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Fetish for the armed forces

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:58 pm 
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It's infuriated for me years how highly regarded Britain's armed forces are by the right-wing media. It sees them not just as gallant, but, quite seriously, paragons of all that is good. They enjoy hero-like status.

At a time when just about every other group of people (apart from the Glorious Middle Class) is traduced in the press, the media gaze upon our beloved troops with open-mouthed awe.

They are continually singled out for applause, regardless of what they do. They are, apparently, worthier than anybody else. They are 'the finest of the fine', 'the bravest of the brave', and 'the best of British'.

Cheesy, gushing cliches abound. All a bit tiresome. I stress that, however brave 'our boys' might be, it is wrong to congratulate them whilst so many other decent people who make a vital contribution to the country are not.

Teachers, trade unionists, long-serving local councillors, NHS staff, other public servants, by virtue of their numbers, make a prodigious contribution to people's lives in this country, which we would hugely struggle without.

So let's hear them get some equally resounding praise. It's just all a bit unfair (and extremely imperialistic) how no one is placed on the same plain as the armed forces, who seem to enjoy unrivalled admiration.

To the right, the armed forces must take precedence over everybody else. They are always hailed as the country's finest, with right-wing leaders, like our Dave, cringeworthily bending over backwards to praise and help them.

Really gets on my nerves. Things like this infuriate me: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... diers.html.

Are there no one else he thinks could do with some government assistance more urgently? If there's money in the pot to give 'our boys' a raise, why's he not protecting public servants' salary, or increasing benefit.

Bastard. Same goes for all those Tory thugs, sorry, 'our boys', whooping and cheering behind him. They really are mouthy, bigoted, cocksure, nasty pieces of work, with attitutes towards the poor and vulnerable more appalling than the Daily Mail.

Can't stand them.

Am I alone?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Matthew Parris wrote an excellent article on this topic a while ago:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 953923.ece

Amazingly - published in a Murdoch paper! My favourite quote of the whole piece:
Quote:
We have also lost a comparable number of employees in the farming and construction industries — about 90 last year, also killed, if you will, in action. But we do not define these trades in terms of death or sacrifice; we do not count the coffins; they do not come to one place. Viewed over the last half century and in coolly statistical terms, a young person’s decision to sign up for the Armed Forces has not invited a greater career risk of death or serious injury than the decision to sign up for a career in railway lineside track maintenance.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:09 pm 
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Very interesting.

We really do need to stop viewing the military as this virtuous, vital force for good.

In a capitalist/imperialist nation, their purpose for existence is hardly to defend the country.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:12 pm 
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Hear hear!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:12 pm 
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I noticed that the Sun managed to crowbar the phrase "Our Boys" (God I detest that phrase so much) into todays front page in a story about the World Cup. I suppose it was inevitable, but even so...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:15 pm 
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It's so we, or rather DM readers, can pretend to be ALMOST as good as the WW2 fetishists. Of course we lesser mortals can never really aspire to the heights of virtue that just having been alive before August 1945 confers, but we can pretend we are.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:40 pm 
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Aha, the fable of the "War Veteran", usually seen doing battle with evil councils or the BBC.

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"They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say...let 'em crash."
- "Counter Point", Airplane! (1980)

Things can only get better.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:35 pm 
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A relative of mine is in the army. He was a thoroughly objectionable little sh*t as a kid and as a teenager, and thick as a brick. I will admit that being in the army has improved him, mainly because he can't get away with at least some of the unpleasantness, but the thought that I'm supposed to regard him as a living saint just because of his job really sticks in my gullet.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:02 am 
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Oh yeah, they're generally crude, rude, cocky and god-damn racist.

It's just bizarre how we're meant to view them as the most virtuous, worthy souls in the land.

Especially when so many other decent, respectable people who are overlooked, or even seen as troublesome and undesirable (e.g. teachers).

And I really don't understand the comparison to 'our boys' in every situation to determine whether or not we should take the other group/person in question's predicament seriously.

'Oh lefty teachers are striking whilst 'our boys' are dodging bullets in Afghanistan. :roll:

The armed forces, especially the army, is filled with the lowest of the low whose trade of administering violence reflects a pretty odious, unhinged character. You really wouldn't want to bump into one of them.

