Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Media studies and Gunpowder Milkshake


An obituary on Fiske is available from U Wisconsin: https://commarts.wisc.edu/in-memoriam-john-fiske/

I had not heard of John Fiske nor was I aware that the media was being formally studied.  I have however for a long time suspected that Hollywood had a lot to do with my desire to enter the Marine Corps.   Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 when I was seven.  I don't recall timing or details but can still recall the emotional content of some of the war movies.  I recall being pumped up by them.  I tried to enlist in the Marine Corps in 1951 when I was 16 and the war in Korea was still active.  The USMC found out how old I was and told me to come back when I was 17 if I could get my mother to sign for me.  My step-father insisted that I finish High School first.  Thus, I enlisted in July 1952 when I was almost 18.  By the time I got to Korea truce talks had begun.  I was over there for the last two battle seasons and on Cheju Island next to a prison camp shortly after North Korean prisoners were released and some climbed Cheju mountain instead of making there way back North.

Thinking back I don't have any regrets. The Marine Corps was part of my education.  Even though I didn't see actual combat, I was trained for it and before I got out was a rifle instructor training others:  grammar and high school from 1939 to 1952.  USMC from 1952 to 1955.  College from 1955 to 1959.  Engineering from 1959 to 1998.  Retired from 1998 to the present.   Susan once commented that one of our nephews especially looked up to me because I was the only one in our families that was squared away, or something to that effect.  In thinking back, any squaring originated in my desire to follow examples I found on the silver screen.  I set out to become a Marine and became one, but I didn't really want to become a career Marine and so got out and went to college. 

So you can see that I've given one particular media a lot of thought over the years.  In more modern times I've noticed that "Hollywood" [if that is a proper term in media studies] has been busy creating larger-than-life women heroes ["heroines" appears to be a moribund term].  I just the other day watched Gunpowder Milkshake -- tongue in cheek, follows Wick a bit but women are shown as being able to do it all.  Good stuff.  Back in 1952 in Boot Camp we were ushered out onto the side of a hill one night where we were shown High Noon -- also good stuff.  I wonder if Marines going through boot camp today could benefit from being shown Gunpowder Milkshake instead . . . or in addition.

Thus, without ever having studied any of this, I have been aware of movement. I can't bring to mind any complaints at present.  I do enjoy a good "shoot-em-up" movie or TV series, and if it involves some larger-than-life heroine, I can root for her as well as I once did for Gary Cooper.  Good stuff :-)

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