Friday, November 21, 2014

The W.W.I Christmas Truce As Sainsbury's Ad: Moving Or Offensive?

You are probably already familiar with the Christmas Truce in W.W.I, one or more events (historians are uncertain) along the Western Front in which British and German soldiers somehow arranged a brief cease-fire to exchange Christmas greetings, gifts and songs before returning to the trenches and resuming killing each other.

It can scarcely be debated that the event itself is deeply moving; what could possibly emphasize the contrast of war and peace more vividly than a holy if brief cessation of hostilities in the Great War. But when the Sainsbury's grocery chain released a TV ad depicting the best-known Christmas Truce event... sanitized to remove all references to violence, though otherwise conscientiously authenticated with The Royal British Legion, a veterans' group... all hell broke loose among those who disapproved of using their nation's history to sell confections and trinkets. You might say it caused as much of a stir as the exposure of a woman's breast in a Super Bowl ad.

I was moved by the ad, but then again, I was moved many years ago the first time I read of the event(s). The British reaction today is almost enough to make me believe there are two kinds of people, those who cannot live with war and those who cannot live without it. I suppose that is simplistic. But what else are we to think? It seems that for some people, war is sacred, and not to be tampered with in any way. [/shudder]

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