A tremendous example of the societal narcissism I wrote about in my Time article with the funny cover. If there was any one organization that I would have thought was in direct opposition to narcissism it would be the military, yet here it is, being specifically promoted.
I understand the practical necessity of this approach, of course; trying to tap into a listless and apathetic populace who get their current events from clips of the Colbert Report on YouTube-- they can't even be bothered to find Iraq or Afghanistan on a map, let alone enlist. But mark my words, when a military cannot effectively appeal to any higher beliefs at all, and must resort to patronizing illusions of self-fulfillment only, then this society cannot last.
Look at the evolution of the slogans, and tell me I am exaggerating (from Army Times:)
“Today’s Army wants to join you”: 1971-73.
“Join the people who’ve joined the Army”: 1973-1979.
“This is the Army”: 1979-1981.
“Be all you can be”: 1981-2001.
“An Army of one”: 2001-2006.
Look at the grammar, the semiotic connotations. A question for the historians would be whether or not a civilization in decline was aware that it was declining; and if not, what did they think was going on?
But perhaps all is not lost. The Army just announced their new recruiting motto, which has apparently tested quite well: "Army Strong."
As an aside, the "Army Strong" campaign was created by the Army's new advertising firm, McCann Erikson. They're responsible for the MasterCard "priceless/there are some things money can't buy" campaign. Of course, this cost the Army one billion dollars.
I'll go back to psychiatry now.