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Militainment, Inc. - the militarization of popular culture (documentary)

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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:07 PM
Original message
Militainment, Inc. - the militarization of popular culture (documentary)
Militainment, Inc.
http://rstahl.myweb.uga.edu/militainment.html

Militainment, Inc. is a nine-part critical investigation of the militarization of popular culture. The pieces of the puzzle - from toys to reality TV - combine to form a larger picture of the integration of entertainment and military affairs. The film asks: How has war taken its place as an entertainment spectacle? and What does this mean for the ability of our democracy to consider this most destructive of human activities?

Written, Produced, and Narrated by Roger Stahl
Based on his book, Militainment, Inc. (forthcoming)
Music by DJ Apocalicious

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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ummmm, you're talking about the United States, right?
I don't see how anyone can rationally claim that militarization of popular culture is a new phenomenon. Not one tiny bit. War didn't have to TAKE its place as an entertainment spectacle - it achieved that status long, long ago, to an extent many countries, after the fall of Nazi Germany, considered abhorrent. And what of it? Americans never cared what wimpy Europeans thought before.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not a new phenomenon, but the militarization of popular culture
is now more prevalent then ever before.

I'd say, have a look at the documentary before you judge it.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Well reply #3 is basically what I was thinking here.
Either way, there is militarization of popular culture, period. Too much comparing will just dilute that fact and its consequences.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. Same as your first argument, same rebuttal:
the claim is not that it is new, but rather that it has gotten a lot worse.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. I'm sorry, I just don't believe that it has.
I don't think that even if there's many more physical signs of militarization of society in the present time, that this in any way represents a greater force than the militarization of the culture itself. I don't think lack of militaristic video games stopped anyone from playing cowboys and indians with finger point guns. I can't see how the mindset has changed whatsoever. There's actually far less people serving in the armed forces than there used to be.

To me, the issue is acceptance of military force as a solution to problems. I don't see the difference. If anything, it's actually harder to convince people to go along with military conflict than it used to be. It's just that this does little to prevent Bush from doing as he pleases. So long as Congress plays along - this includes Kerry and Hillary Clinton's Senate votes for the most recent Iraq invasion - militarization in society or lack thereof does little to determine when and where America gets engaged in military scrapes around the world.

And to be cold, I don't see how America's more militaristic than during the Reagan buildup, the G.I. Joe golden era.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Have you watched the docu?
There were no "embedded" reporters during the vietnam war, also there were no computer war games to be played by youngsters.

The military buildup that started under Reagan has continued since - just look at the increases of the Pentagon budget in the past years. In the mean time Bush's neocon buddies are talking about how the war on terror will be "endless" and "total".
No way the US is equally militaristic now as it was during Reagan.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. With all due respect, you're not getting it.
Reporters didn't NEED to be "embedded" to report from the front lines with units... nor did they need to be prodded to report in an explicitly pro-military manner until late in the war when disillusionment had set in rather heavily. Children didn't NEED computer war games to be acclimatized to the ideas of warfare - the ideas were accepted by much of society without question as America got its "confidence" back under Reagan. You had Chuck Norris movies, Rambo movies, TV shows with levels of casual violence that would shock the conscience of the unprepared modern viewer, etc. ...And that's not even getting into John Wayne in earlier years.

There's a heavy psychological tendency to view the ills of one's own era as somehow dramatically superior to the ills of prior eras. The form changed, that's all. The underlying reality isn't really all that much different. I may find it dismaying, but I certainly do not find the militarization of society in the current era to be shocking - it has a long, illustrious history.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. These days we have all that you mention - and more,
as i have mentioned. Which i'm not going to repeat since you seem to be ignoring it.

