Most networks have applied splashy supermarket-shelf slogans to their coverage of the impending war. It must look weird to an outsider, to Bin Laden for example, how incapable we are of converting real-life tragedy into literary tragedy, but then again aggressive witlessness has been one of the pillars of American might, so we may as well stay unclever as we slide into tragic decline. What follows is a list of the major slogans that our best and brightest in the private sector have cooked up to convey the enormity of our predicament, followed by a hard-hitting analysis.
"America's New War" is CNN's 24-hour red-white-and-blue banner-slogan, the "New" being an acknowledgment that our peace-loving nation has bombed so many smelly foreigners over the past decade that no sane person can possibly keep track of the names and places or even why we bombed them, though it must have been for a good reason. Anyway, CNN decided, rather than get all fancy-shmantsy intellectual, to simply label this war the catchiest way they know how: by its newness. No different from a box of Tide or a stick of Arrid Extra Dry. Expect "America's New Improved War" to follow a few months down the line, after our initial failures lead to Colin Powell's doubled-up attempts to build an even broader coalition not just with nations, but now with peoples and tribes, like Inuits and Kickapoos, Australian aborigines and African bush people, and even the cranky old Schlifkin couple, Lewis and Mildred, who, in spite of their "defeatist" attitude, have not yet ruled out joining the international coalition against terrorism. After "America's New Improved War" will come "America's Classic War", then "One Year Later: America Still At War", then "America's Same War from Two Years Ago And By Gum We're Still Quietly Determined", then "America's Depressing Old War from 2001" then "The War That Wouldn't Go Away", then "What The Fuck, Dude?" followed by "Help! Get Us The Fuck Outta This Dusty Death Trap, And Get Me Some Fucking Antibiotics And Pain Killers! And A Priest!" and so on until finally, once we've retreated to a tiny rump state deep underground in the Rockies, we're subjected to decades of "America's Painful Defeat" news specials and stories of a generation scarred not just by moral issues and the psychological trauma of war, but by scars, real scars, specifically, smallpox scars and pocked city skylines.
Next up we have "America United" for Fox News, a slogan that looks suspiciously "paid for" by the two airlines favored by suicidal ragheads -- hey, do those airlines have an image problem to repair or what! Maybe they should run a tie-in TV ad with a Mohammed Atta look-alike doing the 400 meter dash through the airport like OJ, leaping over X-ray machines while flashing his fake ID to a half-asleep Filipino security staff, all the while praising the leg room in American Airlines first class to the running camera: "So roomy you can lean over and slice your stewardess's throat without spilling your mimosa or cramping your knees! When Al Qa'ida hijacks, we prefer American United Airlines!" Fade out on ten smiling ragheads giving a thumbs-up with boxcutters in their palms... pan back to fifty, then five hundred, then five thousand, and so on, who say in unison: "Fly the friendly skies - and fill them with the burning flesh of the infidels!" That may not sound catchy to our freedom-loving ears, but considering how much Christian travel has fallen, the airlines may have to reach out to alienated raghead terrorists as their only reliable market, especially for those high-margin first-class tickets. Hey, business is business.
Then there's "America On Alert" for MSNBC, the most depressing banner of all, and probably apt, all too apt, as it reminds us of Home Alert. "Help, I've fallen down and I can't get up! -- Wait, so has the building next to me!" They say we're an aging country, and that can't be good going up against a billion and a half Muslims, nearly all of whom are under 15, armed and bearded-including the women. On the other hand I read that the Generation Y or X or whichever's the one that's draftable is 80 million strong, the biggest generation of cannon fodder in American history. Folks, time to prune those future social security rolls to keep the system solvent, wouldn't you say? I don't know about you, but I'd love to see Bin Laden's expression as human waves of lightly armed suburban American teenagers and twenty-something out-of-work-dot-commers pour over the Hindu Kush mountains, millions of angry, Starbucks-hyped geeks armed with nothing but sticks, falling in piles of Diesel-clad corpses with expensive tattoos rotting in the sun, a severed torso with waxed six-pack abs twitches in the shrubbery, piles and piles of Real World martyrs, rivers of blood mixed with shredded bits of every label that ever meant anything to us -- Nike, The Gap, Made In China -- until the terrorists can't take it anymore, they crack, their AKs melt in their hands, the horror overwhelms them, the enemy infidel's determination is too terrifying... Bin's trust fund dries up on his army's last clip... then finally some skinny wigger from Jersey pops a cap very deep and very far up Bin's ass, all the while giving a "who's the bitch now, beeyitch?" speech in poorly affected gangsta slang. That would be the ultimate humiliation. But for now, all MSNBC's marketing braintrust can drudge up is the dull, depressing "America On Alert", so we'll have to keep dreaming. Maybe they should try "America Gets Medieval". That would be neat. Tom Brokaw delivers his nightly newscast in full Crusades-era body armor, chain mail, steel helmet with visor up and red-white-and-blue plume. In the torchlit background, severed Afghan mullah heads on pikes, beards alight, two suspects dangle by their thumbs against the crenelated stone walls... Brokaw speaks sternly into a goblet-microphone: "This just in... The Pentagon confirms that we've just sent a squad of ten, yes, ten pipe-totin niggaz into Kabul, and it does indeed appear that they are 'getting medieval on Bin Laden's ass.' I repeat, they are 'getting medieval on Bin Laden's ass.' Our sources describe horrible screams coming from a deep underground bunker, as well as loud negroidal cheering of a taunting nature." Brokaw raises a sword to the viewer, lowers his visor and steps forward to the goblet-mike: "Godspeed, ye pipe-totin niggaz!"