Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Blog of War

Last year Matt from the milblog Blackfive sent out a mass email to all of his fellow Milbloggers asking who would be willing take part in an effort to a gathering of our best blog posts in a single book called The Blog of War (it just went on sale at Amazon where you can search the inside of the book, type my name in to find what I wrote). After gathering these posts up and spending some time weeding and editing with our approval he found a publisher in Simon & Schuster so now I and a who's who list of military bloggers can now be called published authors (yes we got paid!) Thanks Matt!

This is the first conflict that there are American troops on the ground putting their thoughts out to the world in real time. Which even I admit isn't always a good thing but we do a fairly doing good job policing each other and our own posts because we have seen what happens to the people who don't and it's not pretty.

For good or bad, we have helped change public perception about the troops as individuals. Instead of a hero who you might see a single story about then drops out of the lime light. Milblogger have an ongoing online journal where anyone who has an internet connection can interact with. There are no lines drawn or holds barred. Milblogs in turn have been patriotic, angry, sad, raw, despairing and joyous, this is the story about how we feel, we're not a news agency taking a look at the big picture. We're just the eyes of that one lone individual looking at a war in a very up close and personal manner and sharing it. A few of us have been lucky enough to turn their blogs into a financial gain and have published books based on their story. (not me, you wouldn't believe how uninteresting my life is 99 percent of the time of which I'm extremely happy for). When I first started, there was less then 30 milbloggers out there, now there's literally thousands, every other person out here has a myspace account and if one out of ten uses the blogging portion, that adds up to a lot of people telling their story

I think the review from Publishers Weekly on Amazon is ironic " Every writer supports America's war aims, admires the President, despises enemy fighters (generally referred to as terrorists) and holds a low opinion of Americans who oppose the war (generally referred to as liberals). " I do despise terrorists but some of my best friends are liberals but I also have lot's of conservative friends too. Just because you don't believe in killing someone doesn't make you my enemy, there is nothing at all wrong with wanting peace nor disliking our elected officials.

Considering my portion of the book took place a few weeks after 9/11 and was mostly me writing about going to an open mic poetry reading where my best friend Won said her goodbye to me in poetry in front of a large crowd of peaceful hippie types. She wrote about how I am no longer her "sensitive ponytail man" and have been "shorn into a beautiful Monk". The shorning part actually happened at my going away party (very wild night, I'm sure there's pictures floating around somewhere). The pony tail resides in a plastic bag to show people yes there was a version Sean 1.0 a couple of years ago and I was a long haired hippie.

We were as far from a pro-war crowd as you could get that night but her message still reached an audience so receptive that some burst into tears after she was done reading (which I've never seen happen before). Contrary to what you imagine as a stereotypical Milblogger, not all of us are conservatives nor Republican as the Publishers Weekly review implies. We're from all walks of life and individuals who dance to different tunes.

The book is a great cross section of what Milbloggers have to offer and I couldn't recommend it any more. I've already purchased a copy for our book shelf out here and for my parents, check it out!

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