Re: Soldiering on

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I've read that the pixelation is to blend in better with the pixelation that occurs with digital photographs, and satellite imagery. Rounded camo would stand out.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 7:49 AM
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Rounded camo would become pixelated once photographed.

I thought the goal was just to have smaller-scale structure. I don't know why they don't go all-out and have some fractal pattern all the way down to the scale of the clothing fibers. Maybe the pixels are the right size to match natural color variations on average.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:03 AM
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Some background info here.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:04 AM
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The other day I took my kids to our first ever hockey game. During a break they pointed out a young airman in uniform and there was a loud applause. This is quite alien to my experience as a soldier from 1974 to 1994, even when I returned from the first Gulf War, which was popular when it occurred.

As a (retired) soldier, I think this change is a very good thing. But it is going a bit far if you feel uncomfortable for not thanking the soldier (or Marine) next to whom you were sitting. Say thank you if you feel it. Don't if you don't. That you can separate the war from the warrior and respect the sacrifice is a great thing, I think, and more than enough.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:07 AM
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My mother, from an Army family, and a veteran herself, always points out that the military encompasses a lot of people, with many opinions and personalities. Sure, there are some broad commonalities, but it's important to remember that folx in the military aren't always (or even usually) in lock-step ideologically with the chain of command. Having said that, if you don't feel you can sincerely thank someone in the military, don't.

I think the pixellated camouflage is about 1% actual peer-reviewed improvement and 99% wanting to look cool. Most of the other recent changes to fatigues make a lot more sense from a practical standpoint.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:07 AM
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This has a nice layperson-type explanation:

http://askville.amazon.com/camouflage-fatigues-days-pixelated/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=16449171


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:07 AM
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On military related matters: if you want to advocate being a bully, best to do it in bureaucratic language. "Repetitive raiding," for instance, "heavily leverages the core capability to break states," and is thus much more effective than nation building.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:13 AM
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Semi-related: Obama gave a nice chunk of his Nobel prize money to Fisher House. I'm torn between the sense that this is a very positive thing, and the fact that he is simultaneously pursuing policies that will make Fisher Houses necessary for a long, long time to come.

On the other other hand, every Haitian I've talked to in the last two months has generally positive things to say about their interaction with the US military.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:17 AM
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7: Hmm, that's some military intelligence right there. Let's see, which poses the bigger threat to global security? A broken state like Somalia or a functional one like Egypt? That's either one of the stupidest or most cynical arguments I've ever seen.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:20 AM
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I'm not sure about the Army, but the Marines switched around 2003 -- I remember noticing when the ones on Capitol Hill (and on the Metro, and in Crystal City, etc.) switched.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:22 AM
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Most of the other recent changes to fatigues make a lot more sense from a practical standpoint.

I got an earful once about the Velcro that replaced sew-on patches. Weirdly, people don't want to have their jump wings and unit patch fall off.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:27 AM
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But the hardest thing I'll ask you, if you will only try
Is take your children by their hands and look into their eyes
And there you'll see the answer you should have seen before
If you'll win the wars at home, there'll be no fighting anymore

G A Cohen on Collective Unfreedom

I neither cheer nor jeer the soldier, but pray for rain on the parade.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:32 AM
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I'm uncomfortable with the soldier fertilization in our culture, and I see the whole "thank a soldier for their service" thing as part of that. Do we regularly thank cops and firefighters for their service? Not since a few months after 9/11. This is to say nothing of thanking inner city teachers and peace corps volunteers.

Anyway, it pisses me off and I'm sick of it. That is all.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:34 AM
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Also, I'm pretty sure "Thank you for your service to our country" is a meme that began on the G Gordon Liddy radio show back in the 1990s. That's where I first heard it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:38 AM
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Last year, my love, it was my hap
Behind a grenadier to be,
And, but he wore a hairy cap,
No taller man, methinks, than me.

Prince Albert and the Queen, God wot,
(Be blessings on the glorious pair!)
Before us passed, I saw them not,
I only saw a cap of hair.

Your orthodox historian puts
In foremost rank the soldier thus,
The red-coat bully in his boots,
That hides the march of men from us.

