Reply All: #70 Stolen Valor
July 16, 2016 11:00 AM - Subscribe

PJ dives into the world of military impostors and the vigilantes who hunt them. Plus, a dispatch from Dallas.
posted by radioamy (7 comments total)
There's no medieval doctrinal dispute that's quite a foreign as this. I'm not sure I've ever heard a recording of a conflict in which the motivations of both sides are quite so opaque. Significant numbers of people dress up in fake military uniforms? WTF? People spend their free time exposing them? WTF? Who the hell are you people and how is it possible we speak the same language?

Thanks, Reply All, for making my world a little bit bigger, and slightly more confusing.

Also, mad props for the Yes Yes No correction. That was really beautifully done.
posted by eotvos at 4:18 PM on July 16, 2016

I had heard of stolen valor a few years ago, as it made the national news in Canada after a gunman shot one of the honor guards, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Ottawa. During the national outpouring of grief some guy showed up in his best approximation of a Canadian army uniform, specifically from the unit of the man who was shot. It caused something of a brief national furor and several news outlets went deep on "hey this is actually a thing people do".

I still don't really understand why you would do that, I mean outside of remembrance day or during a memorial it isn't going to get you anything (and even then, it's up there with crashing a funeral). It's not like we treat our serving members or veterans spectacularly.

I guess I just want to hear from someone who does cosplay as an army man and hear their motivations.
posted by selenized at 7:11 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

My heart really went out to the actual veteran who was accosted at the arts festival. How humiliating.
posted by radioamy at 10:14 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

Crap. My comment about the "yes yes no" correction was, of course, meant for episode 69 instead. That's what I get for listening to several programs in the same day.

The after-the-sponsors segment of this program was as boring and pointless as any congressman's speech. Ick.
posted by eotvos at 5:58 AM on July 17, 2016

My heart really went out to the actual veteran who was accosted at the arts festival. How humiliating.

I remember reading a news story about this, the mayor had investigated it and issued a statement that the policeman acted appropriately in responding to a complaint from a citizen (the soldier). Poor fella, what a horrible incident.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:55 AM on July 17, 2016

Was it a good idea to lend a voice (and legitimacy) to either "side" of this issue?

Reading the episode description, I was expecting to hear a story about people like Wayne Simmons.

Instead, I got to hear Reply All give a podium to a dude who's making a living as a web-era shock-jock who promotes misguided vigilante justice against the elderly and infirm. I nearly skipped through the episode, because the reporting seemed so sloppy and irresponsible.

I mean, seriously. Why did Reply All fail to provide some commentary about whether or not the state-level "Stolen Valor" laws are constitutional, in light of the fact that the Supreme Court found the federal ones to be very much not? If you're going to present that background, it's CRAZY not to go into more detail.
posted by schmod at 8:48 PM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I spend a fair amount of time around veterans (most of whom are still active in the military), and in my experience they are crazy passionate about the evils of stolen valor. To the point where I don't even feel comfortable trying to talk to them about why they feel so strongly, because these are people I care about and it's obviously a painful subject for them.

I appreciated this episode's look at the veteran's side of the story -- especially the discussions with Nate Bethea, who I think does a better job of communicating what's behind the issue than Anthony Anderson and his ilk.

Sure, PJ could have gone all in and interviewed legal scholars about the constitutionality of the state laws, etc. etc. but this episode isn't about that. This is a show about the Internet, and the episode was about an Internet phenomenon (one that I'm willing to bet most of the show's demographic doesn't really understand, if they even knew about it), and why it's a thing.

I also thought that the postscript segment was good -- it wasn't trying to be great journalism or anything, but just trying to communicate a feeling at a time that's just hard for people right now.

This show continues to be one that bumps to the top of my listening queue when a new episode comes out.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:53 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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