Last night at one point I switched to MTV. I'm always amused by MTV's attempts at earnestness in times like these -- you know, éminence grise Kurt Loder attempting to rearrange his features in a look of concern for our youth, even though his facial muscles probably contain more botulinum toxin than can be found in Saddam Hussein's bioweapons stockpiles.
What I saw on MTV was a series of interviews of young people in and around Grand Central Station. They were asked about the war -- and they weren't rah-rah or outraged. They mostly didn't give a damn one way or the other.
I don't know how typical these kids are. But if they're at all representative of America, or at least of their generation, then George W. Bush has really accomplished something: on a psychological level, he has partially privatized this war. What I mean is that by failing to rally us around a principle, or around a compelling rationale, he's made the war something many people might not even care about if they don't have a direct stake in it. (On MTV, the interview segment was followed by two young callers from military towns who were, understandably, very focused on the war.)
So maybe there are people directly or indirectly involved; people like me who aren't involved but have strong opinions pro or con -- and then everyone else, for many of whom this war is as meaningless as the price of pork-belly futures is to people who go to a check-cashing store to cash their paychecks. Maybe young people have figured out that we just do this every few years, and when it's over there's still evil and slaughter and brutality in the world, much of it in places the U.S. will never invade.
Here's Digby, from Wednesday night:
The war show is, so far, very disappointing. When Bernie and Peter were hiding under their beds back in '91 at the Baghdad Hilton, and a handsome gas masked Bibi spoke calmly from Tel Aviv in his mellifluous American accent, it was new and exciting. The Patriot missiles were faster than a speeding scud and could pluck that baby right out of the sky. Cool fireworks. (Of course, we later found out they couldn't hit water if they were pushed over the side of a boat.)
Still, it all was new and so post-pac man. I'm not seeing it now, no matter how they rhapsodise about the technology. I wonder if people are still watching. Especially since there's nothing to watch. We just turned on "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
He was being somewhat sarcastic -- he went on to point out that, oh, by the way, innocent people will be soon be dying in Baghdad. But I think he captured some of the sense of ennui that's out there as we pursue Bush War IV.