I received an e-mail today from a reporter at the Boston Herald. He is doing a piece on Milblogs, and liked my work and wanted to quote me. This is what he wrote:
I read your blog about "terps." Very funny. I also loved your blog about the Globe. I'm a reporter for the rival Boston Herald, so I appreciate the jab at them. I'm writing a story about these on-line reports from the front and would like to use some of your stuff. In particular the story about the city council was interesting and an angle of the war that I don't think has been discussed thus far. I can't remember reading a story in the Times or Post about city council meetings in
fka Cpl. Johnson USMC.
I think he's one of the "Good Guys." The "USMC" after his name carries a lot of weight with me, and although I tell my fair share of Jarhead jokes, I do respect Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. They (like me) are proof that Brue Force and Ignorance can carry the day much better than Nuances.
So I wrote this reply:
I don't know of any milbloggers in
I'll let you use my works, under the following conditions (A few provisos, if you will)
1. Quote me fully. If you use an Ellipses, then finish the quote (something the Globe Reporters shoulda learned in English 101.
2. Use quotes in context. Don't extract a verse and make a sermon out of a sentence.
3. Please, don't portray the military in a bad light or my Blog as portraying the military in a bad light. I love what what I do and would walk away in a minute if I didn't think what I was doing was right. This is my way of living.
I know, journalistic freedom, First Amendment, etc. I really just don't want bad press to become the focus of my blog (I've met reporters out here that do great work).
Now then, the questions:
Why do you blog? I blog because I needed a hobby. Something to do in my down time, especially the time after mission and before bed, when the adrenaline is pumping and there's no possibility of sleeping until it goes away. I wanted to keep a journal of some of the things I did here, and why. I wanted something to show the boy when he's old enough. I am (relatively) computer savvy, and had read other blogs and thought it'd be worth a shot.
Who you are writing for (your audience)? Initially, I was writing just to write. I didn't have any audience, I was just posting into the void. Two weeks later, I have had over 15,000 readers (I'll bet the Herald would like to see a spike in readership like that) and have gotten mail and comments from
Honestly, Mr. and Mrs.
as a family at home. And the mainstream media could care less about them unless they are bleeding or broken by the side of the road.
Ernie Pyle wasn't the Last Great "In the Trenches" reporter. Neither was Joe Galloway. But they shared a common thread. They actually lived with the soldiers, got time to know them, and never, NEVER, showed them in a bad light. They told the people at home what was going on, how alien or familiar things could be, and their stories gave people hope.
So I write for them. I write for my soldiers. I write to give the folks at home an understanding of what life is like here. I write about things that interest me. I write my opinions, plain and unabashed. Of course my writing is biased. I am not constrained by $$$ or public opinion. This is my soapbox. I write so that my wife will know if I am doing okay. (I still write her, but the posts generally let her know what I am up to.) I write to keep my sense of humor. It allows me to absorb and digest what goes on around here, and make inline comments about it. And I write about issues at home, because I am interested in what is going on in the land I love so much I would leave it to defend it.
What do other soldiers think about it? The comments I get from other soldiers are also 100% positive. Some are interested professionally, "Wow, I didn't think anyone was doing X over here." "I hadn't thought about doing things that way." and also just soldiers who enjoy the reading. I make them laugh, I make them remember, I give them hope that they too are not screaming into the void. But mostly, I think I make them laugh. And that is sometimes more valuable than anything else.
I'd love to read (and link) to your article when it is finished.
Up Next, My reply to a guy doing a PBS documentary...