Ordinary Sunday Brunch

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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23 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    There was an important event that happened a 100 years ago today that seems conspicuously absent from the history links.

    Also it says something that Americans just can’t abide by calling it Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. We need to call it Veterans Day because god forbid we recognize that some or many wars are needless and fought fir massively dumb reasons.Report

    • The topic deserves more than just a link and will be touched on in other writing. Armistice Day infers the first World War and Remembrance Day is our British and commonwealth friends version, Veteran’s Day was brought into use to be all encompassing after WW2, which was not a needless war fought for dumb reason, nor were many of the others.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I think the name changes the tone. Armistice Day is about the end of fighting and recognizes the horror of war. So does Rememberance Day. Veterans Day is very “America Fuck Yeah, why don’t you support the troops who defend your freedoms, you pansy commie!”Report

      • I also think it’s important to separate policy and people.

        War hawks don’t deserve to be celebrated, IMHO — especially that armchair type. But having a day where we recognize the people who volunteer for the armed services is a good thing. Especially since we have a system where we mostly send people from poor families so we don’t have to send our own kids, and since we collectively do a pretty terrible job of taking care of them when they return home damaged.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          “But having a day where we recognize the people who volunteer for the armed services is a good thing.”

          Is it though? More than any other type of service? Where is teachers day, or doctors day or first responder day? Do you really feel like our foreign policy and use of the armed forces keeps us more safe? I just don’t see our military as something we should be particularly proud of in respect to how it is actually used.Report

          • Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Growing up in Canada, Remembrance Day was pretty much about remembering (and honoring) all the soldiers who died in WW2 and WW1, many of whom had (and still have) friends and loved ones still living. (Korean War soldiers were remembered and grieved, but far more ambivalently.) It also had an explicitly pacifist message, or one of war as a *very* last resort, at least – ie we didn’t get the day off from school, people who didn’t go to school were expected to mark the occasion at the memorial and then go back to work, and we had school assemblies all day long in which various persons who had gone through war, mostly but not only soldiers told us first hand about how horrible it was and how much it hurt both to lose people and to kill them. About how they still missed their friends they’d seen shot gruesomely next to them on the battlefields when they were teenagers, and other stories like that, stories they would never tell any other day of the year (often in quite a lot of graphic detail – even in elementary school, all teachers seemed to be subject to the “don’t censor the veterans” rule.) Also about the nightmares and other symptoms of what I’d now call PTSD, that living veterans still suffered. It was a day to read Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and listen to endless, nuanced, grieving recitations of In Flanders Fields that are explicitly glossed as taking up the cause of GOOD, at all costs, not taking up the cause of violence. (Like, that gets spelled out over and over in different ways, both verbal and visual.) And a day where any veteran who needed it, could take the day off to remember and to mourn.

            To me, it seemed and seems like a day for acknowledging and grieving the aftermath of war, a mass cultural way of grieving the losses and psychological harms that had to be put aside to function day to day. That’s my cultural expectation for it and in many cases that’s what I see. (I often think the American “thanks for your service” as cliched and awkward as it can be, is in some sense a way for people to say “sorry for your losses and suffering” to service members they don’t feel they can say that to because they aren’t supposed to be that direct.) Also a day to recognize and feel grateful for the value of being in a state of peace, ourselves. [During the first gulf war, I remember there being anti-war demonstrations on Remembrance Day that were very clearly anti-*that*-war, not past wars, and which included many veterans in the ranks of the demonstrators.]

            I think as an anti-war-but-also-recognizing-that-sometimes-people-don’t-feel-they-have-another-choice day, Remembrance Day was well named, and an apt expansion of Armistice Day after more wars had been fought. I also think there were good reasons for having it that don’t apply to a teachers’ day or a doctors’ day (not that I’d be against those).

            I have no opinion about Veterans Day other than to respect the things that other people around me whom I respect, show deep respect for, without getting carried away to the point where I uphold things I don’t myself want upheld. Which is typical of how I deal with many aspects of American culture, to be honest. It does *seem* to me that when I moved to the US, the 11th of November was treated more in the way I describe Remembrance Day, above, and the America, F-Yeah attitude was more a Memorial Day thing, and that things have shifted some since then, but I’m not sure how much that is true and how much is just my individual perception shifting….Report

            • PD Shaw in reply to Maribou says:

              Did Canadians recognize Armistice Day with a minute(s) of silence? My understanding is that in England AD is about the minutes of silence, but Recognition Day is always on the Sunday for incorporation into church services. France and Belgium followed the moment of silence tradition, and it has struck me that the poignancy is best located in the theater of war, were bombings and explosions were a part of civilian life.

              Other contributors also seem to have their own day. Down under they recognize Anzad Day for the Gallipoli landing. For Canadians there is Vimy Ridge, for the first Canadian victory battle. In Ulster there is a Somme battle where their units went over the top and died in a massive wave on the anniversary of some religious conflict. The U.S. is the odd position of having a decisive role in forcing surrender, though mostly not from a specific military role. Many of the dead died from Spanish fever in route.
              Also the War didn’t offer much meaning for domestic politics.Report

          • jason in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Do you really feel like our foreign policy and use of the armed forces keeps us more safe? I just don’t see our military as something we should be particularly proud of in respect to how it is actually used.

            Foreign policy is the responsibility of politicians. The use of the armed forces is usually a failure of politicians and diplomacy. As Tod says.

            Is it though? More than any other type of service?

            Yes. Screw your disc golf team.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to jason says:

              So…being a clerk at an air force base or a cook on an aircraft carrier is something I should honor above the guy that goes into a burning house to save a child or the doctor that saves someone’s life? Nope.Report

              • jason in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Jesus, this is stupid. Who says you have to honor any service member ABOVE anything else/ This is like those stupid kerfuffles when people call someone a hero for going through X, and then everyone starts groaning and saying, “no, our (troops, police, firefighters, nurses, cancer victims, postal workers, dog catchers, Chipotle employees, sandwich artists) are the REAL heroes!!! You kind of want to say, “People can be heroic in different ways, you fishing a-holes!”

