Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Real vs Hollywood soldiers and their wives
We were two unemployed Army wives, living together in a one-bedroom apartment in Germany with our infantrymen as we waited for my husband’s housing paperwork. After a couple days of awkwardness, Tonia and I finally found a topic we could bond over: German sluts. They would try to steal your man. We discussed that, watched “Seinfeld” and drank pickle juice together. I had never done that before. It was like drinking a cup of bottom-shelf vodka. It was like drinking a cup of death.

This is what Army wives’ lives are really like. They bear little resemblance to the treacly drama “Army Wives.”

Second Lady Jill Biden, who recently guest-starred on the show, offered the same tired platitudes real Army wives hear every week from their husbands’ bosses and the various groups created to keep the wives feeling good about sacrificing so much for a war so few believe in. “Just know that you are not alone,” the softly lit Biden said. “We are so grateful for what you do.” The thing is, these banalities are not comforting, they’re irritating.
Lefty hawks, or unlike the stupid late ’60s,
pop culture doesn’t dare to criticize Army culture. Or make fun of it, which is a shame. It is a better setting for comedy than for drama.

Maybe that’s why nearly every Iraq or Afghanistan war movie — critically acclaimed or not — has been a box-office flop, even as videos of soldiers dancing to Lady Gaga go viral.

Unlike these wars, previous wars were fought by more than 1 percent of the population, and the movies and TV about them are irreverent and funny.

Now, a tiny group of people signs up to fight, and then they deploy again and again. The movies about them feature a dull soldier with a Southern accent and heart of gold doing battle against various Bush-era policies.

To TV writers, the Army is made up of wise, wooden warriors and strong women who cry silent tears. But unlike the 30-something men and women on “Army Wives,” a good chunk of the guys going over to Afghanistan now were in grade school on 9/11.

The Army is this massive engine trying to keep a couple million young people together while discouraging as many as possible from doing stupid things. That means no commercials, only PSAs. Hilarious PSAs. Don’t drive drunk. Don’t boat drunk. Be nice to special-needs children. Don’t give anyone general power of attorney. Don’t shake your baby. America loves you.

These, along with countless motivational-but-kinda-condescending posters, banners, and speeches make the contrast between reality and the portrayals of military families especially amusing.
From Taki. Looking forward to a comment from our resident retired naval officer.

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