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Excerpt: "A glossy, seductive 'war is fun when you can't get a date' pop video is over in three minutes. The truth about the darker side of military experience - trauma, injury, and the loss of loved ones - endures for ever."

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)
Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)

Katy Perry and the Military-Pop-Cultural Complex

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

17 April 12


Asking whether the US military's PR offensive is subsidising the entertainment industry with taxpayer dollars is not unpatriotic.

ho knew that an opinion about pop music video could get Fox News so worked up? Recently, I wrote that I was appalled by Katy Perry's new video for the No 1 hit song, "Part of Me". In it, the narrative has the singer discover a boyfriend's infidelity; she responds to this by cutting her hair and - heading for basic training to become a Marine.

The creepy parts of the video, in my mind, are many: girl power is represented as what Perry accomplishes in the rigors of basic training. Feminine impulses toward romantic revenge are depicted as rightly channeled into getting armed and being shipped to some mystery Afghanistan-like set overseas, locked and loaded. Trade in your bad boyfriend for a hot AK-47!

The whole videography of the scenes at Camp Pendleton - in which Perry crawls through an imaginary minefield, trains underwater, learns she can do the impossible, etc - is straight out of Leni Riefenstahl: the same angled, heroizing upward shots, the same fetishization of physical power, of gleaming armaments, and of the rigor and mechanism of human beings cohering into living militarized units.

There is something else about the video: it feels … like an ad; specifically, a focus-grouped, consumer-tested ad to attract more women to join the Marines. Real artistic productions, whether bad or good, are messier, quirkier, more subjective. I am familiar with the way political ads get researched and filmed (it was part of what I advised on in my time as a political consultant), and this looks like a political ad put together by DC PR insiders - like, say, the Pentagon communications team - after expensive market research has been done. In political advertising, every single image and message is focus group tested. I would bet that someone did some research on the hypothetical of a marriage or relationship breakup as a catalyst for women's military enlistment, given an economy in which the military offers low-income women some of the few options for advancement in a context in which a breadwinner may have decamped.

So I wrote that I felt that this was a piece of "war propaganda" and that, if Perry had received money or message guidance directly from the military to make the video, she should disclose that information. It might be inferred from the fact that she filmed at the USMC's California base, Camp Pendleton, that this would have contributed at least several tens of thousand of dollars in support - in the form of free sets, use of equipment, personnel time and, possibly, food and housing; it takes a lot of people a fair amount of time to make such a video. Now, to be fair, while journalists are expected to disclose any such conflicts, I have absolutely no evidence of any such transaction, and artists are subject to no such expectation. (Albeit, this would be a subsidy that you, the taxpayer, have underwritten.)

But as the military's investment of resources and development input affects more and more films, videos and even video games, should that expectation change?

This is a kind of subsidy that grows ever more common: filmmakers in Hollywood complain that the US military is increasingly investing resources in Hollywood, making sure that films that portray the US military in a positive light (think Top Gun) get full backing and in-kind help, while leaving films that show the darker side of war (think Full Metal Jacket) to struggle financially. You may notice pro-US-military themes appearing with increasing regularity in cultural products ranging from Christmas movies such as Arthur Christmas, in which Santa, in a general's outfit, is running a high-tech special ops center at the North Pole, and his elves are in camouflage uniforms, to the popular video game Call of Duty: Black Ops.

In this way, military millions - in the form of investment either in-kind, comping development, or in possible direct support, in a paper trail that we will never see - are being used to skew what we see, just as scientists in fields as diverse as geology and physics are now complaining that military millions are skewing the roster of what gets funded and what doesn't (meaning, what gets studied and what doesn't).

Surprising, too, to me was the full court press applied by Fox News, whose major advertisers include the US military and its suppliers, to attack my passing query about the video in the informal context of my Facebook community page. My "rant" was portrayed on Fox News as anti-Marine, "military-hating" and unpatriotic. A backlash seeded itself across military websites, and I got plenty of hate mail, ranging from epithets like "commie", to, randomly enough in this context, "lezzie".

To my surprise, though, when Fox News reporters asked Perry's spokespeople directly if she had been paid by the US military, they declined to comment. (Contrary to Fox News' assertion, Fox did not, in fact, ask me to comment - misleadingly, having a source of theirs contact me, not a reporter.) That is what the political consulting world calls, "a non-denial denial".

