The Air Force not long ago made the wise decision to kill off its embarrassingly gaudy travelling show choir. [Watching the abject whining that ensued was the most fun I’ve had legally in years]. The move saved $10M year in unjustified waste, and was long overdue. But somewhere along the way, the service idiotically concluded that even without the defunct troupe, the staff who ran it should still be employed by the American taxpayer. Consistent with our collective moral elasticity, no one could be bothered to disagree.
That staff is now doing what staffs do. Pissing away money, effort, and focus while defiling the service image and culture. The Air Force Entertainment staff, “led” by Mr. Tom Edwards, traces its morbid path to destiny in a particular way: by serving as a magnetic touchstone for musically inclined narcissists who seem utterly confused about why — or even that — they’re in the Air Force … but are happy to trade their stripes for a marginal gain in notoriety.
Case in point: James Pratt, a self-described Indie Acoustic enthusiast and aspiring John Mayerite who is allegedly also a Senior Airman. He recently made a public appeal on Facebook begging for YouTube clicks for his entry in something called the Air Force Entertainer of the Year competition. Most people don’t have the foggiest idea what this is. Nor should they.
Here’s a snippet sent in by a JQP follower, which reveals that Pratt sponsored his post with some amount of money.
Now, who cares if the kid uses cash to rig this so-called competition. Just as squirrels climb trees, attention-seekers use every tool at their disposal to get and keep the spotlight on themselves. And after all, you’d have to care about the competition to care about who wins it or how … which means statistically no one cares who wins it or how.
But what is most striking is how the Air Force Entertainment staff has once again been found lurking in the weird shadows of service life, like a cockroach scuttling out from under the rubble of a successful airstrike, doing things that impact the public image and stature of the Air Force in odd and often unfavorable ways. We should want the American public to know our service and its people for their world-class lethality, technical expertise, and devotion to sending scores of enemies to hell. Not for their quirky personal habits or off-duty aspirations. Not because they fell a little hard for their own karaoke machines.
This sort of claptrap draws all the wrong sorts of people and gets them yapping about all the wrong things. In Pratt’s biography submitted for the competition, he discusses the piano, the guitar, playing music in coffee shops, future performances on Broadway or on The Voice, and even his opportunity to meet Tom Edwards “because he has done so much and he is so inspirational.” Fair enough, given Edwards is basically the Grand Moff Tarkin of the Air Force musical weenie crowd.
But what jumps off the page is that Pratt’s only mention of being in the Air Force is his enthusiasm to leave it at the end of his enlistment. And this is the guy we roll out in front of a crowd and promote to the public.
Who are these people who join our service and then mistake their personal hobbies for dedication to it? No answer to the question, but there will be fewer of them when we stop paying people a government salary to lord over nonsense like this and pretend it has any connection whatsoever to our military mission. This isn’t doing anything for our communities. It’s simply bolstering Edwards’ well-established and bulbous vanity while lubricating the masturbatory impulses of others. Not only that, this is just waste. We’re not in a Cold War sized Air Force anymore. We’re running lean and don’t have people or cash to spare. Distractions and frills need to be ended. All of them. If it causes the Pratts of the world to leave us, someone will step in. This is, after all, the official attitude about our most highly trained operators.
Edwards and his gaggle of overpaid miscreants are believers in their skeevy little scene. As long as they are legitimized with a budget, they’ll keep trying to revive Tops in Blue under other names. Names like “Entertainer of the Year.” And like moths to a flame, lattee-slurping John Mayer wannabes will continue to be drawn in.
Is the video any good?
In the immortal words of many performance reports: “Best seen to date. Continue to challenge.”