The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 07, 1998, Page 5, Image 5

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    Patriot games
US. propaganda led to a generation of paranoia
TODD MUNSON is a junior
broadcasting major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist.
“We are the children of Marx and Coca
Cola." - from the film “Masculine Feminine "
When Jean-Luc Godard made this state
ment in his 1966 film, he, in one title card,
summed up what it was to be alive during the
turbulent ’60s.
I don’t know about you, but being a child
of Marx and Coca-Cola sounds like child’s
play to being labeled a part of Generation X -1
made the cut by only a year or two.
Back in the grunge period of the 1990s,
cynics pointed out Gen Xer’s who were then
20-somethings and cried that they would bring
about the fall of America.
Maybe the older folks in our generation
had a good reason to stay on the couch.
Perhaps it was something they saw on televi
sion that made them scared. Could it be ...
No other generation in history has been
subject to such an onslaught of propaganda of
any type than ours.
We were a generation that was taught from
birth that Russia was to be considered Satan
materialized in the form of a country hellbent
on destroying the American way of life. Forget
playing Tom Sawyer down by the creek like my
mother did.
We had better things to do - like prepare
ourselves for Armageddon.
We also are the first generation that was
bom into television. Unlike many of our par
ents who remember when their parents brought
home their first picture box, ours were waiting
for us to get home from the hospital to seize
control of our minds.
And that’s exactly how the propaganda
The year was 1982. A young Todd, like
every boy age 3-12, was hit by the G.I. Joe
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you could be “A real American hero” by own
ing Torpedo the Navy SEAL, or Stalker the
Ranger, or Snake Eyes the Mysterious
Commando or my personal favorite, Duke.
Hasbro really scored big with re- releasing
the G.I. Joe franchise: a killer toy line that was
updated every year, a hit Marvel Comic book
and an after-school cartoon.
And the best part was they were equal
opportunity all the way: Every race imaginable
was represented, as were women.
During my formative years, I lived and
breathed G.I. Joe. Occasionally I would slip
and get into Transformers or Atari, but my soul
was firmly locked into becoming a Joe. My
“Yo Joe” days peaked when I rearranged my
bedroom to make room for my new $100,7
foot long USS Flagg Aircraft Carrier - yep, I
was one of those lucky bastards.
So what’s the problem? Nothing, if you
don’t mind that the most popular “boy toy” of
the ’80s was centered on the concept of war.
There were never any “Moonbeam the
Peaceful Hippie” action figures, unless they
were sold at Open Harvest. For five years, I,
like every boy at Wasmer Elementary, lived
and breathed G.I. Joe; in other words, war.
If we could have joined the Army in third
grade, we would have signed up faster than a
stoner with the munchies can devour a
When I wasn’t playing G.I. Joe, I loved
going to the movies. Like millions in our gen
eration, I too was victim to horrifying propa
ganda. Trapped in a darkened theater for two
hours at a time, our minds were forever warped
by the images we saw on the silver screen.
Let’s move to 1983.1 remember my mom
dropping me off at the Grand Theater on a nice
Saturday afternoon to a great kids movie
waruames. wnen sne picked me up, l was
so scared of World War III that I hid under my
bed until school on Monday. Matthew
Broderick and Ally Sheedy had just introduced
me to the enemy that was known as Russia.
- Months later when the World Wrestling
Federation craze hit, I knew right away who the
bad guy was. It was that slimy, no good
Russian, Nicoli Vohlkov. He was the guy in the
red underwear and furry hat. Every time Hulk
Hogan would put him down with his patented
“Atomic Leg Drop,” I would rejoice by singing
the Hulkster’s theme song, “I am a real
The anti-Russia/pro-war propaganda didn’t
stop here. Sylvester Stallone had to be one of
the most hated men in Russia. In the summer
of 1985 he starred in “Rambo” and wiped out a
few hundred Russians single handedly. Then
on Thanksgiving Day, he kicked Ivan Drago’s
commie butt in “Rocky IV: The War.”
The most disturbing film of our generation
is, without a doubt, 1984’s “Red Dawn.” This
film was nothing more than pro-war propagan
da at its absolute worst.
John Wayne’s “The Green Berets” looks
like “Sesame Street” by comparison. Patrick
Swayze and Lea Thompson starred in this
apocalyptic film as leaders of a group of teen
agers known as the Wolverines who take on the
Russians who’ve invaded their small town at
the start of World War III.
To say this film was violent is an under
statement. As the first PG-13 movie ever, it
featured such great dialogue as C. Thomas
Howell saying, “It feels good to kill Russians.”
For years, “Red Dawn” was the most violent
film ever with more than 300 deaths.
I saw it four times. I was 9 years old. I
knew World War in was coming and I was
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vival knife to keep me company.
How can our generation not be warped?
