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The National Guard: A Peculiar Institution

claud_alexander's picture

I'm apparently doing "twitter essays" now, and, apropos gruesomely hilarious NJ NG story, did one re odd history of the institution as a whole.

https://storify.com/Claud_Alexander/the-national-guard-a-peculiar-instit...

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V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

I'll add: Kent State puts a lie to the myth that the NG won't fire on rebellious protesters...
Imperial Empire knows full well who it hires to protect its interests.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...I'll add; the Watts' riots in LA were another stellar example of full force, military dominance, of civilian dissent. .50 caliber (very big bullets) machine gunning of black neighborhoods (initially denied) is ample evidence of totalitarian government; but a population in denial doesn't want to remember; doesn't want a knowledge of true history.
Connect the bloody dots; it's not pretty...
A peculiar institution? Bloody hell; it's a tool of empire...

claud_alexander's picture
Submitted by claud_alexander on

Quite. I'm surprising the Renata Adler piece on the NG not better known. I only happened across it because I'm a die-hard RA fan and found it in "Canaries in the Mineshaft," her latest collection of essays.

I see ebook version available for $9.99. I'd really recommend it (check out the table of contents for the kind of topic covered). What extraordinary about most of them is how early on they were published. In the Nixon essay, for example, she includes, almost in passing, a jaw-droppingly prophetic description of how the model of Watergate would end up destroying MSM journalism:

The ramifications of this cult of the anonymous source --particularly as Deep Throat, this oracle to whom only a single priest, or acolyte, has access, have been, for journalism, enormous. No need any longer to publish long transcripts. Why bother? No need even to read them, or anything. An "anonymous source" will either provide you with "information" or provide what your editors will accept as "cross-checking" for what you have already said. The celebrity reporter has created, beginning with Deep Throat, what one would have thought a journalistic oxymoron: a celebrity anonymous source
...
The whole purpose of the anonymous source has been precisely reversed. The reason there exists a First Amendment protection for journalists' confidential sources has always been to permit citizens--the weak, the vulnerable, the isolated--to be heard publicly, without fear of retaliation by the strong--by their employer, for example, or by the forces of the government. Instead, almost every 'anonymous source' in the press, in recent years, has been an official of some kind, or a person in the course of a vendetta speaking from a position of power.
...
The worst, however, is the mystique of the 'sources' . Citizens of a democracy require reliable information. How can they check 'sources'. What possible basis is there for relying on them? The word of the celebrity reporter who cannot bring himself to name them? What sort of reliability, what sort of information, what sort of journalism is this. Especially since there seems to be, among 'investigative reporters' and the institutions that support them, a stubborn loyalty to and solidarity with source, even when a source *admits* he is the previously "anonymous source" in question or, more puzzlingly, when the 'source' has demonstrably deceived the reporter himself. In what may be a journalistic variant of the Stockholm syndrome, journalists and their editors defend and protect the anonymity, and even the reliability, of their sources, even when they have been most seriously mislead.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

Good points all and thanks for the Renata Adler reference.
Effective resistance requires quality sources of information; although, there seems little interest in doing the work; and it is work.
I'm retired and, gloriously, have the time and inclination to pursue sources; which I do.
But; big but(t), I fail to see any meaningful resistance to the assault on rights within the U.S..
The U.S. seems to be ruled by idealism, fantastical thinking, hyperbolic political campaigns, and down-right lies (Carly Fiorina).
There is no place for the real world as it is in fact.
How does one find hope in that? One does not...