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Name: Jim Macdonald
Location: Bozeman, MT, United States

Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer who just moved from Washington, DC to Bozeman, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Sounding off: Blue Angels blast through the Tetons

    I haven't forgotten about my other upcoming Yellowstone writing projects, but I can't resist a small comment this morning on a small news event in Grand Teton National Park this week.

    Yesterday, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, the Blue Angels roared through the Jackson Hole valley in part to be photographed in front of the Tetons.

    According to one article:

    The Blue Angels, the famous U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron of F/A-18 Hornet jet fighters, will dip low over Jackson Hole on Wednesday and fly past the Tetons to be photographed, an airport official said Monday.

    It reminded me of my hikes last year in Yellowstone where the relative silence was shattered by fighter jets flying low over me.

    However, it also angered me. I doubt there was huge environmental impact, though no doubt the defeaning noise seems out of place. Yet, Grand Teton already has a damn commercial airport inside of it, and so one imagines that the few moments of noise can't compete with the perpetual noise pollution caused by incoming and outgoing commercial jets.

    What really bothers me are The Blue Angels themselves. Their tours are essentially military recruitment vehicles; they sell machines of death. In that respect, they romanticize war, and they help prop up the military industrial complex that is the greatest beneficiary of war machines like those the Blue Angels fly.

    The Tetons are majestic and romantic mountains; they rarely fail to inspire awe in us. How sad that their image is now being used to sell the appropriateness of death machines to the population. As bad as the Disneyfication of the national parks are, this very public use of the parks for a very public purpose is a million times worse. It also cannot fail to remind us of the sad history of the West and American growth across the continent that has led us to this place.

    When I was a child, I loved air shows. I didn't know what they represented; I doubt many people stop and give a lot of thought about what it all means. Now, the image of an air show on a sight like the Tetons that didn't need any improving only disgusts me. It helps me realize that my days in the anti-war movement are not gone simply because I now find myself more focused on this region of the country.

    What a bizarre and strange world in which we live.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I used to have a poster of The Blue Angels in flight, hanging above my bed.

    No more. No more...

    And yet, I have nothing against the planes themselves. Humans will turn everything into monstrosities, won't they? I miss the relationship I had with the planes as one dimensional images on my ceiling--as benign as the pinata in my living room--stripped of their noise and fumes and diabolically manipulated purposes.

    They don't belong Yellowstone, that's for damn sure, or anywhere else where they can actually do damage (which is anywhere, really).

    The military causes as much disruption and destruction in times of "peace" as they do in times of war.

    It's not about the illusory dichotomy of war and peace, is it? It's about an entire reframing of our relationship with the world.

    And learning to hear the breath and heartbeat of the Earth rather than merely our own claustrophic mutterings...

    7/26/07 9:09 PM  

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