Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day, which is noted in other countries as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, marks the end of World War I.  More particularly, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.  On this day, we remember those who died while serving their various countries.

As I have done in past years, I’m posting the final episode of the Blackadder Goes Forth series, entitled Goodbyeee.

The final episode of this series, “Goodbyeee“, although true to the series’ usual comedy style through most of the preceding scenes, is known for featuring a purely dramatic and extraordinarily poignant final scene, where the main characters (except [the General] himself) are finally sent over the top. To the sound of a slow, minimal and downbeat piano version of the title theme, the four are seen in slow-motion, charging into the fog and smoke of no man’s land, with gunfire and explosions all around, before the scene fades into footage of a sunny poppy field and the sound of birdsong. The fate of the four is left ambiguous. Blackadder’s final line before the charge is also underpinned with an unusually reflective and poignant tone, offered after Baldrick claims to have one last cunning plan to save them from the impending doom:

Well, I’m afraid it’ll have to wait. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman around here? …Good luck, everyone.

As fantastic as this final Blackadder series is, I usually cry my way through Goodbyeee. Our amazing advances in technology, rather than being put toward the advancement of mankind, was instead used for unbelievable destruction and obscenely wasted lives of tens of millions of people, both military and civilian, but succeeded only in serving as an incubator for World War II.

I think humans could learn to live together peacefully, but there is money to be made from mayhem and war, and as long as that’s true, there will always be war; and there will always trenches of one kind or another, filled with honorable men and women, who are viewed as a means to an end — stacks and stacks of money — and used as cannon fodder, and if they survive, dismissed as a burden on society.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss.

22 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

  1. I absolutely hate that I have to build military hardware as part of my job, but I have to eat and pay the bills. I’d be just as happy building medical or green energy equipment. The skillset is the same. At least some of the parts are Gulfstream, which is civilian aviation. A lot of what my company makes goes on military transports and cargo planes that aren’t actually used as combat platforms. At least there’s a fair amount of overtime at the place I’m working now. They can’t get enough people with the skills they need to have every shift filled.

    If we have to send our military into harm’s way, I do want them to have equipment that is as good as we can give them. We owe that to them, despite the policy that sends them places that only serve the fascists and oligarchs.

    • I worked, a long time ago, for three separate “defense” industries, including two giants, Martin Marietta and McDonnell Douglas. But the four years I spent with those two were fun — I was in the NASA space exploration arm of both, and while the Titan ICBM and F-4 Phantom factories were, resp., “right there” they were easily ignorable. My first job, however, was the one in which I worked on BCW projects funded by such outfits as Fort Dietrich and the CIA. Only lasted a little over a year there, then (having outwitted the Draft and their demand for my “service” in the Nam) I jumped on the aerospace bandwagon instead. And I remember wondering why it was that certain politicians kept trying to cut NASA’s meager budget — and at the same time increase the always ludicrous “defense” budget.

      It’s the money, of course, and the pecker extension that war pretends to allow.

      And too, it’s tricky to not recall the assassination of JFK nearly fifty years ago, almost precisely one month after the release of his National Security Action Memo in which he scheduled a complete pullout of all American “advisors” from Vietnam, a process which was completely reversed by LBJ’s promise of escalation — deemed official before Kennedy was even in the ground.

      It’s the money that feeds the warmongers here in the US (see also big Dick Cheney et Halliburton et Iraq etc.). In other corners of the world the motivation is probably more the acquisition of Power than money, but here not so much. Here, it’s the money, gathered under the pretense popularly called “defense.”

      “Bullshit” would be a better word.

    • I made my living the same way for years House and had the same mixed emotions. I bet you feel an obligation to produce quality products, even if you are pressured to brush aside defects in order to meet schedule (maybe the firm you work for isn’t like that, those my husband and I worked for often were). We can at least contribute our skills and willingness to put honesty above career advancement to what is, at times, an industry that puts profit above obligations to the taxpayer and end user of the products we produce.


    The top editor of Guns & Ammo became the second employee of the venerable firearms magazine to lose his job after a column advocating gun control backfired, prompting rifle-toting readers to unload on the publication.

    In a statement posted Wednesday on the InterMedia Outdoors-owned magazine’s homepage, Jim Bequette apologized to “each and every reader” of the magazine for Dick Metcalf’s column that appeared in its December issue, which generated “unprecedented” controversy and left readers “hopping mad” in regards to the magazine’s commitment to the Second Amendment.

    “Let me be clear: Our commitment to the Second Amendment is unwavering,” Bequette wrote. “It has been so since the beginning. Historically, our tradition in supporting the Second Amendment has been unflinching. No strings attached.”

  3. Paula Poundstone on ACA: Hey, we’re used to tech problems

    Dear Mr. President,

    I want you to know that I am still with you on this health care thing. The media would have us believe that it has lost support, which makes no sense.

    Most of us agreed that we loved the idea of people with pre-existing health problems being able to receive coverage. It is simply not possible that technical challenges with the website could cause voters to turn off on that idea.

    Anybody who has ever used a computer knows, that privilege goes hand-in-hand with frustration. Why would we give up on the affordable health care law because of that?

    If we were ordering something from Amazon, we’d keep trying for months. Heck, if we were having cable installed, we’d take the day off work to wait for the cable man. We’re no strangers to struggling with websites. Why would that make us give up on a law that makes some insurance policies provide preventative medicine with no co-payments?

    Technology is fraught with frustration. I had a double-tweeting problem for a while, but I didn’t give up my Twitter account.

    My toaster lost its timer, but I still make toast.

    It took me days to put the video I made of the first Thanksgiving up on YouTube, but just look on my website, sir. I triumphed!

    Heck, when I first hooked up my computer, I spent hours on the phone with a guy at Verizon, who said his name was David (but I don’t think his name was David), and it was unbelievably frustrating.

    I cried.

    I’m telling you I actually cried.

    I reached the depths of despair, but I never gave up.

    If “David” couldn’t break me, how could it be that I’d already throw in the towel on a law that makes it possible for my kids to remain on my family policy until they are 26?

    Maybe it’ll work, and maybe it won’t, Mr. President, but I sure want it to, and if I want it to anywhere nearly as bad as I wanted my DVD player to work with the same remote as my big screen TV, I don’t want to, but I can, suffer through a few more glitches in the healthcare site.

    I notice she made no reference to any IT problem with her cats. Cats do not have IT problems.

    • But cats can cause IT problems. No matter how often I tell Tigger she’s not qualified to operate a computer she still manges to hop on my keyboard when I’m distracted and can make entire files, folders, and programs diappear. Once it took me most of a day to simply make my computer boot up after one of her keyboard excursians.

    • Worked in the yard earlier. Watched Danica get clouted from behind and finish ten laps down in the Phoenix race. Watched Lara Logan grovel with her retraction on 60 Minutes. Now I’m watching The Alabama – LSU replay. 😀

    • yes. contrary to popular opinion, I do have a life outside of what I do for a living…

      Piped at an after-church ceremony to honor veterans. then back to cleaning up more of the back yard from the carnage left over from a major re-roof project. Arranged Cantique de Noel for a french horn choir…

  4. Blackadder Goes Fourth…. yup that did a huge amount to bring the Great war back to the popular culture of the Uk in the 90s. Even the government has acknowledged the impact it has had by saying that they need to address what BA had to say and make next year’s centenary year a chance to change the public’s perception away from BA. Not sure what they mean by that myself.

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