Katy (or your spokespeople), if the Pentagon never wrote a check in the course of your making this video, here's the place to say so. And my apologies will be forthcoming: I will post the straight denial in the Q&A later this week.

More revealingly, one might ask: why such a big, strategic reaction to such a small-forum question? Why should Fox News take such trouble to cast a query that arises out of respect for soldiers and concern for exploitation of women and men in the military as "military-hating'?

Is it unpatriotic to ask to examine a recent development - the strategic co-option of pop culture by the military's PR arm - and to ask to see if there are any receipts of money or to assess the in-kind support that may be involved? One could argue that if the military communications shop has had the idea of using pop star videos, as it long has feature films, to advance its message, well, that is just a good idea for them - something like product placement.

But if videos like Perry's get government support, direct or in-kind, while contrary views do not, that shifts the balance of the culture. It obscures other realities about life for our men and women in uniform, which few artists have the resources to document or publicize, compared with the Pentagon's bottomless cash flows: the way that private contractors now have bigger houses, more perks, and even more authority, outside or even on military bases, than the enlisted men and women who are, unlike the contractors, accountable to the people and often sent into harm's way; the way that 30% of women in the military will face rape, and 70% sexual assault, with little protection through grievance procedures and with a risk of retaliation; the way that military men's and women's mortgages have been preyed upon by banks; the way that soldiers and marines are cycled back for tours of duty beyond the human breaking point, to the detriment of their mental health and their family lives; the way that body armor is underfunded and rehabilitation is underfunded, and the terrible rates of PTSD that afflict our enlisted men and women go inadequately treated.

A more realistic portrayal of military life might note that no one threw them a parade after the end of the Iraq war, and no one bothered to thank them for their service. It might show how the military machine chews up patriotic young men and women and spits them out. What men and women in the army and navy today tell me directly is that they know they are fighting for corporate interests, not their country's true defense. They say they tell themselves, "I am fighting for my colleagues" - because they know they can't say that they are truly fighting for their country.

But no one who cares about those issues has the cash to make videos about that reality. No one is going to write a big check to get the message out about some of the hard truths of military men's and women's sacrifice and their exploitation. Yet that is all the more reason to demand transparency if the US military's PR arm is buying up chunks of pop culture real estate.

A glossy, seductive "war is fun when you can't get a date" pop video is over in three minutes. The truth about the darker side of military experience - trauma, injury, and the loss of loved ones - endures for ever. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+100 # tedrey 2012-04-17 09:17
As usual between progressivse and right-wingers, you will notice that while Naomi Wolf provides a link to Fox, so that we can read what they actually say, Fox hasn't the honesty, the courage, or the confidence to give a link to what Naomi has to say. Even while they're bad-mouthing her, they know they're liars and cheats. This happens constantly.
+27 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-17 11:27
Just par for the course on the Right Wing. The never publish any links or other citations to show in full what the "other side" is saying. The never consider context, and very rarely question themselves. Arrogance and stupidity, almost as dangerous as alcohol and driving.
+11 # jos human 2012-04-17 15:38
If they were truly "fair and balanced," they'd include progressive like Ms. Klein, Jeremy Scahil,even Arianna Huffington, who used to be of their ilk. Of course they will spin this, and you can only spin in one direction at a time.
+3 # hd70642 2012-04-17 09:27
+27 # jos human 2012-04-17 09:44
My curiosity about K. Perry was indirect: she was married to Russell Brand, who is a truly unique character. So I read an interview about her and discovered she was raised a fundamentalist Christian! She was (according to the pr) pure as the driven snow until her tits popped out and she discovered the power of flashing them. Another manipulator, out to get as much as she can,without conscience or awareness. That's all.
-1 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-17 13:16
Katy is local and just a hard working young lady that has been able to self promote. She was playing on curb sides developing her talent. Take her for what she is. A pop diva, merchandise...n othing more, nothing less.
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-04-20 11:53
Quoting Bodiotoo:
Take her for what she is. A pop diva, merchandise...nothing more, nothing less.

lol, glad you said it!
+7 # bugbuster 2012-04-17 10:10
I have known since California Gurls that Katy Perry is an agent of *some* kind of sinister plot. They played it all day long in the *very* noisy shop downstairs from my office until I escaped. The sounds of the great pounding machines were soothing when they covered up the endless choruses of "Wah ooo wah ooo wah ooo wah ooo," brilliantly designed to pummel the human mind into submission.

