H.G. Wells wrote of a Victorian gentleman visiting the far and distant future, one in which society had devolved into two separate species, the Morlocks – who live and labor under the earth, keeping the world’s machinery and infrastructure intact, and the Eloi, a “child-like, frail group, living a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth..” who, “(having) solved all problems that required strength, intelligence, or virtue, have slowly become dissolute and naive. They are… smaller than modern humans, having shoulder-length curly hair, chins that ran to a point, large eyes, small ears, and small mouths with bright red thin lips. They are of sub-human intelligence, though apparently intelligent enough to speak, and they have a primitive language. They do not perform much work…”
I have strong feelings about the Blue Angels’ annual visit. I do not like it.
There it is, sufficient intelligence to speak a primitive language.
I find it to be a loud, violating display of military power that goes against what I stand for.
Unicorns and rainbows, chiefly. Which are being loudly violated!
Beyond that, I wonder why the show comes and goes with so little questioning and scrutiny in a city that likes to coin itself as a progressive, philosophical and peace-loving oasis.
A peace-loving oasis in a troubled and strife-ridden world. Just don’t, you know: Carry that thought a millimeter farther, Rich. You might not like where it leads.
The Boeing F/A-18 Hornet is a fierce fighter and agile attacker. It is a sleek, supersonic machine, but how can the onlookers so easily compartmentalize its muscle and might from its purpose and past?
The Boeing F/A-18 Hornet is indeed a fine machine, and agile. But it is not fierce. Machines cannot be fierce. The people who fly them can and must be fierce. In order to protect child-like, frail groups of people, living banal lives of ease in peace-loving oases. There. I finished the thought for you. You’re welcome.
It is not just a spectacle or awesome piece of ingenuity; it is a major tool of combat utilized in many recent conflicts around the globe. Who in the crowds this weekend will wonder about this fact?
No one but school teachers are apparently sensitive or intelligent to put two and two together. A spectacular, awesome piece of ingenuity – unlike, say, Solyndra – can be a flying weapon of war might actually be used in… wait for it: A war! And since sensitive and intelligent school teachers don’t like the Blue Angels, or war , or other painful things that they’d rather not think about, other people shouldn’t be able to see them either.
At least, not in San Francisco.
Are we so distant from the wars waged that we can just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Angels’ acrobatics without pondering the symbolism behind the show?
Actually, yes. Yes you are. You’re welcome.
If the F/A-18 is not the emblem of war and violence, then what is?
Too easy, teach. It’s an airplane. Quite a nice one, actually. Flown by marvelously skilled aviators who have sworn an oath under great personal risk to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I know. That old thing.
I think some veterans will do the wondering. Those who have lived in a war-torn land will. And I will.
You’re half right, teacher: Here’s your participation trophy! You are a very unique and special snowflake, and all the rest of us salute you.
During last year’s Fleet Week, my students charged to our classroom’s rattling windows at the first omniscient roar. With mouths gaping and eyes wide, they gazed out in hopes of seeing “The Angels” shoot overhead. We happened to be talking in class about our society’s epidemic of violence and its many mediums of proliferation. As the students settled back into their seats, one eighth-grade girl softly said, “I don’t get it. Why are they here?”
If only there were someone who could tell her, help her – and the rest of us – understand what an “omniscient roar” is. An actual eight grade teacher perhaps, someone qualified to teach her about something more useful and age-appropriate than “our society’s epidemic of violence and its many mediums of proliferation.”
My own learning experience that same week was even more ironic and thought provoking. I was sitting in a seminar on the Holocaust at the University of San Francisco, completely mesmerized by the personal testimony of William Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor now recently deceased. As he closed his incredible presentation, reminding us of how important it is to investigate and teach about the past, the Blue Angels flew over Lone Mountain, interrupting with their own thunderous narrative. I wondered what associations such sounds from the sky had in Lowenberg’s mind. I could not fathom the gravity.
Of that, I have absolutely no doubt. Because, while there were no FA-18s flying overhead the concentration camps in World War II, there were P-51s and P-47s, flown by the forefathers of those men whose noise and valor you despise, Mr.Hill. To Mr Lowenberg, the sound of their heirs overhead very likely associated in his mind with life and liberty.
The annual Fleet Week is not an optional event for Bay Area residents. It’s not a gun show we can choose to go to or a violent movie we can choose to watch. The harrowing howls are for all to hear and the swooping jets are for all to see. Who makes that decision for us? And are they considering the implications and repercussions?
Your elected representatives and their bureaucratic functionaries, you silly ass. Who did you think?
My suggestion: Put it on the ballot, like we do everything else. That way everyone can be a part of the decision, air-show enthusiasts and those who flee town alike. The unintended effects and deeper meanings need to be considered if we wish to live in a considerate city.
A ballot, a ballot! Let’s everyone have a ballot. About everything. And then a spanking.
And then, well: You know.
And since I’m channeling Monty Python here, this seems as suitable a wrapper as anything else.
San Francisco: “T’is a silly place.”