He puts him there in foremost rank,
You wonder at his cap of hair:
You hear his sabre's cursed clank,
His spurs are jingling everywhere.

Go to! I hate him and his trade:
Who bade us so to cringe and bend,
And all God's peaceful people made
To such as him subservient?

Tell me what find we to admire
In epaulettes and scarlet coats,
In men, because they load and fire,
And know the art of cutting throats?


Posted by: William Thackeray | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:43 AM
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I would be a little happier with the Thanks for your service if it involved a $5 donation to PTSD services.

How about we highlight the longterm damage done to people who kill and have their friends get killed?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:43 AM
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"Thank you for your service to our country"

There is pretty much no way I can imagine myself uttering this phrase aloud to another person without accidentally doing a funny voice. It's not that I don't believe military people do great work sometimes. It's that I don't work well with a script. It's sort of like how I can't say "I'm sorry for your loss." I'll find something else, because I mean it, but "I'm sorry for your loss" would come out sounding like it had several layers of quotation marks around it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:45 AM
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Yes.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:06 AM
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18 to ?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:11 AM
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Also, people should thank Red Army veterans of the Great Patriotic War more often. Hadn't a been for them we'd all be speaking German.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:13 AM
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20: The very next time I run into one, I'll be sure to thank him or her.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:17 AM
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20: just make sure to discount your thanks by 30%, to allow for the bit of the war when they were on the side of the Nazis.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:18 AM
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20: Offer does not apply to Poles.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:18 AM
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Hadn't a been for them we'd all be speaking German.

No, we'd have been speaking German. You'd have been speaking Japanese. (Obviously we wouldn't really, any more than everybody in eastern Europe spoke Russian between 1948 and 1989. We'd have had to learn then in school.)

18 to 16. Sorry if I appeared to be sniping at AWB, I should probably preview.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:20 AM
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19: Oh, you don't even have to be 18. My grandfather lied about his age and joined up at 16.

Mythologies: Riding on the LRT once, going past the VA hospital. A 6 year old kid asked his father "What's that", his father replied "That's the veteran's hospital, where you go if you were in the Army. Because we take care of people who were in the Army." I felt pretty conflicted about hearing that. On the one hand, yeah, it would be great if vets got their benefits on time and in full, but the often don't. On the other hand, why shouldn't people who work 50 hours a week at Taco Bell and Best Buy deserve to be taken care of? And on the other hand, that carrot is a pretty awful thing to wave in front of some kid's face who's never been to the dentist or had any prospect of a real job with health care.

Also on the LRT, I always feel like declaiming "Dulce et Decorum est" when we pass by the military cemetery.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:23 AM
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Not long ago, I met a guy at a party who was among the first wave of Marines into Afghanistan. We were talking about the 'stans and he made a remark about Kabul that suggested familiarity. I asked him when was he there and he said "October '01." I just said "Cheers" and clinked his glass.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:26 AM
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25: Join the Mobile Infantry! Service Guarantees Health Care!

Do You Want To Know More?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:27 AM
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21-24: Of course, I think we should also have "Thank A Partisan Day", but I'm guessing I'll have to wait awhile for that.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:29 AM
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Also, people should thank Red Army veterans of the Great Patriotic War more often. Hadn't a been for them we'd all be speaking German.

I wish I'd understood this piece of history when I visited Leningrad/St. Petersburg in high school. We saw lots of old men hanging out in parks or wherever wearing their war medals. I knew a little about the siege of Leningrad -- and our tour guide pointed out 40-year-old bullet marks on buildings -- but had no sense of Russia's role in the war.

It wasn't exactly a case of being indoctrinated with the America Wins the War narrative because I somehow learned very, very little about WWII in school. I'm sure that had I learned anything it would have glossed over the eastern front, of course. We didn't have the most progressive curriculum in old Virginny.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:33 AM
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I wonder if the latest editions of the Texas history books give mention of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War? Somehow I'm thinking that topic might get short shrift.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:28 AM
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30: I'm pretty sure the Red Army wasn't at the Alamo or San Jacinto, so I don't see what they have to do with the Great Patriotic War.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:31 AM
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Can I just pause to say how much I hate the "If it weren't for X you'd all be speaking foreign language Y" phrase. You might as well say "Here, have some racism with that idea of yours!"

