Robert McNamara Vs. Michael Jackson

Posted on July 8, 2009

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I’m not especially a fan of the kind of culture we live in, produced and reiterated on a daily basis in fearful pant-crapping paens to the lowest common denominator of every characteristic that is currently measurable in humans. Of all the reasons, one of the most annoying is that I am called to have an opinion on the deaths of individuals I’ve never met, know nothing of in any meaningful way and whose accomplishments don’t necessarily instill a feeling of respect in me.

Of these currently, there are two  that call out for mention. McNamara vs. Jackson. On the battlefield for posthumous notoriety, of course, McNamara never stood a chance. McNamara set into motion a devastating and horrific conflict that sent children to die and kill peasants and freedom fighters. Jackson invented the moonwalk. Despite the fact that our culture has yet to take full account and responsibility for what we did in Vietnam [and what we did to ourselves], and the obvious damage that does to our current discourse on war, McNamara’s life and legacy have been deluged in earnest analysis of Jackson’s creation of the music video. Despite the fact that we came dangerously close to electing for President a man who regards himself as a hero of that wrong and criminal conflict, we have let any lessons of McNamara’s life fall into the gutters left by the 24 hour coverage of Michael Jackson’s enormously important contributions to pop music. MSNBC’s Hardball is pre-empted today in order to bring live coverage of the nightmarish spectacle of the Jackson Death Day Parade on the streets of Los Angeles, even while Schwarzenegger sends out IOU’s to state workers. Most importantly, a perfect moment to talk honestly about what it is that has made our country bomb others on average every five years since McNamara’s endeavor will be buried alongside him.

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