I’ve been meaning to post this photo for a while now, and the creeping fascism inherent in the Keith Olbermann thing reminded me it’s been hanging around. I recently took this picture of a billboard in Times Square in New York for the new game Call of Duty: Black Ops:
“There’s a soldier in all of us,” reads the tagline above images of four civilians armed to the teeth.
There’s also this TV commercial, which is funny at first and then more disturbing the more you think about it:
Yeah, it’s “just a game”… except that glorification of the military and a general militarization of a culture is one facet of fascism. (See Laurence W. Britt’s rundown of the 14 key characteristics of fascism from Free Inquiry magazine and count how many apply to the U.S. today.) There most certainly is not “a soldier in all of us,” even if we like to play military style computer games. But the success of this advertising campaign — and of the game itself — suggests that many people would like to believe they have a soldier in them. And why would so many people not naturally drawn to actual soldiering believe that if the concept of solidering hadn’t become overlain with ideals of glory?
That’s quite distinct from the reality of soldiering, of course, particularly when the U.S. treats its soldiers so abysmally if they manage to survive seven tours of duty amongs roadside IEDs, snipers, and suicide bombers. In fact, it almost underscores how mythologized the military has become in the U.S., in that it can be so idealized and so abused and neglected at the same time.