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--- S U S A N   M .  S C H U L T Z

I’m glad you’re not ethically challenged. The brawler has a record for felony assault. But felonies are good for business, says the PR man on Fox. Watch the sales of Artest clothing rise! Everyone will watch the Christmas game, rematch of Pistons and Pacers.

We stop fighting for the holy days, then commence firing. Minarets explode in dust. Unarmed insurgents killed in the mosque. The Marine’s I just didn’t know related, 1) to his guilt at what he had done; or 2) to the camera rolling as he fired. Police pore over Auburn Palace tapes. Resentment that players are paid so much.

Our neighbor hadn’t been washing his black Volvo for a least a month. He’s been to Iraq so many times, they assume he’s going there again. Give to the Marines for Christmas, socks and suntan lotion and astronomy maps. The sky is so clear there.

A man lay in the street, arm flung over a small girl. Their pillows cobblestones. Beside them a Marine stood with his gun, the ostensible subject of the photograph, for American consumption, anyway. That which eats away from within, takes the breath away, even if you remember Poland, its waltzes and nocturnes.

The unscientific poll asks: do you think the Marine was right to shoot the unarmed insurgent? Unnamed. It hurts the troops’ morale to put these photos in the newspaper. How do you define the link between “morale” and “moral,” between “ethics” and “ethnics”?

Figure of speech, he growled, when called on his use of the phrase son of a bitch (Jimmy Hoffa to RFK). I cried when June ‘68 came around on the history channel. Despite the music. A Sports Illustrated correspondent says white people don’t like basketball any more, because the athletes are spoiled. African Americans like it more. That poll was scientific.

The lines are there to be drawn, and they are, like reality shows where actors stake their claim to our reality, inhabiting our living rooms with their pretense at getting it right, whatever it is. The it of ordinary life, its errands, its impulsions and repulsions, the raised voices from next door and those behind our own walls. At what do we pretend when the cameras click off? Whatever is not filmed cannot be.

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