They are NOT heroes. They're generally the most louty louts you could imagine. Yet the darlings of the nation.

That mean old IRA shooting the brilliant little cherubs. :( They're only vile little fannies occupying another country who hold sheer contempt for its inhabitants and even expect unquestioning support from them.

Don't get me started on the Mail and Bloody Sunday. Oh the innocent Catholics were killed shared their nationality with Republican 'terrorists' so that's okay. We wouldn't want to be seen to give in to them.

SCUM. I HATE THEM SO MUCH!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:49 am 
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Or as I call them "Meat Shields"......


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:37 am 
It's hardly surprising that the Army attracts racists given that their reason of being is to kill foreigners.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:51 am 
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The first thing to bear in mind is that our army is 'regular', that it is a 100% volunteer force, no conscription. Therefore soldiers are selected and trained to be efficient killers. This is not a characteristic much required by librarians and English teachers.
The pay for this dangerous work isn't great. So most volunteers are people with either few career options, or those looking for practical qualifications. One of the most important functions of the Army Education Corps used to be teaching squaddies to read - I think things have changed, but I'm not sure if they've changed much.
Most other ranks are from relatively underpriviliged working-class communities.

The purpose of the army is to protect the nation - however that is defined by the government of the day. That essentially means kill or be killed wherever the high command says, so that Joe Public doesn't have to.

So soldiers tend to be rather direct characters, rough by the more genteel standards of middle England. Men hired to do very nasty jobs and possibly lay down their lives.

Once upon a time that was the key characteristic in the public consciousness, until problems arose.

You probably know 'Tommy' by Rudyard Kipling:

Quote:
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

...

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

...

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


We're in 'saviour of the country' territory at the moment.
Oh - that and it sells newspapers...

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:00 am 
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I'm from a family with its fair share of people in uniform (mainly navy), and I know plenty of people in the forces.

At their best, they're practical, positive, upbeat, have a keen sense of humour, and can show real innovation and initiative. At their worst, they are bullying, self-important twats.

A few months ago I joined a facebook group that basiaclly made light of Wootton Bassett and the sudden awe in which it is held (although to me it's Grief Tourism, no morally better than the twunts snapped in deckchairs enjoying a nice day out in Soham looking at the floral tributes back in 2002). I then got a lot of messages from acquaintances in the army, ranging from "Actually not that funny, please leave this group" to "U R F**KIN DED!!!! ANDI U TWAT!".

I think a large part of the Tabloids' (all of them) attitude is armchair generalship. Their readers know that the closest they'll ever get to combat is watching Saving Private Ryan or playing Medal of Honour. They also like the perceived simplicity of soldiering - you have gun, you see raghead, you shoot raghead. Tabloids like simplicity. They hate systems and processes that dominate most areas of work and general life. It's why anyone who seems to be a bit too comfortable with them is labelled a 'saddo' or 'nerd'.

Look at the things that the Tabs frequently work themselves into a lather about - the miliatry, organised crime, and sport. All are painted as very simple worlds, where men are men, there's no 'mucking about', and all the time, it's action action action. It's partly LSO (Living Soap Opera) again - reduction of everything to the most basic and easy-to-follow, with none of that complicated "Well actually it doesn't quite work like that" stuff going on.

For al they moan about dumbing down, the tabloids are more guilty of it than anyone else.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:58 am 
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The armed forces do a usualy worthwhile job, and they don't have much say in how they do it. There are good ones and bad ones in there. 'Twas always thus. But this is the first time that the army in particular is held in such shining reverence - Help for Heroes, Wootton Basset and the like - and I do wonder how much of this is because they're off fighting Them Muslims.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:32 am 
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Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
The pay for this dangerous work isn't great. So most volunteers are people with either few career options, or those looking for practical qualifications. One of the most important functions of the Army Education Corps used to be teaching squaddies to read - I think things have changed, but I'm not sure if they've changed much.
Most other ranks are from relatively underpriviliged working-class communities.


This is something i don't understand. Normally people from such communities get a great deal of sympathy from traditional Labor
supporters. Why is it different if they are in the armed forces? I agree that the 'our boys' line is getting a bit out of hand, but I don't see any problem with 'Help for Heros', or any of the other charities collecting for wounded servicemen. If you don't like the idea, don't give them money, but don't attack them for wanting to help people.

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