Recently… on militainment

18/09/2012

ForcesWatch comment

A recent article called The Morning After: Unfriendly Fire by James Poniewozik in Time Magazine critiques a new reality TV show from the US TV channel NBC. Stars Earn Stripes, "in which celebrities are paired with soldiers to carry out special-forces-type maneuvers, was denounced by nine Nobel laureates, including South African bishop Desmond Tutu, for glamourising war and its violence by making them into entertainment."


A recent article called The Morning After: Unfriendly Fire by James Poniewozik in Time Magazine critiques a new reality TV show from the US TV channel NBC, Stars Earn Stripes, “in which celebrities are paired with soldiers to carry out special-forces-type maneuvers, was denounced by nine Nobel laureates, including South African bishop Desmond Tutu, for glamourising war and its violence by making them into entertainment.”

Poniewozik agrees that “it makes war into entertainment”, and asserts that it is “cynical” in “giving people the excitement of battle minus its blood and consequences—by wrapping it in idealism: competing for charity, claiming to exist simply to remind us how dangerous the job of soldiers…is.”

But he argues’ “But when it comes to propagandizing war—or anything else—reality shows are more harmful when they take actual combat and package it in entertainment form.” 

Thats something that Poniewozik wrote about in 2002 in an article called Mediawatch: That’s Militainment!There’s a new alliance in Hollywood: the military-entertainment complex. The networks need a new twist on reality TV, the genre that has cooled since 9/11–or perhaps, in part, because of it. The Pentagon has a p.r. issue: How do you maintain public interest in a war that could stay on simmer–an air strike here, a wiretap there–for years? The symbiotic solution: send reality TV to war.”

Ten years on, we have a raft of militainment on UK TV. Current programming cindlues Richard Hammond’s Crash Course on BBC2 and Elite Forces on Discovery. The BBC maintains an online archive of military programming Army: A Very British Institution.  


Also see:

War crimes in video games should be punished, ICRC says

The International Committee of the Red Cross have called for video games to punish crimes committed in battle by adhering to real-life international war conventions.