By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
In a lame attempt to be relevant, this year the United States Marine Corps decided to relay a message during Pride Month to express its appreciation of gay Marines. Mind you, it wasn’t as bad as implying that matching hamburger buns used to hold together a Whopper could convey acceptance of “the lifestyle,” as did the Burger King corporation, but it ranks right up there. They used a graphic that appears to be a throwback to the poster advertising Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, Full Metal Jacket, which was produced in 1987, and which was nominated for several Academy Awards.
Please allow me to unfold why the cultural and visual nod to Kubrick’s film causes things to go sideways so quickly. Anyone familiar with the film knows that it portrays Marines in the worst possible light—vicious, stupid, easily manipulated, mentally ill, and abusive, and is the ultimate stereotype of the “all soldiers are lesser life forms” myth. Kubrick never served his country, which of course is his right, and I doubt he ever made the ironic connection between the Marines protecting his right to not serve while producing films that vilify the Marines. Methinks the Marines using the Full Metal Jacket helmet with several bullets in the band around its crown was not all that smart, and they figuratively shot themselves in the foot on the way to being woke.
There has been pushback, and one of the most interesting comments was made by former Fox News producer Kyle Becker who wrote, “The culture wars are not one the Marines were formed to fight. You represent all Americans & not just Woke socialists weaponizing sexual orientation to attack traditional nuclear family & Christian values. Tolerate, yes. Champion a side in a cultural debate? Not your mission.”
Another cited only one color as being appropriate for members of the Marine Corps, and that was green. The rainbow was utterly irrelevant. Jonathan Mawby said, “All Marines are green. No colors. No preferences. No special treatment or celebration of any sub-group or category. Just Marines. Leave it at that. Keep social experiments, trendy buzz words, and politics out of it!”
The Law of Unintended Consequences kicked in full strength when it came to examining the bullets that are multi-colored and holstered in the helmet’s band used for the Pride poster. They are 5.56 mm NATO rounds. Unfortunately, and I am sure unintentionally, they end up looking like color crayons. While that in and of itself is amusing, what is lesser known is that Marines are at times the object of the pejorative term, “crayon eaters,” which is supposed to be a reference to a “snack” reserved only for Marines because they are historically too stupid to know that they are not eating real food.
So, what we have here is the classic “failure to communicate.” The Marines were trying to convey acceptance of alternative lifestyles, and they ended up inadvertently insulting Marines in the process by reinforcing a stereotype. The Marine Headquarters so far has not come out with any kind of statement as to what happened or why they stepped in it so badly, and my guess is that behind closed doors their Public Affairs Office has gotten a dressing down worthy of Gunnery Sgt Hartman’s worst invective. Perhaps the Marines should just get back to being Marines, and leave woke-ness to the ones they agree to give their lives to protect.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner