Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Starship Operators finale - On the Media and War

As a wrap up to these series of posts I've made about Starship Operators, I figured I'd answer my own question that I posed earlier. What is the relationship between the media and war? And if anyone disagrees with me at the end of this feel free to post a comment.

And fair warning the following example contains a three-foot-tall working penis. If that offends you, well get over it, because war isn't hell, it's just controlled unleashed insanity. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to shorten news media to media.

Like I said before. the media and the government make strange bedfellows. A lot of conspiracy nuts on both sides of the aisle would have people believe that the media is in bed with the government. That it's either run by the military-industrial complex, or it's the tool of labor unions, Greenpeace and a bunch of pot-smoking hippies. Well, they're wrong.

The media and the government are like a fifty-year-old couple. The government is the man. He wants what any fifty-year-old guy wants - sex, football and to be left alone on poker night. But for the most part he's pretty faithful to his wife, so he only wants to have sex with her. The media is the wife. She's gone through menopause. She doesn't want sex anymore, but she wants what any fifty-year-old woman would want - for her husband to make sure that the bills got paid, for him to clean up after himself and for him to pay attention to her.

They aren't much different when it comes to war. Back in the good old days of their marriage, when they weren't tired of each other, they would work together to serve a common purpsose. Just take a look at the old news reels that came out during WWII - they are pieces of propaganda garbage.

But now, they have different agendas, but with the same common goal - to meet the needs of their customers/voters. The problem lies in the fact that they don't have the same idea about what meets those needs. To take the metaphor a step further - the public is the teenage daughter of this couple, who's a bit flighty, but loves horses and cute pictures of kitty cats.

So the government wants to protect/control his kid. He has a big stake in selling the agenda to her before she meets some transient biker and makes for the Mexico border. She loves her father, but she isn't stupid. She knows that sometimes Daddy spends all night drinking and playing poker, that he occasionally flirts with the waitress right in front of Mom.

And this is were her mother comes along. She wants to win her daughter over because of some decades long grudge match that she has going on with Dad. So she whines about his drinking, his spending and how much he doesn't do for her. But she knows that her daughter is a bit flighty and won't sit still long enough to pay attention. So she has to make her delivery thrilling or else her daughter is going to go back up to her room and chat with her Myspace friends.

Enter the next door neighbor (or whatever foriegn power you want to put here). So say the next door neighbor just strikes Dad as wrong. So he starts in on the posturing, perhaps he goes over and warns him about his three-foot tall statue of a working penis. But the neighbor just brushes him off. Then he starts talking to the other neighbors about that statue, trying to gain some support.

But in the end, he has to have his family backing him, or else none of the other families are going to buy what he has to say, right? I mean if the guy doesn't even have his own house in order, how can anyone else support him? So he starts with his wife, knowing that she can get her daughters attention. In some cases, he tells a few white lies, in some cases he doesn't have to. But lets keep going with the statue thing, because I really like it.

So he paints a pretty lurid picture for his wife. Well his wife doesn't really trust him, I mean it's only a statue, right? But Dad says he talked to the guy and he blew Dad off and treated it like it was no big deal. Totally dissed the entire family in the process. Well his wife tries to go over to the neighbors and gets the brush off too. So is stuck with her husband's story.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, she tells her daughter the story about the three-foot working penis. She keeps out the most lurid details, but it's still pretty impressive. Well she likes her Daddy, and she's kind of pissed that the neighbor's picking on them. So she joins forces with her Daddy and well Mom's along for the ride right now, because the neighbor's not talking, and she doesn't have any other information.

Now the neighbor starts to get surly. He makes a bunch of counter-accusations. Thing escalate until Dad decides to go onto the neighbor's property to destroy the penis. And then everything goes to hell. The Penis doesn't get destroyed but the fence between the properties does. Lawns get trashed. Statuary destroyed. Maybe the penis even gets chipped. The neighbors who agree are all cheering Dad on, the neighbors that don't are all complaining.

But for right now Dad's got what he wants - a war on the neighbor.

And then Mom realizes that this is all about a three-foot-tall working penis. She starts telling her daughter about all the horrible things Dad is doing to the neighbor. She's kind of ashamed that she originally told her daughter about this stuff to begin with. But Dad's at war, so he doesn't care, except when his daughter comes up to him one day and says, "I want a new Dad because your being horrible." That's when he figures out that he's in trouble, so he tries to backpedal a bit, or tries to bluff his way through, but the daughter's not buying it, Mom's not buying it, but he's at war now, so what's he going to do. So he keeps at it.

And then Fluffy the dog gets killed trying to stop the neighbor from coming over to the lawn. And things really get bad for Dad. Everyone loves Fluffy. (This is not a statement intended to say that soliders are stupid dogs, just to say that everyone likes dogs or they should.)

The question then becomes for the daughter is all of this disaster worth wrecking a three-foot-tall penis?

And that is my take on the media's relationship when it comes to war. Honestly, I think it's the only way the media can go. As long as they do their best to report the facts as they learn them, then there isn't much more they can do. And this is the relationship that Starship Operators showed. Sorry, if this all seems a bit off of the anime topic. You can leave that comment as well.

No comments: