It's about life - not "lifestyle"
A Note From The Publisher
"I read your Current Affairs story about drafting white people. You are racist. If we are going to have one world of equality everybody has to share. You are opinionated and this doesn't have any place in surfing, or in a website supposedly about surfing."
-Via e-mail
What has our faithful Editor-At-Large Al Kida done this time, I wondered. I'm sitting at the keyboard, sick as a dog, missing good surf and good sleep and pretty much in a useless state, and the reader email comes pouring in about a Current Affairs article which I put up yesterday.

Maybe it was the fever, and I missed something in the piece that several people seemed to find offensive. Yet when I re-read it (you can too; click
here) I couldn't find anything that I thought was objectionable. The subject matter, should you not want to read it for yourself, was a recent public grandstanding by a member of the U.S. House Of Representatives named Charles Rangel in which he and a fellow House member were calling for a reinstatement of the Selective Service draft.

This story ran on television last weekend (Jan 4. 2003) and made it into east coast newspapers over the weekend, and finally filtered into the hideous local fast food fish wrapper this morning (Wednesday). In the local story, without attribution but with a lovely photo of Rep. Rangel in front of an American flag, says Rangel introduced a bill into the House on Tuesday to do just this. According to the newspaper story, he's doing this to help avoid a war with Iraq.

"I truly believe that those who make the decisions and those who support the United States going to war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who have historically avoided this great responsibility," said Rangel, a decorated veteran of the Korean War."

I believe Mr. Kida here at called Rep. Rangel a Goddamn liar. This is a very strong opinion belonging to Mr. Kida. But the fact is Rep. Rangel is a Goddamn liar, and he knows it. Rep. Rangel is relying on the youth and the Jenny Jones mentality of the TvNation to not question his authority. I don't give a flying fuck if Rep. Rangel is a decorated veteran of the Korean War. He certainly is entitled to his opinion, but so are each and every one of us. Rep. Rangel is lost in his own personal racial and economic hatreds.

Rangel is saying the racial percentages making up the U.S. Military put the white service people out of harm's way and the black service people into combat. The Washington Post story totally refuted that notion, and in our opinion that isn't even the point. It's an all-volunteer military right now, which means that everybody in the U.S. military is there because they want to be.  I don't think anybody in the military is unsure of the job requirements; how could they be? For Rangel to claim, as referenced in our original article, that all non-white service people are "less-privileged" is the worst possible stereotyping - he's saying in effect that any racial minority serving in the U.S. Military is there because they are too dumb to understand what they were doing when enlisting, or too lazy to work in fast food. It's absolutely appalling and totally, grotesquely insulting to service people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. The fact of the matter is these men and women are highly motivated - the nature of their motivations probably encompasses a universe of reasons, but there is a world of difference in the level of commitment between taking a job you can walk away from and signing a minimum of four years of your life away to.

Figuring this out isn't rocket science. I don't expect any congress people to be rocket scientists, either, but I don't believe they get elected on their looks alone. Rangel is smart enough to know what is what, which leads Mr. Kida and me to question his motives.

Opinionated? Opinions in surfing?

Read our page header sometime: It's about life - not "lifestyle".

Life is what you do every day. "Lifestyle" is now little more than a marketing term. Your lifestyle is what you wear, what you drive, where you live, what you ride, what you listen too, what you look like, how much money...blah blah blah. 
Lifestyle is what you buy. The people who sell to you don't want you to think about anything, because you might think some other product is worth buying. They spend millions of dollars creating "brand loyalty" to ensure you won't think.

If you don't think for yourselves, someone else will think for you. They'll tell you what to think, what to say, what clothes to wear, what surfboard to ride, whom to emulate. They'll create your life for you, for a reasonable fee. Maybe life is easier that way, but would like to remind you that while sheep live happy lives out in the pasture, getting fleeced yearly, in the end most of them wind up in a slaughterhouse.

No apologies here.

Nels Norene
Current Affairs
Copyright (C) 2003. All rights reserved.