Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: What was lost

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to richard,

    given that they got through Iraq without a draft they can probably get through most things

    The civil and military costs of the multiple back-to-back tours most enlistees have been subjected to will be rippling outwards for decades, I suspect.

    I don't think a draft for the WoT was/is a realistic proposition - it would probably galvanise a public backlash in the same way the Vietnam draft did, which is why the current enlistees are being forced into multiple tours. The US military is currently stretched to near-breaking point, capacity-wise.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to James Butler,

    He's an anxious child as it is, and finds flying (or even seeing or hearing a plane or helicopter) pretty trying sometimes. I guess it's one of our jobs as parents to lower the burdens of life as slowly as possible onto the shoulders of our children, while trying to ensure that they're bearing most of the weight by the time we're no longer able to hold it for them.

    Perhaps he had taken it in on a level we as adults have hardened ourselves against. Your fear soaked in by your tiny, open-to-all-influences baby?
    I remember as a child realizing that my parents were frightened (the Mau Mau, iirc, but something from Africa), and that was truly a horror-filled series of moments.
    EDIT: I know I've said "your fear" but I guess I really mean adult fear, as in a general feeling, which let's face it, was widespread.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    My son, who ten years ago was turning somersaults in by belly while we watched the planes crash on TV, just asked about what I was reading. I tried to explain how a bad thing happened and how now there's another thing which is also kind of a bad thing. He is perplexed but momentarily satisfied. I am sniffly.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Perhaps he had taken it in on a level we as adults have hardened ourselves against. Your fear soaked in by your tiny, open-to-all-influences baby?

    I'm a bit reluctant to trace personality traits to events from childhood, especially that early - people react to events in such varied ways, I think it's a stretch to see any causality in most cases. On balance I don't think our family was any more "scared" in the long run by 9/11 than by any of the other terrible things that happen every day.

    Having said that, my own worldview is certainly influenced by the hardships (Rogernomics, mostly) my parents endured as I was growing up - but more in terms of my opinions and beliefs than my personality. I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy really :-)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    There is evidence, according to my midwife sisters, that hormones produced by fear (adrenalin for one) definitely affect in-womb babes. After birth -so long as they're snug in loving arms, fed, & warm - not so much. BUT - there is quite good evidence (o hell, I will learn to cut&paste soon - promise!) that frightening noises (explosions/screaming/natural disaster sounds) do affect babies & v. young children in a kind of inchoate but definite way.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Islander,

    There is evidence, according to my midwife sisters, that hormones produced by fear (adrenalin for one) definitely affect in-womb babes.

    Indeed.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Incredibly well and very beautifully written.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2152 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Lovely Jolisa.

    It’s very unlikely that a draft would come back in the States. The military tends to be opposed to it from what I’ve seen on the basis that it doesn’t produce as good a soldier.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I saw a guy on Twitter complaining that the 6pm news was being patronising by explaining what 9/11 was. But for, say, an 18-year-old, 9/11 could very well feel like a fuzzy childhood memory.

    And these kids are growing up with all the annoying anti-terror restriction and loopholes, but because they haven't known how things used to be, taking your shoes off at the airport will seem as normal as presenting your passport.

    In the 1960s, a lot of Baby Boomers were disrespectful of World War II. Gee, Mom and Dad, why do you keep going on about the war? It's over. Get with the '60s, you squares. It's the age of Aquarius.

    I have a feeling that in another 10 year's time, we'll start to see teens being disrespectful of 9/11. Why are you guys always going on about 9/11? It was decades ago. It's the '20s now - move on!

    But then when those teens grow up, their children will rediscover 9/11, like the kids of today getting up at the crack of dawn on Anzac Day to honour their grandparents.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1863 posts Report Reply

  • Creon Upton,

    Beautiful writing Jolisa.

    And I can tell you why too. This thing is symbolic, and you treat it as such, unwaveringly. It’s futile trying to make it be about, or mean, anything beyond that.

    And the only thing to feel is sad.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I have a feeling that in another 10 year's time, we'll start to see teens being disrespectful of 9/11. Why are you guys always going on about 9/11? It was decades ago. It's the '20s now - move on!

    I actually hope that will happen. They should still know about it, but will hopefully see it in perspective as just another incident in the long tale of atrocities from the 20th Century, happening by chance shortly after it, a lid closing on the idea of violence being fruitful. With any luck it will be seen that the jihadists mostly achieved the opposite of their intentions, and the idea that war is great for the US economy thoroughly debunked.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Jolisa,

    Words to live, and write, by!

    They sit over my monitor next to Kafka's 'a book must be the ice-axe for the frozen sea within us' and a real MLK quote: 'the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.' With these three fellow travellers, I try to write.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I saw a guy on Twitter complaining

    get out of here!

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    MLK quote: ‘the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.’

    Also MLK:

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.

    Not MLK; Jessica Dovey. :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to 3410,

    Not MLK; Jessica Dovey. :)

    Oh! Damn internet.

    Apparently the original MLK is this*:
    “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition…. The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

    *O'course, I only have the internet's word on that :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    This thing is symbolic, and you treat it as such, unwaveringly. It’s futile trying to make it be about, or mean, anything beyond that.

    Yes. I’ve been pondering this too. The symbolism of the twin towers falling was profound, for the western world that created the towers, and for the many peoples who felt excluded or attacked by that western world.
    Some of that symbolic power is eroded, or changed, perhaps, by this rather horrible event- pretty close to assassination, though that seems to be a word the world is avoiding. (Are there legal reasons for this? I seem to remember assassination being explicitly ruled out as a option by US law-makers).
    Symbols and stories have great power: advertisers, politicians, writers know this :) The symbolism of the falling towers has been used to do shameful things- curtailing freedoms, invasion, torture… If there’s anything hopeful to come from bin Laden’s demise, it’s a sort of symbolic closure- taking away the some of the symbolic potency of '911'.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver, in reply to Lilith __,

    Gosh that's an awesome quote from MLK. It's what I was trying (rather unsuccessfully) to express in the other thread.

    I should have known that someone like MLK would have been able to phrase those thoughts just perfectly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Lilith __,

    I retweeted the fake MLK quote several times Monday. Internets hey?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Percy Flage,

    I'm sorry to introduce a tangential note, but I am much distressed by Ms Amanda Gillies, 'journalist', and her 'compassion' for the family of Benedict Dacayan: [http://www.3news.co.nz/Tornado-victim-a-devoted-husband-father/tabid/423/articleID/209788/Default.aspx]. How has this come to pass in New Zeaalnd? Is this what we are now?

    Since Apr 2011 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Karen Healey,

    Oh, Jolisa. This is wonderfully written, and hit me right in the heart.

    Melbourne, Australia • Since Apr 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Percy Flage,

    How has this come to pass in New Zeaalnd? Is this what we are now?

    You are not alone. I found myself yelling at the television.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Percy Flage,

    Oh, that's ghastly news-making. Doorstopping the bereaved is just bad form, anywhere, any time.

    Ironically, I was about to post this piece by 9/11 widow, Marian Fontana, on the emotional toll of being a public symbol of a shared disaster (not just her, but her son).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    The same writer on her Dinner with Rumsfeld. Worth reading, even now :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Oh that is a great, great piece of writing! She is tough stuff.

    Not sure which is my favourite bit, there are so many: "...stepping on Condoleezza Rice's foot along the way"? Or "The whore in the blue dress is playing with the first dog"? Brilliant.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

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