As is my want, I often travel on public transportation each week, in this case the Washington D.C. Metro.
Today as I entered the train plastered before me was this giant 4' X 6' poster glaring at me with a militarized trooper type guy dressed in all black, steel helmet, visor and armor and above him the words, "Call of Duty Championship, Black Ops III".
Then in smaller type, the words, "You can win a trip to the "Call of Duty Championship". Below that were images of a bag of Doritos and a cup of Mountain Dew-all "Pepsico" products by the way and presumably sponsors- while in the lower corner a 7-11 logo.
Well I thought I must check out this "championship". Low and behold it turns out to be a video game-yes I know I'm an old codger and video games never got my attention-but I was intrigued. As I scrolled down the "Call of Duty" web site at the end there was a small box indicating, "Mature 17+, Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs". No wonder, here's an excerpt:
"The First Level in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III is about torture. As a Special Forces soldier in a grim future, the player is to extract a political official from a secret prison. As you infiltrate the facility, the game showcases gruesome scenes of waterboarding, beatings, and unfortunate souls burning to death. Brutality is everywhere. That level ends with dismemberment-your own. Your player character, pinned down by a killer robot, is torn limb from limb as you watch. It's gratuitous, but effective...all about the frailty of the human body, showcasing all the ugly and cruel ways it can be crushed under the machinery of war."
Going further, I watched the trailer. With the Rolling Stones singing in the background there's this Rambo type guy shooting at "enemy" combatants as they appear, front, behind, above and then a female combatant that blows away the Rambo character-and all the while a narrator verbalizing the details of the encounters.
At the trailers conclusion one had to order and pay for the game in order to proceed. I declined. I'd seen and read enough of the content, thinking, so "this" is what it has come down to.
Young people, in their late teens and early twenties, no longer had a military draft to be concerned about-unless of course, one is from a rural area or inner city where the job prospects are few and college is out of the question, one considers joining the military as a job alternative as opposed to flipping burgers at the local fast food outlet. I also assumed many of this age group are enticed by video games, which appear as a simulated substitute to the real thing of actually being in the military and forced into shooting and killing a real live person in war.
I wondered is this "stuff" paid for or underwritten by the Pentagon? Maybe, maybe not. I have discovered the "brass hats" are paying for the "patriotic" marching, public address announcements extolling the virtues of the "defenders of our freedom", calling for uniformed veterans to stand up, be spotlighted and recognized with standing ovations at major league baseball games. So maybe the war department was secretly paying "Pepsico" to sponsor this so called "Call of Duty" championship?
Let's face it, this empire of ours is solely interested in attempting to exercise hegemony over the world with our military the lethal means to carry it out-success or failure being immaterial so long as the militarized maw continues to be fed.
Back to the video game diversion, what would appear to be an innocuous poster announcing a "Call of Duty" championship, to this observer is really a form of propaganda indoctrination masked in a video game, a way to desensitize a percentage of the population to become enamored with "war" through video games and easily accept the atrocities our real military commits every day around the world.
Sometime in the past I'd seen Lockheed, Martin extolling its military hardware on Metro posters-to say nothing of the P.A. announcements, "If you see something, say something", a constant reminder to be suspicious of others because there's always "enemies" to be fearful of out there.
It's been awhile since I read Orwell's dystopian "1984" novel but our own dystopia is all around us, least of which is the current cell phone obsession seemingly everywhere these days.
I believe it's all of a piece; whether it's the mindless distraction of militaristic video games or the cell phone obsession, what better to keep the public "absorbed" or desensitized from the murder and mayhem our military or their proxies commit each day.
Today might not be Orwell's "1984", it's just an updated "real" version.