June 06, 2006

Why Over There should not be entertainment

I've seen 1 of the episodes that Synova speaks about as well. But it isn't my contention people should feel guilty about refusing to watch or support Over There. Guilt only comes into it, as with personal responsibility, if you are out to find a way to educate a great number of every day Americans on warfare. The problem really becomes quality and quantity. High quality education and training takes long, and not everyone is qualified. Every person can't pass Marine sniper school, commando school, or SEAL school.

But we don't need that high quality training and education for most Americans, just a glimpse into what can and does happen on the battlefield in Iraq. Over There, with what few episodes I saw (first 5) accomplished that.

People should not like Over There because it is entertainment. People who want to educate the American people on battlefield conditions on a mass production scale, should however support Over There, even if you don't like it. Hard to do, of course, but that is that.

It is about propaganda. What is the most effective means of convincing people of your viewpoint? And does this really differ in Iraq compared to the US? I don't think it does. The most effective means of convincing people that you are right and they are wrong, is to make the most advantageous use of their prejudices and weaknesses. People believe what they fear to be true and what they want to be true. Convincing some villagers to report those black clad insurgents planting IEDs, at the risk of death to his family, is no different than trying to convince Americans that the insurgents are manipulating the media when they kill children and blame it on Americans. A difference of difficulty perhaps, but not of fundamental technique. We want one guy to believe that it is true that his interests lie with reporting IED laying insurgents. We want another guy to believe that Americans are not to blame for civilian casualties.

People who know the military, who are part of it, won't should not and can't watch Over There as entertainment. But then again, propaganda has many forms, and entertainment is one way to get people to pay attention while you work on their beliefs.


Blogger Synova said...

Hey, I meant to reply to you but life happened... then heat happened, it's hard to get anything done when it's so hot... and Zarqawi happened and there didn't seem to be anything much to add to what everyone was saying about that. :-)

My thoughts on entertainment, and I've been thinking quite a bit about that for years as I worked on being a fiction writer and now as I'm working on writing scripts, is that it's always better to slip in the moral of the story with a very light touch.

The best art seems to speak to everyone, and when this happens the writer can get their particular message across. Almost under the radar, in a way. A too obvious message will limit the audience to people who already agree.

Say like... going to watch the movie An Inconvienient Truth (or whatever it's called.) Are people who think the evil of humanity and Global Warming is a bunch of BS going to see that movie? No. They aren't.

And all those social issue shows on Lifetime channel... who watches those? Some people just love that stuff, but it's crap for spreading a message to someone other than the choir because no one not in the choir can stand to watch longer than it takes to flip channels.

Both the pro-military action shows that have come out recently, for some reason known only to the all knowing magic 8-ball, have included "drama at home." I saw one episode of The Unit and it did the same thing. It even was dealing with drug addiction for pain, just like the Over There episode that I saw.

This isn't brain surgery. People who watch Spike TV, FX, or TNT, do not watch Lifetime. They just don't. People who watch Lifetime don't watch Spike TV.

Now, there's no reason that some socially responsible message can't be slipped in for either audience by stealth but it has to be stealthy.

13 June, 2006 02:59  

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