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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Happily, her acute parents beat me to the punch

I had every intention of saying the following, only, as you'd naturally expect, ballooning it with the jargon of cultural criticism, which to this day -- like the vireo, whose syringeal anatomy allows it to sing two notes in harmony-- boggles science by its seemingly paradoxical ability to ring at once both recondite and trendy.

It's all a question of choosing which narrative mold in which to gel a single liquid: the lurid and endlessly surprising tale that ordinary women are in the American military.

This is from a story in today's Baltimore Sun.

The way the Englands see it, what is happening to their daughter is like what happened with Pfc. Jessica Lynch - only in reverse. Both were from economically stagnant small towns in West Virginia. Both joined the service soon after high school, hoping to better their opportunities and see the world. Both found themselves - Lynch with a maintenance division, England as an administrative worker - in situations that went far beyond their prescribed job duties.

And, just as government and news media accounts of Lynch's capture and rescue portrayed her as more of a hero than the actual circumstances merited, the portrayal of their daughter is painting her as more of a villain than they say the facts, once known, may merit.

"Just like what happened with that Lynch girl, this is getting blown out of proportion," said Lynndie's father, Kenneth England, "but in a negative rather than a positive way."

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