Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Military Wives, selective lives

'Tis the season to be wary.

Wary, that is, of festive militarism.

As if crass commercialism of the season wasn't enough, the naked media promotion of the Military Wives single this Christmas shows just how effective cultural propaganda can be in sanitising 'our' warmongering abroad.  

The militarisation of Christmas is not new, but it's intensifying as entertainment shows fall into uniform line in support of the 'war effort'.

Besides the craven promotion of their song by BBC reporters and assorted celebrities, Military Wives have had multiple media outings, including  an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

In similar vein, ITV's Michael Buble Christmas show featured a wounded serviceman returned from Afghanistan, with a gushing Buble praising 'our selfless soldiers' and dedicating a song to him and his partner.

Just try to imagine the BBC or ITV openly promoting an anti-war Christmas song.

Who would deny the personal difficulties faced by these women and their partners? But did they or their media sponsors ever stop to think of the suffering experienced by invaded Iraqis or Afghans? As ever, it seems that only 'our' pain and separation is to be chorused.

Jonathan Freedland has tried to rationalise his support for the song by comparing it favourably to the formulaic X Factor output that usually makes Number 1. He also regards it as an uplifting statement of good in our stricken, austere times.  If only Freedland were to shine a little comparative compassion on the victims and families at the receiving end of Britain's foreign endeavours.

Indeed, it's a sign of the times that the apparent choice is between contrived commercial product or contrived militarist product.

Ah, well.

It'll all be over by Christmas.

Joyeux Noël


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