On this Project Censored Show Mickey and former Project Censored intern Reagan Haynie speak with Alan MacLeod, senior staff writer for MintPress News. He’s just written about a new phenomenon in US military recruitment: social media posts from “e-girls,” designed to catch the attention of young recruits. Also joining the segment is author and military veteran Rosa del Duca who discusses her work around truth in military recruitment. Then Eleanor Goldfield interviews Dr. Harriet Fraad about the psychology behind mass shootings, a type of crime committed almost exclusively by men, and rare outside the U.S. She finds the roots of these assaults in the unique way that capitalism and patriarchy intersect in the US.
Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer at Mint Press News, and a frequent guest on the Project Censored Show. Read his article on “e-girls” and Army recruitment here. Rosa del Duca is a freelance journalist and Army National Guard veteran who became a conscientious objector during George W. Bush’s Iraq war. She later wrote a memoir, Breaking Cadence. Harriet Fraad is a mental health counselor in private practice in New York. She also writes extensively about social issues.
Below is the transcript of Mickey Huff’s interview with Reagan Haynie and Alan Mcleod
Mickey: Welcome to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. Today in this segment we are delighted to welcome the Project Censored Academic intern for this past year. Reagan Haynie as our co-host. Reagan is a senior. At Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I actually had the pleasure of speaking there last month.
And Reagan has been contributing to research to our validated independent news program. She’s working on co-authoring the Junk Food News chapter with us this year. And today we are delighted to bring Reagan into the mix and she’s going to be doing an interview with none other than Alan McLeod.
Listeners of this show certainly should know Alan McLeod. He’s a, a guest, fairly regularly senior writer at Mint Press News. We’re going to talk about a really important article he did a while back and he’s doing some follow ups on. Called Call of Duty is a government PS iop, and these government these documents, prove it.
So with that, I’m gonna hand things over now to Reagan and Reagan. Looking forward to your conversation with
Reagan: Alan today. Yes, hi. I am very happy to be here, very happy to be speaking to Alan McLeod or Alan McLeod. Sorry. And so essentially my goal here is to get an understanding of your article that Mickey has mentioned call of Duty as a government psyop.
And I was hoping that you could essentially unpack your research as well as your findings and Give us a little bit of context surrounding the relationship between the Pentagon and call of Duty video game developers, and as well as the propaganda that comes from that.
Alan: Yeah, sure. Thank you very much.
It’s a delight to be back with you guys. So I’m an investigative journalist and I guess for the past 18 months probably the main theme of my work has been exploring the US government’s increasingly intimate relationship with media of all shapes and sizes. For instance, highlighted how huge Silicon Valley giants like Google, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook are now filled to the brim with agents of the National Security state from the FBI, CIA, The Department of Defense and other three letter agencies.
And how those quote unquote former spooks now work in highly politically sensitive fields like trust and safety and content moderation. I’ve also looked at the pentagon’s relationship with film and media and television and how the DOD has co-produced and written scripts, for more than 800 Hollywood movies and more than a thousand TV shows, including many of the biggest blockbusters out there.
Now I’ve really turned my eye to having a look at the military’s role in subverting the video games industry in order to sell a more pro-war pro-military message. If you know anything about video games, you’ve probably heard of Call of Duty. It’s one of the biggest franchises in the entire industry.
It’s a first person military shooter, and what I found out pretty much the title suggests it is a government psy-op and these documents prove it. So, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and shared with me show how the military is working closely with Activision Blizzard, the producers of Call of Duty to promote war recruitment and the US military interests in general.
In September, 2018, for example, the US Air Force flew Activision Blizzard producer Coco Franchini to their headquarters in Florida. The explicit reason for doing so the emails wrote was to quote, showcase and quote their hardware, and to make the entertainment industry quote more credible advocates end quote, for the US War machine.
This is a great opportunity to educate this community and make them more credible advocates for us in the production of any future movies and television productions. On the Air Force and special tactics community wrote one of the Air Force community Relations Chiefs. This really seems to have worked because many of the weapons and vehicles Franchini was shown on that day in Florida ended up being central pieces in the Call of Duty games.
And also through my own work I found. A host of just incredible hires coming through at Activision Blizzard over the last few years. In fact, their board and Leadership council now looks far more like that of a US government department or a weapons manufacturer than a fun entertainment company. This includes the company’s c o o who until 2018, was third in command of the Central Intelligence Agency or the company’s senior council, who is a Bush era official, who nearly.
Who was nearly made head of the FBI under Trump, but instead that appointment was next and she became the executive at a video game company instead. So these sorts of connections really highlight the extraordinary links between the national security states and the supposedly frivolous, but gigantic and influential entertainment companies like Activision Blizzard.
To the point where I feel comfortable describing video game franchises like Call of Duty and the other ones that Activision blizzard produces as state media Now. As to your last point why is this so important? I mean, video games are a gigantic business. The last Call of Duty grossed over a billion dollars in sales in the first 10 days alone, and they’re also a huge avenue for soft power and ideology.
The medium itself kind of lends it. Lends itself to this. I mean, unlike a movie where you maybe watch it once and perhaps you like it, perhaps you don’t like it, people play video games for days, weeks, even months on end. And not only that, they’re particularly popular among children and adolescents of a particularly impressionable age.
