Wednesday, November 17, 2004

PC to the point of stupidity

Jim Lileks, in this morning's bleat:


"But what do I know. I’m so out of touch I saw that picture of the Marlboro Man
soldier and did not instantly fire off a letter to the editor protesting this
flagrant and unhelpful depiction of – what’s the word? - reality. Some did, of course. (One of many examples I've seen about.) For God’s sake, if Patton were alive today he’d be slapping civilians. Granted, we’re talking about a select stratum of the population whose undies come pre-bunched, but even by their standards this is ridiculous. You get the sense that this was the last straw for some – it’s bad
enough that we have soldiers in Iraq (if we have to have soldiers AT ALL) but to
have conspicuously smoking soldiers just rubs their nose in it all. It’s stuff
like this that makes the standard imagery of WW2 look like dispatches from an
alternate dimension, and makes you wonder how the modern media might have
covered WW2. You can well imagine the reports from Normandy: the reporter would
have his back to the sea so the camera caught the wreckage, the metal flotsam,
the blasted craft and bobbing bodies. The terrible toll of this horrible day. At
the end of the report the camera might have swung around to see the beach we had
secured, and the Nazi positions high above we’d taken, but that would be an
asterisk to the Dreadful Cost that led Many to Wonder whether this Invasion was
not a Gamble whose Final Cost was Yet to be Tallied, etc. Close-up on a soldier
shivering on the sand, sucking down a Camel. Cue the letter to the
Herald-Examiner from an anti-smoking activist: it is ironic that we continue to
associate cigarettes with heroism and manliness, when that soldier faces far
more danger from his cigarette than from the upcoming battles in the hedgerows,
the attempt to take French villages, the desperate push to unite the front and
deal with the German tanks held in reserve, the frigid hell of Bastogne and the
messy sniper-salted drive to Berlin. And why do we have to show the soldiers
with guns? What sort of message does this send? It should be no surprise that
our children play Allies and Nazis these days, instead of Ministers and
Diplomats. "

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