The 1%. Concpiracy theories. You have to look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and other essentially left movements, and the reactions, as part of a long history of who controls history and the agenda of the Western narrative. To this, there is the feeling that depictions of the past are often present prejudices and ideologies disguised and repackaged under new contexts. The battle over the great wars fought eventually becomes the struggle to control and disseminate history. A battle over interpretive context. At the extremes are the rhetoric of American participation as invoking the absolute and unquestionable values of liberty and freedom and the Naomi Klein style neo-Marxism of militarism being an extension of ruling class desires feeding the most conservative canons of capitalist ideology.
Watching a large demonstration yesterday of students protesting tuition hikes in public funded universities brought home the large chasm between left and right that rarely invokes the sense of middle ground. Their view of Canadian history differing wildly from other segments. The real battleground seems to be the relationship between historical fact, its interpretation in the media, its filtering through the prism of pop culture and then the way these are projected to a mass public in the age of the pundit.
Futility of unity, or the glory of distortion and fragmentation first hit me when watching a documentary on the CBC for The Valour and the Horror, a documentary on alleged incompetency of Canadian military leadership in WWII leading to thousands of needless deaths. The intensity of the emotions and the range of views touched the nerve of fantasy, idealism, national identity, the mechanisms of repression and disavowal and a host of ill-feeling. Part of the work seemed valid; but the majority was an effort to permeate the national narrative; in todays visual digital world, the McKenna brothers could be seen as producing a sophisticated political re-mix video that borrowed heavily on Chomsky, and Marcel Ophuls, The Sorrow and the Pity; agit-pop social realism with enough veneer of the plausible to keep attention. After all, television is an entertainment medium. Period.And t.v. entertainment, mass culture is soaked in kitsch, the sentimental and the drivel; there might be truth to be found at the back end of kitsch, but in the case of the documentary we see the aggressive side of pacifism….
In January 1992, The Valour and the Horror, the aforementioned docudrama by journalists Brian and Terence McKenna, shocked many. Given its claims that incompetent Canadian and British militaries had wasted Canadian lives, and that officials and historians had hidden this wrongdoing, Brian McKenna had thought “controversy” was probable. Despite winning national television awards, including best documentary, the CBC’s Ombudsman ruled, in late-1992, that the “flawed” series had not met network “policies and standards.” The McKennas failed to mollify critics as Brian, averring the issue was “about history and who gets to tell it,” labeled his research “bullet-proof,” and the Senate hearings a “smear job.”The McKennas argued the Ombudsman had not found “a single serious error in the entire six hours of television,” adding “our work is to be severely judged, not because of what we actually said, but because of the many other things Mr. Morgan and others wanted to hear that we did not say.”51Read More:http://www.journal.dnd.ca/vo11/no4/37-perras-eng.asp
The impression I get today is that the McKenna’s pacifism, and the pacifist values are just another form of elite bourgeois values. Pacifism as a sign of distinction. A creed of the ultra individualist and a certain selfishness and snobbery that reflects those aspects of bourgeois culture they most dislike. Call them the prophets of rational bourgeois illusion.
( see link at end) :…If one must find villains behind the Hong Kong debacle, one need merely look in the mirror. The guilty men were a Canadian society and government that starved its military forces for years on end and then one day sent them off against well-equipped enemies, in pursuit not of national interests defined by Canadian politicians but of international interests defined by external authorities. Hong Kong was not the first example of the phenomena or the last. It happened in the First and Second World Wars, in the Korean War and in the Gulf Conflict. The risk was taken in NATO and everywhere Canadians have served as UN peacekeepers. It is the Canadian way of war.
The Valour and the Horror had a catalytic impact. In January 1993, Britain’s Cabinet, irked by Canadian accusations of British perfidiousness, and Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s public denunciation in 1992 of Britain’s failure to hold Singapore in 1942, a catastrophe that had enveloped 20,000 Australians, acted. It unlocked Matlby’s unedited report and the Wavell Report on Singapore, which claimed cowardly and mutinous Australians had doomed Singapore, revelations that received prominent press coverage in Britain and Hong Kong. The Calgary Herald called Maltby a lying strategic bungler, Vincent told The Edmonton Journal that Canadians were “convenient scapegoats” for “the early fall of Hong Kong,” and The Vancouver Sun termed C Force’s dispatch “a suicide mission.” C Force veteran Sid Vale called Britis
oops “cowards” who hid “back at the hotel,” while Canadians fought. Globe and Mail columnist Michael Valpy charged it was “a toss-up who posed the greater threat to [Canadian troops] – the British and Canadian generals and politicians who sent them, or the Japanese.”Read More:http://www.journal.dnd.ca/vo11/no4/37-perras-eng.asp
The second episode, “Death by Moonlight: Bomber Command,” proved to be the most controversial of the three episodes. It details the blanket bombing of German cities carried out by Canadian Lancaster bombers, including the firestorm caused by the bombings of Dresden and Munich. The McKennas claim that the blanket bombing, which caused enormous casualties among both German civilians and Canadian aircrews, did nothing to hasten the end of the war, and was merely an act of great brutality with little military significance. In particular British commander Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris is cited for his bloodthirstiness.Read More:http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=valourandth