So these susceptible young boys play this game over and over and see a glorified image of war that the military uses to recruit them into this war machine. They’re seen as light entertainment and so people don’t really have their guards up like they would if they were, for instance, listening to a politician speaking.
And so it is their very apparent frivolity, which actually makes them such a potent vehicle for ideology to be transmitted
Reagan: really that’s really interesting that you brought up the The aspect of weapons manufacturing and their connection to the video game. I recently told this to Mickey, but I was talking to a friend of mine who played a lot of Call of Duty in high school, and he mentioned to me that he can now identify any gun in any movie, simply because he’s played so much Call of Duty and that partnership essentially allows them to to have the most updated military technologies in their video games. And yeah, that was wild to me. But going forward When I think of the military entertainment complex the first thing that comes to my my mind is the manufacturing of American War propaganda.
And I know you touched on this a little bit before, but can you discuss the various strategies and narratives that the military uses to enforce their agenda in Call of Duty?
Alan: Hmm. Generally if media companies accept help from the military, then they really give up creative control over the script and the overall direction of the artwork.
With video games, it’s a little bit different because developers don’t really need access to battleships or jet fighters to make the game like they do if they’re m aking a movie or a TV show. But nevertheless, the documents that I got show that the military are extremely keen to invite entertainment executives into their world, to wind them and dine them and to make them into allies.
If a game, movie or TV show is not to the Department of Defense’s liking i i e, if it doesn’t have the right message or representation of the military. Then the DOD will either demand extensive rewrites or reject any cooperation at all with movies. This is a virtual death sentence as it’s simply too costly to make a glitzy war film without the military underwriting the costs by providing them with free hardware or thousands of extras.
But this also happens with video games as well. So for example, the FOYA documents reveal that in 2012, a Call of Duty producer approached the Department of Defense for help on a new game, but was rejected outright because the script revolved around the US fighting a futuristic war with China, something, which in 2010 the Department of Defense was keen to avoid.
I think that’s kind of ironic now. Seeing as the US is gearing up for a fight with China for a fight over Taiwan, with China. But yeah, likely because of military objections that game that Call of Duty game was never made. And so if one of the biggest entertainment companies Nix is a project because of minimal pushback from the government, what do you think happens to smaller companies?
And there’s also just so many cases of pure falsification of history, which we could go into as well.
Reagan: Yeah. That’s actually my next question. So I know you mentioned the falsification of history in your article, and I’m aware of a few campaigns like The Highway of Death. That’s a very infamous campaign in Call of Duty.
As well as, this isn’t necessarily a falsification of history, but it’s definitely propaganda is the no Russian operation. So can you provide us with a brief summary of these campaigns as well as the potential that they might have? Or the potential effect that they might have on their audience.
Alan: Yeah. Well, There are so many to choose from, but let’s take the most recent game, call of Duty, modern Warfare ii. It starts off the first mission ludicrously presents you know a general, an Iranian general as under Russia’s thumb, and who is supplying terrorists with aid. This general is clearly based on Cassim Soleimani.
A Iranian general and statesman who the Trump administration assassinated in 2020 under false pretenses. The first mission you have to kill soleimani via drone. And if you don’t do it then you can’t proceed. And this is actually glorifying a major war crime that the Trump administration.
Carried out in 2020. A lot of people don’t actually know that Soleimani was killed in Iraq and he was in Iraq, not Iran, because he had been invited to peace talks with Saudi Arabia to try to establish a Deante among those two countries to try to bring peace to the Middle East for once. This, as we’re speaking, seems to actually be happening now in the cold light of 2023, but they originally tried to do this in 2020.
Soleimani is regarded as a hero inside Iran. A poll done by the University of Maryland found that more than 80% of Iranians consider him to be either, either strongly in approval of him or somewhat in approval of him. And this was before his assassination. And so ultimately, what we have in the latest call of Duty game is the glorification of a major war crime.
And this just continues on throughout all of the games. So likewise, in College Duty Ghosts, for instance the plot is set in Venezuela where players have to fight against General Alma Almagro, who is a socialist military leader, clearly modeled on former president Hugo Chavez. Like Chavez Almagro wears a red berry and uses Venezuela’s oil wealth to forge an alliance of independent Latin American nations against the United States.
As most people are probably aware, Washington did try to overthrow Chavez and his successor, Nicholas Maduro multiple times in the climax of the game, the sixth mission players must shoot and kill Almagro from close range to continue now. When it comes to killing foreign leaders, sometimes it’s even more blatant than this.
So call of Duty Black Ops a 2010 game. It revolves around players assassinating, a real figure. Fidel Castro of Cuba. They describe it as as as him as a dictator. And if you shoot him in the head, you’re met with a huge, gory, supposedly artistic beautiful scene of Castro’s head falling back and the blood spattering the lens.
And if you do this, you obtain a bronzed quote, death to dictator’s trophy. And so thus, players are forced to carry out digitally what Washington has tried to do hundreds of times. I’ll give you one last example. As you mentioned, the highway of death. That was a real incident during the first Iraq War where the United States forces trapped, fleeing Iraqi troops on highway 80, shooting out the front and back of the convoy of these desperate people trying to escape the war zone.
They then proceeded to just go on a, a killing, sweep, killing anybody they could. Nobody knows how many people died, but even people like Colin Powell, who was joint chiefs of staff back then described it as wanted killing and slaughter for a slaughter’s sake. So this, again, could be considered a major war crime, but in Call of Duty, modern warfare, this event does take place for dramatic effects.
