The Temple of Dumb

One of my co-workers kindly gave me a TV that had been cluttering up her office, which works out nicely for me. During my night classes, I’ve been meeting with a very small group of students for a Media English class. I would have preferred to hold class in my office, but for the need for a screen on which to play some videos we’ll be watching. So now that I have a TV, all I need to do is get a cable that’ll convert S-video out to RCA in. (I hope such a thing exists, as I’m a total n00b in anything involving technology and media.)

I haven’t had a TV in my possession in over five years, and haven’t actually seen AFKN TV programming until now, my sixth year in Korea… and what do you know, but watching tuning in for the first time, I find myself in shock. It’s not just the cheesy game shows, or the pro-military propaganda that show up once in a while… no, it’s the ads.

The advertising seems to be designed for adult children. Reminders to, you know, wash you clothes, brush your teeth, change your underwear. I find it a little weird when, in one ad, soldiers are described as “men and women” and in the next, they’re being taught things that you’re supposed to learn in grade school.

Is it going too far to say there’s something uncomfortably revealing about that? I’m not saying USFK soldiers are big children: I’m saying that the army anticipates them to behave like big children, instead of as men and women. And that’s a little scary, but more than that it’s disappointing. I thought military training was supposed to be a kind of manufacturing system for basic adult competency, as well as basic battlefield competency. Apparently not? Or… I don’t know. But seeing a grown man model how to brush one’s teeth for other adults leaves me bewildered.

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