Oh, to be a Hero

According to the OC Weekly, here’s how it works:

Drop out of school. Join the Army. Go to Iraq. Vandalize some stuff. Take an unauthorized trip into Baghdad. Catch a live grenade. Watch your buddy shoot the kid who threw the grenade. Watch him shoot another innocent Iraqi who offers to help. Join Operation Truth. Shoot a commercial. Go to Beverly Hills. Tell everyone the war sucks.

Be a hero.

Don’t get me wrong– war sucks, and all — but this wandering write-up in the OC Weekly is just silly. Gustavo Arellano spends 6500+ words describing Acosta’s disaffected rage. And after it all, as the forced poetry came to a close. I can’t help but think, maybe Acosta has no one to blame but himself for that missing hand.

13 Comments so far

  1. Gustavo Arellano (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 10:41 am

    Don’t like the article? Please do write a Letter to the Editor at letters@ocweekly.com. Or directly to me at GArellano@ocweekly.com. As you wish.

  2. Rus (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 10:55 am

    Thought I just did. ;)

  3. Joel (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 12:46 pm

    I’d love to see you say this to a room packed with disabled veterans, Rus.

  4. Joel (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 12:58 pm

    But what do we have here? Just another little twist of the facts — “an unauthorized trip to Bagdhad” as if the man were AWOL and having a day off? Give us a break, Rus. Why can’t you give us a straight story? Too hard to face that the war you so dearly love is mean and cruel and that by turning your back against a soldier who actually fought in it you’re heartless?

    Welcome to America, land of the free, where you can say what you want but watch out: if someone catches you spinning, he can say something.

  5. Rus (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 1:29 pm

    “the Army dishonorably discharged Manto for driving off base without permission, the very same mission where Acosta and Manto were ambushed. If Acosta hadn

  6. Joel (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 2:16 pm

    Piece of cake, Rus. Acosta is the hero of the article who lost his hand. Manto is the other guy. You got dizzy in your own spin. There was no dishonorable discharge in the case of Acosta. Nice try.

  7. Joel (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 2:20 pm

    Gustavo: I read the Weekly and I often see your columnists remark on stories in the Register. Rus writes in the same venerable tradition.

    When the Weekly announces that it will cease to mention the Register’s mistakes and sticks to the policy, I will ask our team to consider adopting the same policy towards both the Register and the Weekly.

    Full disclosure: One of our writers, Michael Doss, works for the Register. What this means is that Michael Doss works for the Register. He doesn’t tell me what to write and he knows that I think the Register sucks. Free opinions can be found here.

  8. Rus (unregistered) on November 19th, 2004 @ 2:34 pm

    Waitaminute, Joel– I’m dizzy! Are you saying it was an “unauthorized trip” or not?

  9. Gustavo Arellano (unregistered) on November 20th, 2004 @ 10:26 am

    When I asked Rus to respond to me directly, it was not to quash discussion about my piece–hell no. Rather, I wanted Rus to tell me directly his problems with my Acosta story. I wanted him–and all of the Metblog team, for that matter–to know that we at the Weekly are accessible (Rus and I already corresponded via e-mail, and I appreciated his criticisms and responded with my own observations). I recall the Commie Girl dust-up of a couple months back–I personally don’t like flaming, especially if we can continue the battle on the Weekly’s letter pages or clear up confusion personally. If anyone here has questions about any of my articles, please do write me personally–I will respond.

    And, off the topic: I enjoy ustedes immensely. Good writing, although with so many of you listed as contributors, I sometimes find the website lacking in updates from the entire crew. We need more voices in this county, especially critical ones. Us at the Weekly alwasy welcome criticism, but if you’re going to blog about it, can’t you also just send us a letter? We like letters a lot!

  10. Rus (unregistered) on November 20th, 2004 @ 10:48 am

    And, I’m just going to go ahead and turn this into the oddest love-fest ever, by completely agreeing with Gustavo.

    My experience with other publications has been such that I’ve found previous letter-to-the-editor attempts to be a colossal waste of time. I proceeded on the assumption that the same would be true for the OC Weekly. Gustavo proved me wrong–or, he’s at least proved that if you’re an oc.metblogs contributor and you’ve got some beef with the OC Weekly, they’ll write you back.

    I think that’s great. And I’m looking forward to developing that relationship in the future. It’s in such spirit, that I take Gustavo’s request to heart.

    Gustavo: I’ll send the OC Weekly an email the next time I post comments here about their publication. And I’ll do so in an effort to promote a dialogue between us–it’s something we all might benefit from.

    Here’s to it.

  11. Gustavo Arellano (unregistered) on November 20th, 2004 @ 4:06 pm

    No, no: we respond to praise and criticisms from everyone, whether writer, politico, or geek. That’s why we post our e-mails at the end of our articles (at least the news team)–we like feedback.

    I’d also like to extend an invitation for anyone who wants to write for the Weekly to please do so. We’re always looking for more writers–just send us a pitch to letters@ocweekly.com and we’ll be on our merry way!

  12. mrhooks (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2004 @ 2:32 pm

    I’m going to have to side with Rus on this little debate. Whether or not Acosta was dishonorably discharged does not change the fact that the trip off-base was unauthorized – which it clearly was, or else Manto would not have been dishonorably discharged.

    As the article states, Acosta was not dishonorably discharged because he suffered a horrible injury, not because he did not do anything wrong.

  13. Esteban Esteban (unregistered) on December 6th, 2004 @ 7:44 am

    OK I understand that it is a pro news paper but it dosent mean, you can do what ever you want. Recently Gustavo Arellano made a article talking about this restaurants good and bad at the same time. Just because restaurants are not elegant it does not mean that you got to talk bad about them. You guys got to pay attention about how you express about this certains restaurants. Im upset because I attend to this restaurandts why because I love the food. And just because the working people at the restaurants you dont have to make fun of them and also because thy are imigrants. Just make your mind clear being hispanic its not a crime we adore our culture and you dont have to rub it in our face. We ask for respect.Be aware of what you are going to say before you publish articles offenind us imigrants without papers or Mexicans. Remember we are all humans we all should love eachother not dislike eachother. God Bless You

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