However, it’s not the United States doing the killing. It’s actually Russia doing the killing, thereby. Whitewashing a war crime by blaming a, by blaming it on an official enemy. So the effect this has on the audience is it’s a huge propaganda coup for the United States to try to convince young people that the sort of history, the this sort of history didn’t happen.
And some of the sickest bloodiest chapters in the modern history of the world were actually committed by our enemies, not by ourselves. So it allows. The United States to frame their enemies as monsters and present US Special forces, who, by their own numbers, have launched more than 250 foreign interventions since the end of the Cold War to you know, get away with it.
S Scott free. They’re essentially guessing people to love their oppressors and hate those, trying to liberate them as Malcolm X said. And, you know, most gamers, particularly kids, are not very political, so, And so they don’t have this sort of intellectual reservoir of understanding to see that they are being forcefed pure ideology from the trash can of history.
This is what the radical Italian academic Antonio Gramsci called the process of establishing hegemony. The means through which elites get the population to see their positions, their understandings, their tastes, and their outlooks as a. The default and correct position in society. And so yeah, what I’d say is games are serious business and the military understands this.
The battlefield is not just in the Middle East or the Pacific, but it’s for our minds as well.
Mickey: I’d like to remind our listeners that you’re tuned to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m Mickey Huff. You are listening right now to a conversation between Alan McLeod, the senior writer for Mint Press News, talking about a recent article.
Call of Duty is a government PSY-OP, and these governments prove it. He’s in conversation with Project Censored intern Reagan Haynie. They will continue their conversation about this important subject and propaganda and indoctrination of people through video games after this brief musical break. Stay with us.
Welcome back to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. Today in this segment we are welcoming Project censored intern Reagan Haney. She is a senior at Loyola Marymount University and has been working with us this year on a variety of research projects, including validated independent news stories for top underreported stories.
One of the stories up for review this year is Alan McLeod’s. Call of Duty is a government psyop, and these governments prove it. Great investigative piece that Alan did at MintPress News, where he’s senior staff writer. And we’re going to now continue the conversation between Reagan Haynie and Alan McLeod Reagan.
Reagan: Hi ,hi. Yes. So, Alan, I know you were just talking about the effect of Call of Duty on its audience and in my research I had found a lot of stuff about the eSports world and I was wondering How the military has inserted itself into that that landscape. And what do you think their motive is for this specifically their involvement with the social media platform Twitch, and what are the implications of a government agency joining these streaming platforms?
Alan: Yeah, I guess I’ll just a point of reference for people who are not terminally online or young. ESports is professional video game playing and a lot of young people tune in to watch the best gamers battle against each other for real prizes. What’s the military’s motive? I guess their prime motive in all of this is in a word grooming.
They are trying to recruit kids into joining the military. Quite possibly breaking the law in the process. Recruiters can’t approach children in real life, but somehow in cyberspace, they’re allowed to push a message of joining the army, implying that you can join up, sign up, and game all day. And if that’s what life is actually like in a barracks, in fact, a lot of the language they use is similarly, similarly, eerily.
The same as online groomers. There’s even more pernicious and bizarre attempts to groom adolescents into the army’s ranks. One of them is Haley Luhan, a 21 year old TikTok star who has nearly three quarters of a million followers on TikTok alone. Probably 50% of her content on Instagram or TikTok is sexually suggestive pictures.
Maybe 25% is memes and the other 25% is hardcore army recruitment videos. The clear implication of her content is essentially, hi boys. If you join up, you’ll get to be with me in loads of her videos. She keeps joking that she is an an army psyop. Here’s the thing. She literally is a member of the US Army’s psychological operations brigade and her videos make it clear that she spends most of her time on a military base.
So I think all of this wink, wink, I’m a psyop stuff is trying to get around regulations about lying during recruitment. Interestingly though all of this hard and creative selling does not appear to be working with young people. A recent poll found that only 9% of young Americans would consider serving in the military.
And all branches of the armed forces are facing huge shortfalls in recruitment right now. The Army was, for instance, 25% below its target last year. And so perhaps that suggests that the kids are all right after all.
Reagan: Yeah, no, it’s really, it’s really interesting seeing I guess the downfall of military recruitment.
And it, it’s very obvious that the military is very eager to to, I guess, Strengthen those recruitment numbers. I mean, their involvement in, in Twitch is very interesting to me. I know that you also mentioned how there was this bait and switch sort of giveaway package where Or I, I don’t know if it was you or if it was I don’t know if you’re familiar with second thought, but there was this bait and Twitch giveaway where Twitch users were sort of directed to this, this giveaway where they were giving, giving away one of their like, Latest video games or something, and it ended up taking them to an Army recruitment page which is against the law.
And then also I, I read that Twitch users were banned for asking military members what their favorite war crime was, which is also against the First Amendment, which is very fascinating. But considering how heavily censored the pentagon’s actions are the military’s relationship with Call of Duty has received a fair amount of coverage from academics and independent journalists.
So is there anything else that their influence or about their influence that has not been covered, that you think deserves more attention?
Alan: Well, one thing I just mentioned earlier maybe deserves expanding upon, and I think that is just the level and the amount of former US national Security state operatives who now have senior positions, very important and influential roles within Activision Blizzard.
