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L_Monty
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"This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

[ Edited ]
Throughout The Forever War, author Dexter Filkins often appends chapters with little italicized-titled subchapters where he tells a brief story that relates to the tensions explored in previous pages. One of these that struck me was Blonde:



Later on, sitting in a walkway of one of Saddam's palaces, the captain started telling stories.

"So we came up with this great way to search villages," the captain told me.

"We got this girl here in the company—blonde, she's hot," the captain said. "This is when we were up in Mosul. We had to search all these villages for guns. Those villages are awful up there. So we went into this village and put the blonde girl we had on top of one of the Bradleys. We just rolled in and put her up there and took off her helmet and let her hair spill out.

"So she's standing there on top of the Bradley, blonde hair and everything, and we called out on the loudspeaker, 'This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!' And I'll be damned if every Iraqi male in that village wasn't gathered around the Bradley in about two minutes. You know the Iraqis are crazy for blondes. Crazy for them. They don't have any here."

The captain started eating a strawberry Pop-Tart.

"So she's standing up there on the Bradley, and we'd have an auction. Highest bid gets the blonde! They're going crazy, the Iraqis, offering their goats, trucks, all their money. Children. Everything. I'm standing up there, saying, 'Nope, not enough! Not enough!' And they're bidding more. One of the guys had his hands on the big machine gun just in case it got out of control. The Iraqis were wild. Just staring at her.

"So we're up there having the auction, and during the auction I sent our guys around back into the houses to look for guns. We're having the auction and all the Iraqis are at the auction yelling for the blonde while our guys are collecting the guns from the houses. It was totally quiet in the houses, just the women in there. We got a huge pile of guns. Searched the whole village, no problem."

What happened with the auction? I asked him.

"We just shut it down. Told them the bigs weren't high enough." The captain laughed. "The Iraqis were pissed off but it was okay."

I was laughing and the captain got quiet for a second.

"We did that in three villages. Worked every time. We got reprimanded. Somebody found out about it. They didn't like it," he said, chewing on his Pop-Tart. "I thought it was brilliant myself. Smartest thing we ever did." (p. 134-5)
Message Edited by L_Monty on 03-10-2009 01:08 PM
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TiggerBear
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"


L_Monty wrote:
Throughout The Forever War, author Dexter Filkins often appends chapters with little italicized-titled subchapters where he tells a brief story that relates to the tensions explored in previous pages. One of these that struck me was Blonde:



Later on, sitting in a walkway of one of Saddam's palaces, the captain started telling stories.

"So we came up with this great way to search villages," the captain told me.

"We got this girl here in the company—blonde, she's hot," the captain said. "This is when we were up in Mosul. We had to search all these villages for guns. Those villages are awful up there. So we went into this village and put the blonde girl we had on top of one of the Bradleys. We just rolled in and put her up there and took off her helmet and let her hair spill out.

"So she's standing there on top of the Bradley, blonde hair and everything, and we called out on the loudspeaker, 'This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!' And I'll be damned if every Iraqi male in that village wasn't gathered around the Bradley in about two minutes. You know the Iraqis are crazy for blondes. Crazy for them. They don't have any here."

The captain started eating a strawberry Pop-Tart.

"So she's standing up there on the Bradley, and we'd have an auction. Highest bid gets the blonde! They're going crazy, the Iraqis, offering their goats, trucks, all their money. Children. Everything. I'm standing up there, saying, 'Nope, not enough! Not enough!' And they're bidding more. One of the guys had his hands on the big machine gun just in case it got out of control. The Iraqis were wild. Just staring at her.

"So we're up there having the auction, and during the auction I sent our guys around back into the houses to look for guns. We're having the auction and all the Iraqis are at the auction yelling for the blonde while our guys are collecting the guns from the houses. It was totally quiet in the houses, just the women in there. We got a huge pile of guns. Searched the whole village, no problem."

What happened with the auction? I asked him.

"We just shut it down. Told them the bigs weren't high enough." The captain laughed. "The Iraqis were pissed off but it was okay."

I was laughing and the captain got quiet for a second.

"We did that in three villages. Worked every time. We got reprimanded. Somebody found out about it. They didn't like it," he said, chewing on his Pop-Tart. "I thought it was brilliant myself. Smartest thing we ever did." (p. 134-5)
Message Edited by L_Monty on 03-10-2009 01:08 PM

Ok that's amusing.

 

If it worked, and the woman involuved didn't mind, I say more power to them.

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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

I don't find it amusing at all, whether or not the woman agreed.  It is a disgusting and degrading story.

 

And it isn't just Iraqis who like blondes - they have been an icon in the American film industry since it began.    

