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a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

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  • a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...JgJ_story.html

    By David Sirota, Published: August 26
    That Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster, made in collaboration with the Pentagon, came out in the mid-1980s, when polls showed many Americans expressing doubts about the post-Vietnam military and about the constant saber rattling from the White House. But the movie’s celebration of sweat-shined martial machismo generated $344 million at the box office and proved to be a major force in resuscitating the military’s image.

    Not only did enlistment spike when “Top Gun” was released, and not only did the Navy set up recruitment tables at theaters playing the movie, but polls soon showed rising confidence in the military. With Ronald Reagan wrapping military adventurism in the flag, with the armed forces scoring low-risk but high-profile victories in Libya and Grenada, America fell in love with Maverick, Iceman and other high-fivin’ silver-screen super-pilots as they traveled Mach 2 while screaming about “the need for speed.”

    Today, “Top Gun” lives on in cable reruns, in the American psyche and, most important, in how it turned the Hollywood-Pentagon relationship into a full-on Mav-Goose bromance that ideologically slants films from their inception.

  • #2
    Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

    Interesting, but the fact remains that both F-14s and their pilots were really cool. What's wrong with bringing the spotlight of the silver screen onto something that is practically made to order for that purpose?

    I have my concerns about the military-industrial-congressional complex, but military PR in general is far from even being considered good at selling its messages. This is especially true of the Navy, currently the most important branch for most national security objectives.

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    • #3
      Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

      Interesting, and a good piece, but I'm pretty sure the military was up to its hilt in Hollywood for years before Top Gun.

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      • #4
        Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

        Originally posted by Chomsky View Post
        Interesting, and a good piece, but I'm pretty sure the military was up to its hilt in Hollywood for years before Top Gun.
        Certainly. But it's not too difficult to build a list of Hollywood movies unsympathetic to the military and to war, especially in the wake of Vietnam. I think Hollywood is pretty astute at judging the swings in public mood and churning out what sells. And that can sometimes then create a self-reinforcing loop between the two...

        Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
        Interesting, but the fact remains that both F-14s and their pilots were really cool. What's wrong with bringing the spotlight of the silver screen onto something that is practically made to order for that purpose?

        I have my concerns about the military-industrial-congressional complex, but military PR in general is far from even being considered good at selling its messages. This is especially true of the Navy, currently the most important branch for most national security objectives.
        As for military aviation PR, isn't that part of every airshow in every location every summer? Even the Experimental Aircraft Association's huge annual festivities at Oshkosh includes a major military component, both historical and modern...

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        • #5
          Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

          Originally posted by Chomsky View Post
          Interesting, and a good piece, but I'm pretty sure the military was up to its hilt in Hollywood for years before Top Gun.
          Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
          Certainly. But it's not too difficult to build a list of Hollywood movies unsympathetic to the military and to war, especially in the wake of Vietnam. I think Hollywood is pretty astute at judging the swings in public mood and churning out what sells. And that can sometimes then create a self-reinforcing loop between the two...
          The primary reason Hollywood courts the military for these types of projects is to gain access to millions or billions of dollars worth of military gear, plus authentic bases or other government property. If they have to make a few changes to get approval, often the producers and directors decide they can live with that. Sometimes, they don't. Many of the movies denied assistance and equipment from the military have been financially successful nonetheless, but presented logistical / financial challenges for the moviemakers trying to find alternative sources or build their own military props. As CGI technology improves, there will probably be less reliance on the military to provide jets, tanks, ships, etc., but the preference will be to seek help from the Pentagon whenever possible.

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          • #6
            Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

            Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
            Certainly. But it's not too difficult to build a list of Hollywood movies unsympathetic to the military and to war, especially in the wake of Vietnam. I think Hollywood is pretty astute at judging the swings in public mood and churning out what sells. And that can sometimes then create a self-reinforcing loop between the two...

            I'm certainly not saying the military has controlled Hollywood, but that is has sought to attain influence over certain productions, including Top Gun and many movies before that.

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            • #7
              Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

              Its a mutually beneficial thing. The military gets good PR, Hollywood gets to use it's billions of dollars of equipment. That's why you'll rarely see a anti-war movie with all the military goodies. The military won't offer up the freebies for that. But put a good spin on the story, like with Top Gun, and you get to see some cool hardware and effects. Hasn't it always been that way? Most war movies during the 50s, 60s and 70s were still pretty rah rah . Remember the Green Berets? Lets face it, war sells in general. It makes for a good story. I admit I love reading about it. But that doesn't mean I love war. And I'm quite aware of the spin put on in movies. But is that spin part of some grand conspiracy, or just because it makes for a better story? People do love their heroes.

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              • #8
                Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

                Here's something that's both relevant to the discussion and current:

                The SWO's (Surface Warfare Officer) version of TopGun.

                http://youtu.be/qDMXkPfxjOc

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                • #9
                  Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

                  Battle Los Angeles was a 2 hour USMC recruiting commercial

                  I'm of the belief both the US military and Hollywood use each other and would stab each other in the back and throw each other under the bus if it was to their respective benefit.

                  I enjoy movies and serve in the military....I would like to see more realism personally......

                  RESTREPO was pretty good(being a doco tied in with a book).......Hurt Locker was a joke on SO many levels...yet perceived by many to represent realism in a current operational environment.

                  Odd, Angry Shot was a good movie about 30 years a go.....pre Platoon.....and far better in my opinion.

                  Video games is an angle that could be explored by those who wish to attack the military for blending entertainment with recruiting and perception shaping.

                  Have a look at the America's Army video game.....that will piss some people off....millions of kids playing that game with instant access to recruiters online/ingame

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                  • #10
                    Re: a peek into the operation of the bullhorn

                    Originally posted by lakedaemonian View Post
                    Battle Los Angeles was a 2 hour USMC recruiting commercial
                    Battle: LA was a nonstop adrenaline rush. It took a bit to recover from watching that.

                    You're right though, the military and the movie industry only team together for mutual benefit and are just as likely to be in adversarial roles if they think it's to their respective benefits.

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