Perhaps Sparling deserves his own thread.
So, what’s the deal here? Two vets on opposing sides of a volatile argument square off?
Spit at, as opposed to spit on? Some people get “spittin’” mad, some spit on the ground in disgust. Old Greeks spit to ward off the evil eye. Beijingers spit constantly for a range of reasons. But there is a difference between a guy who spits on the ground in anger/disgust and somebody who goes the extra little mile to spit on an opponent in an argument.
Media Matters has an interesting take on this as well:
[quote]Conservatives have been telling stories of anti-war protesters spitting on returning Vietnam veterans for decades, even though, as College of the Holy Cross associate professor of sociology and anthropology Jerry Lembcke wrote in an April 30, 2005, Boston Globe op-ed, “[t]here is an element of urban legend in the stories.” Nevertheless, Lembcke wrote, the “image of spat-upon veterans is the icon through which many people remember the loss of the war, the centerpiece of a betrayal narrative that understands the war to have been lost because of treason on the home front.”
In reporting that the protester spit “at the ground near Mr. Sparling,” Urbina left open the possibility that the protester – if he or she did, in fact, spit – may have not intended to spit at Sparling or anyone else. And how near was “near”? Six inches? Six feet? However, the very next phrase – “he spit back” – suggests that the protester did, in fact, spit at Sparling, and he was simply retaliating. Which is it?[/quote]
Interesting piece in which Sparlings words have been clearly been twisted about by the MSM’s right-wing wacko brigade:
[quote]Following Sparling’s appearance on Fox & Friends, during which he proposed marriage on the air to his girlfriend, Kilmeade stated affirmatively that protesters were “spitting on” him – even though Sparling claimed he was “spit at,” not “spit on”:
DOOCY: By the way, if you’d like to send an email to the happy couple, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will pass it along to the future Sparlings.
KILMEADE: Especially if you have a different view from those who were spitting on him and cursing at him over the weekend.[/quote]
[quote]STORIES ABOUT spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. It’s hard to say where they come from. For a book I wrote in 1998 I looked back to the time when the spit was supposedly flying, the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found nothing. No news reports or even claims that someone was being spat on.
What I did find is that around 1980, scores of Vietnam-generation men were saying they were greeted by spitters when they came home from Vietnam. There is an element of urban legend in the stories in that their point of origin in time and place is obscure, and, yet, they have very similar details. The story told by the man who spat on Jane Fonda at a book signing in Kansas City recently is typical. Michael Smith said he came back through Los Angeles airport where ''people were lined up to spit on us."
Like many stories of the spat-upon veteran genre, Smith’s lacks credulity. GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops. There may have been exceptions, of course, but in those cases how would protesters have known in advance that a plane was being diverted to a civilian site? And even then, returnees would have been immediately bused to nearby military installations and processed for reassignment or discharge.
The exaggerations in Smith’s story are characteristic of those told by others. ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. That’s not true. A 1971 Harris poll conducted for the Veterans Administration found over 90 percent of Vietnam veterans reporting a friendly homecoming. Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans joined the opposition to the war.[/quote]
What is interesting is that the stories echo similar tales that appeared regarding German troops returning from World War I and of French troops coming back from Indochina. Now, of course it is not impossible that somebody was spat upon at some point in time, but that’s not the point – was it usual, routine, common enough? With 90 percent reporting a friendly homecoming (and other percentages filling other categories like “neutral, neither friendly nor unfriendly”), are we going to make some broad brush assumptions about the American people’s treatment of troops returning from an unpopular war?