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Posted on Monday, May 25th, 2009

Dave!I've written, erased, rewritten, edited, restored, revised, and held this entry for entirely too long now.

This is abnormal for me, because I usually just hammer out an entry, post it, then forget it. It's my blog voicing my opinion and point of view, so I don't worry about the consequences of what I post. Most of the time, that's not a big deal because the stuff I do here is hardly incendiary. It's silly. It's fluff. It's useless crap. It's cartoons with monkeys in them. That doesn't stop people from finding something to bitch about, but there's simply nothing here that's worth getting that upset over.

But every once in a while an entry like this comes up where I actually have something to say.

These times require that I be very careful, because there's a real possibility that I'll write something in a way that can be misinterpreted or unintentionally inflammatory. I mean, let's face it, I'm a terrible writer who is barely able to construct a coherent sentence. That's why I use photos and cartoons to communicate most of the time.

So when I say that Paul Marx, professor of English emeritus at the University of New Haven can go fuck himself... you'll know that I really put some thought into it.

Because seriously? Fuck you, Paul Marx. Fuck you sideways you ignorant piece of shit.

To understand why I would verbally abuse a dumbass like the retired professor here, you have to know three things...

  1. I am for peace, and truly believe that resorting to violence is a complete failure on the part of humanity.
  2. I am a longtime supporter of POW/MIA issues, and have a site dedicated to the POW/MIA soldier whose name has been worn on my wrist and remembered by me every single day for over 13 years.
  3. Paul Marx is the moron who wrote this idiotic piece of op/ed bullshit at the Baltimore Sun for Memorial Day.

Now, there are many, many things about the "Viewpoint" article for me to get upset about. The author is writing out of ignorance and stupidity when it comes to POW/MIA issues, and has no grasp whatsoever when it comes to explaining what the POW/MIA flag means to people like me, or why we continue to fly it. Even worse, he presumes to speak for us with no attempt at perspective, and presents his personal opinions and interpretations as absolutes. My initial reaction as I read the piece was one of disbelief (I was NINE YEARS OLD when the war ended... his premise doesn't even make sense for somebody like me!). But, rather than going into a profanity-laden tirade, I was going to take a pass... partly out of respect for those who gave their lives for their country on this day set aside to remember them, but mostly because it's senseless to get too upset over somebody who can't grasp simple concepts (like friends and families of soldiers still missing wanting to know what happened to their loved ones).

But then I kept reading and got to a part which sent me into meltdown...

"It (the POW/MIA flag) continues to be flown mostly out of ignorance or indifference. But those who want it up see it as a protest against the outcome of the war. To them, the flag states that the war should have been fought until the North Vietnamese surrendered. If it took a nuclear bomb to attain that goal, that would've been OK."

This guy is a professor of English emeritus so I can only guess that, unlike myself, he knows how to construct a sentence in a way to get his meaning across. That his meaning is so detached from reality is unfortunate. That his meaning is presented as a statement of fact is what makes the guy such a fucking douchebag.

First of all, I do not promote POW/MIA causes or fly the flag out of ignorance. On the contrary, unlike Paul Marx, I have spent untold hours researching POW/MIA issues so that I can better help raise awareness of the plight of our missing soldiers and those seeking answers as to what happened to them. But, even more importantly, my eyes are wide open when it comes to working towards a full accounting of our servicemen and servicewomen who go missing in future conflicts. I mean, holy shit... don't they at least deserve that much? Are human beings so expendable and inconsequential to Marx that writing them off as victims of a "mistake" is what passes for "reason?" Perhaps if citizens show they are relentless about knowing what happens to our soldiers, governments will be more cautious in deploying them. George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Part of the importance of flying the POW/MIA flag is so that WE NEVER FORGET! This can not be overstated... this issue is far bigger than a war fought 34 years ago in Vietnam. It is an issue that continues to be of critical importance today... and tomorrow.

Second of all, to imply that the POW/MIA flag is being flown out of "indifference" is a statement of sublime irony. People are indifferent because they haven't been educated. How can people be educated if we're just supposed to sweep something under the rug because some people (including our own government) find it inconvenient or unpleasant? It was Jesus who is recorded as saying "and the truth shall make you free"... but we don't know the truth. And when it comes to our POW/MIA's, we're never going to be free of the Vietnam War until there is a full accounting. Those of us who remember them will make sure of it for the sake of future generations. The very reason the POW/MIA flag must continue to be flown and promoted is precisely because of uneducated persons like Paul Marx.

