of photos of protesters captured smiling proves? That they're delighted about the 2000th death or 2000 deaths? Hardly. There were no shots of joyous covorting - and we can assume that the most "joyous" photos were shown. Put simply, a smile is a perfectly natural part of human interaction. I've seen profoundly upset people smile and share a joke at funerals. A photograph - a brief snapshot of a point in time - showing a person smiling doesn't mean that the smiler is wildly happy, or is feeling celebratory. The same photoblogger, at a recent Berkeley rally, was more than happy to post shots of topless Sherry Glaser with her tits hanging around her ankles - and rightfully so; it was bloody funny and great for those wanting to lose weight. Who could eat after copping an eyefull of that? At another protest march in DC, Glaser had her top off again, but was hugging some (presumably, now chronically traumatised) peacenik to her bare, saggy, flabby bosom and crying great crocodile tears. There's every chance Glaser was at this 2000 deaths march. The previous nutty behaviour she's engaged in is worthy of criticism, but it doesn't quite fit the "celebratory" theme being conveyed in this post. What's the bet that if Sherry was at the 2000th "death party" rally doing the exact same thing as the last time she pounded the pavements in SF, she wouldn't get a look in?
And nor do I think highlighting the 2000th death is a particularly heinous crime. Of course, on a theoretical level the 2000th death is no more significant than the 318th, the 1877th - or the first, for that matter. However, we humans like nice round numbers. It was to be expected that the anti-war crowd was going to draw attention to the 2000th death - they do so for the same reason we celebrate more profoundly a 100th birthday or a 50th wedding anniversary. I doubt there are many within the anti-war movement who relished the 2000th death. But it was clearly an opportunity. Can we honestly say that if Iran published such figures, we wouldn't be making a big deal out of - for example - the 10000th woman hung from a crane in the Ayatollahs' republic? We might even march over the issue. And possibly several people on that march may even smile.
At the end of the day, 2000 is a symbolic number, and symbolism has power. The anti-war crowd are trying to motivate people. You may or may not agree with their opinions, however deliberately showing their machinations in a deceptive light is counterproductive. Besides, flagrant deception is a tactic best left to the more bizarro fringes of the peace movement. There are definitely segments of the anti-war crowd that hold views in desperate need of exposure and debunking. That being said, the above kind of critique is underhand, flismy and weakens the agenda of those who would try to take on the moonbats.
Update : Tim Blair takes an opposing view.