Vet Day

November 17, 2010

Air Force Jet, Veteran's Day Parade, NYC, 2010The Army bands in the Veteran’s Day parade, marching past the office building on Fifth Ave, sound peculiarly like a mix of Korean folk music, the sweater-vest patriotism of Charles Ives, and the theme score for The Terminator movies.  Guys dressed up in desert fatigues standing around Humvee tanks; men in green dress raiment and berets with trumpets, getting ready to march, flaunt and flex the art and muscle of the Armed Forces.  A big banner with a Skull, Sword & Wings: “Kill ’em all, and let God sort ’em out!”

But student life is not Army life.  Still, a couple of things that might have provoked a quick stark derangement of self-reflection occurred last week in class.  The class broke up into small groups, to create our own finding aid based on a fictional archive.  We chose David Bowie.  A fellow student, who later admitted her birth year as 1988, said she had never heard of David Bowie.  I usually find it an anti-social and offputting reaction to say to people, “You’ve never heard of that, really?”  It is often a person’s way of masking smugness with incredulity.  “I guess no one should expect anyone to have heard of anyone,” I said.  But David Bowie?  The Diamond Dog? Ziggy Stardust? The White Duke? Blue Jean? The All the Young American Modern Love Changes Dudes Jean Jeanie Man Who Sold the 1984 World?

Then the other day, again broken into groups, having to pretend to arrange a mock archive, and given an 331/3 RPM vinyl record from 1966, one guy asked, “What’s 331/3?”  He is a musician, though I should not take for granted he should know that.  And it wasn’t exactly generational.  If I had assumed he didn’t know, and tried to exAir Force Jet, Veteran's Day Parade, NYC, 2010plain it to him, I’d have felt like kinda of a jerko anyway, because he might have already known in the first place, and it’d be a needley condescension.  All in all, my David Bowie vinyl records gained value for the archives.

This week, George W. Bush broke ground on his Presidential Library, located at Southern Methodist University.  Bush hopes his papers will shed new light on the bad decisions he made while leading the nation into two wars and the collapse of the economy.  Bush now puts his trust in the power of history to vindicate his actions and preserve his legacy, but surely Bush’s papers will be the archival proof that he was never a man who put his trust in history.

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One Response to “Vet Day”

  1.   Kasey Sharabi said:

    We have had some interest in these types of promotional items and had some graphics prepared by another company. Is it viable to use the same graphics? The graphics company is Concord Signs & Banners 3568 Kimball Way Concord, CA 94518 – 925-808-3817. I am not sure if the files will be compatible.

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