United States of America

Mon
5
Jan
2015
New translation available
A peace sign printed on the American Flag is raised during a protest against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Archive / History Channel)
Submitted by Gary

Statement written by Ben Norton, Tyra Walker, Anastasia Taylor, Alli McCracken, Colleen Moore, Jes Grobman, Ashley Lopez / Codepink -

Once again, US politicians and pundits are beating the drums of...

Thu
24
May

First-person Shooter Games, the US Military, and Serial Killers

Nik Cruz, the Parkland shooter, and Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe shooter, uploaded these photos on to their Instagram account of their favorite pastime – First-person shooter games.

Pat Elder - May 23, 2018 - 

Both Nik Cruz, the Parkland shooter, and Dimitri Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe shooter, were emotionally distraught because of girls who rejected their advances. They were both outcasts in their respective high schools. They both played video games that simulated war.  In his Facebook bio, Dimitri showed interest in joining the US Marine Corps “starting in 2019.” Nik Cruz felt more at home with the Army.

This is not a cheap shot. The military recruits gamers from the virtual world.

Tue
03
Apr

JROTC Cadet Nik Cruz

JROTC Cadet abs School Shooter Nik Cruz

Pat Elder

Cadet Private First-Class Nik Cruz was talking to America when he posted his photos on Instagram. Nik takes us inside his world. He wanted us to see his development from a fairly normal kid to a serial killer. Cruz is a product of American culture and he has a message for us, although we may not want to hear it. Cruz’s odyssey from ostracized youth to serial killer is noted for its adherence to a well-documented script. Cruz is the prototype. He is general issue.

Looking through a gun sight

Cruz uploaded this image to his Instagram account.

Fri
02
Mar

Florida Gunman Nikolas Cruz Knew How to Use a Gun, Thanks to the NRA and the U.S. Army

Extended web-only discussion with Pat Elder, the director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, a group that confronts militarism in the schools. He is the author of “Military Recruiting in the United States.” The gunman who fired on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a 19-year-old white former student named Nikolas Cruz, was a member of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, known as JROTC. Cruz also took part in a four-person JROTC marksmanship team at the school which had received $10,000 in funding from the NRA. “[The NRA] realize that if they can start linking the children with the guns at age 13 in the high schools, it’s a win-win proposition for them and for the sellers of weaponry,” says Elder.

Sun
26
Nov
gdghirardi's picture

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: If we oppose militarism and militarization, what should our relationship with pop culture be?

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: If we oppose militarism and militarization, what should our relationship with pop culture be?

Selene Rivas - November 26, 2017

Over the course of this series, we have explored several concepts which are building blocks for the social sciences (“normal”, “normalization”), which in turn have helped us understand and define “militarism” and “militarization”. After this, we dove into the transformative potential found within popular culture: how can it affect the people who consume it? Linking this very powerful influence to previously defined concepts was both the justification and launching point for the two articles that followed. In them, we tried to build upon what had been said previously, and provide some examples of what could be accomplished through this approach.

Sat
25
Nov
gdghirardi's picture

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: Can video games be anti-violence?

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: Can video games be anti-violence?

Selene Rivas - November 25, 2017

Fri
24
Nov
gdghirardi's picture

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: What exactly is an 'anti-war' film?

Selene Rivas - November 24, 2017

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil… You can tell a true war story if it embarrassses you. If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.” - Tim O’Brien (The Thing They Carried)

 

Thu
23
Nov
gdghirardi's picture

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: Can Pop Culture Normalize Militarism/Militarization?

Militarism: Can Pop Culture Normalize Militarism/Militarization?

Selene Rivas - November 23, 2017

Can seemingly innocuous activities such as playing video games, watching movies, or binging on TV shows affect your ways to see the world or how you behave? Could it affect social norms? Is one able to “turn one’s brain off”, and not be affected beyond the most superficial level, by what one is consuming? Much has been written about violence in the media and how it might affect people’s behavior, and indeed, positive correlations with violence can be found1. But beyond these oft-discussed subject, the question is: what role does mass media and pop culture play in normalization? And, more related to this series of articles, what is the relationship between pop culture, militarism/militarization, and normalization? This article will attempt to approximate us to an answer..

Wed
22
Nov
gdghirardi's picture

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: What is Militarism? What is Militarization?

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: What is Militarism? What is Militarization?

Selene Rivas - November 22, 2017

In the previous articles, we talked about how normal is defined differently in both space and time; just as Japan and Argentina might have two different ideas of what constitutes as “normal”, so does 18th century and 21st century United States. We also talked about normalization, or how things become more (or less) socially accepted over time. Finally, we introduced the concept of “militarism”. In this article, we’ll attempt to define it as concisely as possible, as well as give examples of militarism in Japan.

The following statement is found in page 92 of the 1996 edition of Naval Science 1, a textbook used for High School JROTC courses.

Tue
21
Nov

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: How do things become normal?

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: How do things become normal?

Last article, we tried to answer the question of “what is normal?” and after a few examples, eventually settled on “normal is what a group of people are used to.” In this article, we’ll look at an example of the ‘normalization’ process, that is, getting used to something to the point where alternatives are forgotten. We’ll conclude by introducing the main topic of this series: how the presence of the United States military in a surprising amount of aspects of American culture has become so normal that it is no longer noticed or questioned.

“Normal” changes, not just from society to society, but also through time. In a single society, what was considered normal before is not necessarily thought of as normal now, and we can't even begin to imagine what things are normal today that won't be normal in the future. How does that happen? And does something becoming "normal" with time necessarily mean that it is "better"?

Mon
20
Nov

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: What is normal?

Researching Pop Culture and Militarism: What is normal?

"Human beings are consumers of vast quantities of raw materials and fuels. A tremendous amount of waste materials results from this use--individual, societal, industrial, and accidental."1

Is this sentence a fact, or an opinion? When starting a sentence with "human beings are..." or "human nature is...", who determines whether what is being said is fact or fiction? History? One’s own experiences or philosophy? Is there such a thing as normal human behavior anyway?

In the following article, we'll discuss how "normal" beliefs, actions, and practices are not, despite being often assumed to be so, universally defined. They are products of a specific context, and are often used to judge others outside of it.

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