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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. I'm saying militarization is trying harder to achieve the same effect.
Actual knee-jerk acceptance looks way down to me thanks to Iraq.
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Irreverend IX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. It goes back before the Roman Empire.
Read up on the Colosseum--a simluated battlefield created to amuse the public. And then there's Commodus, the emperor so enamored with the warrior image that he wore a gladiator's costume to address the Senate. A classical version of Dubya with his flight suit, if you will. As long as warriors and tough guys have been glorified, people have used their imagery to entertain. I don't think today's culture is anywhere near as militant as Europe's was during the buildup to WWI--the people in most countries welcomed the idea of war as they would a circus coming to town, and any kind of peace movement was unimaginable.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. To try and counter the current lack of popular support for war,
all the more effort is being put in militarizing popular culture; it is practically everywhere in the media, fashion, entertainment.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. i grew up in the 50`s
it was a war culture then too ...i had my wood m-i and we would chose who was going to be the germans or the japs...oh i also had my gene autry 6 gun and holster...
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Did you have air raid drills
And dive under your desk? As if that would stop a nuke.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. But on a bright side, at least they cancelled that ghastly JAG show! NT
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Freedom_from_Chains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. These are really neat video's. They are asking a lot of good
questions.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is an AWESOME job of exposing the US brainwashing machine
Thanx for posting it I watched it all and I give it an AAA! K&R!
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
8. Does it mention "Cops" and court tv?
Just guessing.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
9. EXCELLENT! Please recommend!
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
11. ...
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Jeroen Donating Member (608 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
12. Highly recommended ! n/t
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troubleinwinter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
13. ABSOLUTELY watch these. Fascinating and very important.
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NobleCynic Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
14. Watched it
It's not bad, but honestly I don't think this is a new trend by any means. The technology for distributing the message throughout the culture has gotten better, but the message is as ancient as civilization. Those who dissent are the enemy. This is not a new message.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:48 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Again: no-one as saying it is a new trend
But it has gotten a lot worse: TV now shows a shallow, sanitized, sensationalized picture of war almost 24/7, and just about every other kid now plays war games om a computer as a past-time.
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jokerman93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
15. One night in Bangkok
One night in Bangkok and the world is your oyster.
One night in Bush-a-murka and the world is your colosseum.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 06:05 AM
Response to Original message
18. Thank You so much for this!
That would be the day this gets shown in my school. I will certainly let me children veiw this though!

I was just looking at a child with camo on the other day. Looking at all of the camo book bags and clothing makes me sick. It is all over the place.
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texasrog Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #18
26. Militainment, yes indeed
I made the video that is the subject of this post, and I've been enjoying the reactions and exchanges. The video is currently seeking distribution through the Media Education Foundation (mediaed.org), so it may show up in college classrooms soon.

http://rstahl.myweb.uga.edu/militainment.html

I found the "so what?" reaction interesting. Many of you are already clued into many of the issues discussed in the video, so that's not surprising. It's true that war has always justified itself in popular culture in some way - it's always been an object of play to some extent. I think what is different now (from say the days of cowboys and indians) is that the news - the so-called fourth estate - is now integrating with video games, toys, sports, and other spheres in unprecendented ways. Scholars and critics have talked about war for some time as a "spectacle" that deactivates the citizen. The first Gulf War is our best example of this. The new war, though, asks us to participate, to interact, to sign up in a manner. There are certainly recruitment aspects of the new war, but by and large, the new war is about conquering the homefront and channeling dissent into modes of enjoyment.

Is this necessarily "new?" In one sense, no. Someone brought up the bread and circuses of the Roman Colosseum. Writing off a critical analysis of these forms just because the basic premise is as old as war itself is like saying that "politicians have always lied and we should not get too excited when BushCo hands us another big one."

In another sense, though, the forms that the new militainment takes are new and quite sophisticated. One example: the Institute for Creative Technologies. The ICT was formed in 2000 as part of a DOD grant to the University of SoCal. It's a consortium of academics, military theorists, toymakers, video game makers, Hollywood screenwriters and set builders, and almost every other "industry" of creative talent. Here, new games are developed for market and for training. Here, toymakers get ideas from military-industrial folks who are developing new weapons - and vice versa. Here, screenwriters come up with potential terrorist plots. And on and on. The melding of the public political mind with the military mind happens here. This did not exist in the emperor Commodus' wildest imagination, nor in Nixon's, nor in Clinton's. It's here now.
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