And, lastly, saying that those who want the flag up (me) would be thrilled if the United States of America had nuked North Vietnam... well, that's where I lost it. It was at that point in the article where I could no longer contain myself, and dashed out four versions of this entry where I tore Paul Marx to pieces for being such a stupid fucking asshole. That I am still doing so after five progressively calmer entries just goes to show how bad of a writer I truly am.

But, whatever, the point is this...

Showing support for people who sign up to defend this country's citizens and freedoms with their lives does not automatically make me a warmongering psychopath that relishes the idea of unleashing a nuclear bomb on the population of an entire country.

Paul Marx truly is a raging fucktard if he cannot understand something so elementary, and there's really nothing more to say.

It's tough to know how to end something like this when you're all worked up and there's really nowhere to go but down, so I guess I'll just stop.

Or not.

Because truly, honestly, and sincerely from the bottom of my heart... go fuck yourself Paul Marx. You say the POW/MIA flag is "a statement in favor of not caring about the other side's point of view, never acknowledging that there are human beings on the other side," but you seem to be forgetting that there are human beings on THIS side as well. That you so readily discount them undermines your entire argument, and has me seriously questioning your ability to form an educated opinion on anything (which, given your credentials, is more than a little disappointing).

Oh yeah... and fuck the Baltimore Sun for publishing such a piece of ignorant, disrespectful, and all-around screwed up piece of garbage on Memorial Day.


  1. RW says:

    I clicked your link and read his piece.

    I was draft-age in 1971 and participated in a few demonstrations against the war. I broke with my “friends” when they villified returning soldiers. Marx is, I think, stuck in a time warp and I will simply make an educated guess that he was amongst those who spat on returning soldiers in those days. Just a guess. Who wants to bet me?

    I say that because to make such a broad generalization about people who fly or wear or support the POW/MIA flag remakes the same mistake the anti-war movement made back then; namely, that anything North Viet Nam did was good and anything the US did was bad. Anything. Everything. And he, obviously, sees the POW/MIA flag as some kind of residue from that argument – which is a tremendous error on his part.

    He may be a professor emeritus of English, but he is not at all well-versed in philosophy or perhaps even real life; as GRAY is the color of humanity rather than his oversimplified black and white. One would think age brings wisdom. But I suppose that isn’t axiomatic after all, is it?

  2. Dave2 says:

    No. No it isn’t. Not in this case.

    But you are smarter than either of us… able to distill a situation down to its base elements with a perspective that Marx lacks and a dignity I lack. Indeed the entire world is a wash of gray, and to view it in absolutes is what continues to escalate the mess this planet has gotten itself into. Only by endeavoring to understand all sides of the story with compassion and intelligence will we ever be able to come together and move forward.

    But that only works if everybody involved actually HAS compassion and intelligence. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d bet most of the people involved in POW/MIA issues today have nothing to do with the pro-war stance that Marx has saddled them with, and the absurdity of it all continues to baffle me.

    “Tremendous error” indeed.

  3. B.E. Earl says:

    To boil the intent of the flag down to some anti-peace symbol for those dissatisfied with the outcome of the Vietman War is utter crap. To extend that fallacy by saying that those who support the flag would have been okay with the use of nuclear weapons in that conflict is, well…I’m speechless.

    I think RW may be right about this guy.

    I see he left his email address on the op/ed piece. You gonna learn him? Someone should.

  4. Jeff says:

    I was appalled reading Paul Marx’s column and have trouble believing he is truly serious. I see articles like this as a way to create controversy to gain one’s 15 minutes. If not, I again applaud your restraint as this ignorant fucker deserves much more than you are currently dishing out. I miss intelligent discourse in this country; it has all but died since the rise (and collapse) of conservatism over the past few decades. It seems if you don’t have an extreme viewpoint based on opinion (certainly not facts) you are ignored. POW/MIA families deserve better than this idiot telling them what they should think and feel.

  5. Dan says:

    You could draw a cartoon of the flag flicking his eyes out or his head off or something like that. That usually brings you back down brother. >:< I don’t know what that emoticon actually means but it is meant as a hug. Or a suggestion that you form a tiny pincer between your index finger and thumb as you look through the gap whilst squeezing your fingers together.