So for instance, Francis Townsend is Activision Blizzard Senior Council, and until September she was the Chief Compliance Officer and executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs as well. Now, who is Fran Townsend? Well, She has a long history in the US National Security State. She started off as the head of intelligence for the Coast Guard, and then in the early two thousands she was the Secretary of State’s Counter-Terrorism deputy.
That was Condoleezza Rice’s right-hand woman. And in 2004, president Bush appointed her to his intelligence advisory board as well. She was the White House’s most senior advisor on terrorism and Homeland Security, right at the height of the Patriot Act and the wake of 9/11 Townsend worked closely with people like George Bush and Condoleezza Rice, and really became the face of the Bush administration’s war. On terror.
In fact, she was one of the people who really helped popularize the term enhanced interrogation techniques, which was a Bush era euphemism for torturing people. Worse still, she appears at least according to a lot of very high up sources to have been directly involved in torture herself.
For instance Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, who is the officer in charge of the Notorious Abu Grave Prison in Baghdad. He alleged on, on camera and under oath that Townsend put pressure on him multiple times to ramp up the torture program at Abu Grave to try to get results. She doesn’t seem to have. Suffered any professional consequences for this. She to, to this day, she is a director at the Atlantic Council, which is the brains of nato. During the Trump administration, she was hotly tipped to become the director of National Intelligence. And in fact, it was reported that President Trump offered her the role of director of the FBI.
We don’t know why she didn’t take it, but instead of taking that job, she ended up working at this, you know, seemingly in Congress you know, career detour going to become an executive at a video games company instead. And Townsend is far from the only person we could talk about. Perhaps the most blatant one is Brian Bulatao, who I mentioned before.
Until 2018, he was the Chief operating Officer of the cia, which means that he was third in command of the agency. He was known as Mike Pompeo’s, attack dog. And when Pompeo moved from the CIA to become the head of the State Department the Secretary of State Bulatao went with him and it was, he was appointed under secretary for of state for management.
And after Trump lost the election. Bulatao went straight from his senior job at the State Department to become one of the most senior people at Activision Blizzard, despite having zero entertainment industry experience. And there’s loads more people that I profiled in the article. But that should give you an I idea about what Activision Blizzard’s board is like.
Ultimately then these people have no business whatsoever running a video games company. And their appointments are frankly impossible to fathom in any honest world. But they do become completely understandable if seen through the lens of the US government trying to impose control of an over another key medium of communication.
And that’s how I think really we should be looking at this.
Reagan: Yeah. And and more broadly speaking what do you think the future implications are of the military’s relationships with video game developers, and how do you think that this may affect America’s future wars and imperialism? I know you were, you, you brought up China very briefly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the potential impact on like Forever wars and things like that. Also with, The potential future of virtual reality gaming. I don’t know if you have any insight on that or Mm. Have thought about, you know, where this, where this relationship might go in the future.
Alan: Yeah, I mean, I guess I’m reminded of when I covered NATO’s 70th anniversary, they held a big meeting whereby the head honchos of the organization, they really described how they saw Na NATO’s future role much more in cyberspace than just on the battlefield. And so I think we’re. Only going to see more of this co-option of video games and online life more generally.
Future wars are already becoming digitized and gamified. In fact, as you mentioned, drone warfare, it really already strongly resembles a video game except that there’s no res respond for people killed and it’s game over for them. Middle Eastern drone pilots. Or rather, middle Eastern drones are piloted by people in Utah and Nevada.
They’re literally using Xbox controllers, and that’s deliberate to try and appeal to gamers to try to bring them into this system. And the interfaces are also deliberately made to resemble video games as well. In fact, I’m, I’m reminded of when Prince Harry went to Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot, and he described mooring down.
Scores of Afghans, he described it as just like a video game. And that’s really what this is all about. Desensitizing people to taking other people’s lives. The US military has produced its own video games, such as Airman Challenge in America’s army, both directly pitched as recruitment campaigns aimed at young people.
And so I guess we’re gonna see more of these two worlds coming even closer into contact than they were before. I mean, if there’s a solution to this, it lies in critical media literacy, which is something that Project Censored champions. We can’t simply accept what we are being fed, especially if it’s from gigantic corporations that are linked to the government.
We really have to scrutinize what we are consuming, not just in terms of news, but also in terms of soft entertainment as well. As Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. And likewise, if you’re not critically evaluating what you’re consuming, you might just be swallowing anything.
Reagan: Awesome. Thank you so much, Alan. This was really, really interesting. And yeah, thank you for coming and speaking with me and thank you, Mickey, for, for hosting this.
Mickey: No, no, certainly my pleasure. And Alan McLeod. It’s always a joy. I don’t know if that’s the right word. It’s a joy for me because I’m a media scholar and a historian, and so you offer such great insights, you know, that I, I wish more and more people were aware of.
This is certainly what we teach about. This is certainly what Reagan has been researching with us this past year. And again, Alan keep up the great work that you do. Anything else that you’d like to add or a place where people can follow you and learn more about your work?
Alan: Yeah, I mean, I guess I’d just say that video game developers who, as I’ve just described, are now staffed by the same people as the Department of Defense and are essentially acting as recruiters trying to get kids to sign their lives away, to serve Washington’s agenda worldwide.
And that’s something we really have to be clear about what is going on with video games. They’re not just, you know, this fun little thing featuring an an Italian plumber anymore. They’re big business and. The military is involved in terms of where you can follow me. You can find email@example.com, or if you’re on Instagram, I’m at alan dot r McLeod.
Or if you’re on Twitter, you can follow me at Alan R. McLeod. And McLeod is spelled m a c l e o d.
Mickey: And it’s Alan with one l a l a n. That’s right. So Reagan, Haynie, Alan McLeod, thanks so much for being with us in this segment of the Project Censored Show Today.
Alan: Thank you so much. Great to be with you.
Always a pleasure.
Below is a rough Transcript of Eleanor Goldfield’s interview with Harriet Fraad
Eleanor: Thank you everyone for joining us at the Project Censored Radio Show. We’re very glad right now to be joined by Dr. Harriet Fraad, who’s a licensed mental health counselor and hypnotherapist in private practice in New York City.
She writes and speaks on the intersection of politics, economics, and personal life in the us. Her work can be found on her website, harriet fraud.com. That’s H A R R I E T F R A A d.com, as well as her podcast, capitalism Hits home. And with Liam Tate and Ikoi Hiroe it’s not just in your head. Her latest written work appears in Knowledge Class and Economics by Rutledge.
Dr. Fraud was a founding mother of the Women’s Liberation Movement in New Haven, Connecticut, and has been an activist for her entire life. Dr. Fraad, thank you so much for joining us. Well, I am really
Harriet: glad to be here.
Eleanor: So, Dr. Fraad, I wanna I wanna jump right in here into the dark and morbid reality of living in the United States these days.
There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023. And there’s always this back and forth, you know, on, on corporate media. It’s the guns, no, it’s the, it’s the mentally ill. Now because they’re trans and mentally ill and when they say mentally ill, they’re of course suggesting that it’s their own personal problem, right?
It’s not anything systemic, it’s just that’s a bad egg. But you have spoken on your show and others shows about the systemic framing of this violence, both in terms of capitalism and patriarchy. Could you, could you shift that framing for us into those tho those two
Harriet: spaces? Yes, I can. One of the things we have to notice, although they don’t say, another man shot people today, 97 and a half percent of mass shooters are men.
And the only biological female who shot anybody this year shot five people at the Covenant Christian School. Ironically, right after our mayor in New York said we wouldn’t have mass shootings if we had more Christianity. Hardly at any case, she was a trans woman aspiring to be male. So that we have to look at not only why mass shootings, but why men?
Why men are, are the mass shooting, what’s happening to masculinity, excuse me, in the United States to drive men to just go in and shoot people. Well, it’s complicated. The first place, the male role in the United States in its patriarchal superiority has undergone quite a beating in the late seventies.
Capitalists in search of greater profits outsourced what were male unionized well-paid jobs to poorly paid nations with no ecological constraints. Nor workers’ rights, places like Bangladesh, Pakistan, China. One of the reasons China is the colossus it is, is we, that’s where the manufacturer is. Cause that’s where Americans moved it.
I saw a statistics, a statistic that said 60% of factories in China have American investment, which I’m not surprised that’s where the money was. And it was enabled by the discoveries of the mid to late seventies. Faster jet travel, faxes, computers that allowed a business to be managed abroad and its workers to be paid $3 an hour or under while it was in the United States.
And then they brought their billions of profits back and bought our political system, which was for sale. At any rate, masculinity. Consisted of, and in many popular ways, still does consist of having a wage, a good job, and a wage that could support a dependent wife and children. Well, that’s over the majority of us women work not because necessarily that they want to, but because they have to.
That they can’t live without working or keep up their standard, which they keep up through borrowing, but also working. And men who are insecure about their masculinity now that they can’t control full-time labor of female servants in the home doing their domestic work. Their emotional work, connecting them to their own feelings, their social work, connecting them to their children, and to inviting friends over and childcare.
They don’t have a full-time laborer unpaid in the home, serving them. And therefore when women come home for work from work, they are less entranced by the second shift. Insecure men demand more housework, more catering. However, women who just worked outside the home don’t want the second shift. It’s not their full-time job.
They’re participating in the economic survival of the family. They want men to participate in the emotional survival of the family, and that isn’t working well. 70% of divorces. Are now initiated by women. The idea of women dragging the reluctant husbands to the altar is over. Now it’s blue collar. Men don’t get married because they can’t support a dependent wife and children and have demands that are patriarchal demands that are outdated.
For the first time in our history in the United States, the majority of women are single and by choice and. A little over 40% of children are born outside of a marriage because, you know, to put it in a rather vulgar way, but very well, I once told my daughter about the old saw, you know, why buy the cow if you could get the milk for free?
In other words, be virginal. Don’t give away your sex. And my daughter said to me, Hey mom, why keep a pig in your house if all you want is sausage? Okay. Also, women’s sexuality has become independent of marriage because of available birth control. I mean, they’re working on withdrawing it, but available abortion and birth control.
And so men are outta luck. They don’t have the emblems of masculinity and feel unmanned. In comes the capitalist gun industry. The NRA is listed as a nonprofit, but it’s a major lobbying effort that converts men’s insecurity about being men into the idea you can defend yourself. You are powerful. You know, you have a gun.
