Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Real Joe

Attention Hollywood, Attention Hollywood.

Are you guys nuts, or somethin'?

Well, yes, it seems once again the artistically inclined fail to see the forest for the trees.

Rumor has it (thanks, Edward for the heads up!) that Paramount Pictures is planning a new live-action movie that changes G.I. Joe into a mere acronym, an international man of action. Making Joe more "homogeneous" and marketable both home and abroad.

Huh? Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Vin Supryknowicz's column has more about the reasons behind the change. You can sign a protest petition here.

The real G.I. Joe the doll was fashioned after was a WWII Medal of Honor recipient, a Leatherneck to beat all Leathernecks - Colonel Mitchell "Mitch" Paige. He wasn't a colonel on Guadalcanal, but a platoon sergeant in the Marines. His now famous bravery and fortitude has been written about extensively, and it is a story every American should know. (An Amazon search only turned up used books for "A Marine Named Mitch" and the starting price was $55.)

High school history lessons never introduced me to the men like Mitch Paige or E.B. "Sledgehammer" Sledge. Yeah, we memorized the important names like MacArthur, Halsey, and Eisenhower, but the men who really fought the war were never mentioned. Why?

Colonel Paige passed away in 2003, Eugene Sledge in 2001. Every day we lose an average of 1,200 WWII veterans. We lose the stories, the histories, the memories. Read about the Veterans History Project here.

Another interesting memoir written by Neal Watzman (Notes from Neal) about his father's WWII military service is here: Part I, and Part II.
War should not be romanticized (and Sledgehammer would be the first to agree), but the men and women who gave so much during the first half of the 20th century should not be reduced to dry and dusty words on school book pages,nor should their stories be twisted to fit a 21st century interpretation.

We owe it to these Americans to remember, and remember with honor.

5 comments:

Trace said...

Once again, I thank you Miss Pattie for all the good information. And I do agree that we should always remember and honor those veterans who impacted our world so.
My grandfather who raised me was a WWI veteran, who realized what he was made of all of his life.

Peter said...

Money is probably the primary motivation. An "international" G.I. Joe movie is likely to do better overseas than an more explicitly American one. International receipts are a big factor in a movie's success or failure, especially in the case of an action adventure movie.

bill said...

I seem to remember an entire army of dolls called GI Joe, of various races and even females.

watzman said...

War should never, ever be glamorized. The men and women who served our country during World War II did so with courage, strength, and honor.

It is their stories, like that of my father, that pay tribute to their memory.

Thanks for the post.

Neal

Cowtown Pattie said...

Thanks for visiting and your comment at Texas Trifles.

I have recently been delving into a war hero in our own family - my mother's cousin was a Japanese POW, taken prisoner on Java. He was part of a POW crew that worked on the Burmese death rail.

I have been in contact with a gentleman who knew this cousin quite well and he sent me a copy of his own memoirs of the experience. Amazing and heroic stories, but these guys just treat it like something that just "had to get done".

Mom's cousin died in 1965, from complications of his ordeal as a POW - he developed ulcerative colitis and succumbed to a bleeding ulcer.

I will write his story up soon for the blog.

Thanks again,
Pattie