An Officer and a Gentleman ranks among my favorite movies. The flick, released 40 years ago, was about a United States Navy Aviation Officer candidate’s basic training and a tough-as-nails Gunnery Sergeant who was looking to break him. Lou Gossett Jr. won an Academy Award for his unforgettable performance as the sergeant, the first Black actor to win an Oscar for a supporting role and only the second Black actor to win the coveted award at the time.

Controversial content. Viewer discretion advised.

The movie is in urgent need of a remake to reflect today’s Navy training. The classic scene “Two things come out of Oklahoma” would have to be deleted and so would the sergeant’s references to a female officer candidate as “sweet pea.” The sergeant would have to be kinder and gentler, and knowing Hollywood a drag queen would be cast in the role. Instead of featuring candidates undergoing rigorous physical training, the remake would feature them watching videos about the correct use of gender pronouns.

Think I’m joking?

A Navy instructional video filmed a year ago and posted online last month to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Services features a couple of engineers named Jony Rozon and Conchy Vasquez introducing themselves and explaining they respectively prefer “he/him” and “she/her” pronouns. The pair urges service members to create a “safe space for everybody” by using “inclusive language,” like saying “hey everybody” instead of “hey guys.”

Conchy counsels on what to do if someone fails to address a person using their preferred pronoun.

“I think the first thing to recognize is that it’s not the end of the world. You correct yourself and move on or you accept the correction and move on,” Conchy says, but cautions that “the most important thing” is not to “put the burden of making you feel good about your mistake on the person that you just misgendered.”

Conchy says it’s imperative not to “pressure anybody into giving you their pronouns” because they may be undergoing “the process of discovery.”

Much needed context

Seems to me that what’s missing from the video is some perspective and context that could be inspirational for sailors who might find themselves in situations where a “safe space” isn’t readily available. Navy training should include some insight on potential enemies like China whose leader for life, Xi Jinping, is on record as saying he wants his country to dominate the world.

Xi and his government don’t regard gender pronouns as being open to debate.

NYTimes, Feb. 5, 2021

In fact, China has become increasingly intolerant of gays. The country has been engaged in a years-long campaign to combat what the Xi government deems a “masculinity crisis” and has railed against entertainment and media promoting “sissies” and “indecent culture.” The Xi government last September it ordered the country’s gaming companies to eliminate “obscene and violent content and those breeding unhealthy tendencies, such as money-worship and effeminacy.”

To drive home that the military is America’s last line of defense to protect gender pronouns, Navy candidates should be educated on how Hollywood is complicit in accommodating China’s gay censorship demands, such as Warner Bros. agreeing in April to remove references to a character’s gay identification in “The Secrets of Dumbledor.”

World War III

I’ve never met Xi Jinping, but he doesn’t strike me as the kidder type, especially when his government is sabre-rattling about waging World War III. The Global Times, which serves as the propaganda arm of China’s government much like the New York Times and the Washington Post serve as the communications arms of the Democratic party, last week published an article warning that any attempts to challenge China’s control of mineral resources critical to global supply chains could spark a major conflict.

Global Times

“What’s behind the US anxiety to push decoupling with China or even use NATO to force other Western countries to decouple with China in many fields of normal economic and sci-tech cooperation is a dangerous signal,” the Global Times article said. “Washington is using NATO to prepare for an all-out conflict with its strategic competitors, which could spark World War III.”

Not the most elegantly worded paragraph, but I catch the authors’ drift.

China last Friday launched its biggest and most modern aircraft carrier, marking a major military advance for the Asian superpower. Given that Xi previously vowed that China would have a “fully modern” force to rival the US military by 2027, it’s safe to assume the aircraft carrier launch is part of Xi’s grander military plans. In yet another ominous warning, China’s defense minister last week signaled the country was prepared to go to war over Taiwan.

China also has potentially signaled some distrust of Elon Musk, who has been instrumental in helping China achieve world dominancy in electric vehicle engineering and manufacturing. Reuters reported this week that Tesla vehicles would be banned from entering the coast Beidaihe district of Hebei province for two months while the city hosts the Chinese Communist Party’s annual summer retreat because of “national affairs “concerns.” The Chinese government reportedly fears that Tesla cameras and sensors could be used for spying purposes.

Speaking of potential spying, here’s the lead on a BuzzFeed story last week the legacy media has so far ignored:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by promising that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located. But according to leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users — exactly the type of behavior that inspired former president Donald Trump to threaten to ban the app in the United States.

A commander who didn’t serve

At the end of the day, I defer to the military on how best to train their forces, but it hardly fosters confidence that Joe Biden, America’s commander in chief, never served in the armed forces so he has no first-hand knowledge about the impact of his administration’s woke policies. The person whose judgment I’d most trust on the Navy’s pronoun videos is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ bio says he is a decorated former Navy officer who served as an advisor to a U.S. Navy SEAL commander in support of the SEAL mission in Fallujah, Ramadi and the rest of the Al Anbar province. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

DeSantis still serves in the U.S. Navy Reserve. If he believes the Navy’s pronoun video is good for morale and buttresses the Navy’s military capabilities, I will be relieved. If he doesn’t, he can likely count on my vote if he runs for president. America can’t risk another Afghanistan debacle because of a career-politician with no military background or experience.

Oh, and one more thing, I’m not big on pronouns. Please just call me Eric.

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