The last time I heard the phrase, a coal industry rep was trying to make the argument that we need Clean CoalTM to be internationally competitive. He then added "If we don't embrace Clean CoalTM we'll all be speaking Chinese."

Well I think that would be great! I've been wanting to learn Chinese for a long time now!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:38 AM
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But it is going a bit far if you feel uncomfortable for not thanking the soldier (or Marine) next to whom you were sitting.

Why do you hate the troops?

Of course, this thanking the troops thing is all about confirming that you aren't a DFH, and thus provides a bit of cover for people who oppose dumb wars. I bet Obama thanked the troops back in his DFH days.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:43 AM
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I've been wanting to learn to speak Coal. This is totally gonna work out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:45 AM
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29: I went to Russia at about the same time -- 87, I guess. Our guide, an English grad student, did, however, tell us this. Or rather, she said, "You're not going to be seeing a lot of men of X age, because they were all killed in the war. The Russians are essentially missing a whole generation."
The most bullety-pockmarked place I ever saw was Budapest, but they had a keen interest in leaving that up and explaining it to anyone who cared to listen.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:49 AM
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Next time you meet a teacher, thank them for their service. Remember, if it weren't for your teachers, you'd speak German. And French, and Spanish, and you'd be able to do calculus.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:06 AM
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It's really impossible to overstate the degree to which the America-centric view of the victory in Europe is at odds with historical memory in Germany itself. When older Germans speak of the war, they mean the eastern front. To the extent that the western allies figure into it at all, it's because of the bombing of German cities, not because of the battle of Normandy or Patton's dash across France.

The numerical comparisons are staggeringly lopsided: Germany suffered more casualties on the eastern front in Jan-May 1945 alone than on western front for the entire duration of the war; more German soldiers died in Russian captivity than fell in battle in Western Europe; more German civilians were killed during fighting and expulsions in the east than from aerial bombardment, etc etc.

And that's just the German side; the Soviet casualty figures are several times higher.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:12 AM
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35: I was there in '84. I think there's a whole sliding doors thing going on with us. (Maybe not so much with the 3-year span between these trips, but you just know we would have met at the Eaton/town roller rink if my lace hadn't broken or you had ordered pizza instead of fries.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:13 AM
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Ironically, you rarely hear the same kind of boasting about defeating Imperial Japan, for which the U.S. really does deserve the lion's share of the credit (though the Chinese did the bulk of the dying, it's true). But somehow "We saved Asia and the Central Pacific from Tojo" doesn't have the same ring as "We saved Europe from Hitler".


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:17 AM
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"We saved Asia and the Central Pacific from Tojo" doesn't have the same ring as "We saved Europe from Hitler".

It should, IMHO.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:23 AM
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Of course, "and then we handed south east Asia back to the French for no apparent reason and precipitated an unnecessary 40 year war which we and our allies all ended up losing" is less cool.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:25 AM
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39: It's because Europeans use bells and Asians use gongs.com.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:26 AM
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we handed south east Asia back to the French for no apparent reason

Howzat? The Vichy French maintained political control over Indochina for almost the entire war, and administrative control right up to the end (the population centers, anyway; the Viet Minh were already gaining strength in the countryside). Even if the U.S. had liberated Southeast Asia, which it did not, it couldn't have handed it back to France because France never really lost it.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:30 AM
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38: Ahahaha. You know, it collapsed last year after a really heavy snowfall. I'll never hear "Downtown" the same way again.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:39 AM
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The Vichy French maintained political control over Indochina for almost the entire war, and administrative control right up to the end...

...after which the Viet Minh moved in and declared independence, on a pro-American platform. But the Brits used Japanese troops, among other things to force them out and hand it over to de Gaulle. And the Americans went along.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:40 AM
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32 demonstrates that rob has learned nothing from reading Haidt.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:53 AM
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But the Brits used Japanese troops, among other things to force them out and hand it over to de Gaulle. And the Americans went along.

