ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, September 07, 2007

Losing Hearts & Minds: Because we're not even trying

This news out of Hollywood demonstrates that we'll never win the hearts & minds of those outside of our country:

G.I. Joe to Become Global Task Force in Movie
Friday , September 07, 2007
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

The popular all-American comic-book military man and action figure dating back to the 1940s is undergoing a significant transformation for the Paramount Pictures-distributed "G.I. Joe" film, which begins production in February and is scheduled for release in summer 2009.

No longer will G.I. Joe be a U.S. Special Forces soldier, the "Real American Hero" who, in his glory days, single-handedly won World War II.

In the politically correct new millennium, G.I. Joe bears no resemblance to the original.

Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity" — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for government issued, as in issued by the American government.

And I know exactly who the bad guys will be... Paramount has already disclosed them to me:
  1. Evil Corporations
  2. Israelis, Jews, Neocons
  3. Evil CEOs
  4. Oil Corporations
  5. Health Insurance Company CEOs
  6. Christian fundamentalists

The studio won't elaborate, saying filming hasn't begun and details are still in the works, but the behind-the-scenes rumblings are that the producers have decided to change the nature of G.I. Joe in order to appeal to a wider, more international audience.

The word is that in the current political climate, they're afraid that a heroic U.S. soldier won't fly.
[...]

Because, you know... Hollywood doesn't actually think that there is such a thing as a heroic US soldier. When they think of the US military, they think of Abu Ghraib, My Lai, etc. They don't think of Travis Patriquin, Paul Smith, or any of the other thousands of soldiers who are true heroes - not just for the Americans that they defended, but also for the people in foreign lands that they liberated and saved.

We often talk about how we have to win the hearts & minds of those who are sitting on the fence. And those on the Left often talk about having to understand "why they hate usTM," which (if not a rhetorical question) suggests that the Lefties that pose that question are surprised that foreigners hate us - meaning that they think the hatred of the US is unwarranted. But, the best way to stop them from hating us is to demonstrate clearly why we shouldn't be hated - why we are good.

And what better opportunity than through entertainment that used to ostensibly be about American values and heroism.

We can't win the Hearts & Minds if we don't take any opportunity to persuade them. And when you start off the story-boarding of a movie essentially agreeing that foreigners are justified in their hatred of America - and that you don't dare offer something that might run counter to that belief - than you have already surrendered.

ProteinWisdom is asking for people to submit taglines for the movie - hilarity ensues.

*** Mark Steyn comments ***

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (11)
Stupid Country said...

List three reasons why we shouldn't be hated -- why we are good.

St Wendeler said...

I really can't believe that you would pose such a question, since it shows that you don't think that this country is good...

well, here are 1,266,264 reasons - and just from 2006.

I've lived overseas... and I've met people - from countries that would be considered by you to be anti-American - shake my hand simply because they found out I was American. These people were of all ages, from different ethnic backgrounds (some of them immigrants to that country themselves).

Stupid Country said...

I don't flatly reject the benefits of living in the USA. But your response perplexes me. It sounded as though you were proposing that the producers of the GI Joe film write into the plot a litany of America's virtues. You can't cite any such virtues? The fact that people immigrate here doesn't quite cut it for me; I think you want the world to appreciate more than our economy's capacity to absorb cheap labor.

Or do you suggest a general wash of American goodness, like the old Reagan "Morning in America" commercials? I would catalog that as propaganda; what the world does not need from us is more of that just now.

Hey, I know I haven't written much lately, but it's been too long since you visited. I had a recent exchange of emails that I boiled down to a conversation...Read it and you may understand my reaction to your post a little better. If it makes any difference.

Stupid Country said...

Hmm...you actually don't have an answer to this. That's a bit worrisome.

St Wendeler said...

Sorry... life sometime takes over.

There are millions of reasons why the US is a good country. That you think 3 is so difficult to identify troubles me. That you (apparently) agree that GI Joe should be changed from an American soldier to some guy from some international group - because the producers of the toy apparently think that a good, American soldier is something that int'l customers won't find believable - well, that troubles me, as well.

