Saturday, May 5, 2007

Is it OK for Quakers to Boo, Part 2?

So, I went to see a movie last night with my son, his best pal, and his best pal's dad.

During the pre-show "entertainment", which is mostly commercials, there was, as usual, an ad for our "fabulous" military. They are always so............seductive. Hghly polished production. Last night's "feature" was about the Marines. Showed them storming ashore at Iwo Jima, being sweet to little children (in Vietnam, Iraq...couldn't tell). The voice over was telling us all how the "Marines are always there, defending "our" freedom", and of course "helping" others. It would have made Goebbels (sp?) proud!

So..........instead of sitting in silence, I began to boo and hiss. I felt angry. I didn't throw things, shout obscenities or anything like that. People in front of me turned to look to see who this person was. My friend was obviously embarrassed. Then, I felt embarrassed. I started feeling like I needed to apologize to my friend. I think I mumbled something like that. But I am tired of "taking it". I heard the other day that military recruitment was up but that the "quality" of the recruits was down in terms of education, etc. So maybe these "commercials" are working? (I know it's more complex than that, but........)

I'm not trying to paint myself as some paragon of peace. I'm just pissed off at the silence of so many people to the lies that are being forced on us. I was imagining last night that I could go to a movie with a group of folks and all boo loudly together. Get people to think.

I like to go to sporting events. I am tired of the national anthem. It's a song that glorifies war. I've stopped standing for the National Anthem. It's weird yet strangely empowering to look around the stadium and see that I'm the only one I can see sitting among the 15,000. If the national anthem was the Woody Guthrie song "This Land is Your Land", I just might stand.

Again, I'm not saying that I'm somehow better than any of those people. I hear the voices of "patriotism" hollering inside my head, too. I was raised on lots of war movies. My family thought Vietnam was a good thing. But one of my earliest memories was attending my neighbor, Eddie Sieben's funeral, killed in Vietnam in 1965. Right out of high school. So this is really the end result of these "commercials". You come home in a box.

So is it OK for Quakers to boo? In this case, I believe it is.


Suzy said...

It gets pretty lonely when you're the only one doing it, doesn't it? At East High events, when I KNOW there are antiwar activists in the audience, when I KNOW that some of them are Quakers ... and I am STILL the only one not standing for the national anthem. The mindless herd mentality really bothers me. (Maybe I am being unfair here, but that's how I see it. When I brought it up to one Friend, she defended it by saying, she had to choose her battles, and that one didn't seem so important. I disagree. But that's where I am bullish and uncompromising ... like MY mother was.)

Silence represents a kind of complicity in my mind, and I am tired of silence. Good for you, for making noise. I wonder if, for some people, it is the fact of saying "Boo" which seems disrespectful. Maybe a pithy cheer, such as "Think for yourself!" or "Tools of a corrupt president!" or "Bring them home!" or (ooh ... I like this one) "Send the Bush twins!"

My family KNOWS I am likely to say something. "There's my mom," said Anna, when they brought "support the troops" up at the strings festival a few years ago and I yelled something. Maybe you could pre-warn your companions at these events: "I will not be standing up for the anthem. Feel free to join me."

poodledoc said...

I like your suggestions of things to say in crowded theaters like "Send the Bush Twins". Wish I would have thought of it. But I felt like I have on the rare occasions when I've risen to speak in Meeting. This dread, this sense that I MUST say something but it's scary. Humor is a good way to make that easier, both on the speaker and the audience. And it can get the point across more effectively.

I've thinking about the origin of the word "Boo". I think of it as what ghosts say to scare people. So what if all the ghosts of the dead from all the wars came back and said "BOOO". That would be scary.

Suzy said...

In a sense all the ghosts from all the wars are speaking. It's just that not enough people listen.

(I've used the word pithy twice today. I feel so, so ... well read.)

So what's your plan re:Tammy Baldwin? Invite her to a potluck after Meeting?

Ed said...

I've been at events where it sure felt that I was the only person not standing for the Bar Strangled Spanner, and it can feel quite intimidating, in particular at sporting events and things such as fireworks displays on fourth of July. Sometimes, even people who you think would be sympathetic look at you as if you're embarassing them, and then there are the people who look as if they'd like to kick your bottom...

poodledoc said...

Yes, I'd like to invite Tammy Baldwin to a potluck after Meeting sometime. I will "float" this idea amongst the community......