 

  

 


L_Monty wrote:
Throughout The Forever War, author Dexter Filkins often appends chapters with little italicized-titled subchapters where he tells a brief story that relates to the tensions explored in previous pages. One of these that struck me was Blonde:



Later on, sitting in a walkway of one of Saddam's palaces, the captain started telling stories.

"So we came up with this great way to search villages," the captain told me.

"We got this girl here in the company—blonde, she's hot," the captain said. "This is when we were up in Mosul. We had to search all these villages for guns. Those villages are awful up there. So we went into this village and put the blonde girl we had on top of one of the Bradleys. We just rolled in and put her up there and took off her helmet and let her hair spill out.

"So she's standing there on top of the Bradley, blonde hair and everything, and we called out on the loudspeaker, 'This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!' And I'll be damned if every Iraqi male in that village wasn't gathered around the Bradley in about two minutes. You know the Iraqis are crazy for blondes. Crazy for them. They don't have any here."

The captain started eating a strawberry Pop-Tart.

"So she's standing up there on the Bradley, and we'd have an auction. Highest bid gets the blonde! They're going crazy, the Iraqis, offering their goats, trucks, all their money. Children. Everything. I'm standing up there, saying, 'Nope, not enough! Not enough!' And they're bidding more. One of the guys had his hands on the big machine gun just in case it got out of control. The Iraqis were wild. Just staring at her.

"So we're up there having the auction, and during the auction I sent our guys around back into the houses to look for guns. We're having the auction and all the Iraqis are at the auction yelling for the blonde while our guys are collecting the guns from the houses. It was totally quiet in the houses, just the women in there. We got a huge pile of guns. Searched the whole village, no problem."

What happened with the auction? I asked him.

"We just shut it down. Told them the bigs weren't high enough." The captain laughed. "The Iraqis were pissed off but it was okay."

I was laughing and the captain got quiet for a second.

"We did that in three villages. Worked every time. We got reprimanded. Somebody found out about it. They didn't like it," he said, chewing on his Pop-Tart. "I thought it was brilliant myself. Smartest thing we ever did." (p. 134-5)
Message Edited by L_Monty on 03-10-2009 01:08 PM

 

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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"


Choisya wrote:

I don't find it amusing at all, whether or not the woman agreed.  It is a disgusting and degrading story.

 


I'm willing to bet that whether women find that offensive falls along generational lines.

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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

[ Edited ]

I am willing to bet that many women of all ages would think that the idea of being put up for auction was degrading.   I just spoke to my daughter (who is visiting) and she found it degrading too and I know that her older sister would be outraged. It was making the woman a sex object and showed great disrespect for a fellow soldier.    

 

Supposing they had put an Afro-American up for auction, as in the days of the slave trade?   

 

 

 


TiggerBear wrote:

Choisya wrote:

I don't find it amusing at all, whether or not the woman agreed.  It is a disgusting and degrading story.

 


I'm willing to bet that whether women find that offensive falls along generational lines.


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-10-2009 03:01 PM
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"


Choisya wrote:

I am willing to bet that many women of all ages would think that the idea of being put up for auction was degrading.   I just spoke to my daughter (who is visiting) and she found it degrading too and I know that her older sister would be outraged. It was making the woman a sex object and showed great disrespect for a fellow soldier.    

 

Supposing they had put an Afro-American up for auction, as in the days of the slave trade?   

 

 

 


TiggerBear wrote:

Choisya wrote:

I don't find it amusing at all, whether or not the woman agreed.  It is a disgusting and degrading story.

 


I'm willing to bet that whether women find that offensive falls along generational lines.


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-10-2009 03:01 PM

I disagree, if she knew it was a ploy not a reality. Good odds most wouldn't mind. After all what's a little play acting in comparison to being shot at.

 

 

And it is generational. Femenism has changed. Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage. Speaking as a red head. Since I always, advantage or not, walk around with a look at me bullseye, when it's an advantage I use it.

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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 

But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

And to whose 'advantage' was it?  Not the woman's since she was degraded in front of her colleagues and the Iraqis.  Do you suppose that the Iraqis, in particular, would have any respect for her whilst carrying out her duties after this incident?   

 

 

 


Peppermill wrote:

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 

But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."


 

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Everyman
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Tigger Bear wrote:

 

Ok that's amusing.

 

If it worked, and the woman involuved didn't mind, I say more power to them.

 

Absolutely.   Mission accomplished, nobody got hurt, the woman, presumably a soldier herself, performed admirably in helping get guns out of the hands of militants safely.  

 

Beautiful.  

