Trying to get young men and women to join the Army can be a tough sell, especially with an average salary of about $15K a year for new recruits. On the upside, you can earn fat cash for college for a mere three to five years of indentured servitude. Assuming that, you know, you don't get blown up in Iraq first.

Today's Army recruitment videos are dramatic and inspirational. In 1987 they were...a little silly and nonsensical. Take this one, which uses Magic Johnson as an example of "being all that you can be." While I can't argue that Magic did indeed get the absolute most out of his physical abilities, I'm not sure how the message "See how this talented athlete has become the best player in his sport and is making bags and bags of money?" was supposed to inspire anyone to earn poverty-level wages for the right to have scary old guys scream and spit all over you. But what do I know about military psychology? Besides, I bet those yummy field rations make it all worthwhile.


Random sidenote: Basketbawful reader Wormboy mentioned (and vehemently agreed with)another criticism leveled against Magic in the article I referenced in yesterday's post: "While imploring the kids to 'Make sure that you make the right decisions' and underscoring that remark with 'You know what's right from wrong,' the NBA legend never took ownership of his monumental mistake of contracting HIV. With this disease rampant in the black community, it seems only appropriate that Johnson's act include one measly mention of his poor decision-making."

Here's the thing, though: Magic's wide-ranging campaign against HIV has been well-chronicled. (Go to the I Stand With Magic site for more details.) He has spent a great deal of time since his fateful retirement announcement owning up to his mistake and speaking out about the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Realistically speaking, how long does Magic need to keep apologizing? Is he really responsible for bringing it up at each and every single speaking engagement he does? Really?

While I agree with the general sentiment -- that it is important to continue to inform and educate the black community (and all communities) about the threat HIV poses to the world -- I also think there is a time and place for it. And Magic has done it many times in many places, and continues to do so. So, in my opinion, that criticism was a trifle unfair.

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9 Comments:
Anonymous Batman said...
http://stewiesplayground.com/2008/07/15/what-can-the-us-army-do-for-you-you-might-be-surprised/

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Hmm, I didn't realize that Magic had done so much speaking on HIV. I stand corrected.

Anonymous Ned said...
i know this is completely random... but did you hear about the controversial Spanish basketball team's slanty-eye picture, and how the Chinese fans were booing them like the whole game against China? Kinda tryin to figure it out...

Anonymous Baguete said...
My favorite Army ad from this "collection" is about Kevin Johnson and Tom Chambers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlf_wBaCUss

Two years later, Chambers was dunking from the three-point line in that Lakers x Celtics videogame...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where do you send suggestions for posts/contact the owner of this blog?

Anonymous AK Dave said...
@ned

Yeah, wow.

I like the fact that the Spanish team is basically like ,"Whatever- it wasn't meant to be offensive, and our sponsor told us to pose that way, so relax everyone".

File this one in the already over-full "whatever, get over it" category.

Be prepared for about 10 articles from ESPN on this one. Just be glad they didn't touch on a black stereotype- that would get more media coverage (esp. from Scoop/Jemele/Steven A Jackhole) than if Brett Favre dated Paris Hilton while refusing to wear a flag-pin on his lapel.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Just to be Devil's advocate....

A "slanty-eyed" picture doesn't seem to be a bright idea, right? I mean, I think I might have done that when I was, say, 8. That was in 1974.

Just in the "I'm just sayin'" category. I never get wound up about these issues. But racial stereotypes being a bad idea is kind of a no-brainer, right?

One bit of humor here: I've been in Spain a couple of times, and I'd argue that "whatever" might be the national motto. At least in terms of things working and running on time. But then I'm first generation German-American, and we know how obsessive Germans are about that (and yes, I can testify that the stereotypes are fairly accurate).

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Agreed, Wormboy.

It was childish and silly (what corporate sponsor would ASK them to pose like that?). Why they did it? Who knows.

Maybe the Chinese should pose in a picture taking a nap next to a bunch of half-drunk sangria bottles to get even!

Anonymous Erik said...
Magic should apologize for lying to the public that he ever had HIV. I can't offer an explanation of why he did that without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. He admitted he had HIV in the early 90's - perfect timing to have a poster boy to help spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Also, why does no one (except maybe the South Park guys) find it amazing that Magic is still alive, still abusing the English language some 20 years later? Isn't this some kind of miracle?

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