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Thought for the Day – Mary Louise Roberts (sex & war)

“During their time in France, the GIs bought an extraordinary amount of sex. Prostitution became a widespread phenomenon during the years 1944-45 because sex was the one good not available at the local military store.” – Mary Louise Roberts 

This quote is from Mary Louise Roberts’ book, What Soldier’s Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France. The book is about, well… exactly what you’d expect from the subtitle. It’s about all the sexing that GI’s were doing after liberating France from the Germans. And oh man, was there a LOT of sex!

What I loved about this book is that it takes on an interesting/controversial topic. Many people, who’ve never served their country and/or fought in a war, have a type of mythos surrounding war and the military. As though soldiers stop being people when fighting and merely become “soldiers.” But the truth is that a soldier is still just a person, and guess what, people like sex.

[pullquote]”Comprised of the contact of flesh and the exchange of bodily fluids, the sexual encounter between soldier and prostitute could not have been more intimate. At the same time, however, such intimacy became deeply politicized as it crossed national borders.”[/pullquote]Anyone who’s served in the military, or who enjoys history, knows the stories… it happened in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and even Iraq. I had one friend tell me that “If you’re ever in Baghdad … just go to the drycleaners on base and tell them you lost a red sweater, then a few minutes later they’ll send a girl to your room.”

Now, with me sharing that red-sweater story, and Roberts’ sharing her stories, a lot of people will become upset that these stories, no matter how truthful, shouldn’t be told because of the light in which they present soldiers. That’s a bunch of bullarky. No soldier fights and risks his life just to have history whitewashed. Interesting stories should be told, no matter how they make someone/something look. And a story about the liberation of France, told from the POV of prostitutes, is definitely an interesting story that needs to be told.

Here’s the beginning of Chapter 5: The Silver Foxhole, to give you an idea of what you’re in for:

“The liberation of Paris was a precarious time for prostitutes like Marie-Therese Cointre, who had plied her trade with the Germans. In August 1944, a neighbor invited her to go out to welcome Charles de Gaulle. “If you want to get a punch in the mouth, that’s fine, but I’m not going!” she replied. Cointre knew all too well that the French Resistance of FFI was publicly shaving the heads of women who had slept with Germans during the occupation. In the turbulence of the Liberation, the FFI sometimes failed to make the distinction between a professional prostitute and a French woman guilty of “horizontal collaboration.”

If you’re interested in history, sex, and prostitution, pick up a copy of the book (but be forewarned, the author does a bit of political proselyting–just keep that in mind.)

Blogishness, Quote

Thought For The Day – Friedrich Nietzsche on War

“War and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your sympathy, but your bravery hath hitherto saved the victims.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

This is a controversial Nietzsche quote–one of many–but it’s one that I actually agree with.

Too often a tragedy strikes and people give their “thoughts and prayers,” to the victims, but typically, it ends there. Sure, they’ll tweet and post caring messages on Facebook, but in all honesty, does that do anything? Anything at all for the victims? It’s sad to think about, but most people, in the face of tragedy, actually do nothing. They maybe, at most, donate a few dollars to charity and then go living their lives.

Charity’s then take the money, pay their staff first, host a couple of expensive charity events–remember the sad state of affairs of Wounded Warrior Project (which was once a great organization)–and then after all that, only a little bit of the money donated to charity will actually go to the victims.

In the face of tragedy, it’s the brave and courageous, not the charitable, that make all the difference.

It’s fine to give “thoughts and prayers,” but please be aware that, sometimes, the answer to those prayers is God using the fist of the brave.

When WWII happened, America just didn’t sit by and give our “thoughts and prayers,” we gave the blood of our bravest.

I am not a war-hawk by any means, but when I see the tragedies caused by terrorists at home and abroad, and then I see social media filled with “thoughts and prayers,” but no one taking action, it’s another tragedy.

What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


Thought for the Day – Staff Sergeant Old School

You want to know something kind of strange about me?

I’ve never been offended in my entire life.

Seriously, I’ve never been offended in my entire life.

Let me explain…

Actually, there’s not much to explain.

Whatever this feeling/emotion of offended/offense is, I’ve never felt it. It just seems like this foreign abstract concept to me; I’ve felt every other emotion, I believe, but this feeling of offense, that seems to be in the news every day, I’ve never felt it. In fact, sometimes, I doubt that it’s even a real emotion.

Imagine, for a moment, a tribe of early cavemen and women, can you imagine them being offended? Sure, they can experience the typical emotions of joy, sadness, anger, and happiness, but what about offense? Will Org be offended when Olga makes fun of his cave drawing? Will Org’s wife be offended if she’s mistaken for a Neanderthal instead of a Homo Sapien? What would offend our early ancestors? Nothing, I think. Maybe I’m just a little more caveman, and haven’t evolved enough to feel offended, but honestly, I think it’s a useless emotion.

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4 Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes on War

Here are a few Friedrich Nietzsche quotes on war from his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

“War and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your sympathy, but your bravery hath hitherto saved the victims.”

“If one would have a friend, then must one also be willing to wage war for him: and in order to wage war, one must be capable of being an enemy.”

“That there is struggle and inequality even in beauty, and war for power and supremacy: that doth he here teach us in the plainest parable.”

 “No one ever spake such warlike words: ‘What is good? To be brave is good. It is the good war that halloweth every cause.'”

Keep in mind that much of what Nietzsche spoke of was in reference to internal wars, as much as external ones.



Thought for the Day – Brian Castner

Today’s thought for the day comes from the ending of Brian Castner’s memoir The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows. Castner’s story is about his service overseas as an EOD tech and his, somewhat troubling, return home–or as he calls it “The Crazy.” It’s a good book that I think a lot of veterans will connect with. Not to spoil the ending, but the above quote is from the end and can give you a little peek into the journey that Castner takes from experiencing “The Crazy,” to experiencing “The Om.”


Thought For The Day

I’m not sure when/where I first came across this quote, or who to attribute it to, but it’s been one of those quotes that have stuck with me ever since I first heard it. I think it really speaks to the idea of living the type of life that makes us feel fulfilled when we die; the goal, I believe, is that when we die, there is no one to meet, in the sense of “the person you could have become,” because we already are the person we “could have” become.


Thought For The Day – P.G. Wodenhouse

I love this quote because I think it’s so true for most writers. Once we first picked up that pen and paper and realized this is who I am, it’s as though your life before was just a blur. Think of it as B.C. and A.D. “Before Christ,” was this part of history, and then after Christ is this other part of history. It’s true for most of us, whatever our profession. Before we became a writer/artist/entrepreneur/ life was this, but after, now it’s this.