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My short and happy life as a decorated war hero

Studies in Symbolic Interaction

ISBN: 978-1-84663-930-2, eISBN: 978-1-84663-931-9

Publication date: 25 July 2008


If military cooks can consistently fuck-up the preparation of refried beans, why would one expect these nincompoops (I have learned to call this institutional rationality) to produce efficient killers in 4–6 months of basic training? The answer to this is obvious: they don’t. Before an individual comes into the military, they have been inculcated with celebratory military triumphalism for decades; these teachings come from parents, family members, peers, teachers, professors, history book lies, cinematic lies, mass media lies, religious lies, and a wide range of other cultural lies (see Goode, 1978). These cultural lies tell of the alleged or presumed challenges of outside forces, and of how these unprovoked aggressions are met with the heroic efforts of our own peace loving people. These cultural lies neglect to specify the complete social, economic, and political context, and the extent to which the aggressive acts were a response to other actions which preceded them. For America specifically, they neglect the Christian genocide of the indigenous peoples, and our own long-standing and consistent imperial actions from the Bay of Manila onward. The cultural lies purport to justify blood sacrifice of the young for the short-term hubris and conceits of the political, economic, and religious leaders.


Johnson, J.M. (2008), "My short and happy life as a decorated war hero", Denzin, N.K. (Ed.) Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 325-334.



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