  6. Dave2 says:

    B.E. Earl… Sure, but what good would it do to email the dumbass? He thinks that POW/MIA activists believe the key to finding somebody you care about when they’re lost in a foreign land is to nuke the entire country! With demented “logic” like that, nothing I say is going to have any effect. He’s far too gone for a rational approach.

    Jeff… Yes they do. I’m still trying to figure out how wanting to know what happened to soldiers missing in Vietnam is equivalent being pro-war and pro-nuke. It’s like saying somebody who likes cheese is pro-abortion. And you’re right… anybody so fucking stupid as to make an unwarranted leap like that is not capable of intelligent discourse. We’re all doomed.

    Dan… How about I draw a cartoon of Bad Monkey shoving a flag pole up this moron’s ass? Since that’s obviously where his brain is located, I’d think it would be more effective than a decapitation.

  7. Sybil Law says:

    I read that article in disbelief, too. He can’t really be that stupid, can he? I mean, I think he is just trying to get some controversy or something. The whole article was stupid!

  8. Kyra says:

    No, do a cartoon with him being BLINDED by the flag, because clearly he can’t see anything but the fabric (or perhaps just the pole) and completely disregards the meaning.

    There are just no words for someone like this, and I agree that the only real reason for publishing something like that at this particular time is to cause controversy, because he enjoys it (as must the paper.) Issues like these are just too complicated to paint with a brush of opinion as he does. People are too complicated. Maybe he should start writing about dog biscuits or something… the less complicated and attached to human existence intricately, the better.

  9. Sue says:

    What the fuck was he smoking?

    I can truly understand your feelings about this, Dave. Maybe not from the same position, but I do understand.

  10. Dave2 says:

    Sybil… I have no idea. One would think that if he was truly wanting to drive up controversy to get noticed, he would doing so with debate on ACTUAL information, rather than making shit up and putting words in people’s mouths and thoughts in people’s heads.

    Kyra… Exactly right. When making sweeping generalizations about people, it’s probably best to step back and realize that you can’t speak for individuals in a group. Each person who flies the POW/MIA flag probably has a different reason for doing so. It’s the height of arrogance to speak to their motivations… especially when it’s something so demented and outright stupid.

    Sue… Thanks! I would hope that even if somebody were to vehemently disagree with my position on POW/MIA issues, they would at least agree that it’s wrong to put words in my mouth as to why I do so. Marx is a raving lunatic who has no business telling me how I think.

  11. claire says:

    That flying the POW/MIA flag could be construed “as a protest against the outcome of the war” would simply never occur to me. It seems utterly bizarre.

    I see the flag as a means to raise awareness and demand accountability for all personnel deployed.

  12. Tracy Lynn says:

    I kept reading and kept going Really? REALLY? I’m going to go lie down now. So that the head explosion is slightly contained.

  13. Dave2 says:

    Claire… It caught me by surprise too, because I have never heard that in all my years of POW/MIA advocacy. Not once. I’m not saying that there are people out there who don’t believe as Paul Marx says they do… but right now he’s the only person I know of who actually believes that shit.

    Tracy Lynn… Try to imagine my head trauma as I read it! Usually something this outrageous would just make me laugh because of the absurdity of it all… but POW/MIA issues are far too important to me to find humor in such blatant stupidity.

  14. Robin says:

    I read this entry a bunch of times before I responded because I really wanted to have a grasp on what both of you were saying before I commented on anything. And, like you, I have issues with some of what he said in his Op-Ed piece. Please feel free to correct me where neccesary.

    1 – Mr. Marx stated that the flag “….. continues to be flown despite the fact that the war ended 34 years ago and there are no Americans held prisoner in Vietnam.”

    I don’t remember anyone declaring that there were no more prisoners of war in Vietnam, or other wars for that matter. Also, I don’t remember hearing that all POW’s or soldiers that are MIA (past or currently) were accounted for. This bothered me because while everyone in my extended family that served in Vietnam came home, they know of people that they served with that were MIA and continue to be. It must be a punch in the gut for any family member who is in this situation to read such a flippant observation.

    2 – “It continues to be flown mostly out of ignorance or indifference.”

    Is he kidding? Seriously? Really? Out of ignorance or indifference? To me, it’s almost like he’s saying that the American public isn’t smart enough to understand what the flag’s significance is and/or is too ignorant to learn about it. That may be true for some things but for this he’s wrong. Screw him and the horse he rode in on. However, with that being said….

