War! What is it good for? Everything

Trumps war and dead cats

The dramatic moments US destroyers launched Tomahawk missiles on Syrian bases. In fleeting moments multi narrative themes ala Babel (2006) also detonate:

The daughter of the 45th president’s tweet. Did this cause a change in heart for 45? The Syrian gas attack. The president points to this as his moral obligation to act on a red lines being crossed. Mar-a-Lago estate: as the missiles were heading to their target, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would have been onto their desert — chocolate cake with vanilla sauce and dark chocolate sorbet or a sorbet trio. Xi’s presence was a dream photo shoot for the US admin, though privately the Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor reports he’d be angry. Then there’s Edwin Starr!

Starr’s 1970 song “War” resonates loud. A number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s considered one of the most popular protest songs. Storytelling is making meaning out of events, threading presumed cause and effect — sometimes obscured, other times so obvious.

“War” opening Motown the Musical in London’s West End is writ large. To its lyrics then, which is as follows. The annotations are my own.

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely * delete, nothing *

[It’s the media foil in pursuit of stories. It lays down a relentless stream of possibilities for media narratives effectively shutting out other topics.]

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing [ see above]
Say it again, why’all

War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely *delete, nothing, listen to me *

[For politicians it is the equivalent of a dead tom cat. Dead cat is a phrase coined by Sir Lynton Crosby — a political strategist who has successfully managed campaigns in several countries e.g UK, Australia etc. In a nutshell, placing a dead cat on the table during a heated debate makes everyone stop in their tracks. The dead cat is a distraction but also carries enough alt narrative to attract the media and silence any other stories that viewed in the context of conflict appear momentarily inconsequential]

Oh, war, I despise
[ Many of us do. Is there any reasons to go to war? Truman says dropping the A-bomb halted a pro-longed war]

’Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again

War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind

[Perhaps, more so, if you remember what war is like. Ben Ferencz, 97, the last surviving prosecutor at the Nazi Nuremberg trials says. “We have not learned that you cannot kill an ideology with a gun,”

War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants…

[ the oncoming days will tell us. The likelihood is there will be a response from the Syrian side, whether aided by its allies. The chess piece then turns back to the US, who won’t war to be seen as weak either. War?]

Written by

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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