Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pretty Cynical

I love Marines commercials. They're very emotional, and make me think of the best of our armed services. This one has some pretty awesome scenery and cinematography, not to mention choreography.

But...I don't buy that they are actual Marines.

I mean, sure, the military homogenizes its ranks. Everyone wears the same uniform and has the same haircut. But they aren't all the same height and body shape. Maybe they scoured the ranks--or deliberately put together the ranks--to find such for this commercial. Maybe the best use of the Marines' time is drilling for hours and hours to do a cool bit on a commercial so they can recruit more guys who are 5'10", 175 lbs., and can stand stock-straight while spinning and tapping a rifle. And maybe it's worth the extreme budget to ship them out to all those different sites, risking their lives on a mountain edge. For a commercial.

But it just seems to me more likely that those guys are actors.

Anyone know?


Erica Orloff said...

Hmm . . . don't know. I see those commercials, and as a Buddhist think, "Great, recruit more young men to get their legs blown off in a wrong-headed war started with misleading intelligence." So I'm cynical to begin with. And even from the perspective of supporting the troops, they live in substandard housing, there are men and women fighting whose kids are on food stamps . . . there is substandard medical care, and parents and family members have to fight for the best rehab for them when they come back injured--and the best rehab ISN'T at the bases (the NY Times did a great piece--very sad--on all the head injury cases). So to me, it's just all a glossy piece of propoganda and the kids who get suckered in by it . . . I feel sorry for them, because it's NOT like on the commercials. But that's how America is raised--spoonfed on commercials and marketing.

Natalie Damschroder said...

I tend to have the same feelings about the military, Erica, though with my brother in the Army now, I realize it's not so simple. They have five kids under 8 (three under 4, two with special needs) and their financial situation is much more stable now. My sister-in-law has tons of support, including schooling for the deaf daughter and respite care/babysitting, on-base housing, etc. *I* can't say that's a good tradeoff for his deployment next month to Kuwait and then Iraq, but they made this choice deliberately, and so far are much better off.

As for the glossy propaganda--I think there are some good, noble elements to military service, and those are reflected in such ads. The fact that they are romanticized and distract from the harsh realities is no different than recruitment has EVER been--we just have better technology now to display it.