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America and The Last Ship

Sometimes, like other people, I like to watch “Trash” TV to relax.

Recently, I caught season 5 of “The Last Ship” which concerns a US navel ship saving the world (read US interests) in a post-Armageddon world.

Leaving aside the fact that the show is completely preposterous there is, however, some interesting unintended aspects to it.

The show is a master display in US nationalist propaganda as is so much other media that stems from US TV networks and Hollywood.

Its major premise is that the US is untiringly working for the global good at every moment and under any conditions.  This is of course laughable if not for the fact that the symbols and images that help construct this concept are still to this day unquestionably believed in by millions of people throughout the world.

Tellingly, the nightmare scenario which is presented in the series is one of a resurgent Latin America that is politically united and hell bent on challenging American Hegemony and thus US interests. This situation is deemed morally intolerable as well as an existential threat and must be stopped at all costs.

Interestingly, what is here presented as fantasy is in a deeper sense reality. American interests have thwarted Latin American interests since at least the unilateral proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine. But the show is presented in such a way as to make the question of American Hegemonic repression unseen.

That America is the hostile aggressor and major threat to individual and community freedom is adroitly blacked out completely from the narrative structure of the show. The overwhelming orchestration of the American self-constructed pathos for sacrifice and honor for the good of the other is the existential nationalist hymn which drives the blindness, the complacency, and the smugness of so many of our fellow citizens.

Shows like “The Last Ship” are American propaganda pure. Far from being innocent entertainment they bear a not inconsiderable share of the blame for American violence being projected throughout the world under the cover of altruistic ethics. As if nations, any nation, ever did anything that was not in the perceived interests of their ruling elites. Furthermore, shows like this also serve as recruitment videos for the future shock troops of the American military, in this case the navy.

Our popular media has, for a very long time now, been in league with American Empire. It blindly and greedily and cynically serves the interests of power to construct a visual cocoon which allows no slits for reality to shine through. Indeed, millions find their sense of self within this false tabernacle and are even moved to sacrifice their lives upon a shiny sham altar constructed by clever thieves posing as the guardians of the nation and the world. In the final instance, these “noble deplorables” see America as “The Last Ship” bravely and selflessly facing troubled global waters without ever wondering if the shores it touches have either ever genuinely welcomed it or were ever truly wanting for its help.

 

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Dan Corjescu teaches Political Philosophy at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

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