She isn't even pretty.
+24 # Activista 2012-04-17 10:35
Great analysis how militaristic culture propaganda and spending is destroying USA.
-70 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-17 10:41
Naiomi Wolf, I have tw children in the US Navy. My son is an officer currently in Afghanistan with his SEAL Team, and my daughter is an officer on a cruiser out of Pearl Harbor. Both are serving, as are so many of their Naval Academy classmates, fellow officers, and enlisted sailors to protect our nation's interests...NOT to support "corporate interest" as you have written. Where I live on Long Island, NY my town lost 38 parents on Sept 11 2001; each of my three children had three different very dear friends lose parents on that day when we were attacked. People serve in our military for many different reasons, but I know of none that think it is for "corporate interests' as you assert.
+39 # Billy Bob 2012-04-17 11:09
Apparently you've interviewed fewer soldiers that Naomi Wolf has.
+37 # mrbadexample 2012-04-17 11:25
Quoting Robt Eagle:
People serve in our military for many different reasons, but I know of none that think it is for "corporate interests' as you assert.

Google 'Smedley Butler'. If your children haven't heard of him, I'm not surprised.
+29 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-17 11:33
Criticism of the Military is a right that they fight to defend.

Criticism of the Military command structure is not the equivalent of criticizing member of the military.

My thanks to your children for putting their lives on the line for the rest of us. I only hope that the Civilian and Military command treat your kids as if they were their own.
+24 # Artemis 2012-04-17 15:05
Perhaps they don't realize who they are really serving. Perhaps they should inform themselves a little more thoroughly. There is so much information out there and once you access it and step over the threshold, it is hard to believe in 'protecting our nation's interests# any longer.
Actually, I would suggest that'protecting our nation's interests' actually means not believing in a whole load of nationalistic patriotic sugarloaf, but asking hard questions about what that means.
+12 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-18 09:55
I doubt very much that any military person actually believes that they are fighting to protect the US from a bunch of ragged individuals with AK-47's and IED's. Those who have more than no interest in the world realize full well that the results of their sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq were to enrich corporate America, specifically the industrial/mili tary complex. The oil companies aren't too put out either.

They generally have made the calculation that they can afford risk their lives in order to escape what they were living in before. Hence the overrepresentat ion in the military of rural people with little education and no prospects whatsoever of getting any more or of advancing in the world.
+19 # Peace Anonymous 2012-04-18 13:03
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Naiomi Wolf, I have tw children in the US Navy. My son is an officer currently in Afghanistan with his SEAL Team, and my daughter is an officer on a cruiser out of Pearl Harbor. Both are serving, as are so many of their Naval Academy classmates, fellow officers, and enlisted sailors to protect our nation's interests...NOT to support "corporate interest" as you have written. Where I live on Long Island, NY my town lost 38 parents on Sept 11 2001; each of my three children had three different very dear friends lose parents on that day when we were attacked. People serve in our military for many different reasons, but I know of none that think it is for "corporate interests' as you assert.

