An elite platoon of style journalists, handpicked from the elite ranks of Britain’s top cultural commentators is to be parachuted in to Afghanistan to capture the spirit of the times. US intelligence sources have intimated that the zeitgeist is somewhere in the Tora Bora mountains, although latest satellite images suggest it may have been smuggled into Northern Pakistan or Iran.
The new elite force, headed by Janet Street Porter, is to be parachuted into conflict areas with instructions to locate the hard-to-describe current national mindset and prevailing mood. Her crack team will include Mark Kermode, Paul Morley and Eko Eshun, who were part of the daring Cannes Film Festival raid of 2006.
This is not the first time journalists have had to come to the rescue of the military. Last year the Ministry of Defence was persuaded to parachute Allison Pearson and Will Self into Iraq after defence chiefs studied newspaper reports and discovered that columnists always know the answers to all of the world’s problems. ‘We’ve had to deal with all kinds of horrible conflicts,’ said Gerneral Sir Peter De La Billiere. ‘And yet retrospectively we always discover that Janet Daly and Melanie Phillips always knew what we should have done. It’s a tragedy we never thought of consulting them before.’
Janet Street Porter, who prides herself on going to a new town, rooting out the ‘bridge and tunnel crowd’ and capturing the zeitgeist, is said to be chomping at the bit. ‘Once she’s got a researcher and a stylist sorted out, she’ll be right over,’ said her personal assistant. ‘Western forces may never have found any WMD, but now we are confident about capturing the zeitgeist and bringing about The New World Peace, once a few contract arrangements have been sorted out.’