Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

What did Elvis say? It's a kinder murder? (Costello, not Presley.) It may not have been kinder, but this week felt like murder. And we thought it would be an easy breezy beautiful Covergril la la la edition.

Here's who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And of course Dallas. We thank all of them for their hard work -- and this week was a killer.

Here's what we have:

Truest statement of the week -- Amy Goodman won hands down. After Tuesday, no one else was in the running -- not Michael Ratner or Susan Faludi who would have been a contender for their strong remarks any other week.

Editorial: No Court-Martial of Watada -- How will the judge rule? Who knows? But if the military had any idea what they were doing by continuing to persecute Watada, they would have dropped the court-martial long ago. If for no other reason that their own self-interests, we hope they soon make that move.

TV: Diveristy Network Style -- We took an extended break. Before we did, Jess suggested posting Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary because it was the only thing completed (that we were comfortable with). Ty pointed out that if it goes up, some won't bother coming back later. It's a hard hitting look at the network. And the sort of thing that you can only get from Ava and C.I. A note to Sherry, we read your e-mail and planned to work something up on it but ran out of time due to the BIG PROBLEM with the edition. We hope to pick it up at next week. You made wonderful points and pull quoted things that we had forgotten. ("We" does not refer to Ava and C.I. who didn't read the e-mail yet. They weren't avoiding it since Sherry's a community members -- they do, however, avoid fan mail -- but they had thought there would be plenty of leisurely hours in what was planned as an easy edition.)

Another war resister arrested in Canada -- Robin Long. Had we the time in this or in highlight, we would have noted every community member with a site posted on Tuesday to get the word out on Robin Long (except this site, Ty points out!).

Question for the week -- Credit Dona for rescuing this from the heap. It was supposed to be an extended piece. There was no time. In search of short features, she went through our kill pile and came up with this.

Faux or real? -- Much longer was the plan. We started this when Dona suggested everyone take a nap. Which we did for several hours.

Goodman's announcement -- Credit to Goodman.

Susan Blake -- Kimberly Wilder is working her butt off to get the word out on Susan Blake's passing. That's wonderful of Wilder but it's a sign of the times and the society how hard she's having to work to do this.

Highlights -- Mike, Rebecca, Cedric, Wally, Elaine, Betty and Kat wrote this and chose highlights except where noted. We thank them.

No book discussion this week -- Dona told me (Jim), "I have a bad feeling about this" as she was reading the book in bed Tuesday night. Knowing that some were supportive of Monica Benderman, I focused solely on Kevin Benderman (I can do that, I just ask questions in the book discussion for the most part). From that standpoint, the book wasn't a problem. If I had listened to Dona Tuesday or if C.I. had read the book before the plane trip on Saturday (C.I. read the intro and preface on Friday), we would have known this was a problem. Due to delays and daily life, we didn't all get together (all: Ty, Dona, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself) on Saturday until we had everyone on the phone (Mike, Elaine, Wally, Betty, Cedric and Rebecca; Kat was physically present). If we had, we would have discussed Susan Faludi or Norman Solomon's book instead. Going in, there was a brief pre-discussion and I assigned C.I. the "pep talk" ending. Again, I didn't read the entire book. I assumed there was gold to be panned. It started off simple enough, if not enthusiastic. Then Rebecca reads an excerpt and Kat's words and tone made it clear to me that it wasn't going to go as planned. It didn't. Even C.I. couldn't pull together a pep talk. C.I. also weighed in the importance of knowing Constitutional Law before you start gas bagging on it. C.I. did this before knowing -- this came out as well -- that the female author had 'weighed in' on another war resister and her belief that the war resister, the war resister's attorneys and C.I. were all wrong (but of course she was right! always!). As bits and pieces like this came out, the gloves didn't come off. They were already off. Ava quotes an e-mail that came into C.I. (the only one that C.I. received from one of the two authors) last week and notes it's insulting. That wasn't known before the free for all started either. We are very serious that we never want to hear Monica Benderman -- community wide. No site, not Elaine, not C.I., wants to hear from you. If we do, we'll post the discussion. With Ava tearing into the Whiteness of the book, Kat noting the glorification of the military and C.I. pointing out both the guru nonsense and the lack of comprehension about the Constitution, it won't be pretty. Ty notes that e-mails have assumed -- since Elaine's covered the Bendermans repeatedly for two years now -- that Elaine was the reason we postponed. Not so. It was fear of Elaine's feelings and fear of Elaine being put into a difficult situation that factored in. However, Elaine said, "I'm only responsible for what I said and there's no need to fact check the rest of you because the points you're making are in the book." Dona says Elaine's only comments revolve around UPS.
Dona also notes Rebecca and C.I.'s talk about children and how that, more than anything else, pisses her off -- the fact that their exchange on that is not published pisses her off. When we had entered the third hour of the book discussion, she passed me a note saying we needed to wind down and also saying Rebecca and C.I.'s talk on children stayed in. Dona: "It's exactly the sort of thing that longterm readers would enjoy and it was a nice relief in the book discussion. It was also on topic." We can't believe we wasted so much time. We should also note that we floated the idea of ten minute (serious limit on ten minutes) second attempt. But as Mike pointed out, "We didn't like the book. I'm not honor bound to say I liked something when I didn't. He's a war resister, oh well. He's not facing any consequences so I have no reason to bite my tongue. The book does nothing to help war resisters although it offers plenty of slams at them." We agreed and washed our hands of it instead focusing on things that do matter. Dona says that one person e-mailing (any site) will cause it to be posted but also notes if community members really want to read it, we'll offer it up in a community newsletter. Our problem is not our opinions. We stand by them. Our problems are (a) people may need money and the discussion would kill chances of it (trust us, most people against the war would not want to read the book after reading the discussion) and (b) as Ava pointed out, you can't write a word about the Bendermans without Monica 'correcting' you. That was explained long ago by mainstream press who had covered the case and why C.I. avoided commentary on Kevin Benderman. Since Monica Benderman has now decided that not only can she weigh in on reports about her husband but she can also weigh in on how a war resister, his attorneys, C.I. and others are "wrong" we really didn't want to hear about it. And, we'd add, that attitude of it's just not worth it goes a long way towards explaining the lack of support Monica Benderman identifies in the book.
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