Monday, August 24, 2009

Gay slur on our veterans?

A little long winded this posting but please bare with the Papa as he traverses this important topic.
For those of you familiar with my blog Papa Nui says... you will know that I'm a son of a WWII Veteran. My father served in the South Pacific, in the islands, New Guinea and the Solomons at a time when the security of Australia and New Zealand was directly threatened by the Japanese in their ambitious quest for Pacific domination. At this stage most of our resources were committed to the defence of British Colonial interests in the Middle East and so a handful of ill prepared, ill equipped and ill trained troops were left to stand between the Japanese sweep down through South Asia Asia and onto our doorsteps.
It was a tenacious struggle to stop the onslaught, but our troops inflicted the first defeat on the invading forces on the rugged slopes of the Kokoda Track in New Guinea. It was a major setback for the Japanese who at this point had not encountered a determined foe. Britain had already abandoned Australia and New Zealand to its own defences after its own half hearted efforts in Singapore and so with American intervention and routing success of the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Australasian region was secured as a forward base of operations for the regaining of the the South Pacific. It became a haven for the training and an embarkment point for the US Marines in their amphibious operations further up in the Pacific. Many more years would pass before our region was completely secured in Victory.
It is with great pride that I acknowledge my fathers part in this momentous event in history. His efforts and those of his generation is what underpins Australia in the modern world. Our involvement as a small nation in the major conflicts of WWI and WWII is a legacy that every Australian holds dear and true. It is our national identity that was forged in these trying times.
It is no wonder then that the Papa has grown up to respect those ideals handed down to him. Over the years these ideals have manifested themselves in Papa's interests; amateur historian, vintage collector of militaria, hawaiiana and the like. To feed those interests the Papa is prone to spend many hours perusing Ebay in the hope that he'll be able to acquire some unusual collectable from his chosen genre. It is at this point that the real nature of this posting is revealed.
The Papa has uncovered a very disturbing trend. That is; the use as a marketing tool and descriptor heading' the term, 'Gay Interest'.

There is nothing wrong with this term in itself, perhaps even relevant when used to promote the sale of a naturalists nudist periodical or vintage men's health photography from an era of innocence. The fact however that its common usage is now applied to photo images of our WWII veterans is nothing less than extremely irreverent and offensive.To insinuate or suggest that a group of shirtless GI's enjoying a unique moment of camaraderie earned under the the most gruelling, adverse and violent conditions is not only insidious but highly inflammatory. It makes a complete mockery of what these men have endued to survive and of that unique bond of men in war. It trivialises the actions of those very individuals who have fought and died together to ensure our freedoms.
At a time when men are constantly encouraged by modern society to embrace our nurturing side and our humanity our efforts are being undermined by slanderous references to our masculinity. It offends the Papa deeply.
A recent letter to an ebay seller who uses the term 'Gay Interest', resulted in some typical accusing anti-gay rhetoric in response. The seller totally missing the point. In today's workplace we have ethical standards to uphold. One of these is a diatribe about the vilification of others based on sexual preference. This is a good thing too as we should all be free to pursue our choices of expression. This is a freedom for which we should be thanking our veterans. However who will defend them? There comes a time when some cross the line as in the point I'm making. Should we allow dispersions cast upon our veterans because its trendy to see male bonding as an effeminate quality? The Papa thinks not and finds it derogatory and defamatory. The Papa intends to defend those veterans whose images are soiled by the quaintness of the title 'Gay Interest'. The Papa will be heard!

To incense the Papa even further, the other day he watched a particularly remarkable German film, called Napola. Set in WWII it followed the lives of two German teenage boys at an exclusive Hitler Jugen school. The first had won a scholarship for his prowess as a pugilist the other a shy sensitive literary type, had gained entrance because his father was a high ranking party official. Against the background of a Nazi education based on fearlessness and duty and the right of the strong to control the weak, a heart wrenching story emerges about humanity and the hidden evils of the Reich. Thinking that this would be a good film to own for a second viewing, the Papa decided to see if it was available on Ebay. No surprises here, the descriptor stated, 'Gay Interest'. What the fuck, that was the last straw for the Papa. The very moment masculinity discovers compassion, humility or understanding some idiot out in the cyber world starts flying the gay sympathy flag. The Papa is over it totally.

On the one hand many of us oppose the herd mentality of men, a world of sports, beer and little dress sense and yet the moment we turn our backs on these stereotypes the integrity of our sexuality comes into question.
In light of this discourse the Papa has only one comment,"Go Fuck Yourselves!"

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