    3 – “The flag is a statement against negotiation, against cutting one’s losses, against admitting to a mistake. It’s a statement in favor of the use of force rather than reason. It’s a statement in favor of not caring about the other side’s point of view, never acknowledging that there are human beings on the other side.”

    Your mileage may vary on this one, but I sort-of see what he’s trying to say. While I don’t agree with his symbolism, I do think that throughout history, our government has had a habit of invading first, asking questions later, and leaving other countries to clean up the messes we have made diplomatically…. to him, I am assuming that the POW/MIA flag represents the casualties of our past diplomacy (meaning the men and women of our Armed Forces who lost their lives in our wars). Do I agree with him? Sort of; but at the same time I do not undermine the significance of what happened to our soldiers, and while I do not always agree with our diplomatic actions, I will always support the people who volunteer to serve our country. And to take it a step further, I think that this topic is of even more significance because our service men and women who proudly serve our country sometimes get the short end of the stick as a result.

    Then again, my opinion is slightly tainted as I was a political science major during the 9-11 attacks. I studied this stuff extensively and have a certain slant that others may not have.

    As I said before, please correct me where necceasary – I welcome the dialogue.

  15. Dave2 says:

    Hey Robyn! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Actually, a government committee featuring John McCain and John Kerry (bi-partisan betrayal at its finest!) DID come to the conclusion that there is “no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia.” Now… I could go on a long (very long) exposition on how a great many people believe this to be a gross exaggeration (if not an outright lie). I could also run down the evidence, testimony, and speculation which attempts to explain why a former POW like McCain would ever do such a thing as cover up the existence of American soldiers left behind in Vietnam (since he once was one)… but that’s an entirely different discussion. If you are interested in researching it on your own, I have touched on it previously here in Blogography. It is a very complicated chain of events… it’s also heartbreaking and frustrating as you dig deeper and deeper into the maze of confusion we’ve been left with.

    2. I wouldn’t presume to speak for everybody who flies that flag as to why they do it… though I would HOPE they aren’t flying it without knowing why. But when it comes to the American public at large who aren’t involved in POW/MIA affairs… well, THEN I’d have to agree there is “indifference” there. If there wasn’t indifference, public outcry would be so loud that the government would have no choice but to get to the bottom of things… this time with REAL hearings instead of the travesty perpetrated by McCain and Kerry we’re stuck with. As the years pass, it’s just getting harder and harder. In some cases time doesn’t heal all wounds… it just buries them. I can’t believe that’s for the best in this case.

    3. But here’s my problem with that… for him to state how HE FEELS about the POW/MIA flag is PERFECTLY FINE BY ME. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. This is still America, after all. But that’s NOT what he’s done here. Instead, he has come out and, in no uncertain terms, told me that the reason I fly the flag is because I am pissed off that we didn’t decimate North Vietnam and nuke the entire country. Read his words… there’s no other way to interpret them. We can’t hold a debate as to what he’s trying to say, because it’s perfectly clear: “But those who want it up see it as a protest against the outcome of the war. To them, the flag states that the war should have been fought until the North Vietnamese surrendered. If it took a nuclear bomb to attain that goal, that would’ve been OK.” This is CATEGORICALLY FALSE because I DON’T FEEL THAT WAY! When he says “those who want it up” that’s an all-encompassing statement. He is speaking for every last person who wants to keep the POW/MIA flag flying. Well, I can assure you of this, the stupid fuck does NOT speak for me. I dare say he doesn’t speak for the majority of people who want it to keep that flag flying.

    As for the politics of war when viewed from a historical perspective, we’re probably on the same page. The one place we differ is when it comes to assuming what Paul Marx is meaning with his op/ed piece. I don’t interpret it as the POW/MIA flag being any kind of symbol of failed diplomacy to him. I don’t think he’s that smart. What I get when I read things like “it is a protest against peace” and “we would expend as many lives as it took to avoid shame” and “it’s in favor of not caring about the other side’s point of view” (etc. etc.)… I can only read it as him feeling the POW/MIA flag is an attack against all that it good in decent in the world. If that’s actually his opinion (because, really, who the fuck knows?), that’s fine. But it’s NOT the way I feel. It’s not the way ANYBODY I KNOW feels. For Paul Marx to project that upon us as if it’s an immutable fact when all the while he’s preaching for “caring about the other side’s point of view”… well… that pretty much makes him a total piece of shit, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜›

  16. Avitable says:

    I read his “article” twice because I was sure I was reading it wrong. He really couldn’t be that simpleminded, could he? I mean, the swastika used to be a symbol for Buddhism and Hinduism until it was flipped and used for Nazi Germany, so it’s very obvious that the meaning behind a symbol is not static and can change, either naturally, like this flag, or forcibly, like my example.

