A look at the full numbers reveals at least 1.5 million killed serving their country, and at least 1.2 million wounded serving their country. Today, ours is not to evaluate the reasons, motives, or results involved in this butcher’s bill. It is simply to acknowledge the terrible cost, and to try and find simple, common ways to celebrate the nobility inherent in the sacrifice…and the hope that such sacrifice can be restricted forever to the pages of history.
It has been carved onto tombs, in the catacombs, and on headstones for more than 1,000 years. And just as it is a simple matter to draw a rudimentary fish symbol, and “x” drawn for an English speaking audience has been a clear indication for more than 500 years that the person making the mark was a Christian.
And if A&E doesn’t need my viewing to be profitable, then it shouldn’t program to my taste. But fans of A&E and Duck Dynasty should stop demanding that I not express my free speech. My feelings about the consequences attendant to fundamentalist religion and its expression are every bit my right to express as Robertson’s feelings. And I have every bit the same right to tell A&E I won’t watch their programs as the fans of Duck Dynasty have to defend their favorite character. I don’t like or agree with the sentiments expressed on that show, and by the patriarch of that show in other forums. As a consequence, I will encourage others I know not to patronize the network.
In Tolkien, these filmmakers were given a treasure-trove of story-telling; action, adventure, poetry, allegory. As Peter Beagle wrote, Tolkien gave “our most common nightmares, daydreams, and twilight fancies…a place to live, a green alternative to each day’s madness here in a poisoned world.”
With The Desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson has given us back to the poisoned world, and embraced again the madness of violence for the sake of blood, explosions for the sake of fire, and technology for the sake of profit.