In the Metro yesterday, I walked past a poster for the new How-we-killed-Bin-Laden film, Geronimo. Perhaps it’s indicative of our culture that at first I thought it was a poster for a video game.
More importantly, the poster (and the film, which I have no intention of seeing) was trying to invoke a stereotype; that of a small group of brave men, succeeding against all odds on a desperate mission. Except, of course, that the only desperate part of this mission was when some idiot managed to crash a helicopter. The rest of it, involving the assassination of a frail and unarmed man with no protection, was about as heroic as the assassination of Martin Luther King, which I see is being commemorated this week.
But it’s intuitively hard to think like that, of course, so the stereotype comes to govern the reality, and we convince ourselves that this was a brave and noble endeavour. It’s no wonder the leader of the assault team has asked for public sympathy: would you feel very heroic if you’d just shot an unarmed old man three times?