• State Department: Let’s Fight ISIS With the #TeeVee

    March 29, 2016

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    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State

    borat



    Your State Department loves loves loves #socialmedia. They will use it now to defeat ISIS, maybe also the Taliban, by making a #TeeVee show for Afghans saying ISIS, and maybe the Taliban, is bad.

    It will only cost $1.5 million of your taxpayer dineros, so be sure to pay the IRS on time this year.

    And the show will star Taylor Swift.



    #Old People

    No, no, just kidding about Taylor Swift, but the other stuff is sadly, pathetically true.

    To understand this, you need to understand the State Department. The Department is made up of a few old people in senior positions, and lots of young people (“millennials.”) Think of the old people as your sad, old dad after a divorce, bugging you to explain to him stuff like Tindr and Molly that wasn’t around when he was “dating” but now suddenly seems like something he needs to “get down with.”

    So that’s what happens inside State. Old people are told to stop ISIS somehow. They ask the young staffers about this social media gadget they read about in AARP magazine and the young people, none of whom have a rat’s butt worth of overseas knowledge but have lived their whole lives within a media bubble, tells the olds “Let’s do something social media, or make a TV thing we can show on YouTube. We’ll get, like, seriously, a zillion hits. Anti-ISIS will go, literally, viral, you know.”

    The State Department old people will not understand any of that, but it will brief well when they talk to their even older bosses, and BOOM! policy is made. And the great thing is that no one else has figured out how to defeat ISIS, so when this latest venture fails, no one will be too upset with State.

    #JihadAintCool

    But back to the details of this latest innovation.

    The day after the attacks in Brussels (timing is everything), the State Department posted a $1.5 million grant proposal to develop “a television drama series that addresses the issue of countering violent extremism among young people in contemporary Afghan society.”

    The rest of the proposal:

    This grant will fund the development and broadcast of a television drama series in which young people grapple with everyday frustrations and lack of opportunity, while growing and learning through new experiences. The drama will be grounded in reality but will also contain compelling creative content (i.e. storytelling, resonant narratives, strong characters, sophisticated production, etc.). In short, it will strive to be entertaining while challenging viewers to engage in critical thinking by placing characters in situations where they are faced with a choice: support universal values of tolerance and peace or be drawn into the dark world of extremism. The characters will be aspirational and will provide positive role models for young people facing similar dilemmas. The program will be amplified through social media and other means.

    The same day the State Department dove into the soap opera business, Hillary Clinton said at Stanford University that beating ISIS “means waging online battles with extremists. To discredit their ideology, expose their lies and counter their appeals to potential recruits in the West and around the world.”

    #StupidIsAsStupidDoes

    Ok, sure. This is the same State Department that spent $630,000 of your money buying “likes” for its own Facebook pages. Or dropped an unspecified amount making Gangnam video tributes when that was a thing.

    The overall problem with these ventures is that the State Department believes at its core that most/all young Muslims are simply sold on jihad as if it was just another clever online meme, or maybe a product. Why, if that is the case, one can simply make a better Tweet, a cooler hashtag or a better commercial and everything will be better. See, it’s the medium, not the message.

    In essence, instead of seeing young Muslims reacting to the American destruction around them with deeply held feelings, State thinks they are just as shallow and empty-headed as its own staff. #Fail



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  • Recent Comments

    • teri said...

      1

      Out of curiosity, how many Afghans in today’s modern Afghan society own televisions or computers on which to watch this thought-provoking extravaganza of misallocated taxpayer funds? How many own smart-phones with which they can #tweet? How many of them have electricity? And how many of them give two flying fucks what the Americans #think at this point?

      03/29/16 8:04 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      2

      When I was in Iraq and brought up similar questions about who had phones and access to all the media crap we were spewing, the magic answer was always “Well, only 2% of the population, but they’re the ones we are really trying to reach.”

      03/29/16 8:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      “The overall problem with these ventures is that the State Department believes at its core that most/all young Muslims are simply sold on jihad as if it was just another clever online meme, or maybe a product.”

      I see the ghosts of Alec Ross still roam Main State. Simply Stated, the Alec Ross story is a fine illustration of how somebody with virtually zero foreign policy experience can rise to the upper echelons of the foreign policy establishment by becoming a go-to authority on all things technology—and now, apparently, on all things future. Technology experts have joined economists as America’s most useful idiots. There is always demand for their expertise, there is no risk in saying stupid things about complex matters (the majority won’t understand them anyway).

      http://thebaffler.com/salvos/made-a-moron

      03/29/16 8:07 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      4

      Existentialists don’t wheel suitcases filled with explosives into airport terminals. So to keep us safe in the homeland maybe America could start to export existentialism to the Middle East? Should I apply to State as an outside consultant?

      03/29/16 9:30 AM | Comment Link

    • Edward Marks said...

      5

      Interesting comment but I am afraid you miss the key point. The Millenialls you identify as the source of this “advice” are not those in the junior ranks of the State Department but in the senior ranks of political appointees (and in the NSC staff).

      Check the long, very long, list of Special Ambassadors, Special Envoys, Special Representatives and their personal staffs.

      That’s where the problem you identify lies.

      03/29/16 12:33 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      6

      That is actually much, much scarier.

      03/29/16 1:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      7

      OR we could Leave Their HOMES and STOP Killing Them.

      03/29/16 3:46 PM | Comment Link

    • State Department: Let’s Fight ISIS With the #TeeVee http://wemeantw… | Roy Schestowitz - API Key Placeholder said...

      8

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      03/30/16 2:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Links 31/3/2016: Bodhi Linux 3.2.0, Kirigami UI | Techrights said...

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      03/31/16 8:45 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      State’s birdbrains tweeting again:

      It was just one message among many sent out in a social media campaign by an arm of the State Department, meant to warn people on spring break about the pitfalls of overseas travel. If grabbing people’s attention was its sole goal, it succeeded tremendously.

      “Not a ‘10’ in the US? Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse—being robbed. #springbreakingbadly,” the Bureau of Consular Affairs posted on Twitter from its handle, @TravelGov, to its roughly 510,000 followers on Wednesday afternoon.

      The tweet, which was posted around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, was spread around the world, drawing offense and mockery.

      03/31/16 11:07 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      11

      They’re drawing too much from their own experiences again.

      03/31/16 11:25 AM | Comment Link

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