I'll read that as a retraction of 41. Unless by "we" you meant the British, in which case, OK, a strained but plausible reading.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:00 PM
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The history of Vietnam during the Second World War is abundantly weird. Quick, do you remember the Viet-Thai war, perhaps the greatest naval victory of Vichy France (even though it the war ended by the "French" giving up Angkor Wat, which was a blow to French "pride," even though the French administration at the time was acting as a puppet of the Japanese state, etc., etc. . . .)? What about the Vichy, not Free French, government running the country for a while after Vichy France itself had collapsed? Or the short lived independent "Empire of Vietnam"?

I have a hard time blaming the US for taking a look at the state of French Indochina in the summer of 1945, and saying "we have no fucking clue what's going on here, so let's hand it back to the French," which is basically what happened. The more culpable mistakes IMO happened later.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:04 PM
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48: I spent a pathetically large part of my vacation last year poring over a trove of documents from that period that Fleur's cousin had inherited from his father, a colonial prefect in French Indochina. The weirdness was indeed abundant.

Arguing from anecdote, the case of Fleur's cousin's father illustrates the essential continuity of the Indochinese colonial administration from the pre-war period through the Vichy collaboration to the post-war Gaullist / revolutionary period.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:09 PM
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47. By we, I meant the allies.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:11 PM
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There's a room in the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris devoted to lovely scale models of bridges of which French engineers are particularly proud. They all seemed to be in Indochine, so far as I could tell, which wasn't very far at all, really.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:19 PM
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49: This book is the only thing I've read on the subject, and is very interesting -- basically, the argument is that the French colonial administrators were mostly hardcore pro-Vichy types who saw the collapse of the Republic as an opportunity to do all sorts of really nasty things to the colonized people that they'd been wanting to do for a long time. I'm sure Fleur's cousin's dad was one of the good ones, though!

Anyhow, IIRC Roosevelt's original plan was to hand Vietnam over to Chiang Kai-shek, who in a rare moment of good sense told Roosevelt that he had no interest whatsoever in trying to rule Vietnam.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:34 PM
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I'm sure Fleur's cousin's dad was one of the good ones, though!

Much as I appreciate the sentiment, I would caution you from jumping to any unwarranted conclusions there.

The real a-ha moment for me reading through those documents was realizing for the first time that "collaboration / collaborationism / collaborationist" were not terms of opprobrium in Vichy political discourse. It must have required a large degree of self-delusion to believe that France was an almost-equal partner with Germany in building the New Europe no matter where you were, but if you were out in a colonial outpost like Indochina... a little self-delusion maybe went a little further than in metropolitan France.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:53 PM
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52: Thanks for the book tip. That looks interesting.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 12:55 PM
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There was also a weird undeclared war between the OSS and the French secret service (the Free French secret service, for the avoidance of doubt) up in the far north. The OSS was trying to get a guerrilla army built up with a view to killing more Japanese. The French weren't against this goal, but they were more interested in making sure they would be in charge later. Chaos ensued.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:04 PM
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||
Ia anyone else getting an interminable wait for some kind of shite from google-analytics.com every time they load the comments page? That shit gets old.
|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:11 PM
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Also, something just blew up in the lab. Off to find out what the huge bang was!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:11 PM
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Chaos ensued dot com.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:13 PM
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I am aware that a nice thing is to thank him for his service.

I know the conversation has moved on, but I think the nice thing to do is to be interested in him or her as a person and in their job, and treat them well while you're sitting next to them. I have a mild fascination with the military and thus like to ask questions (not intrusive personal ones, just about what unit they're in and what they do, etc). I think I've thanked my grandfather and some of his friends for their service (WWII, of course),* and I may have said something similar while visiting a VA cemetery on Veteran's Day with a veteran, but I can't imagine saying it to a random person.

*Really the greatest thanks you can give to soldiers of this generation, I've found, is to listen to their war stories, which their closer family members have gotten tired of hearing.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:14 PM
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Also, something just blew up in the lab. Off to find out what the huge bang was!

