Monday, March 19, 2007

Recalling the Big Muddy syndrome: Did these two guys share a Vulcan Brain Meld? Don’t answer until you read this.

In the earliest incarnation of the Star Trek TV series, Spock and his Vulcan friends could download the complete contents of other Vulcans' brains into their own brains. It was called the Vulcan Brain Meld. Hold that ridiculous thought for a minute.

As I write this, George Bush has just finished addressing the nation about Iraq, loading us up with essentially the same bull we heard during Viet Nam – that we're on our way to winning this thing and all we need is the right number of troops and – after four years – some more time.

I wish somebody would revive the Viet Nam war song about the – Was it a sergeant? A captain? – who led his troops into a swamp on a training exercise at a southern military base, going deeper, deeper, deeper into the swamp, until most of them drowned. The song was based on an actual event that became the perfect pop metaphor for what was going on in Washington then. And now.

This is all from memory, mind you, but here’s the way I remember it. Lyndon Johnson – yes, a Democrat, but not one of My Democrats – was President at the time. He suffered from the same vision problems that the current occupant of the White House has inflicted on himself vis-à-vis a war going from bad, to worse, to still worse, ad infinitum. He refused to acknowledge, or see, what was happening. All we needed were more troops and more time and all our problems would be solved. The word escalation seemed to have been made for Viet Nam, as it now does for Iraq.

So as long as it's "deja vu all over again," maybe it's time to revive the Big Muddy song.

One refrain to the song warned, “Now we’re knee deep in Big Muddy, and the big fool says move on.”

And then it was waist deep. And then later, “Now we’re neck deep in Big Muddy, and the big fool says move on.”

Got the idea?

Which brings me back to the first thought: I wonder whether Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush somehow, years ago, did a Vulcan Brain Meld.

Of course, I’m only kidding.

But also, I’m not kidding.


With a bit of extra time on my hands today, I was able to locate complete text of the original song and a bit about the attempt to keep it off the air.

But memory plays funny tricks. The song was about a WWII captain and now I have no way of telling whether the songwriter, folks guitarist and lyricist Pete Seeger, invented the incident or based his ballad on something that actually happened.

At any rate, you'll find the whole shebang at the URL below. As you'll see, the song relevantly stands up, even today. Read the words and think George Bush.

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