A little G.I. Joe history lesson...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mr. Jiggles, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Mr. Jiggles

    Mr. Jiggles loves your mother.

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    I'd never heard this before. Pretty kewl...

    VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: G.I. Joe was just a toy, wasn't he?
    "Hollywood now proposes that in a new live-action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line, Joe's -- well, "G.I." -- identity needs to be replaced by membership in an "international force based in Brussels." The IGN Entertainment news site reports Paramount is considering replacing our "real American hero" with "Action Man," member of an "international operations team."

    Paramount will simply turn Joe's name into an acronym.

    The show biz newspaper Variety reports: "G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer."

    Well, thank goodness the villain -- no need to offend anyone by making our villains Arabs, Muslims, or foreign dictators of any stripe these days, though apparently Presbyterians who talk like Scottie on "Star Trek" are still OK -- is a double-crossing arms dealer. Otherwise one might be tempted to conclude the geniuses at Paramount believe arms dealing itself is evil.

    (Just for the record, what did the quintessential American hero, Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in "Casablanca," do before he opened his eponymous cafe? Yep: gun-runner.)

    According to reports in Variety and the aforementioned IGN, the producers explain international marketing would simply prove too difficult for a summer, 2009 film about a heroic U.S. soldier. Thus the need to "eliminate Joe's connection to the U.S. military."

    Well, who cares. G.I. Joe is just a toy, right? He was never real. Right?

    On Nov. 15, 2003, an 85-year-old retired Marine Corps colonel died of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif., southeast of Palm Springs. He was a combat veteran of World War II. His name was Mitchell Paige.

    It's hard today to envision -- or, for the dwindling few, to remember -- what the world looked like on Oct. 25, 1942 -- 65 years ago.

    The U.S. Navy was not the most powerful fighting force in the Pacific. Not by a long shot. So the Navy basically dumped a few thousand lonely American Marines on the beach at Guadalcanal and high-tailed it out of there.

    (You old swabbies can hold the letters. I've written elsewhere about the way Bull Halsey rolled the dice on the night of Nov. 13, 1942, violating the stern War College edict against committing capital ships in restricted waters and instead dispatching into the Slot his last two remaining fast battleships, the South Dakota and the Washington, escorted by the only four destroyers with enough fuel in their bunkers to get them there and back. By 11 p.m., with the fire control systems on the South Dakota malfunctioning, with the crews of those American destroyers cheering her on as they treaded water in an inky sea full of flaming wreckage, "At that moment Washington was the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet," writes naval historian David Lippman. "If this one ship did not stop 14 Japanese ships right then and there, America might lose the war. ..." At midnight precisely, facing those impossible odds, the battleship Washington opened up with her 16-inch guns. If you're reading this in English, you should be able to figure out how she did.)

    But the Washington's one-sided battle with the Kirishima was still weeks in the future. On Oct. 25, Mitchell Paige was back on the God-forsaken malarial jungle island of Guadalcanal.

    On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield that could threaten the Japanese route to Australia. Admiral Yamamoto knew how dangerous that was. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven the supporting U.S. Navy from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.

    As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about carefully emplacing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings on that hillside, 65 years ago this week -- manning their section of the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field against the assault of the night of Oct. 25, 1942 -- it's unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 armed and motivated attackers?

    But by the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men," historian Lippman reports. "The 16th (Japanese) Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties handled 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low."

    You've already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack, haven't you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. Every one. As the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.

    The citation for Paige's Medal of Honor picks up the tale: "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire."

    In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.

    Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M. Conoley was the first to discover how many able-bodied United States Marines it takes to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated, combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat.

    On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring.

    The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.

    And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on an insignificant island no one ever heard of, called Guadalcanal.

    When the Hasbro Toy Co. called some years back, asking permission to put the retired colonel's face on some kid's doll, Mitchell Paige thought they must be joking.

    But they weren't. That's his mug, on the little Marine they call "G.I. Joe." At least, it has been up till now.

    Mitchell Paige's only condition? That G.I. Joe must always remain a United States Marine.

    But don't worry. Far more important for our new movies not to offend anyone in Cairo or Karachi or Paris or Palembang.

    After all, it's only a toy. It doesn't mean anything."


    Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books "Send in the Waco Killers" and "The Black Arrow."
     
  2. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    pretty cool read, jigs.

    when dr jigglesworth talk movies, the KA listens.
     
  3. ranoobu

    ranoobu I like fried chicken

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    I didn't understand anything above "Well, who cares. G.I. Joe is just a toy, right? He was never real. Right?"

    After that.. I think my brain kicked in..

    This was an awesome read. Thanks for it.

    EDIT: You also made me want to look up what G.I. meant.. cause I never knew.. (yea. i'm unworthy).. but for all those like me.. this is what i found:

    The term "G.I. Joe" originated in World War II, as a slang for the everyday Joe sort of soldier. G.I. stands for "government issue."
     
  4. Mr. Jiggles

    Mr. Jiggles loves your mother.

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    Yeah, trying to keep this thread 'unpolitical' but it kinda bugs me when Hollywood cops out with a 'We're not popular with the world right now.' bit.

    Like in Superman Returns when Perry White does the 'Truth, Justice, all that stuff.' line.