Sorry Eagle. It is after a great deal of research and travel that I have arrived at the conclusion that there is no difference between the government's interest and corporate America's interests. That is why there are billions in campaign funds and lobbyists. We invade and overthrow governments for profit and it has little to do with what is right or just or democratic. Follow the money. The game is rigged. Sorry.
+11 # colvictoria 2012-04-18 20:10
@Robt Eagle Have you seen the movie Hunter Games?
In the movie there is the rich who control everything and live like royalty and then there are the masses of poor people living in these concentration camps called districts.
This is what our country will look like if we continue spending trillions and trillions on massacring people, raping and pillaging sovereign nations for their resources and occupying by brute force an entire populace.
If you think our military exists to do "humanitarian" missions I think you need to have your head examined.
If you wanted your children to do humanitarian work why did they not choose to become missionaries? a minister? a nun? a Buddhist monk? a spiritual guru? a community organizer? a social worker?
I pray that your kids come home unscathed and that they can come home without having killed a single soul directly or indirectly. I pray that your daughter will not become another military rape statistic. Most of all I pray that you can open your mind and see the military for what it is. All of those poor souls serving are mere pawns in this big chess game called US IMPERIALISM.
The rich elite feast on caviar while everyone else kills to eat like in that movie.
-9 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 05:59
colvictoria, you need to read the book "The Heart and the Fist" by Eric Greitens to understand your premise in incorrect. I can not explain simply how Greitens went from a humanitarian doing all sorts of good deeds overseas for destitute people, only to realise that he had to protect them first to allow them any sort of life, so he became a Navy SEAL and did more for them by providing security than doing good deeds that were taken away by bad guys. You really need to read this book.
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-04-20 16:47
You really need to pay attention to the news and stop reading fiction.
+11 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-04-19 07:13
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Naiomi Wolf, I have tw children in the US Navy. My son is an officer currently in Afghanistan with his SEAL Team, and my daughter is an officer on a cruiser out of Pearl Harbor. Both are serving, as are so many of their Naval Academy classmates, fellow officers, and enlisted sailors to protect our nation's interests...NOT to support "corporate interest" as you have written. Where I live on Long Island, NY my town lost 38 parents on Sept 11 2001; each of my three children had three different very dear friends lose parents on that day when we were attacked. People serve in our military for many different reasons, but I know of none that think it is for "corporate interests' as you assert.

Like your children, I too was moved to join the Army during the Viet Nam war, and could think of nothing more honorable than to fight for a "good cause". Today we find out that the so called attack on US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin was nothing more than a hoax perpetrated on the American citizenry by powers that still exist today. Many like your children gave their brave lives for a false cause.

Now, once again we are faced with the same false causes for which these powers, military industrial complex and their puppet government, are willing to sacrifice your children as well as other people's children. Its time for people to wake up and see how many wars we have been in and for what purposes.
+4 # Capn Canard 2012-04-20 12:07
Quoting Robt Eagle:
officers, and enlisted sailors to protect our nation's interests...NOT to support "corporate interest" as you have written.

LMAO! Robt you need to understand that "National Interests" are business interests which is synonymous with corporate interests. It is concerning the bottom line and relative value of resources etc etc. NOTE TO RobtEagle: when resources become rare/scarce then we are told we need to make sure that said resources are "freely available" and/or safe to allow access to said resource, or "LIBERATED"!

When a politician talks about American Interests, what do you think he/she is actually referring to? Peace? Religious freedom? Freedom of speech? Freedom to carry .50 cal machine guns? Sorry but you got to pull your head out pal, this is about the economic interests of the wealthiest industries. The people of Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran etc etc do not matter, the SCARCE RESOURCE is the reason for American Military involvement. That is what war is for: to facilitate trade for the betterment of American Interests, aka business. Period.
+32 # Wild 2012-04-17 10:43
Dwight Eisenhower was right about the Military-Indust rial complex. Naomi is right about the PopCulture-Mili tary complex.

Look at this, a play on Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation that the Army turned into "Army Strong" [registered trademark].
+21 # Peace Anonymous 2012-04-17 10:46
Remember when music embraced peace? It really is all about the money isn't it? The hot and sexy romance of war as depicted on the big screen.I often wonder if our kids, especially the kids who will never have to worry about paying for their own education, should spend a weekend in prison and a few days on the front line so they can spend the rest of their lives knowing the truth.
+15 # Billy Bob 2012-04-17 11:10
Music still embraces peace. Since when has Katy Perry been taken seriously as "an artist"?
+6 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-17 11:37

You mean she doesn't look like a work of art? Artificially accentuating her eye grabbing features, unnaturally ruby red lips; all artistically put together to arouse interest in her video performance; which is hypnotically surrounded by a drum beat designed to enhance all the aforementioned effects?
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:20
I'm so crazy I'll still consider music as primarily an aural art form. I remember listening to music.
+40 # mrbadexample 2012-04-17 10:51
When Oliver Stone won the Oscar for PLATOON, he said he wished John Wayne was still alive when he’d gotten to the podium—he had signed up for combat duty in Vietnam after seeing SANDS OF IWO JIMA, and he thought Wayne should hear of the horrors he’d seen thanks to his propagandizing on behalf of war. If this were a just world, every amputee vet within shouting distance of Hollywood would show up at the next Katy Perry event to tell her what she’s misleading young women to do.

