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Battle of Trafalgar goes PC!

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  • Battle of Trafalgar goes PC!

    LONDON, May 22 (AFP) - Admiral Horatio Nelson may have guided the British naval fleet to a famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, but he faces a far tougher foe during celebrations to mark its 200th anniversary -- the massed forces of political correctness.
    According to a newspaper report on Sunday, organisers of a re-enactment of the sea battle next month have decided to bill it as between a "Red Fleet" and a "Blue Fleet", rather than Britain and its French and Spanish adversaries.
    This is being done to avoid the embarrassment of assembled French dignitaries at the event feeling humiliated by watching their nation routed again, The Sunday Times said.
    Official literature for the planned event next month will also be toned down, describing the extravaganza as a re-enactment not of Trafalgar but of "an early 19th century sea battle".
    The plan is for a mass of tall sailing ships gathered off the southern English coast near Portsmouth, Nelson's home base, to create a spectacular fake battle using pyrotechnics, lights and special effects.
    A series of events are planned as part of the "Trafalgar 200" celebrations in the months leading up to the bicentenary of the battle itself, on October 21, 2005.
    Trafalgar, in which the British Royal Navy saw off a combined Franco-Spanish fleet off the southern coast of Spain, marked a crucial defeat for Napoleon's sea power.
    Nelson himself fell during the battle, mortally wounded by a French sharpshooter.
    The decision to remove all mention of nationality from the re-enactment had puzzled some of the event's commercial sponsors, The Sunday Time said.
    "It seems remarkable that we are not saying this is Britain versus France in this re-enactment," one told the paper under cover of anonymity.
    "Surely 200 years on, we can afford to gloat a bit. Not even the French can try and get snooty about this."
    A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy, which is organising the event, said the re-enactment was only meant to be "theatre on water".
    "This will not be a French-bashing opportunity," she said.
    I was speculating earlier in the year about how the Trafalgar commemorations would affect relations with our EU partners. Now we know! Surely there's another dimension to this - a war in which many real people lost their lives turned into a meaningless piece of 'theatre'. Shouldn't we be a bit more sombre about these things?

    I heard the author of the 'Little Book of Patriotism' on the radio recently, bemoaning that there were young people walking around who knew nothing of Lord Nelson. Now, all respect to the Admiral, who was no doubt a great man in his time, but why should he be particularly meaningful to me? We choose our own myths in this day and age.
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

  • #2
    Another example of reducing history to trivial details that get in the way of the present.

    Sometimes things are what they are. Period.

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