[ExI] battle tanks to a five yr old

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Tue May 8 02:57:40 UTC 2012

> On 7 May 2012 01:54, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>>  When I was his age, we knew a lot about warfare I think.  I notice none
>> of the neighborhood kids play battle of any sort now, no cowboys and
>> Indians, no 'Muricans vs Commies, nothing of the kind.  It just occurred to
>> me today their world is a lot freer of conflict than I recall of my own
>> misspent childhood.  Dare we hope that armed conflict will gradually fade
>> away?

The mythology has changed.  Cowboys and Indians are no longer a part
of the lingua franca of childhood, because there are nowhere to be
seen in the culture.  In 1959, there were 26 Westerns on prime-time US
television on only THREE networks!  Do the math.  That's a lot of
Injuns runnin' round the chuckwagons.  So of course the kids aped the
zeitgeist.  Same with 'Muricans and Commies: television, movies, books
all focused on the Cold War, as conflict, arena, metaphor.  Our
nightly news was nothing but that struggle.  Remember Vietnam in your
living room every night?

On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 4:56 AM, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> I believe that the US started what? Eight or ten wars after the end of the
> Cold War and once the "end of conflicts" had been announced?
> So, I am inclined to believe that the lack of toy weapons, battle games,
> etc. amongst contemporary children, are largely dependent on a cultural
> climate which are theoretically very hostile to all that and is in denial
> with regard to the practical realities out there.

The antiwar movements made the politicians realize that all that
freedom of the press was a buzzkill for a war economy.  So no more war
on TV, unless it's a carefully staged photo-op, pulling down Saddam's
statue or posturing in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.
Certainly no bodybags or funerals...

> OTOH, it seems that the same thing is overcompensated if anything by the
> very dominant "war" and "warrior" themes in videogames, from Ninja Gaiden to
> Call of Duty, where commercial profits easily trump political correctness,
> and the use of virtual avatars perhaps prepare the average western citizens
> to their later use of actual mercenaries and drones for the umpleasant
> parts, such as little comfort and personal risk, in armed conflicts.

You are correct, Stefano.  These types of videogames are capable of
decreasing empathy and can even be used as a desensitization device,
as is the online recruitment engine-game America’s Army, created by
the US Military, or actual training video games, designed to hone real
soldier’s reflexes and survival skills and even help recruiters assign
recruits by their strengths on the game.  Simulators and war rooms are
frighteningly close to the games they played as children.  Ender's
Game is not science fiction.


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