Luckily I never had to use my Rambo
knife. Ronald Reagan and his military industri
al complex saved us all. Russia couldn’t match
the spending of America and called it quits, all
without the excitement of Armageddon.
Back to the ’90s and Generation X.
As the decade progressed, things have got
ten better for Gen X. Many members of our
illustrious club have pried themselves off the
couch and are getting real jobs and starting to
make a difference in the world. Some are even
employing those who labeled our generation as
I just think it took a few years for the Red
Scare to wear off.
The anatomy of conflict
Cloning gives life to new questions of legality and morality m ^
CLIFF HICKS is a junior
news-editorial and
English major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
I’m all for cloning people.
It was funny that when cloning
was announced nearly everyone
jumped to the inevitable conclusion
“They can clone me next! Ban it!”
Great. Kill the masses to make a
few people feel better.
Have you people thought about
what cloning was really invented
for? Do you think there are scien
tists sitting around reading science
fiction thinking “Wow, they’ve
invented a super Kill-O-Zap ray
gun here -1 wonder if I can invent
that” or are you giving the science
community more credit than that?
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“Blade Runner” here, but work
with me.
The first question about cloning
is why are scientists doing it, and
that’s the easy one.
Take a look at a waiting list for
kidneys or lungs or any of a dozen
other organs. Do you know why it’s
so hard to get one? There are tons
of people dying all of the time,
Tissue has to be compatible,
blood types have to be compatible,
and doctors have to hope that the
body doesn’t reject the new organ.
Think there’s much chance of
your body rejecting your own
organ? Think blood shortages will
be much of a problem?
So, as you’re sitting there dying
of liver failure, you think to your
self, I could just have a new one
cloned. It would be healthy, it
would work in my body, and I’d live
longer. Are you going to jump at
the chance to live a little longer?
Who wouldn’t?
This is the main reason cloning
is being developed. Perhaps we can
start re-growing lost arms and legs
in the future. Lost your legs in
Vietnam? Just maybe there’s hope
you’ll walk again. Lost your sight
in an accident? Maybe you’ll be
able to see again.
We can re-grow it for you
So there’s the good aspect. Now
to the less than pleasant aspect.
The tough part is that these
might be people we’re talking
Kignt now, scientists can reasi
bly clone whole adults. That’s the
good news. The bad news is that
they’re complete in every way,
brain and all.
Everyone who has seen “Blade
Runner” raise your hand.
Is it ethically permissible to
clone a person knowing that you are
making and killing another human
being? That’s the real question, isn’t
I say yes.
If we never let the clone gain
consciousness, there is no harm
done. Even though we are cloning
humans, there is some question on
how much of the brain will be
cloned. Will the clone have all the
memories and thoughts of the origi
Are we, in essence, recreating
I hope we never find out.
Grow the clone under sedation,
never let it awaken, and take what is
necessary from it. The temptation’s
always going to be there for some
scientist to play god, but we can
establish watchdogs as best we can.
Sooner or later, though, some
one’s going to clone an infant and
raise it just like a regular kid. At
that point, that clone is just as
human as the rest of us.
Are they human or are they
clones? Does the nature of humani
ty rest in the form or in the soul?
Are they alive?
Are we?
Do you see the kind of messy
legal ramifications this is going to
have? We’re getting down to the
core of the issue.
Can we create life?
Yes, we can.
Should we, and what do we do
about it once we’ve created it?
Perhaps, like in the science-fic
tion series “Red Dwarf,” we should
mark artificial life, like the holo
grams in the aforementioned series.
They have this flaming “H” on their
This brings me back to a dream
I had once when I
was 17. The idea
has remained
with me to this
very day.
Maybe I’ll
write a
it someday with the aid of a couple
of lawyers.
Within the next 20 years,
humanity is going to invent artifi
cial intelligence. There will be a
computer that is sentient before I
turn 40. It’s going to want its free
A company built this machine.
They say they own it. The computer
says it can think, reason and is as
sentient as any human. “I think
therefore I am,” it says. “And I
think I want to be free.”
This and the cloning legality
case will be ones that the Supreme
Court will be hearing eventually, I
would bet; and they’re going to
have a giant impact on all of us. If
AIs are not deemed sentient, we’ll
have a personal slave in every com
puter. If they are, is anyone really
going to want to create one?
What is the
definition of
How do you define life?
We have learned to create our
selves, and now we are frightened.
There isn’t precedent for this,
no laws on which the decisions can
be founded - none that I could find
Gods arise among us.
In the words of Hamlet:
“What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason! How noble is
faculty! In form and moving how
express and admirable! In action
how like an angel! In apprehension
how like a god! The beauty of the
world! The paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintes
sence of dust? Man delights not me.
The days of gods and madmen
And mankind shall recreate in
its own image_