This last weekend, the U.S. media arsenal went all out in their yearly pseudo-patriotic orgies known as “Memorial Day coverage”; proclaiming every man or woman to have worn a uniform to be our “heroes”. We saw flag graphics sweeping across our screens or bald eagles animations bringing us the latest on whatever ceremony was being performed to reassure that America is a beacon of righteousness in an otherwise dark and evil world. The bleached hair, bleached teeth, and bleached content all there to comfort us as we cheer grenades landing in children’s cribs halfway across the world. President Obama congratulated the troops of current and previous wars, citing their protection of some nebulous concept of freedom – a concept he works daily to curtail in each of our lives. This is Memorial Day, fuck yeah.
However, something seemingly went wrong on Sunday, when MSNBC Chris Hayes briefly broke out of his fugue and muttered, “It is, I think, very difficult to talk about the war dead, the fallen, without invoking valor, without invoking the word ‘heroes’… I feel uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’ because it seems to me it is so rhetorically proximate to justification for more war… it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic.” How the hell did MSNBC not immediately cut the broadcast after such an astonishingly honest statement was allowed to air on a corporate-powered news outlet? Cheering on war is not only good for ratings, but profitable for all its parent companies. Whatever the reasons, that such an honest statement was allowed to come out, on Memorial Day, of all days, is pretty amazing.
Rest assured, that the honest sentiment was immediately squashed by inane, brainless faux-patriotism. Hayes’ peers, seemingly terrified at such an honest statement started belching out canned statements to assure their masters that they harbored no such sentiments. But Hayes was right, they aren’t heroes. War isn’t heroic, it is an abomination. That people who directly profit from making war own the television channels that romanticize the act should tell us all we need to know. They need us to keep dying in order to improve profits.
Of course, Hayes immediately apologized for his independent thought, and squeezed himself back into the fold of child-like patriotism. While Hayes may be intelligent enough to recognize the utter bullshit is is forced to convey on whatever programs he hosts, he is not honest enough to let you know it.