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G.I. Joe, the latest victim of political correctness - Jason Smith

When I was little, I played with my share of action figures. Whether they were from "Star Wars," "Transformers" or even "The Dukes of Hazzard," action figures were a prominent feature on the shelves and the floor of my room.

I thought about those days when I heard about a new movie in the works, based loosely on the old G.I. Joe comic books, cartoons and action figures.

Notice, I said, "loosely."

I didn't have any G.I. Joes when I was growing up, but like most kids my age, I was, at least, familiar with the concept. I can still hear, in my head, the words "G.I. Joe, a real American hero" as sung in the commercials for those little soldiers.

So, when I heard about the changes that would be made to G.I. Joe in this new film, I was taken aback. It seems Paramount Pictures, which will distribute the film, is turning G.I. Joe into more of an international hero. The term "G.I.J.O.E" will now be acronym that stands for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity."

Apparently, the film's producers want Joe to appeal more to a worldwide audience, and in today's world, an American military hero is unable to do that. So, it's "bye-bye Joe," and "Hello, politically-correct farce."

I suppose instead of being a real American hero, the new Joe will be "an authentic United Nations lapdog." That'll inspire people.

Some might say, "What are you getting bent out of shape about? It's a comic book character. It's an action figure." That's true, but for many people in years past, Joe symbolized American military strength, and in his own way, he filled people with a sense of pride in the armed forces.

Certainly, the era and political climate in which G.I. Joe became famous is far removed from that of today. After all, I'm writing this column on the anniversary of terror attacks against the United States, something few of us could conceive in the mid-1980s when Joe became a military icon.

But what does it say about the attitude of some in Hollywood when the desire to bring back an American action hero takes a back seat to a desire to pacify other countries?

That's the real issue here. It's not about an action figure. It's about those who say portraying the American military in a positive light isn't the way to go because it won't draw money on the other side of the world.

Those people forget that when G.I. Joe originally came on the scene, he was a symbol of U.S. soldiers who fought during World War II. Now, that symbol and the generation it depicted have been deemed not worthy of preserving in the upcoming film.

Once upon a time, movies about military figures instilled a sense of pride in the men and women who serve our country in uniform, and in our country in general. Somewhere along the line, that sense of pride has been lost. Even G.I. Joe isn't safe anymore. What does that say about the rest of us, those who love this country and aren't afraid to say so?

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.