Just caught a snippet of Hack, on Triple J. It was obviously about ANZAC Day, asking young people what they think of the day.
I don’t know what the actual question was, but the responses I heard were along the lines of ‘I don’t agree with it because it’s, like, glorifying war and stuff (?) (the ? is because of the upwards inflection at the end of the sentence…’.
I don’t much care what your opinion of ANZAC Day is – well, I do, but I respect your right to hold any opinion (with all the usual caveats of respectfulness), but truly – have you not learnt? Do you not understand? There are so many things wrong with that statement – how could commemorating ANZAC Day, initiated to mourn the dead, celebrate war? And I thought that the aftermath of the peace protests against the Vietnam War had taught people to divorce soldiers, doing their job, from war as a concept – it has become trite, listening to American protests, but it really is possible to support and sympathise with soldiers while still protesting the war they are fighting.
I was mad at the ignorance. Now I’m just sad.
I’ve been thinking about class distinctions and their representations.
Actually, I started by thinking about war. How is this for degrees of separation?
— Reading Tomorrow, When the War began with my Yr9 class
— Doing war poetry at the end of this semester, to get them thinking about the realities
–Someone suggested watching something like Toy Soldiers, because it’s about a school taken over by terrorists.
— Sean Astin stars in it
— Sean Astin is also Sam Gamgee
— Thinking about explaining the relationship between Sam and Frodo, because I’m sure some would see it as at least hinting at homosexuality (“It’s me, Mr Frodo, your own Sam…”).
— Deciding I would say something like “It’s a sentimental, nostalgic take on the ideal relationship between a man and his closest servant” – which, thinking about it and then remembering Biggles, is often also attributed to an officer and his batman.
— “A MAN and his servant”?!?!
That’s when I realised that that phrase completely de-sexualises, and disempowers, the lower class. Quite a realisation.
As well, of course, I’m sure that it was mostly an upper-class idealisation; I wonder if the lower class visualisation would have had the two on a more equal footing?