Valued lies.com reader Rise Against commented this morning on how one can find all kinds of graphic video on p2p networks showing “US soldiers doing some pretty repulsive things to wounded and dead Iraqis.” That reminded me of this story I saw in the LA Times yesterday (login required, cypherpunk98/cypherpunk works, link subject to early-onset linkrot thanks to the Times’ bait-and-switch model of online revenue generation): Extreme cinema verite.
McCullough was surprised that his favorite video was disturbing to his loved ones back in Texas.
“You find out just how weird it is when you take it home,” said McCullough, whose screensaver is far more benign, showing him on his wedding day.
Brandi McCullough, then his fiancee and now his wife, said she had walked in as he was showing the videos to friends who were “whooping and hollering.”
The 18-year-old was shocked by images of “body parts missing, bombs going off and people getting shot.”
“They’re terrifying,” she said by phone from Texas. “Chase never talked about anything over there, and I watch the news, but not all the time. I didn’t realize there was that much” violence.
She also wondered why anyone would record it.
“I thought it was odd — a home video,” she said. “People getting shot and someone sitting there with a camera.”
McCullough said his father, a naval reserve captain, had told him, “You know, this isn’t normal.”
Well, it didn’t use to be normal. It’s the new normal, and it will be with us long after the war itself is over. The effects will linger in the lives and memories of those doing the fighting, who are being turned into different people than they otherwise would have been. It’s no mystery; we’ve been there, done that, before. And now we’re doing it again.
Update: Jeanne at Body and Soul was also struck by this article, and quoted from it more extensively than I did in her commentary: War-porn nation.