29 December 2012

Annals of Advertising: Peddling Semi-Automatics

The American equation: Manliness = Own a Semi-Automatic Weapon. The latter transforms  you - regardless of the banalities of your actual life - into a real live G.I. Joe. As the advertisement says: "If it's good enough for the professional, it's good enough for you." And if you doubt that last inference, consider this advert from yet another weapons purveyor.

Or, indeed, from the cover and opening page of the 2012 Bushmaster catalog. Buy a semi-automatic, be a warrior and a patriot. It's just like magic!

Two observations. First, this imagery derives from our stunted possibilities. The only way for Americans to connect with some sort of larger undertaking - to make their lives "bigger" - is by joining the military. What other options are there? One way to defuse gun violence might be to explore other possibilities. Second, for the gun fetishists who accuse those advocating controls on firearms of mischaracterizing weapons, look closer to home. The catalog moves effortlessly between "professional" uses (on "missions" by those "Defending Freedom, Enforcing Law") to hunting and target shooting. This is how the manufacturers market their wares, by blurring boundaries and fudging distinctions. We who advocate measures to control access to weapons are simply taking the peddlers at their word.
P.S.: You can find sources for all this here and here and here.

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