Monday, November 24, 2008

Brainwashing the Preschoolers

Have you ever seen the propaganda of other countries such as Germany in the 1930's? You know that sick feeling when you see it? My stomach always feels funny when I see it. There is just something about propaganda.

Now before I get into this post. Let's explain some things about my family. I grew up in a very conservative family. My Dad only watches Fox News. Enough said. I used to be very conservative and have grown more liberal in graduate school and as a parent. I just see the world differently now. Before I had kids, I believed my children would NEVER play with guns. But, I also thought kids ate and slept just because you said so. It all started with water guns. Then Ryan fell in love with Star Wars and then we moved onto Star Wars light sabers and then "blasters" i.e. guns. Two of the most important, loving men in my life, my husband and my Dad grew up with guns and they no longer play with them or have ever been violent in their life. So, I got over my rule about guns. I am always thinking about how I feel about them. But, that is where it stands right now. OK. Now to the real post at hand.

Last Sunday, we went to see Madagascar 2. Before the show started, there were ads for tons of kid's movies. We were in the target audience. That is for sure. But, one ad made me sick to my stomach. As we sat and munched on our popcorn, there was an ad by the National Guard that ran. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was set up as a music video with a 3 Doors Down playing throughout the song. It was a long song. And in this video, there was tons of guns and situations that glorified the military. This is not the normal ad you see on TV. It is not. It was well crafted for young boys. It starts out as a man who joins the army to help others. It has helicopters, guns, disaster zones and soldiers looking heroic. Now, before you judge, I want you to watch the video. No commenting unless you watch it. And imagine you are sitting with your four year-old. The sound is extremely loud and it is completely dark. You can only see the military ad playing for three long minutes.

OK. I know that the military has to advertise. I expect teenagers to be targeted. But, I can tell you that my stomach hurt just sitting there while the military tried to talk my two little boys into their army in 12 short years.

I am not innocent when it comes to peace and raising pacifists. My kids have swords, guns and light sabers. I hope that they will understand the difference between play and reality. And I respect those that serve. My Dad was in the National Guard and I was raised in a very patriotic family.

Joining the military is a choice that people must make when they are old enough to understand the ramifications of the role and the responsibility that comes with it. It is unethical for our government to try to recruit children so early in their life. Isn't that what high school is for? The room was full of preschoolers and elementary children. Not high schoolers who will soon have to make the choice. I didn't need my six year-old to look at me and say "What is this song about and why do they have guns?" What do I even say? I could barely speak. I was sick to my stomach.


MelKeil said...

I also saw the same "commercial" and the terrified look in my children's eyes... I found the ad to be really frightening. It was definitely beyond anything a young child should have to see or comprehend. So after seeing your blog, I am going to call the theater (we live in adjacent towns... probaly went to the same theater) and I am going to ask then to remove it... wish me luck

Poltzie said...

It's especially odd for me to watch that because I'm a Canadian and our army isn't anything compared to yours.
I'm sorry that your children had to see that. I would also have been very upset.
Is there a way you can complain?

Jessica said...

Oh Oh Oh.....yikes. I think about this often raising a young boy. What happens if he wants to "serve his country." I feel I would have no control or right to say no but not sure if I am strong enough to stand by. Horrible...I know.

enthalpymama said...

I haven't seen the commercial, but am sick thinking about it. Do you have a link to it somewhere?

OHmommy said...


You should write someone. I would have been angry enough to do so. You are the queen of letter writing, no?

Clare said...

That is just awful, i don't think we need to be pushing that type of material for a film like madagascar...come on!!

Anonymous said...

Dude, give it up. The military rules! Just kidding!!

charliecraig said...

Hey G,
That's really disgusting - even if you can get past the fact that they are almost trying to recruit child soldiers, what's even more frightening is the words displayed thoughout the video. It is almost brainwashing kids that they should never accept defeat, they should never quit, the 'mission is the most important thing', not people, or them. Its hard enough for young boys, without all this machismo crap from the government. If I were you I would have complained to the theatrte and the telecoms standards people, this sort of video (with violence, and disturbng images) should certainly be rated not suitable for young children.

This video has made me (a former pacifist) want to slap the face of the US National guard!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

When my 8 year old son told me he wanted to grow up and be a Marine, we sat down and watched Saving Private Ryan. He changed his mind.

Jennifer said...

i was also like you before i had children... NO GUNS!! they aren't toys... i didn't want to teach my son to play with them... but truth is... if you teach them then they learn. right? my son has guns, bow and arrow ~ nerf and all sorts of swords and light sabers and such... and his sisters play with it as well. (my son is 5 my girls are 3) they know they are NOT to point a gun at any person!! no questions... not ever! they also know that they are NOT to ever touch a real gun!! not ever. no exceptions!!

i like the song and what the words say to the video... BUT i would NOT want my son or daughters to watch this! I wouldn't even want my 12 1/2 yo nephew to watch this. to be honest, i was upset watching it and i'm sure i will be thinking of it all day long. war is hard. there are bad things. it is not glamorous, not by any means. and i'm so glad that we have brave men and women that are willing to server our country, and i know they live that video and worse every day... and it breaks my heart, but i don't want my children seeing that. not at all.

i cannot believe they would play that during any movie previews that is rated G PG PG13... I think that add should be saved for an R rated movie... target the right audience... 18 and older.

Good luck if you try to contact the movie theater to get it removed. I hope your boys didn't pay too much attention to it, although that would be pretty hard.


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