Douche of the Week: Not a Chance You Will Be Named for Publicity
By Noam DeGuerre
Don’t let the title fool you, I am naming our newest Douche of the Week, but I’m only doing it once for the entirety of this article. Afterwards I won’t be mentioning him or providing you a link to his article. Recently, Newsweek ran an article by Rick Perlstein detailing how the POW/MIA flag is racist symbol meant to drum up support for policies during the Vietnam War. Now, if you are one of the many that has already seen this article come across your news feed in social media you know a bit about what is in it. And, if it hasn’t I am sure it will in the very near future. But here’s the thing, I and most everyone I know, knows exactly what is behind this. Publicity through outrage. The author wrote a book in 2014, and is hocking it in his article. He’s done what many do, using controversial, vitriolic and charged language for publicity. He did it for attention and in the hopes of selling more copies of his book. But here’s the real catch, I’m not biting anymore, and I’m not giving what this guy and many like him are desperately craving.
No longer am I sharing articles or hash-tags or even acknowledging these shameful attempts at instant notoriety. I’m not allowing this kind of behavior and pseudo-reporting to piggyback on the Veteran community. Because it’s not just that we don’t share the article, we have to completely ignore such craven and despicable ploys at fame without worth. Just writing the name or discussing articles such as this on the internet make them trend and brings them to more and more eyes. I’m no tactical mastermind, but the simple adage we try to follow in social media directly applies here…“Don’t Feed the Trolls.” It’s our outrage that fuels how quickly these articles spread, our sharing and commenting and posting, is the napalm being thrown onto the fire, and it’s time we end the fire sale.
As a community we are fortunate enough to not only have a voice in the national discourse but considerable weight behind that voice. Too often we see attempts, and many of them successful, at using our voice and soapbox to hijack the national dialogue. Too often we allow our outrage to be used against us, to undercut our actual needs and desires as a community. Instead we are left crying foul to topics and opinions we would otherwise never even acknowledge.
When articles and public statements like these are made we all know and see what they are. It is the same 90° bend in the trail; that “L Shaped Ambush” lifted directly from your Field Manual that you would never walk into. But we are baited and fall for it, every single time. We lose when we take the bait. It is not us as community who are having our otherwise less than notable book rocket up the New York Times Best Seller List, it’s not us being sought by the media so we can buy that bigger house, car or boat. No, we are left with our bullhorn to fight another indignity from the next person looking for their 15 minutes of fame riding in our ruck sack.
We as a community have legitimate grievances to be aired and many still unresolved. There are plenty that will come from off-the-cuff responses from our national leaders and entertainment figures in the future. It’s time to double down on our own issues and quit letting hyperbolic, tabloid, manufactured issues take over our voice. It is time we stop addressing the unsubstantial, and actually get in uproar and furor over the ineffectiveness of the VA, and the tragic losses we suffer as a community to suicide. We need to let trash like this article and the many like it fall to the wayside.
So no Never Named Again: Douche of the Week, you don’t get to ride on our well-worn backs. No, you don’t get your book sales. No, you don’t get your nightly news appearances. Not on our watch you don’t. If you seek outrage and a social stir for your bullshit, I suggest you seek out hipsters. They seem to be buying everything.
The Veteran Community will no longer have your sub-par, unfounded wares. Our outrage is no longer the driving engine that takes you to the bank. From now on only people of some quantifiable merit will receive my, and I hope your, comments.