MSNBC’s Allison Linn isn’t so sure about an ad she saw for the United States Marine Corps. While she enjoyed the striking movement of the Silent Drill Team against panoramic views of America’s landscapes, Linn wonders “whether those who choose to make that sacrifice would feel turned off, or even pandered to, by the contradiction between what this commercial presents, and what reality has to offer.”
Linn’s questioning of the ad and its inclusion in an MSNBC feature called “Ads of the Weird” is ironic — if not outlandishly silly — when one considers the setting in which she viewed the ad: a screening of Sex and the City. Not since the advent of the Barbie doll and her near-fleshless sister, the Supermodel, have American women been subjected to a more off-kilter presentation of what the above-average American woman can expect to bed, bathe, and beyond.
This (Ret.) Marine spouse wonders why Linn didn’t ask anyone who has made the sacrifice what they thought of the ad. One can only assume Linn doesn’t really care what they think. It’s not like the Marine Corps is not right around the corner from her.
As if exposing some previously unknown truth about the military, she says, “This is a country that has been involved in a major, complex conflict for five years, and joining up these days is very literally an agreement to risk your life for your country.”
Duh — but let me tell you why.
In the attempt to catch the Marine Corps in some kind of deception, Linn managed to paraphrase George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, not to mention several choice Marines, including Lt. General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller (WWII, Korean War) and GySgt Dan Daley (WWI at Belleau Wood).
Linn laments that she didn’t expect the ad. In the very next sentence she says, “That fact gets to the heart of what is right and wrong with ‘America’s Marines’.”
Since when is an expectation (read: judgment, opinion, emotional reaction), or the lack thereof, a fact? It took Linn more than 400 words to get to what she thought was wrong, a contention she couldn't be bothered to support, and she didn’t say what was right.
It is an ad, just like any other ad for any other product or service that says one thing and oftentimes delivers another. The Marine Corps, it should be noted, has never so much as insinuated that it is no-harm. The same cannot be said for many of the products and services touted by many an American company that have ended up in courts across the very nation the Marine Corps defends.
In summary, I offer the words of a few Marines* who read Linn’s sad tale of woe and in some cases saw the ad.
“I haven't seen the ad but as far as the article goes there are some valid points. The ad might give the impression they are doing ‘bait and switch’ since there's not much lush about Iraq or Afghanistan.”
“The Marine Corps has a strong track record for representing minorities and putting out quality advertisements so they apparently know what they are doing.”
“Regardless of the backdrop, Marines have never advertised kindler, gentler. It has always been well known that wimps need not apply.”
“I seriously doubt that this ad is anywhere nearly as deceiving as every other ad out there. It's probably far less deceiving than, say, an ad that tries to convince you you'll look like a supermodel in their makeup or clothing or that an $80,000 sports car will actually make a decent driver out of you.”
“How bout all you Sex and the City pansies that see the commercial understand that those who take up the challenge are being filmed with the backdrop of what they protect and you take for granted. They will come to grips with the challenges they face and you will still be sitting in a theater questioning the ad, watching a movie that’s way more far-fetched, superficial, and misleading than the ad you so heavily scrutinized.”
(Hearty laughter) “Lead, follow, or go the hell to New York City.”
* Identity and rank of quoted Marines withheld at their request. Anyone can find them, however, on the Marine side of the front gate of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.