GI Joe: Can We Learn From It?
For this blog I watched episode two of a miniseries of GI Joe: A Real American Hero titled, “Slaves of the Cobra Master”. In this episode it was found out that the terrorist organization Cobra has three elements that enable them to make a machine that can enslave anybody on earth, from the presidents of the world to the Russian army. The GI Joe team has to try and find all of these elements in order to build their own machine. In this episode they fight their way through robots, lasers, and radioactive gas in order to obtain one of the three elements. While this is going on, one of their other team members, Duke, is in a cage death match at the Cobra headquarters, but gets help from a slave girl to escape.
To connect this PLC to the Cross reading, there were a few different aspects of the episode that stood out. First, let me preface this by saying that in the 1960s, GI Joe was a show that glorified real war, but in the 1980s episodes enemies were, “not communist or capitalist, foreign or American, black or white. They were other worldly or unreal” (Cross pg 291). This shows that shows changed in the 1980s to more fantasy like shows that didn’t really portray the real aspects of life and this was Cross’ biggest fear. He felt that in the past shows would teach kids about the past so they could learn a lesson for the future, but that in the PLCs of the 80s this was not the case as shows were in “perpetual” change with fantasy like plots. In this particular episode, GI Joe wasn’t just one American hero, but a team of special forces that fought using lasers and futuristic trucks to defeat the Cobra terrorist organization that seemed like it was from another world as the leader talked and acted like a snake. These weapons and vehicles are not real (unless our military looks like star wars) and this is the part of the show that backs up what Cross was saying that kids can’t learn from shows like this that don’t portray real life.
There was part of the show that could go against Cross’ idea, and this was the Cobra organization. They are called a terrorist organization and this is something that we do deal with in real life. And in one point in the show, the American delegate responding to Cobra says basically that ‘they will never give in to terrorists’s’. So while it is different context, this is a lesson for kids who watch the show to always fight for freedom, but according to Cross, lessons couldn’t be learned from these fantasy PLCs.