The media can make it seem like the life of soldiers is all big, grave, life-and-death, torture-or-be-annihilated-by-extremists Human Condition-like decisions that folks like us (paper? plastic? cage-free??) couldn't possibly comprehend. But apparently, the media they get to watch doesn't see it that way! In today's Journal, a reporter watches the 15 minutes of public service announcements created by the Armed Forces Network to supplant the advertising they're not allowed to air; a "melange of messages that can seem out of sync with a military at war."

"Sometimes we all go a little overboard at the mall," the announcer intones empathetically in one spot. "Take an honest look at your shopping habits," advises financial planner June Walbert in another ad. "Do you shop to make yourself feel better?"

Sometimes we fantasize about what women's magazines would be like if they, too, were taxpayer-supported, freed from the shackles of Maybelline ads that force them to "dumb down" their copy and run the same five life tips over and over again. This story is sort of the journalistic equivalent of a huge Ayn Rand turd in the middle of our utopian vision. We are so depressed, we probably need to buy something.

Soldiers, Beware: Mall May Be Risky
Ayn Rand [Wikipedia]