Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

The big digital rhetoric story of the day has to be this YouTube whistleblower's video by an angry father who documented his soldier son's living conditions at Fort Bragg, which has since earned coverage in USA Today in stories such as "Army general 'mad' about condition of housing at Fort Bragg." This parent's exposé juxtaposes digital photographs of soldiers from his son's unit in the field in a remote deployment in Afghanistan with conditions back on a U.S. base with broken toilet seats, defunct drinking fountains, missing ceiling panels, peeling lead-based paint, rusty and corroded pipes, moldy walls, insecure locks, faulty plumbing, and other signs of poor maintenance of the military living quarters. Although there is some dead air in the audio of his coverage of the barracks, this father constructs a methodical argument about the unacceptability of his son's living space that does more than let "the pictures speak for themselves." Note how the commentary on the closing iconic photo of a soldier plungering filthy standing water expresses the culmination of his outrage. The video begins and ends with a concrete call to action to civilian viewers, which includes instructions about how to use Google search terms to find congressional telephone numbers.

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