There’s a, I remember the advertisement for Clint Eastward. Eastwood movie where Clint Eastwood is pointing a gun at someone’s head and saying, make my day. In other words, I will be enhanced by your death and ads like the ad for the Bushmaster Automatic, which got such negative publicity by females that they took it off, but it was, does your wife or girlfriend earn more money than you revoke your man card?
Do you prefer tofu to real meat? Revoke your man card. And then it went through a, you know, are you wheeling a stroller or in a park? Revoke your man card. And then at the end of the ad there was a picture of a bushmaster automatic and it said, reinstate your man card. Bushmaster automatic. The NRA pedaled a ex-girlfriend Target where you shoot it and red
blood like substance obscures each part of her until she’s totally obliterated. Because the idea is you can get respect. You can reinstate your manhood with a gun. The Wall Street Journal, oddly enough, was the one that plotted a map of the United States Gun owners and juxtaposed on it, a map of insecure masculinity in the United States as shown by.
Buying testosterone creams and penis extenders and such things. And so the idea you can defend yourself and not only defend yourself, but defend your family because you have an automatic weapon like they do in the army. You are a man, right? Appeals to people who feel powerless and unmanned. Another thing that’s happened is that when women leave, A connection with a man.
They retain their woman friends in whom they emotionally confide because often the closest emotional relationship women have is with other women and not necessarily their guy who’s their lover or husband. They also have their children who they take care of, and so they haven’t lost their emotional connection, whereas men have.
And they’re isolated. They never say of any of the, it’s 153 mass murders that have happened already in, I think 140 days or something like that. And there’s always a new one. They don’t say he had so many friends. It’s always, he was a loner. Because we are social animals. Other countries don’t allow.
Solitary confinement because they consider it torture. We’re social animals. We cannot maintain our mental health being isolated, and these men tend to be isolated with their only connection, an internet connection to other enraged men who take power at the mouth of a gun. In the movie Grand Canyon, which is a brilliant movie, it begins with a, a black tow truck driver.
Very famous black actor plays it and he gets out of his cab because he’s been called to pick up a car. Now the car is surrounded by a gang cause it breaks down in a gang neighborhood and the white guy in his sports car is very scared. And the black man who descends from his cab says, Hey man, to the gang leader surrounding of the gang surrounding a car, look, I have full respect for you, but I’ll get fired if I don’t pick up a car.
And I’m sent there. Can you give me a break? So just as a fellow black man, in all respect, can you give me a break? And the gang leader said, would you respect me if I didn’t have a gun? Good question. He probably wouldn’t. And they discuss it. And finally the black tow truck driver could tow the car. Okay.
And one of the ways that men feel that people will respect and in parenthesis fear them, so they’ll be real men, is with guns. And they show their anger by shooting those guns off. So it’s a question of the capitalist gun market, which is unchecked. Cause they’ve bribed so many Congress people. There are five lobbyists to every congressperson in our Congress, and the NRA is a well funded lobbying effort.
And so the corrupt politicians in the best democracy money can buy. Vote against curbing guns and we continue to have mass shootings. It’s interesting that in New Zealand, after the Christchurch massacre, AR stopped, really cut down on guns. They haven’t had one since. And the person who came in and shot the place up.
Was actually Australian, but she got on television with her head covering and affirmed that we’re all connected and that this is a tragedy for all of us. So she didn’t turn against Muslims as we did in the United States, and Jacinda AR stopped the mass murder. There was not another mass murder since, but she didn’t have that kind of gun lobby.
So it’s a combination of a capitalist gun lobby. People being isolated, men being demoted from their patriarchal supremacy because they can’t get jobs that support a woman, no less a family. And that was so capitalists could earn more money, which they certainly did. And they’re lost. They’re lost people.
They’re isolated. They’re unmanned. And the NRA makes it very manly to have a gun and shoot it to show you have the power to take lives. And often they kill themselves as well, or they have death by cop because they’re often shot, but they feel like they’re going down in a blaze of glory, not they’re going down as a mentally disturbed, isolated, pathetic human.
And so if we had on our buses, on our subways, on our billboards, signs of some wimp with a gun that says gun owners have insecure masculinity. Gun owners are pathetic men. How sad. That would be helpful. And if our films did not glorify, shoot ’em up. That too would be helpful, and I think it’s quite significant that things called chick flicks are about warm feelings, family, friendship, and so on.
Whereas guy films are about action, car races and shoot ’em up. These are really outmoded, patriarchal genders, stereotypes, interacting with the capitalist system. Unchecked in the United States, which has created mass murder. Even kids now, they have drills. If a mass murder comes to their school, they wear backpacks that are bullet proofed and they’re terrified and not for nothing.
School shootings are a regular event in the United States, and so. You know, it’s a combination of social isolation, patriarchy, the ideas of male supremacy, which can’t be maintained within our economic and social environment. Lost men who have shown signs always. They describe. He was a loner. He was violent.
He had scarred, one of them had scars all over his face from where he cut himself with a razor. People who are. Flagrantly in trouble and where nobody helps them. They are isolated and we cannot be isolated. Humans don’t live isolated. In the very beginning of human existence, they never found caves that had one person.
Because we are not the swiftest animals. We don’t have the best sense of smell. We don’t have the, the biggest teeth we’re not the strongest. We would lose out if we couldn’t cooperate. So what they did in the early societies, which were all communal, is they would dig a big hole and then make a lot of noise and drive an animal in there and then carve it up and share the proceeds because they couldn’t have lived otherwise.
