Ten Nobel Peace Laureates are up in arms (pardon the expression) about a new show on NBC called “Stars Earn Stripes.” In theory, at least, there is no such thing as bad press, but if there are any people you do not want publicly repudiating your work, it is Desmond Tutu and company. They have written an Open Letter to Mr. Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, General Wesley Clark (ret.), Producer Mark Burnett and others involved in “Stars Earn Stripes”, which unfortunately only snippets of are being quoted by most press. Here is a longer quote about the way our culture, so distantly removed from its actual horrors, allows the enormity of war to be trivialized:
It is our belief that this program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence. Military training is not to be compared, subtly or otherwise, with athletic competition by showing commercials throughout the Olympics. Preparing for war is neither amusing nor entertaining.
Real war is down in the dirt deadly. People—military and civilians—die in ways that are anything but entertaining. Communities and societies are ripped apart in armed conflict and the aftermath can be as deadly as the war itself as simmering animosities are unleashed in horrific spirals of violence. War, whether relatively short-lived or going on for decades as in too many parts of the world, leaves deep scars that can take generations to overcome – if ever.
Trying to somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition further calls into question the morality and ethics of linking the military anywhere with the entertainment industry in barely veiled efforts to make war and its multitudinous costs more palatable to the public.
The letter can be found, in its entirety, at the above link.