 


TiggerBear wrote:

L_Monty wrote:
Throughout The Forever War, author Dexter Filkins often appends chapters with little italicized-titled subchapters where he tells a brief story that relates to the tensions explored in previous pages. One of these that struck me was Blonde:



Later on, sitting in a walkway of one of Saddam's palaces, the captain started telling stories.

"So we came up with this great way to search villages," the captain told me.

"We got this girl here in the company—blonde, she's hot," the captain said. "This is when we were up in Mosul. We had to search all these villages for guns. Those villages are awful up there. So we went into this village and put the blonde girl we had on top of one of the Bradleys. We just rolled in and put her up there and took off her helmet and let her hair spill out.

"So she's standing there on top of the Bradley, blonde hair and everything, and we called out on the loudspeaker, 'This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!' And I'll be damned if every Iraqi male in that village wasn't gathered around the Bradley in about two minutes. You know the Iraqis are crazy for blondes. Crazy for them. They don't have any here."

The captain started eating a strawberry Pop-Tart.

"So she's standing up there on the Bradley, and we'd have an auction. Highest bid gets the blonde! They're going crazy, the Iraqis, offering their goats, trucks, all their money. Children. Everything. I'm standing up there, saying, 'Nope, not enough! Not enough!' And they're bidding more. One of the guys had his hands on the big machine gun just in case it got out of control. The Iraqis were wild. Just staring at her.

"So we're up there having the auction, and during the auction I sent our guys around back into the houses to look for guns. We're having the auction and all the Iraqis are at the auction yelling for the blonde while our guys are collecting the guns from the houses. It was totally quiet in the houses, just the women in there. We got a huge pile of guns. Searched the whole village, no problem."

What happened with the auction? I asked him.

"We just shut it down. Told them the bigs weren't high enough." The captain laughed. "The Iraqis were pissed off but it was okay."

I was laughing and the captain got quiet for a second.

"We did that in three villages. Worked every time. We got reprimanded. Somebody found out about it. They didn't like it," he said, chewing on his Pop-Tart. "I thought it was brilliant myself. Smartest thing we ever did." (p. 134-5)
Message Edited by L_Monty on 03-10-2009 01:08 PM

Ok that's amusing.

 

If it worked, and the woman involuved didn't mind, I say more power to them.


 

 

 

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Everyman
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

I am willing to bet that many women of all ages would think that the idea of being put up for auction was degrading.  

 

Whereas if she had gotten mortally wounded going in with her team to confiscate those weapons by force, not to mention probably a number of villagers getting injured or killed, she would have the satisfaction of thinking "I'm dying in agony, but at least I didn't degrade myself."  

 

I think this was a perfect example of  "softly, softly, catchee monkey." 

 

 

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Everyman
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Given that some of the oldest items found buried in women's tombs are combs and cosmetics, I would say you're right on, Pepper.

 


Peppermill wrote:

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 

But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."


 

 

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debbook
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

I have to say that if the woman was okay with it, then its not exploitive. It worked and no one got hurt. Hopefully her fellow officers appreciated her role and her being a good sport. If this is really a true story, then it was pretty creative. Probably the Iraqi's realized she wasn't really for sale.
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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Probably the Iraqi's realized she wasn't really for sale.

 

But given that their views about the way women should behave are entirely different, do you think they would have respect for her as a soldier when they next met her perfming her duties or would they be likely to deride her?  And if her fellow soldiers thought it OK to 'use' her upon this occasion, what other occasions might they choose to put her on display

 



debbook wrote:
I have to say that if the woman was okay with it, then its not exploitive. It worked and no one got hurt. Hopefully her fellow officers appreciated her role and her being a good sport. If this is really a true story, then it was pretty creative. Probably the Iraqi's realized she wasn't really for sale.

 

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Everyman
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Have you ever seen the gear a soldier wears when on duty?   There is no way the Iraqis in those villages, even if she were ever assigned to go back into them, would be able to recognize her in her battle gear. 

 

And even if they were able to recognize her, frankly, I think the weaponry a soldier carries would earn a lot of respect all on its own no matter who was carrying it.  It would take a lot of chutzpah to deride an armed soldier carrying the sort of firepower that US soldiers do.  

 

And, of course, soldiers are often put on display.  What do you think the Beefeaters in front of Buckingham Palace are there for  -- legitimate security duty???  They are there primarily as tourist attractants.  Not being auctioned off, I grant, but certainly Britain expects to make money from the tourists who flock there to have their photos taken next to the displayed Beefeaters.  Which seems to me a much less important display function than disarming a village. 

 


Choisya wrote:

Probably the Iraqi's realized she wasn't really for sale.

