March 16th, 2004 | Published in Uncategorized
With the possible exception of news anchors referring to Al Qaeda like a thing that might have letterhead, a post office box, and a line of t-shirts it only sells to members, I think the most grating sub-meme of the post-9/11 media world has to be the “terrorists on monkey bars” training footage. It’s like every news producer in the land has decided nothing is more menacing than the terrorists’ skill on playground equipment. I mean, yes, we had monkey bars during Army basic training, but everyone gets through basic training. If you want to use monkey bar training as a benchmark for proficiency in the black art of killing, then the terrorists are up there with every single National Guard records clerk or reservist generator mechanic who made it through the confidence course. To assess their real training value, you have to see if they turn up in the tougher courses: Monkey bars were conspicuously absent during airborne school, and none of the Rangers I knew ever mentioned them as part of their training. And the point is, even if the Rangers are keeping that little secret to themselves, I knew an actual National Guard records clerk who handled them fine, and he cried on my shoulder like a baby the last night our training company was out in the woods because the drill sergeant didn’t recognize his contributions to the team. Not a stone killer.
Anyhow, tonight’s specimen courtesy Tom Brokaw and the NBC Nightly News. Now that you’re sensitized you’re not gonna be able to escape the damn terrorist monkey bar footage. Films in the future seeking to depict the hardened battle-readiness of terrorists in training will no doubt treat “terrorist troop in background hanging from monkey bars” much the same way any movie with a scene of football practice seems to want to show a line of players doing the thing with the tires.
Separate Note: I’ll donate $50 from my next paycheck to Josh Marshall if he’ll promise to quit responding to Andrew Sullivan with anything other than a link to the offending article next to a smallish gif of a horse’s ass. Yes, Andrew represents a “current of thought” out there, but it’s a tepid, weak current in a filthy stream, bubbling forth from dubious origins and trickling over the falls to form a browish, foamy scum that dissipates in whatever hapless breeze cruel fate presses into blowing over it. It’s just not a current to splash around in.