In your field, Togolosh, it might be better to take cover and prepare to return fire.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:15 PM
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Fast valve failure! No shrapnel, no secondary damage. This is a good kind of blowing up.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:15 PM
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59 is me, and yes, I'm experiencing the problem mentioned in 56, which led to me erasing my name on accident.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:16 PM
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56: Yes, she said, yes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:20 PM
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SUP DUDES
This, um, sucks.
The polite thing is to *not* pulverize their "semantic values" if they let it slip they served. Seriously, Even The Young Kidlets Lyin' Might Get Around To It.
*S*R*S*L*Y*.
"Brother Al"


Posted by: Jeffrey Rubard | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:47 PM
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Yes, she said, yes.

That's what she said.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:53 PM
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That's what she said dot com.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 1:56 PM
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It's that I don't work well with a script.

Reminds me of someone loosely related to me (i.e. not close but this isn't an urban myth), who started working in a clothing store and was told by the manager that it was store policy to address anyone walking in with "Welcome to X. what's the special occasion?". She couldn't bring herself to do it, and after being observed not greeting customers properly several times, the manager said he was going to stand next to her as the next customer walked in, and she had better say it or else. Sure enough, someone walks in. She scrunches up herself and says, reluctantly, "what's the special occasion?" only to be answered "my father died". She cracked up and couldn't stop laughing, and was obviously fired immediately afterwards.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 2:59 PM
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64:Rubard??

Valley of Elah as our Heart of Darkness ...Aaron Brady at The Valve, who is taking on The Hurt Locker. My soc blogs dismissed HL and Precious at a mere glance.

Unlike Marlowe and Friedman, Hank has the terrible courage to admit that his son became Kurtz, and that he's the one who made it happen. Though it's still too dark, too dark altogether...
...AB

Good stuff

...the point of the David and Goliath story is precisely not what Hank thinks it is, precisely not that a boy can master his fear and be a man. Goliath is a humvee speeding along the roadway, and Hank's realization is that he has no answer as to why he would send a boy--his own--out to be destroyed by it.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:09 PM
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67 made me laugh. When ms bill worked at ChiChi's restaurant she had a script to follow of the "Welcome to ChiChi's, I'll be your server today. Can I get you a margarita or a Mexican beer?" ilk. She often would ditch the script and just talk to the customers like a normal human being. Once she did this when some people from ChiChi's corporate were monitoring her performance and she got severely admonished. Those were boom times - in this economy they might have fired her.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:15 PM
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But h-g said a lot of 68 already

I can't bring myself to do so, of course, because I feel more like apologizing -

As far as Haiti goes, I don't have an illusion that we can control and direct the machine.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:20 PM
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70.last: ... the machine.com.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:25 PM
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67: The cashiers at Harris Teeter always ask if you found everything okay today. I had gotten in the habit of saying "No, but I found these things pretty easily" until I noticed that they ask every single time and found out they have to ask and are monitored, at which point I felt bad about my smart-alecky answer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:29 PM
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69/71: A group of individuals who draw their paychecks from the same fount as me are responsible for no small number of those monstrosities. The problem is...they...they work. Demonstrably so, in a bottom line sense.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:35 PM
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73:Do you want fries with that comment? (And I suspect you meant 67/69.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:38 PM
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67: I hate that. Sometimes I just need clothes for work, Express!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:38 PM
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There are the obvious cases where the script is designed to prompt the customer to "increase ticket size" or "bite on the upsell", but the rationale of the precise scripting goes way beyond that. When you're dealing with a high turnover, low-skill labor force, relentless Taylorization of the service process is the most efficient way to secure minimally acceptable service levels. The fact that it lowers the ceiling at the same time it raises the floor on service quality is fully acknowledged and taken into account.

What's remarkable is the extent to which obsessive scripting has crept more and more into the higher end of retail and services. I have diamond/gold/platinum/whatever status with a number of hotels and airlines, and I can recite from memory the script they are taught to recite to make me feel special.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:52 PM
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73: They do work. ms bill had to offer the customers "fried ice cream" for dessert and people would often say "what's that?" and end up ordering some.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 3:53 PM
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the script they are taught to recite to make me feel special.