The peace community has a word for it—it’s WAR-NOGRAPHY
+29 # Billy Bob 2012-04-17 11:01
Yea, one thing the Pentagon failed to include in their commercial was the girl (after being heart-broken by her boyfriend) joining the Marines and being raped repeatedly.
-31 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-17 13:27
Billy Bob, Your assertion is rediculous. I know of at least a dozen female Marine officers who graduated fro the Naval Academy with my daughter and I have never heard anything of that sort, officers or enlisted. That is just un clled for and has no bearing on the truth.
+7 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-17 21:15
Ny brother was a Drill Sargent in the Marine Corp, up early before his men, never closed up shop until all his men were in quarters..and never let his recruits see him sweat...real gung-ho...and states very clearly in his opinion...women are not Marines...can not be depended upon in action...I argue with him about this, but he would not risk his life on the front depending on a female marine for support!
+14 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-17 21:42
Rapes in the military are regularly ignored,... Females are labeled troublemankers. Get your head out of ...the sand.
+13 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-18 09:58
So who are you going to believe? Robt Eagle or the actual people involved and the data that has been collected.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:21
Yeah, the statistics have a liberal bias, don't they?
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-04-20 12:14
Billy Bob, perhaps even the truth has a liberal bias.
+7 # annknickerbocker 2012-04-19 22:38
As an Army brat I have been reading these comments with much interest. Your most recent comment was cause for me to respond. Statistics indicate that one in three military women will be raped. If you don't believe the research, please go to a Vet Center and talk to a female counselor. If by some chance you are in San Bernardino County, CA there is a vet's center in which a close friend of mine is a counselor. She is a veteran of both Gulf wars. Her name is Yesenia. She will set you straight. Regardless of all the other stuff, please don't go on believing that women in the military don't get raped. And don't assume that women who have been raped are going to go public with it.
+2 # Maxwell 2012-04-21 01:10
I'm glad that the women you refer to never experienced the horror of rape in their military careers. Evidently they beat the odds. I'm not sure, however, that you can simply dismiss the experience of some 70% of the women in the military who have been subjected to sexual assault just because you don't like the idea that women in the US military are frequently assaulted by serviceman.
+31 # Billy Bob 2012-04-17 11:08
Really the main thing we can all do is educate our children. Our children need to be more media savvy and more capable of critical thinking than we were as kids. The military mindset is predatory and our kids need to learn to protect themselves, just like we teach them about S.T.D.s, drugs, date-rape, drunk driving, gang violence, teen pregnancy, etc. All of those realities are ugly, but none of them is comparable to this. None of them are as insidious and evil in intent.

A generation of well-raised children would turn this country around and pose a serious threat to the military-indust rial complex. I guess that another reason they're trying to make it more difficult to raise our kids rights.
-23 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-17 13:31
You are right on the subject, so how about the increase in child obesity, early drug use, etc. The government and now a couple of generations of parents have created a "soft" generation of children. The military needs to recruit and they can't do it with children who are so out of shape and unhealthy, so they resort to this type of media crap. How about we fund phsical education in schools again? Seems a lot of the funding has been taken away for "soft" educational items.
+10 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-18 10:06
It isn't the parents or the government that is creating the "obese, soft" children you so disapprove of. It is Corporate America with the charge being led by the entertainment media and food providing corporations. To think that somehow the military is an antidote to this problem is nonsensical. And to think that gym class twice a week is going to make a bit of difference doesn't make a whole lot of sense either.

If you want to improve the life styles of young kids, then get behind Michelle Obama's push for better food options and to increase time outside playing instead of inside watching TV and playing computer games.
-8 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 13:07
Michelle Obama's better food push is a joke. Look at her, what kind of role model is that? She is in terrible shape. You are correct, gym clss twice a week is not enough, so it becomes the parent's responsibility to lead by example, but that is hard to do when the parents are diabetic and obese. So, education is the answer and it is NOT being done in our schools. Show me one thing in the ObamaCare doctrine of 2700 pages that talks about preventative care and education on nutrition. Time to get off our lazy butts and get American tough again through hard work and healthy eating. Sure corporate greed wants kids to eat Pringles and all other sorts of processed crap. So the answer is to educate from an early age. What has Obama done to promote that? Got to get rid of Obama and out of the White House!!!
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:24
My comments about educating our kids had very little to do with obesity, and a LOT to do with giving them the mental facility to scrutinize what they hear so they won't fall prey to the military.
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:41
By the way, I Google Michelle Obama (the First Lady) to see if something had happened to her since the last time I looked. Nope. She still looks good. She looks pretty in shape to me. I'll admit she's no Barbara Bush, but she looks like she's taking pretty good care of her health.

