War as American Entertainment

On Monday I was reading via Glenn Greenwald about NBC’s new military-meets-celebs reality show and how

Nine Nobel peace laureates have called on NBC to cancel this show, pointing out that “war isn’t entertainment” and “people—military and civilians—die in ways that are anything but entertaining,” adding: “Trying to somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition further calls into question the morality and ethics of linking the military anywhere with the entertainment industry in barely veiled efforts to make war and its multitudinous costs more palatable to the public.”

This got me back to my early posts on how we really are becoming more and more like a page out The Hunger Games every day.

Then yesterday afternoon I finally got around to starting Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Slaughterhouse Five and read,

[In response to the narrator writing a novel about his experience in World War II] Well, I know,” she said. “You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be played in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of the other glamorous, war-loving dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”

So maybe we’re not suddenly becoming more like The Hunger Games, but have for a long time worshipped War as the ultimate heroic sport. Think about it. What other nation constantly produces year after year blockbusters centered around the victorious combatants? Arguably only the Chinese and Japanese have anything remotely comparable in their cultures. Meanwhile we continuously label other religions and cultures – who have absolutely no traces of violence in their popular entertainment — as innately murderous; this, of course, serving the purpose of perpetuating our own ongoing thirst for even more entertainment.


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Filed under Essays, Literature

One response to “War as American Entertainment

  1. Pingback: Does America have an Exceptionally Violent DNA? | Grave Error

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