Sunday, July 1, 2012

Those Gutsy Boys in Blue

I finally figured out this thing about the U.N., and why they are so ineffective when it comes to stopping violence. It’s not bravery or motivation or physical skills. They’ve got that, and I admire them for it. The reason is their blue hats.

Did you ever notice those cute little toppers? All U. N. “Observers” wear these little blue hats when they wade into a conflict or danger zone or places that most of us wouldn’t go within a hundred miles of. Sometimes they wear helmets. Even their jeeps and trucks are emblazoned with that same blue.
It’s a powder blue, a robin’s egg blue, a blue as cheerful as the sky on a beautiful day in May. The U. N. Blue makes you want to hug and kiss and skip through fields of flowers. It makes you want to say, “I’ll have a popsicle, please.” It does NOT make you want to sheath your machete, lower your AK-47, disconnect the bomb or the booby trap. It certainly doesn’t make you want to give up your cause and go home to sit around the fire.

You need a better color if your intention is to intimidate. You need Black. Or Olive Drab. Or Brown. Or Gray. If you want Blue, you’ve gotta go with DARK Blue or NAVY Blue or STEEL Blue or MIDNIGHT Blue. 

The U. N. Blue is about as intimidating as the uniforms of the Redcoats of 1776, the French pantaloons of a couple centuries ago, and a long parade of military styles, including these two characters at the left. Maybe bright colors did a lot to heighten the morale, like when they marched in parades or advanced twenty abreast into battle. But they also made for tempting targets. The British Redcoats discovered that when they came up against the Rebels, who tended to dress down. 

Of course war was different back then. "To the Colors" actually meant more than the flag, I assume. Just take a look at this guy in a blue hat - with a feather, no less. I'm betting he didn’t make it out of his tent. But he looked great the night before at The Ball.

Berets, actually, are okay. It's the color, not the style. You know about the Green Berets. But did you know that the style and color originated with the British Commandos in WW2? Then it was picked up by Australian, French and Dutch Commandos. The U.S. Army Special Forces took a liking to that style and used it in Nam, with veterans made up from WWII and Korea. Even John Wayne got into the act. He said the beret was more comfortable than a cowboy hat and he could fold it up and stick it in his back pocket when he went bar hopping.

If the U. N. wants combatants to listen up to their Observers, they could take a lesson from this guy. This is intimidation at its finest. Doesn’t even matter if his gun is loaded. You know he means business, and you sure as hell better back away. 
So that's my advice for the U.N. Oh, one more thing.That word "Observer." It doesn't do a lot for me. It certainly doesn't compare with "Commando" or "Special Forces." It's not even as strong as "Referee," who at least can blow a whistle and stop play.

The Observers have a difficult and frustrating job. Striving for World Peace is not easy. But at least they could take a first step and dress for the part. I urge you to write Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the UN, and tell him to pick a better color. He lives on Sutton Place in New York City. You can also tell him I have a brother-in-law in the hat business who will give him 30% off all orders over $100,000 if he orders before the end of July.


  1. I am sure that soon the AP will be running with news of Gerry Mandel's BBBB movement: Bye-Bye Baby Blue.

  2. I think you ought to go before congress and express yourself. You may be on to something.