Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Are you frickin' kidding me?

"Did you hear that Britney Spears' sister is pregnant?"

"Ummm, isn't she like 12?"

"No, she's 15 or 16."

"Oh, that's so much better!"

"And get this, it's by her live-in 19 year old boyfriend. I was surprised to hear it. I figured she was all set up to be the good sister. And you know, she always seemed okay. My daughter watches her on that Zoey 101 show."

"Not for much longer, I guess."

"They haven't said they are going to fire her. But I honestly hope they don't."

"Are you serious? It's a kid's show. How exactly are they supposed to spin the fact that their squeaky clean teenage star is pregnant?"

"But she's a role model for these girls. So many big stars run off and have abortions. I want my daughter to see that if you make this kind of mistake, you have to own up to it. She's not going to see that if Jamie Lynn Spears just disappears."

Let this be a lesson to you.

My grandmother, the most opinionated woman on the planet, liked to use stories in the paper or rumors she heard in her small town to illustrate to us grandchildren all the ways that we could fuck up our young and ignorant lives.

"Honey, that boy down the road died when he didn't wear his seatbelt. Wasn't even his fault. He was just driving down the road and when another car pulled out of a driveway, BAM!, he died instantly. Let this be a lesson to you."

"She ran around with all kinds of boys when she was just 16. And when she got pregnant, she had no idea who the father was. Now she's on welfare and she has four kids by just as many fathers. Let this be a lesson to you."

"He partied all through college. And guess what? He didn't graduate. All that money, all that opportunity just squandered and for what? Nothing. Let this be a lesson to you."

You get the idea.

Because of a few incidents this week, I've found myself in this Mama Bear role with a bunch of people. Getting wild at the bars, hanging out in the barracks, driving without a license, your basic young-wives-bored-guys-gone-behavior. And I gotta tell you, I must be turning into my grandmother because it was all I could do not to follow up my little lectures with her signature phrase.

When did I get so old and crotchety?

Salon names SGTs Mora and Gray as their persons of the year.

I know a lot of folks on the right have their issue with Salon's coverage of the war. But I found this tribute to SGT Omar Mora and SGT Yance Gray to be really touching.

An excerpt:

It is, of course, impossible to note in a single article the stories of each of the 892 American men and women who died so far this year serving in Iraq, or of the 3,895 who have died since the war's inception or the 28,661 who have been wounded. But in the story of Mora and Gray, we are given a clear glimpse of what our soldiers died for. They did not just die for the mission, as prescribed to them by their superiors. "We need not talk about our morale," they wrote in the Times. "As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."

They died in service to a country where even the soldier in the field has the right to question the judgment of the commander in chief. They died in service to the idea that political and military leaders must be held to account for their failures and challenged on their facts. A month after their article ran in the Times, the soldiers words echoed through the halls of Congress, when the war's Gen. David Petraeus and its chief diplomat, U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, came to testify.