Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just like video games

This past Friday on the TV news, all the liberal cable channels were aghast at what Prince Harry had (apparently) just said, giving an interview (being badgered) standing by his dusty helicopter in Afghanistan (or recently in Afghanistan.) Helicopters of modern vintage have a dazzling array of automatic functions and blinking-light star wars consoles and so (to me) it seemed only natural to compare the operation of a chopper in combat as akin to playing a video game. Of course, this was in uber-poor taste for the prince to do: comparing the killing of Taliban to a sort of video game. He meant no harm. He was only trying to explain the process to a bunch of dumb reporters. But all the press and cable TV stations were aghast, as I say - their liberal jaws slack with unutterable shock, their sensibilities gripped with a horror too intense, too awful to describe. Oh! How they will assail him in the days to come, thinks I, as I watch the charming camo-clothed chubby red-haired munchkin use his index fingers and thumbs to illustrate how one goes about strafing assorted Taliban positions. Nothing was mentioned about the Taliban also shooting up at the prince, since the American press consider them to be simply misunderstood freedom fighters.

I left it for the TV news folk to translate what he said for me. Although I watched the film clip that accompanied the story, I couldn't understand two words in a row what the exuberant Captain Wales was saying, so I was forced to accept the newscasters' version. Where are those helpful subtitles under the picture when you really need them? Is he from the North of England? My American ears simply couldn't attune to his vocal cadence. I used to be able to understand him. Perhaps Afghanistan has introduced some sort of desert impediment. You think? Well, hell, it might have been me, I could have been partly to blame, as Jimmy Buffet is fond of singing.

But, speaking of killing one's enemies with disrespect, I must admit that I immediately thought of the American drones over Pakistan or wherever. These are "flown" by pilots sitting in front of TV monitors, reacting to the visual input of the drone, miles away, and controlling it with their various remote control joysticks. So how the heck is that different than killing your enemies like they were pawns in a video game?

I ask you.


  1. Maybe you could have found a more sycophantic (from the Latin) video but it would have been difficult.

    How long ago was it we were debating the trivialisation of death and killing because of videos and films? But it's all right because he's a royal, even if he don't speak proper. He's just trying to be one of the lads, innit?

    1. Well, I didn't really notice the prince acting obsequiously in the video clip. I went back and looked at it again after you mentioned it. He's not just one of the boys and I think he knows that very well, but at the same time I think he enjoys being treated as an equal in the privacy of his tent after a hard day of killing.

      May I say I don't agree with you that the press was shocked at him for "trivializing" war and killing? Just my opinion. What I got was that the press were shocked that he was not paying the Taliban the proper amount of respect the press thought the Taliban deserved. As for me, I thought he was paying them EXACTLY the proper amount of respect they deserve.

      I do see your point, though. But I want to make clear to all that in one of my previous posts on another blog about "culture of violence in america", I didn't think video games and gorey movies, etc., "trivialize" death and killing; I think they make susceptible minds THINK it's not real, in that in their mindes they might think they are not really killing actual people, killing them PERMANENTLY, unlike the movie or video game. Balanced minds are able to keep games and reality distinctly separate and not blurred.

      The prince, on the other hand, MAY have been trivializing killing his enemies, if he really thought it was like playing video games. I don't think he does. I must tell you, though (from experience) that a person in war MUST detach and compartmentalize his enemies as being just that, and not as being fellow good and honorable people. Else he couldn't kill them. If he thought the enemies of his country WERE simply good and honorable people just like him, he would desert and become a war protester. These are my opinions.

    2. I understand very well about compartmentalising experiences, very well. Doctors and surgeons do that too but they don't appear on television as figures of authority or of a certain standing and joke about it.

  2. Am I misunderstanding something here?
    I thought the reason 'we' were in afghanistan was to defeat the Taliban.
    And I thought the Taliban's avowed intention was to kill every foreigner who did not embrace te Taliban's cause?
    And I thought the whole point of apache helicopters was that they were killing machines.
    And killing machines, by definition, are operated by killers, who we recruit and train and pay to kill on our behalf.
    Harry does our work.

    Just what is upsetting people?
    That the queen's grandson is doing the job that we leave unquestioned when others do it?

    1. I don't think anyone is saying Harry shouldn't be shooting, and shooting to kill, but he shouldn't be trivialising what he does. It's not a video game, it's real.

    2. @Soubriquet - No. I think the press are upset at him because it doesn't BOTHER him enough to kill them. That he can still sleep nights. On the other side of the coin, I don't think I could sleep nights if I were a member of the lying media.

    3. @A. - Agreed. He should not explain to the press what he does and how he does it in those terms, even if that's the only way the press can grasp it. Incidentally, have you read the various responses by the Taliban to the thought that the prince considers them video game targets? They think he is unbalanced mentally. As if a crazy group who hangs women in public on soccer fields for showing their faces uncovered in public is the balanced group.

    4. Yes, of course, I've seen the Taliban's response. That was only to be expected of them.

    5. Having read a few versions of the widely syndicated interview, I think there's a false interpretation by the press, Harry points out that the time he spent playing video games is good training for the job he does, which involves assimilating information by manipulating views on a small screen, making rapid, judged, and accurate responses, which are input by joystick and keypad.
      He does not liken killing talibs to video-game kills, but no doubt it is pretty similar.
      Soldiers have always dehumanised the enemy, gallows humour is normal to them.
      The reality is, that he's been in an environment where a lot of people were trying to kill him, he's seen his fellow soldiers killed and maimed, sometimes by people who are supposed to be their alies, and he's seen the jubilation ang glee with which the taliban celebrate their killings.
      The attitude which he shows is not crowing about killing. It's far more subdued than we see in many movies. He's been doing his job, like all the other crewmembers who we don't interview.

      I am all for the taliban being killed with disrespect. And their bodies being buried in pig-shit.

      I do not believe we should have gone to war in afghanistan, but, once there, I think the idea of being fair and gentlemanly towards the enemy is ridiculous, kill them without quarter or compunction. use their own rules of war, i.e., none.

  3. The media like to jump on something; hold to it; wring its neck again and again and strangle it until there's no life left in it...and then they move onto the next thing they can do the same to. Harry said nothing out of place...the media were out of place, not him.

    The media should leave well enough alone. And what about that smart arse that followed up with a question to Harry about his family tree? What the hell did that matter to anything! Grrrrrrrrr! They're so often a waste of space...the media, that is! Professional journalism/reporting has gone with the wind!

    Stuff the Taliban! How dare they put themselves up as blameless angels, anyway!!!



Related Posts with Thumbnails