And we are pack animals. We can’t live otherwise. And these are, Isolated men who have been unmanned by the capitalist system, and their idea of manhood was an idea of dominating people, dependent on them. Also, they’ve lost their position in the community. It used to be if you lived in a community that, let’s say, worked for a tire company.
As you got seniority, you got respect. You were someone who worked a good year tire. You were someone who worked at Cooper Tire and you got a reasonable salary and you had a position and you could get a little house and you had a family. Now everything is Walmart where you get minimum wage, or you can also, the four biggest employers are now Amazon, where you’re an extension.
Of a robot, Walmart, where you’re paid so poorly that they have a food stamps desk in front of the store to help you get the food stamps that allow you to subsist. So our government can compensate for their terrible salaries and they have huge parking lots for the people who live in their cars or so we have Amazon, Walmart, fast food and call centers in all.
Four biggest employers, you’re on the clock. If you don’t, let’s say make your hamburger and get the person in and out in two minutes and 33 seconds, you’re clocked. You’re buzzed. Your supervisor talks to you. You cannot ever put your elbows on the counter and in Walmart, even if there’s no one in the store or no one in your department, you are not allowed to sit down.
You. Have no, you know, these are not union jobs. You don’t have rights. And so men no longer have the position, not only in the family because of their family wages, but in the community that they once did. And also Americans are more and more isolated as Robert Putnam wrote in 2009 and his experiments have been repeated every five or 10 years.
There are fewer people enrolling in any group, pta, bowling leagues, political organizations. Then we’re in bowling leagues alone in 1970. People are isolated on their own computer, on their own television, and they’re terribly lonely. And women have been the social connectors and men are going mad, and I think that’s what’s happening.
A combination of capitalism exporting their jobs. Blaming the Chinese who Chinese welcomed the jobs, but it was the American companies that exported them and they’re demoted. And rather than saying, okay, we’re all in it together, men and women, black and white, and having a class agenda that we need to stop this, these two class system in the United States of an employer class.
And an employee class can have more co-ops and have stronger unions. Stronger unions are emerging because people are realizing they’ll never make it isolated against a capitalist monster. But we need that. We need an embracing total movement. One of the reasons that 4 million French people are out in the streets protesting Macron’s raising the pension age from 62 to 64.
Is that Mélenchon has a class agenda. It’s not reported in the United States, even though he got 1% less than the fascists who were reported in the last election, but he has a class is the central post of this umbrella, and the spokes and the fabric are in their case. Black Lives Matter. Algerian Lives Matter.
Women’s Lives matter. And climate matters. All the movements are united with what they have in common, a different class agenda that would allocate resources differently to address their problems. They have that unity. We don’t have that in the United States. We don’t really have an alternative system party.
We have a choice of two capitalists and that’s it. But they do have a choice. They have a fascist party. Well, they have a communist party, they have a socialist party. They have Mélenchon who tries to unite them all, and they also don’t allow any private money in elections. And so it’s not the best democracy money can buy, which is a huge thing because otherwise money talks.
Last presidential election we had. They spent 4.4 billion, who’s gonna pay that back? And to whom? These are relevant questions and so that the mass murders are just another symptom of people trying to hold on to patriarchal advantage and a a, an idea of manhood that’s disappeared and being encouraged by capitalists selling guns.
And these are socially isolated people because we don’t have these broad, all-encompassing political social movements here to our great detriment. So I think that’s what, that’s what I would say in response to your intelligent question. Yeah. Thank you. I
Eleanor: think that that’s that’s a very, very powerful way of framing it, and it does seem.
You know, because there are other places in the world that are patriarchal, you know, like Italy or Latin America and things like that. But there’s so much community, like there is so much emphasis on community for men as well. Men are not considered to be less masculine when they have male friends.
Whereas in the US I mean just personally, I don’t know any men that are my age. Luckily I think this is changing, but my age that would say, oh yeah, I can just call a guy up and go hang out. You have to do something manly, like go get a beer or throw an ax or something. You can’t just say, Hey man, do you wanna go for a walk?
Harriet: Well, yeah, or I’m lonely. I mean, there is one emotion that is allowed within the limited strictors of masculinity. That’s anger, but loneliness, neediness, you know, sex and anger. Those two things are allowed, and that’s a very limited emotional spectrum. I’m impressed. That I can go into a lady’s room in a restaurant and have more intimacy than men have with their friends.
Some woman can say to me, oh, do I look fat in this? My husband thinks I’m too fat, or My boyfriend is so critical, or whatever, and we can talk about how critical boyfriends are and about fatness. I can’t imagine a man saying who another man as they pee. Do I look back to you? Is my dick too small? What do you think?
You know? No. They stand there alone and pee and then leave and that kind of bonding, that kind of emotional bonding. Women and girlfriends when they’re, even from the time they’re little, little girls walk around with their arms around each other. But if boys do that, they’re called faggot by the other boys.
And when my children were little, When my daughter had a sleepover, they both had single beds. When my daughter had a sleepover, her friend slept with her. My son with my son. One of them slept on the floor cause that physical proximity was dangerous. And also they don’t allow guns in those other countries.
Guns are not something you can get at your local store. You have a big deal to get a permission. And even those countries that do have a lot of guns like Canada, because they do a lot of hunting, they don’t shoot each other with them. It’s not, that’s not considered a manly exercise and they don’t have the NRA there working to reinforce insecure masculinity with guns.
