February 29, 2008

Despite Foiled Media Extravaganza, Prince Harry Still Gets Majestic Kick Out Of Afghanistan, Thank God


In a series of interviews with the news media given during his deployment but not released until now, Prince Harry revealed that he had not washed in four days and that he was enjoying a life of semi-normalcy among regular soldiers.  — New York Times

While the Brits are up in arms about the media revealing, thus terminating, Prince Harry’s active duty in Afghanistan, The BAG sees it as fortuitous.

Beyond the fact of the deployment itself, what has consequently been revealed is the fact that the media — in collusion with the U.K. government and military — was busy stockpiling a treasure trove of photos and videos to glorify Harry’s exploits in anticipation of a media big bang.  To the extent the English establishment is in a snit, it’s over the inability now to formally leverage Harry’s pseudo-governmental and mega-celebrity status (not to mention, his sex appeal) to more singularly distract from the failing effort to stabilize Afghanistan and root out the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Regarding the stockpiling, specifically, this phallic, scrapbook-style “Prince with his 50 calibre machine gun” — one of the dozens and dozens of pics and videos that began randomly tumbling out yesterday — had been stored up by Reuters since January 2nd.

Prince-Harry-Afghanistan-3 Prince-Harry-Afghanistan-2

(click for full size)

Regarding the imagery itself, consider these two images and how they convert this barren war zone into a romantic background, facilitated by the sporting nature of the royals.  In the NYT quote above, also notice the use of the word “enjoy” as applied to Harry’s experience in-country, part of framing his presence in terms of a game.

Regarding this first pic, why shouldn’t war, as much as being hell, also be a ball?

The next shot shows Harry getting a push from a dark-skinned soldier in trying to start up an abandoned motorcycle.  More effective than a soccer playground is the analogy of this otherwise wasteland as a kind of motocross course.  And, with humping effectiveness, we get another romantic, adventurous piece of political misdirection, exercising the idea that the British hero — in a random act, and in spite of insufficient machinery — can somehow get things jump-started in this troubled land through a mere show of effort along with a little gamesmanship.

At least from this angle, the fact a media spectical was pre-empted before Harry could get home and formally kick off a circus seems a lot more noble than anything else going on here.

Harry Withdrawn From Afghanistan (NYT)

(images: John Stillwell/Pool/Reuters.  Helmland Province, Afghanistan.  January 2; February 18; and February 21, 2008, via YahooNews)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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