I still don't know why or how you got off on this tangent, but I thought I'd just ask what we're supposed to see about the First Lady that looks so out of shape.
+2 # lurlie 2012-04-20 12:44
The first lady works out regularly and is the hottest first lady since Jackie O (who I don't think exercised much). Her arms!!
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:22
Some of us don't want to just keep our kids in shape so they can die for Exxon. Some of us have bigger goals for our children than to let them prostitute their bodies and lives away at the foot of big oil.
+21 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-04-17 11:55
I recall the first time I saw the ad for the "Navy Seals" video game, featuring a couple of 10-12 year old boys (and some Navy Seals). At first I was confused -- is this an ad for the game, or military recruitment? Of course, it was both. Shameful.
+3 # jwb110 2012-04-17 11:59
Welcome to Dan Ratherville.
+3 # PGreen 2012-04-17 12:41
I would suggest that those who watch the Kate Perry video also consider watching this one on the military experience:
+15 # hbheinze 2012-04-17 13:07
To the list of the tragedies of "realistic military life," we need to add the horrendous rate of suicide among veterans. If the MSM would make the public aware of the truly horrifying statistics, people Might stop & think about what we're doing to the young people of our country. Fat chance of that!
+15 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-17 14:13

The target of this ad is not women, it is boys, 12 - 15 years old. Just like putting bikini clad women in beer ads is a subliminal entreaty to the same age group that drinking beer gets you the ladies. And they wear bikinis! Nothing like a hot babe in the trench with you during those long lulls while the enemy reloads!
+10 # Eliza D 2012-04-17 19:00
Ms. Wolf- Thanks for calling attention to the subliminal suggestion by Katy Perry that war is somehow sexy and empowering. I know many war vets who have lost their romantic drive, jobs, homes and minds. It is shameful how our country treats our military men and women when they return home wounded-physica lly or mentally-denyin g them medical treatment and forcing them to fight for years to get disability payments. This is the very opposite of sexy.
+10 # futhark 2012-04-17 19:24
And yet the counselor at the high school from which I retired two years ago kept pushing the military as a desirable next life step for graduates, where they could learn discipline and a "life skill". She even received a plaque from the Armed Forces recruiters for doing their work for them. It's always open season on high school seniors for military recruiters, thanks to No Child Left Behind. Funny (but not really funny) how we encourage minor children to commit themselves to careers of death and destruction.

The glamorization of military activity definitely ought to be stopped. Where was it said something to the effect that "the wars we celebrate are the ones the next generation will have to fight again"?
-16 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-17 21:48
futhark, being a warrior to protect your right to say and live as you are able to in the US is an honorable profession and you should thank those who have CHOSEN to serve. The young men and women who volunteer to serve our country deserve better than you backing them up. Why don't you donate to the USO or the Wounded Warrior Project and be a hero yourself.
+18 # futhark 2012-04-18 08:45
Robt Eagle, I did donate to the USO some years ago in memory of my veteran father-in-law, who I much liked and respected. However, this organization, like so many charitable ones these days, won't let a donor have any peace, but keep up the solicitations for donations that clogged my email inbox and my post office box.

What I object to is the recruitment of minor children into an organization whose main function does not seem to be the defense of the USA, but the intimidation of other nations to conform to the policies of the power elites in the United States and the expenditure of ammunition (bullets, depleted uranium projectiles, cruise missiles, etc.) that must be replaced at taxpayer expense, thereby enriching the merchants of death. These kids, fresh out of high school, have no experience in the realities of warfare, but have been taught that the military experience is going to be a grand adventure with no more risk to themselves than sitting in front of a video game. The ethical and physical stench and corruption of war is beyond their imagination. Recruiters offer no "fair and balanced" assessment of risks and benefits upon which young people can make so serious a committment.
-10 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-18 11:14
futhark, you need to check your facts. Most are not right out of High School and many are very well educated. I am very familiar with Spec Ops and, like the SEALs, most Spec Op warriors are educated and mature fellows, except when they party.
+6 # futhark 2012-04-19 08:33
Robt Eagle, I suppose everyone sees these issues from his or her own viewpoint. As a high school teacher, I daily witnessed military recruiters on campus and had students pulled out of classes to talk with them. Students also complained about being harassed by phone calls from recruiters and the non-stop pressure on them to sign up. Former students would come to me and tell me that their experiences in the military in combat in Iraq and/or Afghanistan were nothing like what the recruiters had led them to expect.

If people over the age of 18 want to seek out military recruiters and sign up, fine. However, I never did like recruiters pressuring teens to enlist, especially when the military is being used as an engine of aggression and destruction.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-04-19 17:26
When they party is right. My cousin who became one as a way to deal with his obvious alcoholism is a good example. There's a recent picture of him I found on the internet, posing in uniform with a drink.
+4 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-17 21:09
Every American should read "Private Yankee Doodle"...the author signed up twice for the military ("advanture" caught up in the fervor of the cause...first time for six months, and did not really find it his thing...but when the drums of war were still beating he signed up a second time...for 3 years or the duration...he served until 1783...and his telling of the American Revolution came in his old age...and his point of view that the citizens could have and should have been better at supporting those that were fighting for "thier" country...and that promises made to the Continental Army were not honored. So it is a long standing tradition to screw those who give the most and take the least tfor the enlisted men. Private Martin in no way glorifies what he saw or experienced.
+7 # corals33 2012-04-17 23:02
they are fighting because they like to fight. how many ever say I can fight for my country by being a more informed citizen and then acting honestly on what they learn. Instead they prefer to be trained into fighting dogs because the perks of rape and pillage appeal to them.amen.
+11 # robertsgt40 2012-04-18 10:37
I'm guessing Robt Eagle still thinks 19 Arabs with box cutters still took down three buildings on 911. You might check out AE911truth. That's architechs and engineers
-9 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-19 20:55
robertsgt40, so you are a conspiracy theorist. Some folks still believe Obama was born in Kenya.
+4 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-04-20 09:43
Your comment sounds as if its a sin to question and even doubt one's government. Maybe YOU should take time to investigate conspiracies rather than troll on these pages with nothing but criticism. Have you noticed how many people have given you thumbs down? Maybe its a h?
+5 # jack113 2012-04-18 12:04
People should realize FOX is not a registered media service it is registered as an entertainment service and has the same entertainment rights as the Enquirer and the rest of the entertainment rags and it is why they openly say they "have a right to lie" to their supporters.

WE have a big problem with the corporate media and the poor reporting they all do. The fourth estate died when Powell the head of the FCC under Bush sold us out and allowed corporations to buy up the media services.
+4 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-04-18 14:40
After reading Wolf's essay I went and watched the video -- US Marines P.R. dept should have a credit at the end, it seems pretty obviously a military recruiting commercial. The visual style is very similar to other recruitment propaganda. Shame on Katy Perry.
Robt Eagle, don't you find it ironic that the USO's slogan is still "Until Every One Comes Home." Our "mission" for decades now has been a permanent military presence all over the world; there is no plan to "bring them all home."
+5 # Kathymoi 2012-04-18 18:08
This is such an intelligent and perceptive article. I notice the slant in favor of the US Military and of joining the military in various news and NPR programs too. It's important to be aware of what is news and what is propaganda or advertising, intended to produce a desired effect. Thank you for raising consciousness of this phenomena in our American media these days.
+10 # lcarrier 2012-04-18 18:18
As a former military officer I applaud Namoi Wolf for pointing out that war has become a game. It is evident from the latest outrage of U.S soldiers laughing over the body parts of their "enemy."

If we don't stop the Pentagon war machine there will be countless vets coming home with the horrors of what they have done--horrors that cannot be neatly expuged by Celexa.
+2 # Elusive Pimpernel 2012-04-19 07:23
This article by Naomi Wolf is reminiscent of a program known as MK Ultra in which the CIA and other government agencies admitted their culpability in brainwashing unknowing American and Canadian citizens for many purposes including creating "sleepers" who could some day be useful to them.

Two books, one by Brice Taylor, called "Thanks for the Memories", and another by Cathy O'Brian, called "Tranceformatio n of America", expose the way they were used by the CIA and other shadowy people to manipulate people. They claim that many singers, musicians, entertainers and other well known people were part of this mission to use them for propaganda. They were used to convince the public to conform to the thinking of those powers that would declare wars on countries and needed citizen support.

Not much has changed except the methods and goals of those doing the brain washing today.
+2 # 2012-04-19 09:10
As always, an interesting article by Naomi. One does wonder how much of our tax dollars that go to the "Department of War" actually support war. Here's a link to an interesting article on NPR ( that indicates that the military may/might support more musicians than we think. Everyone loves a "military band", but geez, I would rather put my tax dollars to supporting local town bands than "military bands" because the members of those bands are essentially promoting peace, not war.
+1 # tpovey 2012-04-19 13:35
Kate Bush made the same video a long time ago, different results:
+1 # wfalco 2012-04-19 13:49
There is a term for the merging of corporate interests with the military-Fascis m.
Some will continue to glorify our militarism, but they fail or choose to ignore, the reality.
The reality is that there are always corporate interests behind war. Always. To not be aware of this simple fact (and there is so much evidence to support this)is to bury one's head in the sand so deep that you would drown in your own ignorance.

I'm not so sure that Ms. Wolf's example of Katy Perry is a very good one, however. Perry is only a pop diva in it for the fame and money. I seriously doubt she thinks deeply about the wrongs committed by the military/indust rial complex and all that it dissolves.
She might be like I was as a late teen or early twenty something...imp ressed by the rigors of training and getting into great physical shape. So I think the article is a bit of a stretch.
+6 # adm 2012-04-20 01:27
First off, I want to state that I am a veteran, a woman, and someone who has served two tours of duty in Iraq. I have never been to Afghanistan, so I cannot speak too much on that subject. I wish to express that I speak for myself, and myself only. If other veterans or service members want to speak, let them speak for themselves.

That being said, robt eagle needs to stop living vicariously through his children. So what if your children are in? So what if they are officers? So what if THEY don't think they are fighting for corporate interests? They do not speak for me, or for others. They only speak for themselves.

My second tour, I realized that we were in Iraq not to bring democracy to the country, but to make certain people very rich. I saw how many contractors there were, how they used local national and third country national labor (on the cheap), while the contractors made 6 figure and the soldiers did not. It pissed me off.

As for Katy Perry, I thought the video was patently ridiculous and jingoistic. What was the point of the breast taping scene? They didn't make me do that at basic. And not every woman joins because of a relationship gone bad. I joined while in a relationship, but felt that joining the military was the best way for me to get ahead in life (this was before 9/11). Perry's ex-husband is far more interesting and thought provoking than her.

Excellent article by Wolf, and is some serious food for thought.
+3 # stonecutter 2012-04-20 06:30
I'm reminded of the scene in "The Silence of the Lambs" when Dr. Lecter explains to Clarice that his "keeper" Dr. Chilton, head of the asylum where Lecter is imprisoned for life, keeps a portable TV, when no one is visiting, loudly blasting some ranting televangelist into Lecter's cell day and night, as an obvious not-so-subtle torture. The whining, bubble-gum, tweener-directe d cacaphony that is Katy Perry's "music", and for that matter any number of her no-talent, autotuned pop-culture "diva" contemporaries, could be substituted for the TV preacher in that scene.

A hundred of their dissonant, grossly overproduced, simple-minded, headache-induci ng videos provide no more musical satisfaction than a flock of screeching tropical birds or car horns in a traffic jam...take your pick. Of course if you're a 13 year-old girl, it may be Clair de Lune. As for Ms. Wolf's contention that it's a slick commercial for women in the Marines, she's absolutely correct, with some carefully added male titillation (i.e., she cuts her hair and changes her clothes, providing a scripted glance of her tush in panties). To the extent FOX Noise attacks you, that's the extent of your insight and veracity. It's the broadcast equivalent of the birdcage-lining trash stuffed into the racks at the checkout counter, with the risible pretense of journalistic legitimacy. FOX is to facts and truth what Dr. Goebbels was to Jewish security in the Fatherland.

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