Merry Christmas, have some Marine recruiting videos

December 24, 2008

So I really want a dog. It’s like my long-term goal: when I Make It, I can get a dog. I am not particular as to the variety of dog- I just want him to be sturdy and mellow (good for lounging!) and hilarious and friendly. I would not object if he turned out to be kind of funny-looking, like maybe if he were kind of barrel-chested with short legs and big paws… FOR INSTANCE.

Once in a while, my mom will send me books about dogs. Like once she sent something about dog body language (which, ACTUALLY, is really interesting, stop laughing) and another time she sent me a book on KNITTING RIDICULOUS GARMENTS FOR YOUR DOG, which is great in terms of the pictures of dogs looking embarrassed, but awkward in terms of other people looking at my books and going “…why do you have an entire book on knitting for dogs?”

(Here, I have to quickly herd them away from the Knitting Books shelf before they realize that I ALSO have books on things like “Fifteen hilarious baby hats the baby will resent when he is in college”.)

Anyway, right now I’m reading Cesar Milan’s new book on bringing a dog into your family. It’s making me feel totally inadequate and unsure! I’m not sure I can even have a dog! I just want a dog so we can go on long walks and I can feed him small bits of cheese which he will politely take from my palm and he can hang out on the couch with me while I pet his soft ears. But I don’t think Cesar would think that I’m ALLOWED to have a dog. It’s making me feel very nervous, and like there’s probably some kind of test I will fail, because I totally like it when dogs get excited about going on a walk, but apparently that is WRONG. WRONG!!!!


A few years ago, an acquaintance and I were watching TV when an ad for the Marines came on. She made loud, outraged noises. The fact that the Marine Corps existed was offensive to her. THIS IS RIDICULOUS FOR MANY REASONS, but primarily because the Marines have super great commercials.

Okay, so this one is kind of lame:

WATCH OUT TERRORISTS! WE LITERALLY HAVE A LINE OF MARINES IN WHITE PANTS STRETCHING FROM COAST TO COAST! You try to attack like a hardware store or the Hoover Dam or whatever, they’ll be on you like a bum on a corndog.

But in general, their commercials are good.

I think the Marine Corps’ understanding of its own brand identity is interesting: the other services have commercials that are like “I joined the Navy to get a college degree!” or “I joined the Army because they’ll train me to be a vet tech!” and they tend to have lots of ladies in their commercials, people looking seriously at radar screens, etc.

Not the Marines. The Marines are very clear on why you join the Marines: to hang out with other dudes and do AWESOME SHIT. Of course there are lots of lady Marines, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from their commercials. As far as the idealized world of the commercials is concerned, the Marines are all-male. Which is kind of their selling point, right? You don’t join the Marines to get a college degree, you join to test yourself, to become a man:

Marine commercials don’t wave a bunch of incentives in your face. They stand back, all skeptical. OH REALLY. LET’S SEE WHAT YOU’VE GOT. Which is naturally a powerful attractant if you are, say, 18 and a boy, MUCH better than something lame like “we’ll send you to college”.

This is the best Marines commercial ever:

That one does have a lone girl in it, but… don’t you get the sense the filmmakers were forced to cut her in? The rest is all dudes doing really manly things and then the girl is all “I am jumping over this wall.” and then more dudes are like “OH YEAH? WELL I AM JUMPING OUT OF THIS C-130. Sooooo…”

From there, Youtube showed me this Force Recon recruiting commercial (although… due to the quality issues, I am unconvinced that this can possibly be something the DOD paid good tax dollars for):

The pitch is something like “America is under attack by terrorists! Our citizens need someone to protect them from this invisible evil!” and then it shows a picture of some Malaysian-looking guy with a gun. First, when you think “terrorist bent on destroying America”, do you immediately think “Malaysia!” or do you make a few stops elsewhere? Second, if we’re under attack by Malaysians, we’re not under attack by an invisible evil. Just Malaysians. You can totally see them.

And THEN the video says that we can all sleep well because “WE WILL BE WATCHING”, and it shows, awesomely, a Recon Marine slowly appearing from amidst some branches of pine. I know what they’re going for. But now I can’t shake the glorious idea that all over America, Recon Marines lurk in yards, keeping an eye on things.

