Symbol, Toy, Brand

In World War I and especially in World War II, the phrase “GI Joe” became a generic term for US soldiers.  In the early 1960s, GI Joe also became a toy (“action figure”) sold by Hasbro, and was later licensed to Paramount for film production.

This article tells the story of Mitchell Paige, a real US Marine whose face became the model for that of the GI Joe action figure.  It also tells us that in a new movie, Paramount plans to make a change in GI Joe’s identity…specifically, he will be turned into an acronym.  “GI Joe” will now stand for “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity,” a multinational force based in Brussels.  The marketing geniuses at Paramount apparently believe it necessary to “eliminate Joe’s connection to the US military”  for the film to succeed big time with international audiences.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have been quick to denounce as “unpatriotic” those American companies which modify their organization structures to take advantage of lower non-US tax rates.  Do you think maybe they will denounce Paramount as unpatriotic for this genericization of an American symbol?

(Link via our friend Bill Brandt at  The Lexicans)

11 thoughts on “Symbol, Toy, Brand”

  1. About 10 years ago, a military historical tour company was offering a tour to Guadalcanal. The trip was one I wanted to make in spite of chloroquin resistant malaria, among other things. One of the tour guides was to be Mitchell Paige. Unfortunately, the Solomon Islands had a revolution of some sort and the tour was cancelled.

  2. “to take advantage of lower non-US tax rates”: it’s not just the US’s high rates. They are avoiding the US’s tax policy of taxing profits made in other jurisdictions.

  3. To answer your question—no, of course not. Hollywood, and a significant element of the current regime and it’s support base, have long rejected the concept of America as anything admirable, or it’s soldiers as anyone to respect.

    They long for the day when some international force without any pesky national or constitutional loyalties would be available to enforce the tranzi will against the backward, bitter clingers here in the beknighted US of A.

    It’s every good little proggies wet dream.

  4. Movie studios make most of their money outside the United States. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. There’s no reason for them to pay too much attention to American sensibilities. That’s not where they make their money.

  5. But of course, the “nothing personal, just business” line doesn’t placate Obama when it comes to accusations of unpatriotism over Taxes. But government revenue is something he cares about, unlike American identity.

  6. Also, I don’t think it’s correct that a movie with a specific national identity will generally fail to appeal to people of other countries. Gone with the Wind, for example, generated more revenue outside the United States than inside it, without the necessity of deracinating Rhett and Scarlett.

  7. Gone with the Wind was a long time ago. I have to assume that the people in the studios know what they need to do to make as much money as possible. That’s their job.

  8. It’s just business is a half-explanation. It doesn’t explain why GI Joe must be de-nationalized, instead of inventing a new character (and Hollywood invents new characters or promotes them from other media all the time).

    Specific American symbols must be neutered and ultimately destroyed. By destroying the history of GI Joe, American history passes from the awareness of Americans.

    That GI Joe has morphed in the the Army of the Man from UNCLE (or ARM, if you please), accountable only to his World State superiors, affirms the illiberal movement towards one-world tyranny. All hail Our Ford.

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