December 28, 2010

War Update: Bubblegum

TODAY IS the LAST DAY TO ENTER OUR RAFFLE!  (Deadline is Wednesday at 4pm EST). Each $20 you contribute buys you a raffle ticket for prints and photo books signed by Bag’s contributors, and entry to our PARTY TONIGHT in Brooklyn. Click here now to donate, to see what’s in the raffle, and get directions. Please, help support The Bag. And, we hope to see you in Brooklyn!


This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the Military’s female units operating in Afghanistan, and particularly, domestic media’s fawning fascination with them.  As opposed to this take by John Lucaites, however, I’m wondering if this photo leading an MSNBC video doesn’t cut a couple different ways.

Yes, it’s just one more example of the military and big media doing their usual thing, soft-peddling the war by dressing it up as human interest story. Yes, it also serves the requisite propaganda purpose making the viewer, and the Afghans, mostly ignore the very serious piece of hardware.  What might be truer and more effective than we’re willing to admit, however, is how effective this “intervention” might truly be.  Afterall, isn’t bubblegum, if you could see it in the photo as symbolic of US irreverence and pop culture (especially on the lips of an American girl?), our most strategic weapon?

MSNBC Video: Inside the “Female Engagement” Team.

(photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images. caption: Sargent Sheena Adams, 25, US Marine with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II blows bubbles with Afghan boys surrounding her while on patrol on November 21, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. There are 48 women presently working along the volatile front lines of the war in Afghanistan deployed as the second Female Engagement team participating in a more active role, gaining access where men can’t. The women, many who volunteer for the 6.5 month deployment take a 10 week course at Camp Pendleton in California where they are trained for any possible situation, including learning Afghan customs and basic Pashtun language.)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus