Archive for October, 2007

The Valley of Elah

tommy lee jones

Last week Mark was in town with a day off so we ditched the kids, well actually the kids ditched us, and caught our first movie in Norfolk where I am living and teaching at Old Dominion University. We went to the Naro, a very cool, old (1936), theatre to see The Valley Of Elah.

I wasn’t really expecting much, although I am a big Tommy Lee Jones fan from way back (Mark thinks it’s the three name thing, you know John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughn) so I was surprised that I was really moved by this movie.

The movie effectively lets the viewer into the minds of young soldiers in Iraq who are unable to deal with the senseless, brutal, and horrific acts of a war that means nothing to them. Tommy Lee Jones, a retired career army man, and the father of a soldier who has gone missing, has a complete change of thinking and an awakening about the course America is on with this war. In the end he commits a hugely symbolic act with the flag (loved it!)

What touched me about The Valley of Elah was how effectively it relates one of the true devastations of this war, the destruction of the human mind.

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Obama and Empty Symbols

If you haven’t heard (unlikely) Senator Obama doesn’t wear a flag pin because he believes it is a false showing of patriotism. “In an interview with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, he said such symbols “became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism.” He added: “I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe, what will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

Subliminal 7-11

7_11.jpg
I went into 7-11 on Colley Ave and 20th St in Norfolk today to get the Sunday New York Times and as I handed over my 5 bucks for the out of state edition I noticed a banner of moving words, functioning subliminally like product placement in films, displaying a message to all on the customer side of the register. As I stared dumbfounded the words “Welcome Home Our Heroes, Welcome Home Our Heroes!” repeated over and over.

Who wrote the message? I asked the cashier and he had no idea. Do all 7-11’s display the same message? Does the message change daily? Does it change regionally? Why would a convenience store flash subliminal messages about our troops? So I decided to do a little field research. Here are my findings so far;

7-11, Little Creek and Newport, “Fresh Brownies Daily.”
7-11, Grandby and 35, “Remember Virginia Tech.”
7-11, Hwy 17 in Chesapeake “New American Subs only 2.19.”

If you go into 7-11 in your area, or any convenience store for that matter, look at the messages being flashed into your subconscious and report back.