Considering my obsession with things blowing up and super-cool shots involving violence, I could totally have a job as someone who comes up with ideas for recruitment videos. I would, for one, point out unintentionally hilarious things and ask to have them removed. I would also say things like “Enough of the shots of the guy walking over the rope bridge! Nobody is going to join the Marines on the off-chance they’ll get into Force Recon and be allowed to walk across a rope bridge. What we need here are some close shots of one guy gripping another guy’s dirty hand in a manly, help-you-over-the-wall-of-this-terrorist-training-compound way! And if there’s any way we can like pan across a vista and then come to rest on a small team of guys looking over it contemplatively, that would be good also.”

There is also a terrible lost opportunity in this video where the text reads HE CAN SPEAK WITHOUT SAYING A WORD, and then it cuts to some guy, just… hanging out. I had to watch that bit several times to be sure I wasn’t missing him doing something awesome, such as: placing a bomb, shooting someone, sabotaging an enemy vehicle… etc. So that’s another thing I would mention, that if you’re going to say HE CAN SPEAK WITHOUT SAYING A WORD, you must immediately cut to some guy pulling his knife in a threatening way OR SOMETHING.

I am almost done! Here is the last one, a “we are awesome” video from your friends in SFOD-D:

It’s so unfortunate when you watch something and cycle rapidly back and forth between “Man-! That is awesome.” and “LOL.” The guy in the headdress! Who just shows up and then disappears! What’s his story?

Also, Fort Bragg needs a new official font. That’s like one serif away from Comic Sans, The Least Cool Font In The World.

ALSO, someone needs to take away this person’s video editing privileges. Transitioning from one shot to the next via the SWIRL button really diminishes the aura of menace you are trying to project.


Finally: It’s a Texas high school football Christmas miracle! (Warning: you will tear up.)

Merry Christmas! Here is a picture of a dog dressed like Santa Claus. Most dogs would hate this and resent you, but this guy is a Golden, so his default state is more like “THIS IS GONNA BE LEGENDARY.”



8 Responses to “Merry Christmas, have some Marine recruiting videos”

  1. cjalexander Says:

    That Marine video you have in the middle there is great — all the heart-stirring testosterone fantasy you could ask for in modern propaganda.

    But what about the 1980s? Behold, the greatest Marine commercial of all time (it’s the vid at the bottom).

  2. Seth Says:

    You know, this is kind of a serious problem. There’s an article here about how the Army, unlike the other services, can’t fill its recruiting goals. That’s because the Marines take most of the really hardcore I HAVE TO ESTABLISH MY MANHOOD BY SHOOTING FOREIGNERS recruits, and the Air Force and Navy are taking all the people who want college money for not too much work. The Army doesn’t quite have the glamour for the first group, and it’s too dangerous for the second….

  3. Elana Says:

    CJalexander: you’re right. That is basically the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

    Seth: Interesting! CLEARLY, my intunedness-with-the-zeitgeist means that I should apply for some kind of giant no-bid DoD contract to study this problem.

  4. Chris Kittinger Says:

    This has nothing to do with your post, and everything to do with hating cute animals for toying with our hearts.

    Oh, and I guess I should say Semper Fi, or something like that.

  5. Elana Says:

    Chris: “Petting zoos are a hotbed of animal hubris. With children constantly saying how cute they are, it’s important to let the goats know that not everybody is on their dicks 24/7.”


  6. Chris Kittinger Says:

    I know, isn’t it great. Found it by chance because a friend on Facebook “Became a fan of.”

  7. chaia Says:

    1. I need a Recon Marine to find out which feral cat has been crapping on my back porch, take it to the recruiting center, run it through basic, and TEACH IT TO BE A MAN CAT THAT DOES NOT POOP ON STRANGERS’ WELCOME MATS. DISCIPLINE!

    2. There was once an online petition; now, alas, there is only the sweatshirt:

    3. The awesome chiropractor has two Goldens and her office is decorated with assorted extremely adorable Golden paraphernalia. TOTAL BONUS.

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