    I think for the vast majority of Americans, America itself is not so much about geographic borders as it is a sense of basic values. Characters like Superman, Captain America, etc., represent those basic ideals of freedom. As a country, do we mess up? Hell, yeah. But I like to think that even though we stumble at times, we eventually right ourselves and try to keep moving forward. That's what it means to me, not what kind of stupid, shady crap any administration or political party is doing.

    Besides, America to me isn't some rich douche in a suit, getting fat on taxpayer money. It's the guy or gal next to me on the street, working their ass off to make ends meet, hoping the world will be better for their kids and grandkids that it is for them.

    Matter of fact, if you're gonna do some revising, put even more minority characters in more important positions to represent who we really are. I was riding the bus this morning, and I know there are a lot of preconceived notions about the South, but there were about white kids, black kids, hispanic kids, asian kids, east-asian kids, all different types, just chilling together riding the bus. That's what America is to me.

    Stepping off soapbox, now...

    So screw that 'International Force' crap. If you wanna do it, fine, but call it UN Force or something.

    That's got a ring to it, "UN Force, a real international hero, UN Force is there."

    Or not.
     
  5. Night Flame

    Night Flame TFW2005 Supporter

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    OK, I didn't read the whole thing because the whole deal about how showing the US Military as the good guy wouldn't fly pretty much is a steaming load of crap. What was that big summer blockbuster this year that was ostensibly about big robots beating the crap out of each other but was really about how awesome the US Military is? And wasn't that made by the same companies as the G.I. Joe movie?

    Is anyone else having a hard time figuring out how 1+1 = seventy-eleven?
     
  6. RandomFerret

    RandomFerret Fuzzy Forever

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    Hell, I'm a foriegner who's all about the anti-American sentiment, and it still pisses me off when they pull this shit. That line in Superman Returns was goddamn pathetic.

    Perry should have said 'Does he still stand for Truth, Justice and the American way, even if the American Way has changed?'

    You know, something less stupid.
     
  7. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    they should just remake delta force then.
     
  8. Mr. Jiggles

    Mr. Jiggles loves your mother.

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    With Chuck, Vin Diesel, and Steven Segal.

    That would be a fried turd, right there.
     
  9. Ziero

    Ziero TFW2005 Supporter

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  10. My03Tundra

    My03Tundra LOVES TO EDIT POSTS!!

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    I'd watch them in a Delta Force movie, before I walk across the street to see G.I.Joe movie based on that treatment. Sure, the original source material may be pretty bad, but why not go CGI or maybe more like the newer Sigma 6 in a way? Have Cobra forces be robots, or something along those lines.
     
  11. Primus

    Primus Beware, the modelers. Veteran

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    Wow, that was an awesome read. Thanks!
     
  12. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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  13. Darkravager

    Darkravager Zombie Hunter

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    That was a cool article. The only thing that I'm confused about is where in the article it says that Mitchell made the deal that GI Joe would be a marine, but there are all kinds of Joes. How does that work?
     
  14. RoboticPlanet

    RoboticPlanet Exclusively Exclusive

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    Great read Jiggles! BTW, do you have a link to the original article?

    This argument that GI Joe has to be a Marine, and consequently a symbol of America bothers me. It isn't the new movie or the 80's Joes that deviated from this gotta-be-a-Marine edict, but the original dolls in the 60's & 70's that first strayed. How long after the original doll did Joe become a Navyman, an astronaut, a jungle explorer or a caveman-battling adventurer? I'll speculate a Marine doll or merely fatigues may have been sold throughout the period, but there were still other GI Joes, like 80's line when only a minority of characters were marines.

    Now GI Joe is composed of soldiers from across the globe, not entirely a far cry from 80's hodge podge of non-US characters (uh, Big Ben, Red Star, Ninja Force??). I'll bet at least one movie character is a US Marine (*crosses fingers for Gung-Ho*). Will that stifle critics? Probably not, but one can hope.
     
  15. Random Autobot

    Random Autobot Soviet Kanukistani

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    Yeah, the big emotional argument in that rather poorly written article was already made irrelevant by Hasbro decades ago. Mister Paige's demand lasted what, 10 years? When did the first non-US marine figure get released? And what about the 80's characters? The vast majority of them were not marines.

    The bottom line is, an anti terorism force with the resources of GI JOE would most certainly be multinational, and in the hands of the United Nations, or NATO. It's simply a more realistic approach.
     
  16. toma

    toma eskimo in disguise

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    yeah this move is gonna suck. there are way too many reasons why it's gonna suck. what do they have against cobra commander that makes them want to put destro in charge? even if its an international force, why not have it based in the us instead of brussels. brussels? wha?? i'm not even american and this is all wrong to me. sounds like they're taking the source material, turning around, and puking all over it. and before anyone thinks i'm just being a fan boy and won't accept change, i loved transformers. but when it comes to gi joe, cobra was always a lot more intertesting, mostly because of the dynamic between cobra commander and destro. reducing it to just destro is weird and i don't like it.
     
  17. Random Autobot

    Random Autobot Soviet Kanukistani

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    The link that leads to a message from Hasbro says they won't be based in Brussels. it doesn't specify a country, but says there base will be called "The Pit".
     
  18. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    well at least they got the pit right, jeez.
     

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