  17. well said…glad to read this.

  18. Dave2 says:

    Avitable… But you’re wrong! As somebody who follows Buddhist precepts, I can assure you that I am a TOTAL NAZI!!! Which, when you think about it, is pretty much sums up what Paul Marx is saying. I’m an anti-peace, pro-war, Hitler-loving Nazi. Oh my… I guess he’s right after all. But, in all seriousness, you’ve hit the nail on the head here… symbols mean different things to different people. As a symbol of POW/MIA activism, that flag can be interpreted in many ways (including the demented ravings of Paul Marx)… but to apply one interpretation upon all people is pretty fucked up.

    Father Muskrat… That’s nice to hear, thanks… but I assure you I’d rather not have been put into a position of having to write this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. The American and POW/MIA flags are the perfect Memorial Day flags. The POW/MIA flag is not only so that we don’t forget our men and women who are missing, but it’s for those families of the missing, to remind us that their loved one hasn’t come home. They don’t have a veteran to hug or a graveside to visit. That flag takes the place of their loved one until he or she comes home.

    And Paul Marx can just suck it.

  20. Mary Sue says:

    You know, I was born well after the Vietnam War was over, and I’d 100% disagree that there are no Americans held captive by that war.

    Oh, they may not be physically located in Vietnam, but their minds and souls are trapped there.

    What does Dr. Marx think? Making the POW/MIA flag go away will make all the bad stuff about Vietnam go away? It’ll all be sunshine and roses and we won’t study war no more and no longer need to remember those who never came home?

    There’s a saying in my culture, “I rest fitfully, I am far from the bones of my ancestors.” It’s the only thing I can think to say to Dr. Marx— the mere concept of dismissing those whose resting place is unknown shakes me to the core of my being.

    May the departed be granted eternal rest, may light perpetual shine upon them.

  21. Holy crap.


    If I can find a copy of a photo related to this issue I’m going to send it to you. It’s the best answer I have to all this…stupidity…

  22. Robin says:

    …so I guess I gave this Marx dude too much credit, didn’t I? I told you my opinion would be a bit slanted…

    I completely forgot about the Kerry/McCain “committee” – thanks for reminding me.

  23. Robin says:

    My father served in the US Navy and was a veteran of both the Korean (conflict) and the Vietnam war. He proudly displayed the POW/MIA flag. He was not ignorant nor indifferent. He was a proud American that lost friends and comrades in the war. He honored all those missing or captured in the war with that flag. Which is why I placed an American flag on his grave yesterday. We grew up placing flags on veterans graves on Memorial Dayโ€”and I am honored to carry on the tradition for him.

    That guy needs to spend some time in a VFW or American Legion hallโ€”or just crawl into a hole somewhere.

  24. whall says:

    1. I’ve never heard of the Baltimore Sun before this. So score one for Marx on PR.
    2. Other than Richard and the comedic band of brothers, “Marx” as a last name doesn’t have much going for it.
    3. Come to think of it, “North” doesn’t help either. North Vietnam. North Korea. North Dakota — see where I’m going?
    4. If the answer to #3 is “yes” then please let me know. I’m lost.

  25. Dave2 says:

    You’re living in North America.

    Oh… wait a minute…

  26. yellojkt says:

    He’s a complete idiot. Makes me glad I don’t get the Sun anymore.

  27. BliZzarD571 says:

    I didn’t read the article because… looks like they removed it?,0,3382958.story

    • Dave2 says:

      Hmmm… not a very good thing for a news organization to do, but I can’t say that I blame them. It was a highly ignorant, uneducated, offensive, and inappropriate column. I have no problem with people voicing their opinion… even if they are contrary to my opinions or just plain wrong. But to speak on behalf of people you are attacking and present your interpretation of their thinking as fact rather than opinion is just plain idiocy. They should have never put it up in the first place. ๐Ÿ™

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