Militainment. Inc. Militarism & Pop Culture 123 min - Feb 13, 2008

Militainment. Inc. Militarism & Pop Culture 123 min - Feb 13, 2008

http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=135

Militainment, Inc.
Militarism & Pop Culture

Militainment, Inc. offers a fascinating, disturbing, and timely glimpse into the militarization of American popular culture, examining how U.S. news coverage has come to resemble Hollywood film, video games, and "reality television" in its glamorization of war. Mobilizing an astonishing range of media examples - from news anchors' idolatry of military machinery to the impact of government propaganda on war reporting - the film asks: How has war taken its place in the culture as an entertainment spectacle? And how does presenting war as entertainment affect the ability of citizens to evaluate the necessity and real human costs of military action? The film is broken down into nine sections, each between 10 and 20 minutes in length, allowing for in-depth classroom analysis of individual elements of this wide-ranging phenomenon.

Sections: Introduction | Spectacle | Clean War | Techno-Fetishism | Demonization | Reality TV | Sports | Toys | Video Games | Dissent | Outro

Filmmaker Info
Written, produced & narrated by Roger Stahl

Filmmaker's Bio
Roger Stahl is Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in publications such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Encyclopedia of Political Communication, and Critical Studies in Media Communication.

Film Festivals
Awards
Related Links
Press Reviews
Praise for the Film
"Highly recommended, especially for courses on mass communications and popular culture."
- Educational Media Reviews Online

"Roger Stahl's Militainment is a real eye-opener. In a highly engaging and well-documented film, Stahl shows how the media have largely functioned as instruments of propaganda in recent U.S. military interventions, and he documents as well the culture of militarism in popular entertainment, ranging from TV shows, sports, and toys, to video games, all of which present war as entertainment. This development is both shocking and dangerous and contributes to a militarization of our culture and society that makes us more likely to go to war, despite our traumatic experiences in Iraq (and now Afghanistan). Every citizen should awaken to these dangers and Stahl's documentary is an important tool of enlightenment that should be widely used in the classroom and public spaces."
- Douglas Kellner | UCLA | Author, The Persian Gulf TV War and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy

Militainment does a masterful job of showing how the media

totally propagandizes WAR & Defense!? to brainwash the public into supporting
the racket.

Reviews

"Roger Stahl’s Militainment is a real eye-opener. In a highly engaging and well-documented film, Stahl shows how the media have largely functioned as instruments of propaganda in recent US military interventions, and he documents as well the culture of militarism in popular entertainment, ranging from TV shows, sports, and toys, to video games, all of which present war as entertainment. This development is both shocking and dangerous and contributes to a militarization of our culture and society that makes us more likely to go to war, despite our traumatic experiences in Iraq (and now Afghanistan). Every citizen should awaken to these dangers and Stahl’s documentary is an important tool of enlightenment that should be widely used in the classroom and public spaces."

- Douglas Kellner, UCLA | author of The Persian Gulf TV War and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy

Highly Recommended :: Militainment, Inc. effectively examines militarism and pop culture. The film demonstrates how news coverage of the two Gulf Wars has essentially been a production of “the war movie.” Rather than merely reporting the facts, the media has worked to maximize the entertainment value of war coverage. Suspense rather than information is often the focus – i.e. aiming for maximizing viewers (and thereby ratings) by making war news “must see TV” complete with a designated kick-off time. Viewers are turned into spectators at a sporting event designed to “shock and awe.” But all while making sure the fighting and killing is presented as an aesthetically pleasing clean war. The examples of euphemisms used in images as well as words reveal misdirection worthy of Orwellian doublespeak ... [Read More]

- Barb Bergman of Educational Media Reviews Online (2/7/08)

[In a review of the film Independent Intervention] Nevertheless, I recommend the film as it quite convincingly conveys that there is another story to the second Iraq war and that independent media has a role to play. Consider combining it with Militainment, Inc. (distributed by the Media Education Foundation), which is an excellent analysis of mainstream media’s coverage of the second Iraq War. [Read More]

- K. Johan Oldberg of Educational Media Reviews Online (1/22/08)

Availability

The film is available for purchase at an institutional price from the Media Education Foundation. As cost may be prohibitive for an individual, the best way to see the film is to request that your library or film archive order a copy.

A low-resolution, promotional version of the film can be viewed here (220MB, 123 minutes)

Also please feel free to link and share with others - especially those interested in media, marketing, pop culture, and related subjects.

Section Guide

The film's short (10-20 minute) segments are ideal teaching tools for the classroom, and instructors are encouraged to utilize the film in this way. Since the film is useful as singular chapters, you might refer to this guide to find the segments. Of course, you can scan for them.

Intro 0:00

Spectacle 1:50
War assimilated into entertainment landscape. Pentagon cooperation with Hollywood as well as the music industry. The "war movie" exemplified in spectacular PR events such as Jessica Lynch case and the felling of the Saddam Statue in 2003.

Clean War 15:50
History of efforts to rid war of death. Clean war as necessary for war's consumption. Various linguistic and image strategies for cleaning up war.

Technofetishism 28:36
Religious veneration of war machines. Various modes of turning weapons into objects of beauty. Imbuing high-tech weapons with an inherent morality.

Demonization 40:35
Saddam Hussein as case study. History of U.S.-Saddam relations. Reducing war to two characters, good and evil. Political analogies for Iraq War. Personally demonizing Saddam Hussein, and how these patterns fit other conflicts.

Reality TV 58:08
Explosion of war-themed reality television between 2000-2006. Ways that the embedded reporting system mimicked reality TV genre.

Sports 1:18:40
Ways that war is woven with sports in both language and image. Sports enters journalistic war coverage as a prominent motif.

Toys 1:27:29
The growth of a toy industry that resembles a "merchandised" Iraq war movie. Toys entering journalistic coverage of war.

Video Games 1:33:25
Pentagon training simulators that have become commercial successes. War journalism resembling video games. Games "catching up with" the television war.

Dissent 1:46:22
Modes by which dissent is both trivialized and criminalized in dominant news coverage.

Outro 2:00:20