While watching a German propaganda film about their conquest of Poland, Merton marvels at how peaceful and devoid of death all the footage was. Then, he catches a scene the censors should have thrown out:
…but there was one shot of some Germans riding by on caissons, dead tired, and some of them slumbering. Suddenly one man got in the eye of the camera, and gave back the straightest and fiercest and most resentful look I ever saw. Great rings surrounded his eyes which were full of exhaustion, pain and protest. And he kept staring, turning his head and fixing his eyes on the camera as he went by demanding to be seen as a person, and not as the rest of the cattle…You began to realize how tired and disgusted all those soldiers must have been. It added great weight to the effect of all the garbage that had gone before. What a thing to be proud of! To have turned one whole country into a junk heap!
Later on, he comments:
The most actively obscene shot in the whole picture was one of a bomber releasing a stick of bombs which fell away from under its belly in a group: it was like some vile beetle laying eggs in the air, or dropping its filth.
I grew up watching exactly things like this on the show Wings on the Discovery Channel. This was some of the best TV I ever saw growing up: an examination of mechanized warfare. How Sidewinder Missles worked, how the Stealth fighter was invisible to radar, how the Harrier could take off vertically and hover, how the C-130 super cargo jet was equipped with solid state rocket boosters to help it take off on a short runway, and more. Men, and boys love this stuff. It makes us want to be soldiers, or mechanical engineers at least. To bad at the end of the day it’s just serves to make families fatherless on the other side of the world.