US Army ad uses tear-jerking queer story to recruit for ‘world’s largest killing machine’
The US Army is following the CIA’s “woke-washing” tactic with a new recruitment video that uses the tale of a queer family to tug at your heartstrings.
Launched this week, “The Calling” is an eye-wateringly saccharine animated series on the origin stories of five diverse soldiers, each explaining why they answered the call to serve.
The cuddly campaign begins with corporal Emma Malonelord, a child of two mothers who was inspired by the strong women in her life to find her “inner strength” – by operating the nation’s missile defence systems.
“It begins in California, with a little girl raised by two moms,” Malonelord says. “Although I had a fairly typical childhood, took ballet, played violin, I also marched for equality.
“I like to think I’ve been defending freedom from a young age.”
After a brief shot of an anodyne Pride parade the video continues ticking its diversity quota boxes as Malonelord recalls a tragic accident that left one of her mothers paralysed.
Fortunately, she makes an inspiring recovery to stand at the altar and marry her other mother, helpfully crossing “gay wedding” off the recruitment drive’s checklist.
“With such powerful role models, I finished high school at the top of my class,” the corporal says. She goes on to university where she’s surrounded by more “strong women”, but feels lost after graduation.
“Sure, I’d spent my life around inspiring women, but what had I really achieved on my own?” she asks, comparing herself to friends who’d climbed mountains or studied in Italy.
But after meeting an army recruiter she realised she could make her own adventures, simply by harnessing her girl power as a weapon of war.
Signing up to join the world’s largest killing machine was “a way to prove my inner strength,” she says, “and maybe shatter some stereotypes along the way.”
Unfortunately, many viewers found the video’s grating narrative only served to highlight the more negative military stereotypes.
the MIC can’t stop doing the meme. pic.twitter.com/hxD4XItghO
— Nylon Husk (@exotaur) May 12, 2021
“It’s a distinct departure from our previous Army campaigns, both in its arresting kind of visual, this anime approach, but also an intimate portrayal of those who serve,” general Patrick Michaelis told Military.com.
Others featured in “The Calling” are a Dominican immigrant who witnessed her father’s suicide attempt, an African American woman whose father forbid her from enlisting, an academically-challenged student raised by his brother, and a Haitian man who had to walk miles to school everyday.
The army’s chief of enterprise marketing, major general Alex Fink, told PR Wire the campaign was intended as a way to connect with youth who see the army as a “distant star”.
“The Calling shatters these misperceptions by showing that soldiers are all of us: real people with hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, families, friends, and obstacles to overcome,” he said.
The CIA tried a similar approach with its own hilariously clumsy “woke” recruitment ads which were roundly mocked on all sides of the political spectrum.
Whether this heavy-handed new “propaganda” technique actually pays off for anyone remains to be seen.
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