It wasn’t so much that, but rather the book itself spoke of hidden currents in Europe. It exposed the lie that during WWII it was only the Germans who had carried out race-based atrocities and any non-German collaborators were long dealt with, when this was not the case. In France and elsewhere there was a collective guilt that had not been properly dealt with. It’s amazing how some people can voice something already in your mind—something that hadn’t yet been formulated into a thought—and almost rearrange your worldview.
My favorite movie is Good Will Hunting. I saw it for the first time shortly after the movie was released in January of 1998. I was 16 years old and found myself enjoying everything about the movie; pretty soon I was able to quote whole scenes much to the delight (and shortly annoyance) of my friends and family.
In April, I visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was not my first visit, and I’m sure it will not be the last one. I visited with a group of fellow writers, and we took the subway down. Even though I live in the Bronx, I had not taken the subway in quite some time, a year or more. I simply had no need. Where I was living at the time, driving became more important than using the subway.
Where am I now? I am twenty-four years old, in a nonsensical Balkan country, wondering, what’s next? In the upcoming months, I’ll be with my girlfriend on some beach in South America, getting ready to come back to the states and then moving into an average sized apartment with her, only to go to a butt-fuck Middle Eastern country again to make a little bit of cash.
Recently a friend of mine took his own life and joined the ever growing number of veterans who take their lives daily. I wrote this in his remembrance, due to the fact I’ve been so down on life and constantly have thought of my own personal battles and thinking about taking my own life because of what I’ve perceived as failures and shortcomings.
In January 2006, ABC reporter Bob Woodruff found himself in the wrong place and time in the Middle East. He was reporting from the hatch of an armored vehicle when a 125mm shell, also known as an IED, exploded. Mr. Woodruff and his cameraman were filming when it happened, which is quite possibly why they were attacked. Their bodies were sticking out of the vehicle like a sore thumb, which made for an easy target.
As a society, we have placed a premium on education. It is seen as transformative, able to elevate people out of difficult circumstances, and the catalyst for improvement in both individuals and communities. Today, in the United States, education is a fundamental quality-of-life issue. But the ways in which our culture discusses education are highly limited.
As a child I used to believe in just wars, trusting my elders and being able to isolate evil people in the world. All part of my miseducation, I suppose. I’ve come a long way and now look back at this time as an odd dream. I think back in anger at all that was fed to me through school and elsewhere. This is not to say that I am simply some malcontent.
Perhaps I was shipwrecked, philosophically speaking, but I managed to take in the glorious north with its iced hills shimmering under the low and golden light. On the hike back out I realized that I hadn’t had my heart in the hike. I was hit with a harsh sense of loneliness and nihilism, which the desolate Arctic air only exacerbated. I longed to see my friends back in Denali and to have a few beers, though this time I wouldn’t have any stories to share.
There is much talk about the veteran civilian divide. Indeed, there is plenty separating those from Sparta and those from Babylon—to butcher a pair of historical metaphors—but as a writer, I know there’s plenty they have in common, and one thing in particular: their reaction to writers, negative, as it were.
Veteran privilege. This a phrase that invokes a broad range of reaction depending on who the audience is. From bland nonchalance to foaming mouth religious fervor, the American public’s feelings about veteran privilege runs a gamut of emotions. Does veteran privilege exist? Some people would reason that yes; given the advantages veterans have in obtaining government employment, the almost automatic respect veterans are given, and the retail discounts that many corporations are generous enough to offer military warriors, veteran privilege exists in many forms.
Sometime in early ebruary I first came across the phrase " veteran privilege" in a comment on a Blog Entry -- the location of which now escapes me. I was immediately taken aback because I related it to the current references to the phrase, "white privilege," which apparently means that just being white as opposed to anything else confers, in and of itself, and regardless of any other factors, privilege.
At a recent writing conference in Manhattan, I lunched with a group of other attendees. They were mostly newly retired women; savvy, professionally accomplished New Yorkers now looking to focus on the book they’d always dreamed of writing. We started talking about our work, and I told the women that my writing centers on the Global War on Terror, with a specific focus on the impact the war has had on the homefront to which our warriors return