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12 November 2003

Are You a Bomber or a Sniper?

From Looper: I have been thinking about what you said in the blog about lab rats and the president. One of the movies last night (about the Weather underground) had footage of Nixon, and you realize how truly spooky he was. But he wanted the job, a truly horrible job that no one in his right mind would want. The movie was a good time capsule (I wondered how I could have been so out of it that I had not known, really, about these bombings) though a romanticized one, which skirted the shadows, particularly about Bernardine Dorn. Most of the women were too resolute; a few men questioned what it was, if anything, they accomplished.

And the movie about girls in prison was good too--similar to Hoop Dreams in structure.

Reply: There was so much else going on at that time that the Weather Underground didn't have center stage. Nixon truly was horrible. In Philadelphia we had Rizzo as mayor at the same -- evil former police chief Rizzo -- how can one place be so benighted as to deserve Rizzo and Nixon? The only "good" one at that time was Angelo Bruno -- we were so low in the depths that the mafia was a force for good in some ways. It was a street war in the city. Very violent. The cop cars were literally falling apart. The cops felt, I'm sure, as if they could do anything -- supported by their own in office. They were just one social segment in a city of many separate sections divided and full of hatred for each other. I can remember feeling hatred and fear of the Philadelphia cops, and admiring the NYC cops (relatively), who seemed more part of the community, understanding, and watched over by higher-ups who didn't give an automatic stamp of approval to any awful thing. I was aware of the Weathermen, but it seemed as though they were just another violent voice in a cacophony -- and a periodic one at that. I don't think I ever thought blowing things up was a good idea. I would think that if a person is willing to do serious damage to things, a blunt instrument like bombs is too crude. Better to have one target and a rifle. I mean, I guess.* It still wouldn't make the person RIGHT, but it would be more effective. But -- although I didn't see the movie and I can't claim to remember exactly what they felt they'd accomplished -- maybe mere social disruption was their desire.

*when school went to see Clinton in Tenino (during the Zodrow years) I saw men in black with rifles, and I said, "Are you snipers?" -- which of course they were, but they didn't answer. We weren't supposed to think of them as snipers. They were SS bodyguards, I reckon. But I've got more of a sniper personality than a bomber mentality. That should be reversed -- sniper mentality and bomber personality -- since bombers (I'm making this up) are social, and snipers are not. I think theatre majors in uni would all be bombers, and art students would all be snipers. I should make a quiz out of this. Are you a bomber or a sniper? One would think writers would fall into the sniper category.

posted by - 9:58 AM


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