Archive for the ‘Popular Culture’ Category

On my way to teach this morning, I was surprised to see a black, wannabe MRAP in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium–known as the “Swamp” to Gator bait everywhere. I thought someone might have taken the mantra “in the swamp, only gators get out alive” a step too far, but it turns out it is part of a Nike Pro Combat promotion:

Pseudo-MRAP (Photo courtesy of Simone Nageon de Lestang)

Prepare for Combat (Photo courtesy of Simone Nageon de Lestang)

Behind the truck was a trailer that was a mobile retail space with the Florida’s new jersey and shirts emblazoned with the slogan “finish the mission.” Someone needs to send one of these to General McCrystal. Size ‘badass?’

"Finish the Mission" (Photo courtesy of Nike)

Personally, I find the comparison of sports to war in poor taste, but it is interesting to see the “finish the mission” slogan evoked when the debate on our policy in Aghanistan is still simmering. You can’t tell me that images such as these haven’t crept into advertisers’ minds.


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On “A Soldier’s Perspective,” an Army mother discusses her son’s reasoning for going on MTV’s “True Life” to share his experiences of PTSD:

Over the last few months, MTV’s show “True Life” has followed my oldest son, Kenny, around from time to time. They are doing a show on soldiers coming back from Iraq with PTSD. When MTV left a message on my blog months ago asking for help in contacting soldiers with PTSD, I was a bit nervous. Kenny was living with me at the time and making progress in healing from his PTSD. After his being suicidal back in February and my knowing what I know about PTSD, I wasn’t sure I wanted him contacting the show. But, he is a grown man and I have to let his make his own decisions about things like this. After MANY hours talking about this, Kenny decided to call them. He was making progress and actually having a good experience with the Biloxi VA. As we talked he expressed his desire to show other soldiers that you can learn to deal with it, that you can get better. He wanted to give them some hope and maybe help point them in the right direction. How could I argue with that reasoning? I, myself, have put myself out there to show others that you can overcome and heal from the bad things that happen to you in your life. It’s about deciding that you are a survivor instead of a victim.

The episode airs in the US on Saturday, December 6th, 5pm central time.

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The use of music in interrogation (as well as psychological operations) is nothing new, but Wired.com blogger Eliot Van Buskirk offers a fascinating take on the use of popular culture as a weapon.  In a recent post, he asks, “Does Government Owe Royalties on Torture Music?

Insult, meet injury: Now there is talk that the US government may owe royalties on the song that has been blared over and over and over again to to weaken detainees’ resolve of “War on Terror” prisoners warehoused there.

Most prominently US forces in Guantanamo Bay have played David Gray’s “Babylon” on heavy rotation — not that the song itself constitutes torture, of course.

Arguably, that constitutes a public performance and conceivably makes it subject to royalties owed ASCAP and BMI.

A representative for BMI tells Van Buskirk that the company does not license music to military bases, but the issue of royalties remains unclear.  Meanwhile, David Gray has decried the use of his song at the controversial detention center.

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