Monday, June 13, 2011

What is it Good For? Absolutely....Something.

Embedded journalism has lost both its impact and its credibility in this post-Wikileaks age. Reporters who strap on body armor and go on patrol with the troops may be getting the "total experience" but as we all know, that experience gets thoroughly cleansed, edited and sterilized before being disseminated to a public that is increasingly apathetic regarding the war in Afghanistan.

Sebastian Junger wants to change that with War, and for the most part he succeeds. He wisely avoids all the political controversy surrounding this conflict, and shines the journalistic spotlight where it belongs: On the kids who are fighting and dying every day. This is the human story behind the headlines. The kind of story that cuts both ways: Flag waving patriots will be moved by the against-all-odds sacrifice, while left-leaning humanists will be appalled by the barbarity and senseless death.

Junger's enthusiasm for all things military can be a bit exasperating, however. I couldn't help rolling my eyes at his "ain't-that-cool" descriptions of weapons, tactics and the manly men who employ them. On some levels this is shameless War Porn  in the same vein of  Blackhawk Down  by Mark Bowden. But that's okay, because War Porn, just like conventional porn can be a lot of fun. As long as it's not TOO MUCH fun. If you catch my meaning.

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