Showing posts from March, 2023

5. The Matter of Utility

While motives to join the US military occupy nearly infinite points along a spectrum, we can still reasonably conclude that - at least for the past 50 years - the ranks are populated by those who personally elected to be there. Yet little easy-to-find research elucidates the decision point itself: join versus not join. We might reasonably assume that decisions to not join include an objection to the idea of killing, fear of physical or emotional inadequacy, and a worsening trend nationwide where youth are unable to meet height, weight or criminal background standards. There is also a cross section of young Americans who have no interest whatsoever in service. It seems pointless, pays terribly, and conflicts with whatever plans they have for their own lives. Not joining doesn’t produce feelings of guilt in these instances; it never blips on the radar of the young man who already has a good plan in front of him, who is expected to go to college and thereafter embed in the family busines

4. Emotional Fodder

Roundabouts February of 2023, two visual productions rose simultaneously to fame LinkedIn and elsewhere, one a still image and the other a very well produced video. The former, a photo of a soldier wearing old woodland camouflage trousers and no shirt, shows him clutching his head in presumed anguish while his wife, regally poised in a wingback chair, faces the opposite direction and diddles around on a laptop. The two most obvious elements of this photos are that a) the veteran is shirtless and - despite growing a super lush hipster beard - has maintained very low BMI and b) his wife is wearing heels that effectively accentuate her leg lines and that she also has great taste in dresses but questionable taste in wallpaper. Perhaps we’re also supposed to pick up that there’s some marital strain or something. Sure enough, relational/marital strain is the precipitating factor for more than half the veterans who blow off their heads, but we’d be hard pressed to specifically blame militar