A friend of mine, a person of size, color, youth, and Platinum airline status, reports that the script used in his case is, "What are you doing in the Platinum line?"


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 4:08 PM
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To thread meld: My favorite bartender has his own little scripts, that he varies quite a bit, but I'm at his bar often enough that I've heard them all. And he always has a term of endearment for each customer. For me, it's "brother", which I don't mind as much, 'cause it's just commercial and not really political, although he's probably saying it because he's from a working-class/union family type background.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 4:24 PM
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My cow-orkers (those who've been in the workforce for a very long time) have their scripts. Civil-servants are droll.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 6:11 PM
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I've been thinking much the same for the last thirty-five years, particularly when I visit the Bay Pines Veteran's Hospital. (I've spent a lot of time there; when I was a kid my father was in Bay Pines maybe 15% of the time.)

Every time I see a Vietnam vet, especially a disabled Vietnam vet, the first thing that pops into my mind is "Jesus, you poor bastard, you sure got fucked." But that's not the kind of thing you can actually say to anyone.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 7:20 PM
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81: That kind of thing is like to make me practically cry sometimes. God, we are messing people up and engaging in a stunning degree of double-think about it. With respect to active-duty soldiers, I'm not sure I'm as much apologetic as embarrassed. A combination of the two.

That's not a sentiment that does the living grace of any being justice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 7:38 PM
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Mormon missionaries have scripts. They make it easier to approach strangers, particularly when you're speaking a foreign language you barely know. The approach scripts aren't (or weren't, in my day) standardized at all but rather inherited from from your "trainer." Little-bitchily, I made it a project to get my fellow missionaries to change the script most of them were using that involved incorrectly substituting a numeral (uninflected) for a preposition -- which should have been obvious, since the following noun was in the accusative.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:13 PM
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OT: A FB friend just posted a status about how the government is announcing ahead of time how they plan to break the Constitution. Any idea what she's talking about?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:27 PM
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84: This, maybe.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:33 PM
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85 is what I thought of, too. I saw an op-ed in the WSJ on Google news this morning about how the reconcile-and-deem-passed strategy that Pelosi has apparently decided on is TOTALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!1. Which, who knows? but consider the source.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:36 PM
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I raise funds for uni and if we didn't have scripts there's no way I'd be able to work in such an extrovert-magnet environment. Luckily we do, and the lack of spontaneous social thinking means that I now think of work as "reading, punctuated infrequently by minute-long bursts of acting". It's alright.

I felt really bad for the people who worked at Medieval Times--the scripts were ridic! But maybe they enjoy it.


Posted by: Yrruk | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:01 PM
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As an Iraq vet, I'd add to the original post that being thanked can be as awkward an experience as giving thanks. Unsurprisingly, a lot of vets are conflicted about the war and their own service. Being thanked can make you feel like you've become an empty vessel for receiving the pieties and politics of someone else. I don't want anyone thinking that my experience justifies his simplistic patriotism or the equally simplistic belief that I'm a naive tool just because I wore a uniform. The best thanks always comes from other vets or military family members, those who understand how mundane and ordinary service is but who also grasp how real is the challenge that comes with mundane sacrifice and ordinary loss.


Posted by: Stump | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:06 PM
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i worked at hrblock recently, mostly scheduling people who walk in, and handling all the people who just realized how much their fees really were and call in pissed about it.

they gave us pages of scripts to use, though the real things of it was being a stand-in for the corporate synergizing prick, the person the customer imagines they are yelling at.

many things that seem absurd people will go along with. i'm not surprised that strings of nonsequitors results in more sales. not much different to GOP talking points, really. most people don't have automatic triggers they've programmed into their brains that always kick in to counterbalance the framing effects of things people say to them.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:40 PM
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"Thank you for having the kind of socio-economic background that makes serving as a tool in an imperialistic war both honorable and necessary and lets my children off the hook".

No?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 1:58 AM
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