I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago. This is nothing new, really, but usually when I can’t sleep I’m in bed reading or playing a video game, and a few nights ago I was downstairs on the couch, eating cookies and wondering how often Barack Obama gets a haircut.
I’d been watching “House” on the USA Network. I own all 4 seasons on DVD but I only ever watch it when it airs on TV (which I suppose means I’ve wasted a great deal of money, but I digress). In any case, house ended at 12, and was followed by an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
I’ve watched many episodes of the show before, and it happens that this particular episode was one I’d seen before – but only the first half. I never knew how it ended. So I watched, and it turns out it was the mom, not the grandmother, who killed all those parents.
“L&O:CI” was followed by two episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” I can’t watch this one most of the time because it’s about, as the announcer guy says, sexually-based offenses, and I don’t have the stomach or mind for that. But the second one was particularly interesting. It was about a doctor (played by Martin Mull) who was prescribing fake and ineffective treatments for HIV. People died, he was convicted, etc, etc. Very captivating. Also very depressing.
But I was watching the second episode because of the first, and it is in fact the first episode that caught my attention. The gist of it is that a woman in the Marines had been raped and was pregnant and missing, and they found her dead, and in the search for her killer we learn all about the corruption and cover-ups in the military vis-à-vis female soldiers and sexual abuse. And apparently if you’re a female soldier, the men see you as either a b***h or a slut, and you’ll be subject to sexual harassment and any number of unpleasantries.
What caught my attention was actually a commercial that aired I think three times during the show. It was a commercial for the Army, and it showed a young woman and her parents, who had been unsure about her decision to join the armed forces. The point of the commercial was how mature and responsible the young woman was for having enlisted, and how proud her parents were of their soldier daughter.
And then the commercial break ended, and we went back to how female soldiers rarely report their rapes by superior officers.
I found that ironic and hilarious. Three times! I think that during prime time these things are probably screened a bit more carefully – what commercials air during what program about what, and that sort of thing. But when you’re watching USA at 2am, all bets are off. And I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping that woman who joined the Army knows what she’s got herself into. If she doesn’t, Mariska Hargitay could tell her for sure – right after these messages.