                FFS, it’s one day out of the God damned year. I’m pretty ambivalent about people thanking me for my service, as I wasn’t Chesty Puller or John Basilone. I don’t go to restaurants to get free meals on vets day. But I think the principle of the holiday is good–it honors those who made a choice to serve–the fed gov honors those people, which is proper, as the fed gov is the entity putting those troops to work. One day to honor people who made a choice to serve (or really, just to honor that choice), to delay their education and their careers and sometimes to risk their lives doesn’t seem like too much to ask. (and btw, being a cook on any ship is hard job; if you actually thought about it, maybe you would realize that)

                But if it makes you happy, you set up a table every Nov 11 with a sign that says, “Teachers, doctors, and first responders deserve their own day instead of vets. Change my mind.” Just be sure to bring your pacifier and your binky.

                Now I hope all your discs get stuck in trees.Report

              • jason in reply to jason says:

                and I’ll add that we already honor doctors with large salaries. We’ve been honoring first responders since at least 9/11. We honor police even when they shoot and kill unarmed people. And teachers? Lots of people praise teachers until they ask for a raise.Report

              • This is a bad example. Doris Miller was a cook on a ship, limited to the role of steward duty due to being black in a still segregated Navy. Antione Holt wasn’t a clerk on an air base, but he was a bookish computer nerd dealing with complex communication systems, and never should have seen anything outside of an office or remotely close to combat. Mortar hit his tent and the three pieces of him we could find was sent home to his newborn daughter who would never really know him. See the enemy doesn’t care about such distinctions, and everyone in uniform, as we quickly found out, can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the wrong ship, or the wrong plane, or on the wrong convoy, or hell even training accidents. One day a year, that is optional as to whether folks participate or not, is not a big ask.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                While terribly tragic that someone was killed by a mortar attack in Iraq, I also can’t divorce my feelings about what an incredible waste of life that is. As Tod mentions above, most of the people serving in our military are poor kids that see it as a way out. I have no doubt that many of them hope they never see combat. Getting sent to a war zone for a conflict that we never should have been involved in, and being lucky enough to come home alive is not something we should be celebrating in the manner we do. I get that it’s optional, but this whole idea that veterans ‘protected our freedom’ is really hard to take seriously.Report

              • I find your statement “this whole idea that veterans ‘protected our freedom’ is really hard to take seriously” hard to take seriously. I respect your ability and opinion to believe as you do. I will make no further comment on this subject.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                If you can outline those freedoms that were at risk without military intervention, I’m open to having my mind changed.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Part of the deal is that the US already had Memorial Day even before WW1 kicked off. (Though it only had official federal status in its current form in the late 60s, a good decade and a half after Veteran’s day had firmed up into its current form)

      The other part is that while World War One was a huge war by any standards, it was only the 2nd ‘big’ war the US was in, and gets easily eclipsed by the 1941-1945 conflict on every measure. Plus, the WW1 cost to the US gets eclipsed by nearly every other country involved.

      Calling it Veteran’s Day embraces the notion that very possibly, some or many wars are needless and fought for massively dumb reasons – but those are not the responsibility of the veterans.

      It also allows for the fact that such an evaluation requires historical hindsight bias. For instance the fact that North Korea is a completely terrible place, but Vietnam is not a completely terrible place, nearly completely defines the relative merits of each conflict. (for another example, nobody really questions the US initiated regime change in Panama in 1989. Or rather, if people think is was a crime, no one thinks it was a mistake)Report

  2. Mike Dwyer says:

    Mu1 – I graduated from high school (and started college) in 1993 so that year has particular meaning for me. I was never into grunge, especially the Seattle Sound. Didn’t like Nirvana, STP, Pear Jam, Soundgarden and still believe Alice in Chains was one of the worse bands to ever make it big. With that said though, The Breeders first album, which the article mentioned, was a touchstone for me. I was a huge Pixies fan and Kim Deal was simply badass. I love 36 Chambers now, but didn’t discover Wu Tang until several years later. Bjork’s Debut was an album I enjoyed, but not a ‘classic’.

    Obviously this is a subjective discussion and one weird fact of OT is I rarely like any of the music of the other members and vice versa. It’s still interesting to read that article and take a different look at an important year for me.Report

    • That year was the beginning of my teen years, so like you I knew most of the music listed. This particular take veered, as Rolling Stone tends to do for whatever reason, more towards alt music and more obscure stuff that never penetrated into my corner of Appalachia. Looking at the 100 chart from that year it was very heavy on pop and R&B at the top, with Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” being an all-time monster hit, not just top of that year. Hip-hop had a monster year with Snoop and Dre both having their seminal albums out, Aerosmith was a frequent listen with their Get a Grip album that was huge both on radio and MTV. A great year, but I’m not sure I’d go all time great.Report

  3. Aaron David says:

    I turned 22 in 1993… And a list of important albums and music That Doesn’t Contain Those Artists Best Works is pretty sad. The Breeders was good but didn’t hold a candle to the oeuvre of the Pixies. Rid Of Me is strong but not Peej’s best. Exile in Guyville is her best work, so there is one. And putting Radio dead on a list of great albums clearly shows they have no idea of what they are talking about…

    Do I sound like a jerk? Well, everyone’s opinions are as wrong as the next music lovers opinions.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    Mu1: There was a concert in 1808 that premiered Beethoven’s 5th and 6th symphonies and his 4th piano concerto. How many of the songs from 1993 will still be played in 2203?Report