By now stories of Iraq War vets and PTSD have become incredibly common. I mean USA Today was running stories on the mental anguish of returning soldiers three years ago. There is now an Iraq War PTSD clinical guide. The guide is in its 2nd Edition. This just means that a new story on the subject will usually produce a big yawn from the serious reader. Frank Rich recently noted that most Americans view the war as all but decided: it was a mistake, bring the troops home, etc. All this just makes this weekend’s Post story titled “Treating Wounds You Can’t See” by Linda Blum that much more amazing. Her story is one trend story that enriches rather than dulls. Blum, a psychologist who went to Fort Dix as a civilian contractor, began treating returning soldiers for PTSD a few years ago. Her access translates into a great read.
Blum’s story takes us to a riveting, maddening place—-one a reporter just could not tell. Some of it is even morbidly funny: “This soldier remains in immense distress, like many of the people I treated who needed to grieve for lives they had taken in combat. Once, after he killed at least nine people in one week, he experienced acute anxiety and depression and was taken off work for a week. “They had me pet a dog,” he said.”
And then there’s this type of warmed-over journalism Ambien: the Post’s discovery that gee West Virginia is leaning deep red while Virginia is turning blue. Alex MacGillis’ dutifully dissects the trend but this is the type of dull story that the cable chat shows would dismiss in a quick segment. Everyone knows VA is trending for Obama—you don’t need to be Chuck Todd to know this is one musty piece!
You want a killer trend piece? You’ll find no better trend story than the New York Times’ Sunday entry on Obama supporters “adopting” his middle name—something Fox News never seems to fail to mention—out of solidarity:
“Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too….“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on dailykos.com.”
Judging by a google search, this is one trend story that’s going to stick around!