TV and the culture of war and peace: Ten Nobel Peace Laureates call on NBC to cancel “Stars Earn Stripes” program


The Duke and Duchess of Peace do not own a television. Often, we just ignore controversies about TV shows, because TV is not part of our personal universe. Though, this week, I heard about the “Stars Earn Stripes” controversy on: a FAIR radio show; an e-mail from a local activist; and the press release below, which had been re-posted on a leftist list-serve. So, I guess we were meant to take a stand on it:

A press release posted at
Ten Nobel Peace Laureates Call on NBC to Cancel “Stars Earn Stripes”
August 13, 2012

New show promotes an “inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence”

(Ottawa)–Ten Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.

In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”

The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, all of whom won their prizes for their contributions to ending violence and creating more peaceful and democratic societies, note that real war is “down in the dirt deadly”, and should not be sanitized for a “reality” TV show. US Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams won her prize for helping ban antipersonnel landmines, a deadly weapon responsible hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.  Archbishop Tutu was recognized for helping bring an end to apartheid in South Africa and President Arias for his contributions to bringing peace to the war-torn Central America of the 1980s.

The Laureates wrote the letter to add their voices to the growing chorus of global citizens who are alarmed by the increased militarization of societies, and how the entertainment industry contributes in particular to desensitizing people of all ages to the realities of war.  They are supporting a protest today [Aug 13, 2012]…outside NBC headquarters:  30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.

The following Nobel Peace Laureates signed the letter: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984), Jody Williams (1997), Mairead Maguire (1977), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (2003), President José Ramos-Horta (1996), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980), President Oscar Arias Sanchez (1987), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992), Betty Williams (1977), and Muhammad Yunus (2006).

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