Thursday, July 14, 2011


"The US Marine Corps is an uninvited and unwelcome intruder"
-Berkeley City Council

Redacted Poster
I tend to be a bit tough on Michelle Obama,with her bizarre fashion sense and tendency to want to impose nanny state rules on everyone. She's trying really hard to find her Mrs Roosevelt vibe and make an impact as an important first lady. Not content with the Bush model of restrained, supportive wives, some first ladies have to show they roar and are just as important as their husbands.

Usually the programs are of questionable value, and in Michelle Obama's a bit difficult to trust since she personally won't do what she calls others to do. But she's hit on one that is a good idea and I really support this time. Michael Cieply at the New York Times writes:
First Lady Michelle Obama will have her work cut out for her when she turns up here today for a talk with members of the Hollywood guilds about getting more positive attention for military service members and their families into popular entertainment.

The confab is part of the Joining Forces initiative started by the First Lady and Jill Biden, who is married to Vice-President Joseph Biden, earlier this year. On Monday, Ms. Obama is to join a discussion with military family members and representatives of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, and others, all focused on ways to “inform and inspire” Hollywood creators regarding the military.
Now, as most of you who read this blog are well aware of, Hollywood is rarely supportive of the US military these days. In fact, usually they treat the military with thinly veiled contempt and try to portray it in the worst light possible. Screenwriters have three bad guys they like to turn to: The Christian Fundamentalist, the big business tycoon, and the military guy (either in the military and using power for evil plots or out of the military and insane from his horrible experiences at having to stand at attention).

Cieply lists a few very recent examples out of the tens of thousands in the last five decades or so:
  • In Super 8, goon squads of blue-bereted officers and enlisted men play the heavies, tormenting the alien and herding townspeople into evacuation centers by deliberately setting a “wild” fire.
  • In X-Men: First Class, weak-willed and foolish generals are easily manipulated into setting up the Cuban missile crisis, and a bevy of naval counterparts are only deterred from triggering Armageddon by the intervention of mutants.
  • In Thor, the hero and his human admirers are dogged by mysterious intelligence agents who appear to dwell the military’s dark side.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the best that can be said of the naval n’er-do-wells is that they aren’t ours, they’re British.
The truth is, modern film and TV makers tend to view the US military as at best mind-controlled fascists or at worst, the enemy of all mankind. And if Michelle Obama can use her popularity with the left - however real that admiration may be - to leverage these bozos into treating the US military with more respect, more power to her. This is a first lady project I can get behind and I hope she has much success.

Did she likely shower hatred on the US Military in the past, especially during the Bush administration? Probably. Is she only doing this now because her husband is in charge of the military? Probably. But I don't really care at this point, because she's doing the right thing and they might actually listen to her. And after their money bleeding frenzy of anti-American anti-Iraq films in the late naughties, maybe Hollywood is ready to dial it back a bit.


Anonymous said...

Battle: Los Angeles had a pretty positive spin on the military.

JoelAT said...

having seen Super-8 I think it's pretty much a whitewash to say the Military as a whole did the bad things that happened. It was a group of individuals who messed up and were trying to clean up that mess, a single unit of bad soldiers, which do exist, not the military as a whole. And the kids in the movie didn't see it that way either.