Let's say there's a rating syste, from 1 to 10...

Where would you rank the US?

Can you provide me with countries that you would rate higher?


P.S. I read your post with the guy from Texas. I think we've had open and honest discussions in the past, so not surprised that you're able to hold forth with some guy deep the in the heart of Texas. I don't agree with the way he opened the conversation and if you're trying to position him as the representation of all that is conservative, I've got a similar tactic that I could employ for the other side.

Stupid Country said...

Nah, there are plenty of blog trolls on the left too. Anyway, the guy from Texas turned out to be ok.

My trouble with your premise is that you can't rate a society vaguely on a 1 to 10 scale. There are great things about the US. There are horrendous flaws in the US. Same's true of other countries. It is undeniably a great thing about America that we can even sit here and have this conversation -- not true everywhere. But also true -- perhaps even truer than in American society -- in more tolerant cultures like Holland's or France's or New Zealand's.

I was challenging you to name specific American virtues. That was not where you were going apparently.

Brian said...

in more tolerant cultures like Holland's or France's or New Zealand's.

France is tolerant? Only of things French. Holland and New Zealand are pretty small countries to compare against a country the size of the US.

And if you like the French culture so much, you better enjoy it while it lasts. I give it about 10 years before the muslim immigration wave starts demanding serious concessions in exchange for not rioting.

Stupid Country said...

You're saying a society has to become repressive as it grows in scale? That's the reason Americans have institutionalized intolerance toward non-traditional views on marriage, reproductive health, political expression (e.g., the demagoguery about flag-burning), language and the like -- because there are 300 million of us?

I think there are other forces in our culture at work, most importantly our deeply ingrained authoritarianism, that are less in evidence in these other cultures I cited.

France included. France has an immigrant influx because it is tolerant of and welcoming toward immigration. Not perfect -- that whole flap about schoolgirls and their headscarves was a little hard to figure -- but still less xenophobic than recent American attitudes.

St Wendeler said...

You know very little about France, apparently. They're tolerant of immigrants? Not quite... the headscarf issue was not an isolated incident.

And to say that we have deeply ingrained authoritarian predisposition, unlike the French, is laughable. You're demonstrating your lack of knowledge of world history and current events. That Napolean guy was just an abberation, I presume. As was this slaughter of innocent civilians in Côte d'Ivoire back in 2005?

Very enlightened...

And of course, the Dutch still love their Queen... I'm not familiar with the popularity of the Queen mum down in New Zealand, but they still are in the British Commonwealth.

From my personal experience and my continued interest in Europe, Europeans on whole are less tolerant of "the Other" than Americans - whether "the Other" is a Turkish immigrant, invited in by the German government, or a Polish Plumber threatening plumbing jobs in France. Or the African soccer players that are treated in a manner that would not be tolerated here in the US.

Perhaps the Dutch are the one exception... although, if I recall, one of the African soccer players received a nasty reception when playing in the Netherlands.

Europeans (and apparently you) like to think of Americans as backwater hicks, unsophisticated when it comes to race, sexuality, etc.

Unfortunately, the reality is much further from the truth. The tawdry, in-your-face sexuality of much in European culture today plays to the 12 and 13 year old boy in all of us - it's not sophisticated to make potty humor and show some ta-ta's to retain an audience.

And the forced segregation and overt racism seen in much of Europe isn't particularly advanced either.

But, hey... I don't know what I'm talking about b/c I'm just some slack-jawed, classically liberal American.

Stupid Country said...

OK. Talking outta my ass about France.

Stupid Country said...

But on the other hand, staying with my position that we have a deeply ingrained authoritarian streak that explains a lot about how we run our society and how we expect societies we propose to re-educate (such as the Iraqis') to run theirs.

So: I'll trade you three specific reasons the world should be mad as hell at us for your three specific American virtues, which is where we started this. You game?