Saturday, March 9, 2013

Call Me Maybe: Social Media Soldiers

by Drew Martin
It is amazing to look the relationship of modern wars and new media of the respective eras: WWI and photography, WWII and film, Vietnam War and television, Gulf War and video (from smart bombs), and the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Internet. In the beginning of the Iraq war, leaked photos showed US soldiers torturing Iraqis. The private performance went viral and changed how images and stories reach the public. A decade later, the most talked about media event from the front lines is the military tribute to the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders' version of Carly Rae's Call Me Maybe. The Internet has replaced the USO's wartime tour of female entertainers for male troops in the trenches, and the soldiers' YouTube post has turned the tables. Unlike the Abu Ghraib soldiers (men and women) who were caught with their pants down, these "social media soldiers" not only know they are being watched but put on quite a show. The video is entertaining but it is a sugar coating to the fact that these men are trained killers who flaunt their weapons, which must be the ultimate insult to the families and friends of the people who they target. I think the weirdest thing in this new wave is that this will be the first time soldiers will return from war and be greeted not for their heroism but for their popular celebrity, which will continue when they go on the late night talk show tour.

Call Me Maybe:
Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders' version
Soldiers in Afghanistan version
Side by side comparison