They would have loved it

In the latest version of confected horror at Anzac exploitation social media has got very upset about Bauer Media’s Zoo magazine’s Anzac  edition featuring a scantily clad model Erin Pash (nudge nudge wink wink).

Now the blog sadly has not heard of the magazine, nor the online controversy about its Anzac edition, but Australia’s pre-eminent issues and crisis management scholar, Dr Tony Jaques, brought it to the blog’s attention. The details can be found at Tony , by the way, monitors emerging issues rather than being a Zoo reader.

Online comments have described the issue as ‘disgusting’ among other things and there is speculation about whether the Anzac thought/marketing police, led by Minister Ronaldson, will do anything about it.

But having served with rank and file soldiers (plus NCOs and Officers) in combat zones the blog can’t help but thinking that the average soldier might have loved it. The Victorian Arts Centre currently has an exhibition in its foyer of entertainment for soldiers from WWI to today. The WWI stuff has lots of recordings of songs for light baritones and Dame Nellie but by the time we get to Vietnam you see photographs of Diggers at Luscombe Base in Nui Dat salivating over Little Pattie and other scantily clad female performers juxtaposed with moderately serious enjoyment of male performers such as Col Joye.

As for the WWI veterans we ought to remember that Australians rioted in, and burned down part of, Cairo’s red light district. The official version is that the causes and effects are complex and the reason and guilt is not proven as the Scots say. It could well have  been racist, it could have been over-pricing for gullible Australians – or it could have been something else again. At least it was not as clear cut as the WWII Brisbane riots against African-American US soldiers. Whatever happened in Cairo the blog is sure all those involved would have loved to see the latest edition of Zoo. Equally many of the gunners the blog served with in Vietnam would also have loved them – and probably did love something similar given the relatively benign censorship of mail during that conflict. C.J. Dennis’ Ginger Mick was a larrikin as well as a hero and, but for the implicit censorship of the day, might have in real life, if not poetically, enjoyed some nude pix even if, like the Bloke, he might have had a very decorous courtship of his Doreen if he had survived.

What is clear is the Gallipoli myth making is out of control.

In their advance on Berlin the Russians raped everything they came across – women, men, animals – as well as stealing everything that wasn’t tied down  and destroying what was. We now know that the Yanks in France were no slouch in the rape field and that by the time they got to Germany they used the Occupational universal currency, cigarettes, to ‘buy’ sexual favours from starving German women.

The Anzacs never did anything remotely like that, other than rioting in a red light zone, but we can rest assured that many of them loved naughty French postcards and would have loved, even more, Zoo magazine. The Anzacs don’t need protection against that reality.