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March 20, 2008

New TomDispatch


The Golden Age of the Military-Entertainment Complex
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Pentagon-Style

By Nick Turse

In the late 1990s, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon -- a game in which the goal was to connect the actor Kevin Bacon to any other actor, living or dead, through films or television shows in no more than six steps -- became something of a phenomenon. Spread via the Internet (before becoming a board game and a book), Six Degrees has taken its place in America's pop culture pantheon among favorite late-night drunken pursuits.

Here is a new variant of the game: The goal is to connect Kevin Bacon to the Pentagon...

In reality, there are no degrees of separation between Bacon and the Pentagon because the actor began his career in a "recruiting film" -- a real one. As Bacon recalled: "After the [Vietnam] war was over in [19]75, I was already thinking about becoming an actor and I got sent out on this Army recruiting film. It was a soft-sell kind of thing. I was a guy getting out of high school who didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, so I took the gig. It was my very first paying acting job."

As it happens, however, the military puts Bacon to shame when it comes to connections in Tinseltown. The Pentagon might, in fact, be thought of as the ultimate Hollywood insider -- a direct result of the ever-expanding military-corporate complex or "The Complex" as I call it in my new book, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives.

So let's play a new version of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with the military standing in for Bacon.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 20, 2008 03:21 PM

Militarism is about the only thing keeping the economy out of the shitter.
I suspect there is not ONE of the 435 Congressional districts which does NOT have a military base or station, or some (several) 'businesses' catering to military procurement (Interesting that that's the same word used to describe the process of hiring a prostitute).

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at March 20, 2008 07:05 PM

My Great Grandfather served in Kaiser Wilhelm's Army, Grandfather a WWI vet, my Father was a lifer, my brothers and I (all of us born in military hospitals), Vietnam war and Central America Vets, my Son, Gulf War I. My first and second wives are vets.(but IF I'm drunk enough, I don't dream about the military)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 20, 2008 07:57 PM

OK, this article is plain stupid. Any country that has made war movies has had the frequent cooperation of its own military in their making. They also do it in Finland and Canada, by the way. One also knows that when it comes to the final impression, it's done in the editing room. In "From Here to Eternity" up till the moment the Japanese attack, it's hard to say the military gets any favorable treatment, even if it's toned down from the novel.

And there have been antiwar films made with the participation of the military-industrial complex nevertheless. Has anyone here seen "The Big Red One", "Platoon", "We Were Soldiers" and especially Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line"? Someone tell me how anyone can come away from those films and be for war?

In fact, films that take a glorified attitude towards war and the military are on the decline as far as it comes to war films themselves. (No one goes to see freakin' TRANSFORMERS to get a good view at the military industrial complex BTW). The recent French WWII epic "Days of Glory" (about the Morroccan French units) was way more gung-ho and pro-military than many Hollywood films of late.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at March 20, 2008 10:15 PM

well, duh, the military does business with a lot of people. How about THE COMPLEX: HOW MCDONALD'S INVADES OUR EVERYDAY LIVES? Global, everywhere, cattle, bakeries, wall st. Scary, conspiracy, Our Constitution At Stake!

fucking idiots. speaking of fucking, my little firecracker is stopping by to pick me up after work. She really is astonishing, on Wednesday I noticed that about half the time, of a two hour bout, she looked like she was about to pass out. Complete ecstasy. I can easily guess none of you clods can even imagine sex like what I regularly enjoy.

Posted by: xyz at March 21, 2008 03:40 AM

is that that the one you call 'lefty'?

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at March 21, 2008 10:30 AM

6 billion people on the planet, STUBBY, and YOU think nobody gets laid but you?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 21, 2008 12:57 PM

hey, xyz, she likely is about to pass out.... from boredom.

Posted by: Someone at March 21, 2008 01:53 PM