Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Uncle Samiotics

WB is ecstatic at the news that poet, warrior, and friend of the blog Captain Adrian D. Massey, U.S. Army, has been returned safely to his wife and daughter after completing his second — and, we hope, final — deployment to Iraq. That's Adrian, below:

As first lieutenant

As captain, with General David Petraeus of CentCom

Enjoying a good cigar during some desert downtime

Thinking about the many aspects that Adrian signifies in these photos — war, weapons, military discipline, loyalty, sacrifice — led us down a mental road where we eventually bumped into Uncle Sam, the patriotic grandfather who first summoned new soldiers by calling from posters: I Want You! Report to the Nearest Recruiting Office. No toaster ovens, no tote bags, and definitely no "please" or "thank you." Uncle Sam was all business, as his stern countenance and firm finger-pointing showed:

But the old man didn't leave his soldiers behind once they'd joined and been trained. He stayed with them as a guiding spirit, showing the way to victory while simultaneously pointing his former recruiting finger at the enemy now, as a warning: My Boys Are Coming for You!

This Uncle Sam was the Ur-patriot, the one from whom all other patriots were born. He was the embodiment of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere all rolled into one (even though Patrick Henry may never have said what we think he said, and Paul Revere was only one rider among many who did the same thing he did). Uncle Sam did not question the United States; he served it and saluted it, just as the U.S. Postal Service showed with a stamp commemorating his service:

But there's another Uncle Sam out there, too, one who isn't reverent or wise or supportive or any other weak, girly things like that. This is an Uncle Sam who rolls up his sleeves, curls up his fists, sets his feet apart in a fighting stance, and prepares to kick ass. Remarkably, although he's several hundred years old, the only sign of age is his white hair. His skin is taut, healthy, youthful, tanned, muscular, and lately, even tattooed:

Lately, though, the old boy has taken a turn toward something even darker and more lawless than a mere bare-knuckle barroom brawler. He's gone completely gangsta and simply pulled a gun on Middle East OPEC types to stage a rogue oiljacking:

He's joined Blackwater as an independent "military contractor," a.k.a. mercenary:

And he's gone completely batshit — probably because his ultra-tight pants are irritating the monstrously masculine package stuffed into them:

Surprisingly, when Ted Nugent dresses up as Uncle Sam for the cover of his new book Ted, White, and Blue, there's not a gun or smoking eagle in sight (maybe to distance himself from his "Obama can suck a machine gun" stage rant last year) — just a lot of happy flag waving and pin wearing :

Or maybe because Uncle Sam(uel L. Jackson) is watching Ted closely after that anti-Obama screed:

Unfortunately, with Wall Street veering and careening and lurching like a drunken dinosaur, U.S. automakers approaching bankruptcy more closely with each passing hour, and jobs disappearing as quickly as home values and retirement accounts, none of the Uncle Sams above can quite do justice to the reality of the day.

Once I built a railroad; I made it run
Made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

1 comment:

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