Wednesday, 25 November 2009
CHRONICLES OF RUIN, WHAT THE PAPERS SAY
The Filth-o-graph presents itself as stern protector of traditional values, applause in church, for instance, would be de trop, were it not happening at the funeral of Bill Deedes’ twilight years' sweetheart, Diana, Princess of Wales or, to-day, at the funeral of Staff Sergeant Olaf Shmid, following the oration from his widow, Mrs Shmid, then the unspeakable gaffe, applause in God’s house, becomes the New Tradition. This is the thing with the Filth-o-graph, Tradition is whatever you can get away with. It is a tradition at the Filth-o-graph that nieces and mistresses and mistresses’ nieces are given columns in which to write fucking drivel; it is tradition at the Filth-o-graph that gobby, idle layabouts like Simon Heffer work themselves up to near-heart attack apoplexy over vague nuances in taxation of the poor in favour of the rich among braying Tory arseholes, as if it mattered. It could be a rider, below the gothic mast head, The Daily Telegraph, as if it mattered.
But it does matter in that a once fiecely patriotic, love-it-or-hate-it, principled, right-wing journal now panders to the mawkish cognoscenti of Ruin; that a macabre spectacle in Truro Cathedral, redolent of East Enders, is reported by the Filth-o-graph as evidence of national character.
Sgt Shmid’s widow addressed the nation, largely about herself, from the cathedral lectern thus.
”I have chosen to speak because to look on us as husband and wife was an understatement. He said we were a unit.
”In my eyes my husband, my son’s father, was a warrior. Warrior are unique; our protectors, not destroyers.
"Oz and troops like him join to serve traditional warrior values; to passionately protect the country they love, its ideals, and especially their families, communities and each other.
“In past conflicts, where there was an immediate threat to our shores and our existence, soldiers were never plagued with self doubt about the value of their role in society, and a people and their soldiers were once close to unity.
“We might disagree with a war, however I hope through Oz’s death and my public appreciation and our community’s display of respect here today can serve to bridge that gap and unite us once more with our troops.
“I would personally like to thank you all for coming here today and showing your support
“All the families of lost or injured servicemen should expect our peacemakers to show they are working as hard as Oz did to preserve life.
“For the present, too many die, too many veterans exist in silence and too many are left with horrific disabilities while the rest of the community proceed as if it is business as usual.
“My husband’s death means it can never be business as usual again for our son and I. There is just too much that time cannot erase.
“Most of you will know Oz the joker, always up for a giggle. However, I lived with a very different man, particularly in the past 18 months when I have stood by him through what he described as his toughest, darkest challenge ever.
“When he felt compromised, overwhelmed or threatened, I’ve wiped his tears, pulled him up, and fought his fears for him.
“Becoming his widow has been the hardest thing I have ever done with him. I am fiercely loyal to serve him in death as I did when he was alive, however much it is breaking me.
“Hopefully he is watching and knows he is the only man who will have all of me.
“Oz lived and stood for something he believed in. In the end he paid the ultimate sacrifice for those beliefs.
“We now have a duty to not just honour what he stood for, but to live lives which honour the sacrifice he made. Please do not allow him to die in vain.”
“Becoming his widow is the hardest thing I have ever done with him,” is a line of bewildering, contradictory self-indulgence which betrays the shallow, trivial mawkishmess of her utterances almost as much as does the subsequent. “I am fiercely loyal to serve him in death as I did when he was alive, however much it is breaking me.” No business like show-business, eh?
Becoming a widow or a widower is hard for all who experience it, harnessing the event to some specious, catch-all endorsement of some airy-fairy warrior code and suborning the respect of those attending, claiming it represented “support” for her, rather than a separate, formal, obligatory respect for her late husband’s sacrifice, degraded the whole business further; the service and the public presence wasn’t about her and her betrayed marital secrets, it was about him, her function was mourner-in- chief, fortified by family, friends and regiment; hers, not to reason why.
If, in order to appreciate him, we need to be told of his private fears and tears then the bomb disposal cxpert - surely the coolest, boldest, steeliest, most self-negating of soldiers - is in the wrong game. If we cannot automatically and immediately value the duties undertaken by Olaf Shmid and give thanks for him and those like him then clapping like savages in church will not help us.
Olaf Shmid was rather more valuable than one half of a latterday John and Yoko. Rather than falling victim to self-indulgent specatacle and sentimentality, citizens theatrically mourning the dead might profit from asking themselves if they are among those who, not once, not twice but thrice voted for the jackanapes Blair and the ghastly Imelda, licensing them thus to squander, for personal glory and wealth, the lives of Olaf Shmid and Oh, so many others.