Doctor Science Knows

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blogcomment records: politics division

I am reposting this because it took me so many tries to get the link to the Balloon Juice post right, and because the article is so good. arrgh! *stabs*

At Obsidian Wings, where publius wrote A heartbreaking work of staggering dishonesty, about Michael Steele on health care reform, I commented:

cleek asked:
why are they talking about [obesity]?

Anne Laurie summed it up quite nicely over at Ballon Juice the other day:
Suddenly, out of every media outlet, from the morning talk shows to the political blogs to the Wall Street Journal, comes a new slogan: Americans get less health for more dollars than any other industrialized nation because we don’t deserve good health. We haven’t earned it, and if we insist on using it anyway, we’ll be depriving other, more needy fellow citizens of their fair share. And the mark of our selfish unworthiness is that we’re *fat*.

And of course, this goes double for women, who (a) are more subject to relentless criticism about our weight, and (b) refuse to get in line with the "We're Number One! U!S!A!" crowd, but keep dragging the nation down in international health comparisons with our selfish infant and maternal mortality.

Fascinating discussion at Edge of the American West about the Medal of Honor, and the increasing tendency for it to be awarded posthumously. I commented:

There are also some very real, but unwritten, issues, including commissioned vs enlisted, branch of service, combat arms vs service/support, etc.

I would love to hear you elaborate on these “unwritten issues”. Are they also undiscussed issues, the sort of thing that is “mentioned” with nods and hand gestures, so that they never have to be spelled out?

For instance, you say there are issues of “commissioned vs enlisted”. Do you mean that a given action is more likely to garner the medal for a commission officer? — because the people making the decision are commissioned, too — or for an enlisted? — because bravery is more of an expectation for C.O.s, more beyond the call of duty for enlisted personnel.

I would be astonished if there were not also issues of race and gender, but I dare not guess how they play out.

Thanks for the info, TF.

I’ve been actually thinking about the converse of ScottyMac’s anecdote. The advantage to mostly posthumous MOHs might be that there are no pesky live winners around, to either (a) develop a cult of personality around them, or (b) say inconvenient things. If the object of the award is to develop a narrative of military virtue, it really helps if there’s no living narrator to muddy the message. Or to exploit it for their own purposes, either.


I was thinking more of Julius Caesar, or Sgt. York. We haven’t had a sufficiently charismatic MOH winner collide with reality TV … yet … but it’s a scary thought.

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