FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dancing with the Scarred

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

I’ve been thinking of marketing a concept in the genre that’s all the rage—Reality Television. My primary objective is to enlighten the public, however if financial success is a byproduct, I won’t complain.

This I know: engaging the masses requires much more than the presentation of truth. Truth must be veiled in entertainment, the latter a lure to hold attention until the truth, finally, is grasped through (gasp) an epiphany. And, yes, I do believe I’ve come up with something that delivers both.

Here’s the idea: I’m imagining a show whose contestants are troops who’ve returned from AfPak-Iraq. My production crew could go to any military hospital’s traumatic brain injury (TBI) ward to seek competitors for the series. I’m talking Dancing with the Scarred. We’d have Hollywood types work with the young men and women to teach them some dance moves and create fabuloso costumes.

Obviously, I could cut costs if I don’t have to employ an expensive panel of semi-celeb judges. Who needs these “experts”? I could bring back the applause meter. Anyone remember Queen for a Day, featuring women who told and sold their sad swelling of jeremiads? After all the revelations of dearth, the television audience clapped for the person living the worst nightmare. Of course, misery is subjective, and evaluating it is a subjective endeavor. But the applause meter always settled differences and registered the winner who, then, was crowned “Queen.” Lavished with gifts, she cried and, of course, her emotions were accompanied by a torrent of tears from those who watched.

TBI, also, could be an acronym for To Be Involved. This is where the viewers, actually, engage emotionally. To be involved in the reality of war. You know, to, finally, GET it. This is the truth part, that element much more difficult to achieve. The TBI troops are falling all over the dance floor, struggling with a few “dance” steps while hooked up to mobile medical equipment. The live audience and home viewers watch intently and feel their complacency erode as empathy enters their hearts.

Add a few “before” shots. Of the contestants. For more poignancy. Video footage from a wedding or playing with their children prior to deployment. Juxtapose this with the new REALITY.

Don’t you think I’m on to something? I know I said money making isn’t the primary goal, but I could, possibly, bank enough to move to a more peaceful country—if I can find a place that US imperialism hasn’t exploited, isn’t in the process of exploiting, or isn’t planning to exploit.

The major objective, though, is not my escape, but rendering null and void escapism. Because my creation might (?) compel viewers to do something to prevent the progression of tragic homecomings. To stop more explanations like this: “Yes, Daddy’s coming back but he won’t be able to toss that football with you, ever again.” Or: “No, Mommy won’t be driving you to after-school activities. Mommy won’t be allowed behind the wheel of a car.”

The possibilities, of course, are almost endless; ideas are tumbling in my head. Post-traumatic stress disorder. How about a show whose contestants react to a loud noise? Like a car’s backfire. They’d be told they’re taking part in something to inform the public about the never-ending damage to a troop’s psyche, but while sitting there under the spotlight, in front of a live audience, and, of course, all those watching from home, they’d hear a BOOM, simulated explosives. Just think about it—the veterans would be scrambling to reach for an imaginary AK-47 or M16 as sweat rolls down their faces and their armpits spew liquid fear. Close-up, please! This one could be called Bring ‘Em On, to re-popularize a G. Bush motto. Better still, Bring ‘Em On TV.

Also, consider homeless veterans. There has to be a time slot for a show called American Idle.

Whaddayathink? Do I have a winner that could elicit some necessary attention from the La-Z-Boy dwellers so they’ll get their lazy-boy and girl asses into the reality of what is being done in their names?

Egad, more ideas are knocking against my skull. If I had a few wealthy investors, I could import some AfPak-Iraqi children for several different series. Some of the babies born with birth defects because of the weapons we’ve used. I could call this one Who Wants to Stare at a Child with a Depleted Cranium. And a show about children who’ve seen their parents explode. This would be Who Wants to Parent a War Orphan. Oh, and the amputees. This one is easy: The Smallest Loser.

But wait. Hmm, I sound like a pitchwoman. And, perhaps, I am. Because I should pitch this idea as a movie about contemporary culture and the worship of Reality Television. My film would present the examples I’ve just described. But, unlike other war movies, mine wouldn’t exalt invasion and occupation. Instead, it would emphasize the effects of war on the survivors.

I can see the opening scene. A family, in their gas-slurping SUV, heading out on vacation and arguing over which Reality show to watch on the television, mounted for the kids. The ending could pose a problem, though. Will those who see the consequence of war demand its end? Or will they say, “The contestant pool will diminish if we call for troops out now?”

I think I know the answer.

Any filmmakers and screenwriters interested? Sean Penn? James Cameron? Alex Rivera? I must admit to having a small crush on Larry David. But if I could interest Kathryn Ann Bigelow and Mark Boal, the team who brought us “The Hurt Locker,” well, wow—even though their Academy Award winner glorifies the horrifying.

Please, somebody, contact me, via email–especially you, Larry.

Missy Beattie moved from Manhattan to Baltimore in 2007. Her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley, was killed in Iraq in 2005. Contact her at: missybeat@aol.com

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail