Although I had briefly covered connections between the CIA and Hollywood in my Conspiracy Politics seminar a couple of semesters ago, I had never had the opportunity to delve so deeply into the militarization of entertainment, or what Kelly has called militainment, until now. I was selling the grand issue of militainment short by only associating it to CIA and Hollywood when in fact the ideas perpetuated in combat entertainment, the underlying subtleties and redirection of the issue of war and glorification thereof, are more far reaching and pertinent.
From the first reading, I found it interesting to assess children’s play in the realm of militainment. Yes, man hunt cops and robbers, cowboys and indians even red rover have their militaristic undertones, sure. But going back to my essay for the class, the toys themselves speak volumes and with new marketing schemes, create their own *scripted* world that children subscribe to. It stunts them. Back to my red patent sparkling Dirt Devil vacuum: how am I supposed to work outside of this scripted story as a young girl? Another young girl my age is pushing the toy back and forth..so shouldn’t I? Barbie is cleaning her new house, shouldn’t I? The aspect of the script is utterly fascinating to me since I never truly thought children’s toys and play were affected by anything but their imaginations until now. Furthermore the genderized separation in play is increasingly interesting when viewing what there is available for children to play with depending on their gender. As I stated in my paper, the role of girls and boys seem to be clear when taking a simple stroll down any store’s toy section: girls have domestic desires, boys have adventurous desires. Shit, the only girl on TV to travel ‘alone’ was Maggie and the Ferocious Beast (still with Beast, who is the protector) and Dora the Explorer and Dora didn’t leave without Boots (a male) and her map (with a male’s voice, who told her where she was going). It’s kind of fucking pathetic. I wonder less, when looking at these toys in this light, why so many women still desire to be housewives and why so many boys still desire to fight the big guys.
In the same way, combat entertainment that it so heavily scripted leaves little to the imagination. One assumes that they get gore and guts and ‘truthful’ statements and the movie is a success, when in reality they are only ingesting the view point and moral code the movie’s producers have framed the entire viewing experience in. They ingest without a hiccup.