California Seething: Operation Desert Storm- Celebrating 20 Years of Historical Irrelevance [Go Jets!]
The rantings of a non-driving theatre professional living in altogether the wrong city
Twenty years ago today, President George “Dana Carvey” Bush launched the first air strikes against Iraq to defend the sacred right of the Kuwati people to go skiing while someone else does their dirty work for them (NOTE TO YOUNGER READERS — We were not already at war with Iraq. Weird, I know.). Since the conflict was shorter than a season of Burn Notice, it’s easy to overlook this little warlet as just another short lived 90’s TV show, sandwiched in the canon between Brothers and Cop-Rock, but at the time, it seemed like a big, honking deal, especially for those of us that were 18 and ranked “going to war” on the list of stuff not to do- right between “learn the accordion” and “get caught masturbating by in synagogue bathroom by youth group advisor, rabbi, grandma and hot Orthodox girl with a liberal attitude about boy touching.”
Keep in mind that the last war before this one was Vietnam and, as I knew from several deeply informative and thought-provoking Magnum PI episodes, that sucker was no joke (nearly pushed poor TC right over the edge.) Since I purchased a peace sign earring at Claire’s Accessories, sported a Jewfro and aspirational porn-stache and made numerous smudgy tie-dyes at summer camp, I was clearly a hippie and therefore opposed to the war. Along with my comrades, the Teen Troskyists (our colors were red for the blood of the oppressed and black to score with goth chicks.) I attended several protests coordinated by the creepy old guy at the coffee shop who was deeply committed to fighting for social justice whenever he could take a personal day from the DMV. I even led a student walkout from my high-school which would have gotten on the TV news if those cowards weren’t so terrified it would incite a massive, county-wide student strike and shut down the educational system and if they could have figured out a way to make the nine of us look like a bigger crowd. All of this was ultimately inconsequential, since the first George Bush made two excellent decisions re the war:
- He changed the name from Desert Shield to Desert Storm so people would stop calling it “Operation Maxipad”
- He got the fuck out.
As a result, we were out of Iraq in less time than it now takes to go through airport security, and with more dignity, Bush the Elder rode a 90% approval rating all the way to a crushing defeat in the next election and the war was pretty well-driven from the headlines well before Lollapalooza came to town and I blew all my money on fake acid which, in retrospect, looked a lot like notebook paper, especially because I think there was a grocery list on the back of my tabs, but I still had a kick-ass time. Still, since it’s been 20 years, and I’ve already wasted at least an hour thinking about it, it’s worth considering the lasting impact of Operation Desert Storm:
- The biggest war of the 90s would have been between East Coast and West Coast rappers, with P. Diddy’s street cred as the greatest casualty.
- Wolf Blitzer would have had to change his name to Shomo Cloudypants to pursue a career in meteorology.
- H. Norman Schwartzkopf would never have been declared a hero and given platform to promote the joys of driving a Hummer and going by first initial – middle name- which would have left more oil and less douchebaggery to go around to all of us (C. Thomas Howell, I’m looking at you.)
- Scud would have never entered the lexicon as a euphemism for unattractive girl (“I may not be the smartest bomb around, but she’s a total Scud.”)
- We would have had to scapegoat an entirely different group of Arabs after 9/11 (I’m looking at you, Jordan).
A crucial moment in American history to be sure, but I’m out of shit to say about it, so I’ll talk about the Jets game instead.
For those of you that may have missed my last post, allow me to offer a brief summary: “Fuck the Patriots.”
Having been disappointed by the Jets many times in the past, I wasn’t expecting much out of this game. Turns out, though, my drunk dad kept his word. This time he showed up at work on time every day, got his two week sobriety chip and didn’t blow his paycheck on cheap scotch, flabby strippers and lottery tickets. The Jets swaggered and trash-talked their way to victory, proving the old sports adage “Sportsmanship is for pussies.” (Vince Lombardi) Along those lines, here are some of the post-game status updates I considered:
“Foxboro in January? I’d want to lose, too”
“You guys will love the Pro-Bowl- it’s like the Superbowl for losers”
“14 – 3 isn’t bad – almost as good as 18 – 1”
“I hate you all and hope you fucking die. Good game!”
The one I settled on was:
“You can tell Rex Ryan has a foot fetish, because he just stuck his size 12’s up Bill Belichick’s ASS! Fuck You Massholes!”
Subtle, classy, tasteful- all perfectly good adjectives for suckers. I’ll take a classless victory over a gracious defeat any day. After all, as Ryan always tells his players, they can’t penalize you for excessive celebration unless you get it in the end zone.
All of this is, of course, setting me up for a crushing defeat in Pittsburgh next week, but somehow, I don’t care as much. Ben Rothlisberger may be an overgrown frat boy with only the barest understanding of motorcycle safety and consent laws, but I’d still rather lose to him than to the Pats any day.
Maybe it’s because Belicheck was supposed to take over the Jets when Parcells left and he bailed to coach the Pats instead. Maybe if he had stuck around and spent the last ten years cutting the sleeves off green sweatshirts and winning in New Jersey, I wouldn’t fantasize so much about all the different ways his head could explode and the noises it would make (like a Spaghetti squash being crushed by an anvil). Who’s to say, really? The fact is, he left, and spent ten years kicking ass while the Jets kept right on sucking it. Well, Gang Green is better now, and even if they don’t go on to the Superbowl, I can take pleasure in the fact that the Pats aren’t going either. As my old Hebrew Academy Basketball Coach used to say before he was fired for the “Shmendrick incident: “If you can’t make your own dreams come true, at least crush someone else’s. Preferably someone you really don’t like, who’s also really good, though and not some little boy who wants to be an astronaut but he wets the bed and wears glasses, cause that’s just mean.” Words to live by.
Looking forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2nd Iraq War by never leaving ever. Thanks George “Will Ferrell” Bush!