 

But given that their views about the way women should behave are entirely different, do you think they would have respect for her as a soldier when they next met her perfming her duties or would they be likely to deride her?  And if her fellow soldiers thought it OK to 'use' her upon this occasion, what other occasions might they choose to put her on display

 



debbook wrote:
I have to say that if the woman was okay with it, then its not exploitive. It worked and no one got hurt. Hopefully her fellow officers appreciated her role and her being a good sport. If this is really a true story, then it was pretty creative. Probably the Iraqi's realized she wasn't really for sale.

 


 

 

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TiggerBear
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"


Peppermill wrote:

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 

But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."


I'm sorry but did you oldder girls miss getting told you were tearing down all feminism goals with you behavior?! Told that acting sexy would put back feminism into the dark age?!

 

DID none of you ever get caught in a Paglia Vs. Steinem arguement?

 

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Peppermill
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Good looks are usually not a handicap for men either  --  nor do they usually treat them thus.


Everyman wrote:

Given that some of the oldest items found buried in women's tombs are combs and cosmetics, I would say you're right on, Pepper.


Peppermill wrote:

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."



"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

Aren't you being rather ageist here TB?  My feminist daughter would laugh at the idea of you thinking I am an older feminist!  My argument here is not about any feminist principles, it is about retaining ones dignity as a female.  It is the same argument I would use to the young 'ladettes' who ape the worst in men by getting drunk every Saturday night and falling about all over the streets. 

 

I never stopped acting sexily and I had two husbands and a couple of long term lovers to prove it:smileyvery-happy:

 

 

 

 


TiggerBear wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

"Women no longer are bothered by using their looks for advantage."

 

 

Have the vast majority ever been?

 

 

But, there are all sorts of questions of when and where is "advantage."


I'm sorry but did you oldder girls miss getting told you were tearing down all feminism goals with you behavior?! Told that acting sexy would put back feminism into the dark age?!

 

DID none of you ever get caught in a Paglia Vs. Steinem arguement?

 


 

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Everyman
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

I never stopped acting sexily and I had two husbands and a couple of long term lovers to prove it:smileyvery-happy:.

 

What?   That demure older lady who loves gardening and cats and can be seen pouring out the tea in her web page photo we now have to think of as a sex siren???

 

The mind boggles!

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RTA
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

[ Edited ]
 

What struck me about the interlude--outside of the gender issue being discussed, which, quite frankly, by the time a woman in the military is back-to-back searching door-to-door among insurgents' houses looking for weapons, if she hasn't earned her comrades' respect, she likely isn't ever going to.  And, likewise, if she has earned their respect, again considering the environment, she's not going to be degraded in their eyes by preventing the company's further endangerment with such a harmless ploy.  Sheesh!  As TB offered, personally, the women and men among whom I discuss gender issues rarely seem to engage feminism on such shallow terms. 

 

Anyway, what struck me about the short piece, and perhaps because this seems to be a recurring theme in the book, was the issue of authority and decision-making.  It offers yet another example of some higher-up--"Somebody found out about it.  They didn't like it"--micromanaging the means to an objective.  Filkins offers a few illustrations of American military personnel, with little instruction and unclear goals, trying to navigate their way through unprecedented territory.  The story of the blonde is reminiscent of Sassaman's story--holding "selections" rather than elections, as per his superiors' instructions (150)--a group of men "trained to fight a big battle against a big, uniformed army," but found themselves constructing a police department in Balad based on a Rhode Island police department operating manual.  Or the story of an unnamed lieutenant who marches his platoon back and forth in front of the Olympic Committee, ignored by looters, unable to do anything further because he has "no orders" (98).  Or perhaps most poignantly the above story is echoed in a later interlude "Mogadishu" wherein a "legal adviser" gives step-by-step instructions, including examples, on use of force and rules of engagement  (186-188).  The point Filkins makes for me in the story with the blonde, is a demonstration of a disconnect between authority and responsibility.

Message Edited by RTA on 03-11-2009 11:19 AM
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Choisya
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Re: "This woman is for sale. Blonde woman for sale!"

'So we went into this village and put the blonde girl we had on top of one of the Bradleys. We just rolled in and put her up there and took off her helmet and let her hair spill out.

 

 

 

I do not call these words respectful and, feminism or no feminism (which I didn't raise), he is speaking of her like a possession, like a Barbie doll.  There is no indication that she was asked or that she agreed.  Monty drew this tale to our attention with the caption '....Blonde woman for sale!' and I no doubt reacted in my very elderly old fashioned Brit way.

 

What Filkins illustrated for me is that there is a long way to go before women gain respect in the army, or maybe just in this unit.