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CASUALTIES OF WAR
James Campion


REALITY CHECK USA

"Be a scribe! Your body will be sleek, your hand will be soft. You are one who sits grandly in your house; your servants answer speedily; beer is poured copiously; all who see you rejoice in good cheer. Happy is the heart of him who writes; he is young each day." -- Ptahotpe, c. 2350 B.C.

Someone recently sent me that gibberish. I was glad to get it. It caused my drained constitution to fill with gaiety and laughter. Servants? Rejoicing in good cheer? Imagine a writer described as sleek and soft, especially a journalist. Most of the journalists I know are chubby and rankled. The only thing soft is their underbelly when times get tough. And times were tough these past two months for journalists. Many of whom were confronted with all these innuendos of mailbox death and the latest fairytales coming out of Afghanistan.

Information is a touchy subject in times of war, especially bad information, and there has been plenty of that. Most news organizations have not handled BAD NEWS well lately. It is usually a bell-wringing dance party at the network level whenever misery comes calling, but most of these people are frightened now. You have to wear rubber gloves just to deliver pizza at the New York Times, and everyone at the GE building are issued gasmasks and need four kinds of ID to get on the main floor of the NBC Nightly News. Then there was the nasty business of who would be allowed to wear red, white and blue ribbons on the air. The American people apparently need to know what messenger is on board with the home team. This is getting harder in Atlanta where Ted Turner is now offering seven figures for fifteen minutes of airtime to anyone claiming to be a terrorist, know a terrorist, or can spell terrorist. "The first casualty of War is always Truth."
Winston Churchill coined that one, in between Nazi air raids, and those excruciatingly long love letters he penned for FDR in weaker moments. And not only is it a damn sight more on the money than that silly garbage about "the happy heart of he who writes", but it is truer than anything your apt to see or hear or read in the way of real news for a very long time. Now at least the media is in the same rocking boat as their consumers.

The last couple of weeks most claims of patriotism went the way of fear mongering and slanted racial profiling, like all the gas stations battling to see which has the largest American flag to avoid misguided retribution. Up in my neck of the woods the poor bastard peddling petroleum has to display posters differentiating him from potential terorrists. The media has also had a hard time explaining things like religion lately. Television people are so petrified of painting Islam as some kind of vitriolic freak domain; they preface all statements regarding it with a lecture on peace and love. Then to make things ever more difficult for the commentator, the director runs the obligatory video of Palestinians burning American flags in an angered frenzy.
"What's wrong with these people, Bob?"
"The thing is Ted, they don't get it. They're abusing a beautiful and lovely religion."
"You mean like every religion, Bob?"
"Jesus Christ, go to commercial! Go to commercial!"

What passes for news these days is dime-store charlatans posing as "experts" and "pundits" peddling innuendo and rumor, or vapid talk show dipshits like Sean Hannity painting peace protestors as infidels in the most specious ape-like scenarios known to modern reason. Why even the crap spewed weekly in this space is hardly worth forwarding to anyone wanting to witness anything resembling The Truth. However, there was an intriguing report last week that McDonald's food, or the results of it, has killed more Americans in the past six weeks than Anthrax. The number of Anthrax-related deaths has now reached a whopping four. There were more casualties at Dan Davis' Halloween Party, although that is hardly a fair comparison. Managing editors have been known to throw dangerous soirees. The death toll at Chris Uhl's last dinner party is still to be determined.

Other news that has slipped through the cracks:
Key sources swear that no one in al Qaeda, or anyone funding it, would be caught dead sending hand-written warning letters to Tom Brokaw's assistant from Trenton, New Jersey. Especially since half the limo drivers on the NBC payroll are illegal aliens who would kill Brokaw without outside motivation.

Also: Anyone attempting to drive in reverse on 161st street outside Yankee Stadium during the World Series rush, (an annual autumnal tradition) were pulled out of the car by NYPD, beaten and sent to an undisclosed area of the Bronx Correctional Facility down the block. These stories are all true, or at least part of them, or the main parts of them. But the chances they will make headlines when doped-up college kids are leaving badly typed bomb threats on transcontinental flights are nil. The main story, mostly disseminated from the Reality Check News & Information Desk, and not disqualified in any form of media, is that Osama bin Laden is dead, and has been dead for more than a month. Killed by his own people, close advisors, who use the Bible and the Koran as foreign relation guides. They cannot allow the Big Gun to be dragged from the bunker caves in shackles and plastic prison booties to be exposed as a lame hack and reduced to Western culture's new Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Instead, they'll keep telling the American Scum that he is alive and doing well, leaking two-month old videos of the "new Jesus" wagging his tongue at the Evil Western Empire. Stay tuned for more casualties.

© James Campion November 2001

email :realitycheck@jamescampion.com

Go see him in person at jamescampion.com

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