It’s, you know, it, it’s a tragedy cause you know, people are scared. And not for nothing unfortunately. And children are frightened because they have drills in schools what to do when a mass shooter comes. My god. It’s, you know, it’s a curse on the society.
Eleanor: Yeah, absolutely. And kind of wrapping up here, I mean, it seems.
It seems more clear that the psychology of violence is very prevalent in patriarchy, right? It’s connected to manhood, but it’s also very much connected to capitalism. That to to be violent and to be abrasive to the point of of inflicting pain on your fellow human beings. Why is that? And do you feel that it’s possible to combat the issues of mass shootings or even just violence in our communities without confronting
I think you would certainly have to start confronting buying off our legislature, and as it turns out, even, or Supreme Court, you know, that you’d have to get, you’d have to prohibit private money in elections. The way they do all over Europe, for obvious reasons. I mean, Sarcozi, who was a candidate, looks like he’s going to jail.
At the very least, you’re excluded from the race and at the most you’re in jail for. And of course they cheat a little, but it’s not the wholesale buyout that it is here. And so you’d have to get money out of elections. You’d also have to stop the gun lobby. You’d have to stop them from being a nonprofit in the first place and you’d have to do something to curb lobbying.
You know, it’s interesting that it was Santos the most obviously corrupt member of the Congress, who the one bill that he initiated was making the Bushmaster automatic, the American All-American gun, and he probably got a nice payout from the Bushmaster Corporation. And they are not held accountable for these mass murders.
It’s always a lone individual who has mental health issues. Now, most people in America have mental health issues. The empire is crumbling, and the idea and values that if you are white and male, all you have to do is work hard and you can make a decent living with a dependent wife and children of him.
That’s over. And the biggest employers are on the clock, are putting people on a clock in an abusive manner. The quality of life and dream has changed and people are terribly upset. The women don’t go around shooting people, you know, go into a shopping mall or a school. The only woman who did was a trans woman or aspiring trans woman.
That’s, we are taught to be nurturers. There’s a difference in the United States, and if you look at the girls section, it’s much more dolls oriented. Dolls, makeup, stuff like that. Boys have guns, and that’s only in the us. If you go into a toy store in France or have guns, you know that, that it’s an emblem of masculinity from the time you were a little boy with your cap gun.
To the time you’re a man with your bushmaster automatic, and that is not so in any other country. They all have very strict gun laws and no mass murders or very few. It’s a combination of patriarchy and idea of manhood that excludes neediness, loneliness, and. Sadness,
I, you know, they’re allowed to need sex and they’re allowed to have an emotion into anger. I had a client who was a salesperson and he said he used to go into hotels and hire a prostitute just so he’d have somebody to sleep next to. He didn’t care about the sex. He was lonely, but he had to have a sexual excuse.
Because that’s a terribly limited idea, and as women have claimed our anger and our ambition and have been pushed out into the workforce and wanted to go, our rainbow, our spectrum of ideas and possibilities has expanded. Whereas men’s have contracted. The majority of people in college and graduate school are now women, except in the STEM fields where there’s still a majority of men and women get quite sexually harassed that they’re women have seen new vistas open for us, whereas under the old masculinity, that view is closed down.
And people haven’t claimed their humanity and said, okay, let’s be friends, then let’s give up this limited idea of masculinity, which should be a platform also, you know, women could do a lot more as a founding mother of the feminist movement. We looked at what we didn’t have and no one, as far as I’m concerned, and I read widely in this area, no one has really written down what you understand and learn from taking care of vulnerable life and children and what you can learn from maintaining life.
Cleanliness, cooked food, beautifulness. Order. Those are very important things that women’s traditional labor has delivered unpaid and unrecognized. But I think we have to develop that and share it with men. I remember when I gave a talk, a man came up to me and said, well, how can you ask us to share housework if you call a shit work?
Oh, sorry. If you call it beep work. And I thought, that’s right. We never worked that out. And we need to, because there’s something great about being nurturers. There’s something instructive about that and liberating and humane. And one of the things, you know, I joined a picket against women in the military saying, we are proud that we create life.
Don’t destroy it. We don’t wanna be destroyers. And in the military, it’s one of those male spheres where women are. Routinely sexually harassed and raped as a way of asserting male dominance in that violence sphere. And so we, you know, we have a lot of work to do, but our curtailment of mass murder starts with legislation and a non drive legislator legislature.
That’s crucial. And it goes on from a cultural change presenting. Men with guns as insecure men who are losers, that would help enormously. And we don’t do that. And we need to, cause we know it’s true,
brings all the things together, capitalism and patriarchy, and men are emotionally really deprived. Not being allowed to have neediness and loneliness and fear
women, or being able to access our anger and our ambition. Men need to expand.
So all those things come together around the gun issue and around mass murder with your gun. Yeah,
Eleanor: absolutely. Well, Dr. Fraad, thank you so much for contextualizing this in a way that I, I believe is very, very necessary and one that is never heard on corporate media with the very limited and back and forth shallow Shallow remarks.
So folks again can find your firstname.lastname@example.org. And that’s h A R R I E T F R A A d.com. And thank you again so much for taking the time to sit down with us. Thank you
Harriet: so much. I really am so glad to talk with you and your audience. Thanks a lot.