The Punisher And Spartans Are Apparently Too Threatening For One Powerful Army
If you’ve got a thing for the Punisher, the Spartans of old, or the Grim Reaper as part of your warfighting gear, the Australian army has a message for you: pack your shit and go.
A new directive from Australia’s Chief of Army Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell, circulated internally before spreading to social media on April 17, chastised combat troops for their affection for “‘death’ symbolism/iconography” in informal patches and badges, symbols that include “the pirate Skull and Crossbones (maritime outlaws and murderers), the Phantom or Punisher symbols (vigilantes), Spartans (extreme militarism) or the Grim Reaper (bringer of death).”
“Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern popular culture,” Campbell wrote in his memo, first posted to Facebook page Pineapple Express on April 17, “but it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession; the legitimate and discriminate taking of life.”
The efficacy of Campbell’s directive is debatable. While some symbols hold a vaguely problematic position in military cultures (see: the tacticool obsession with the strategically-moronic Spartans), others have a more complicated relationship with the combat troops who embrace them. Consider the long relationship between the Punisher and the U.S. military, a symbol that extends far beyond the shallow spray-and-pray of Frank Castle’s post-service vigilantism.
“The Punisher as a character is a bit of a Rorschach test in that as time has passed since his creation, we’ve gone through different cultural eras and through each of those the character has been reinterpreted to reflect the concerns of society,” as Punisher creator Gerry Conway told Task …read more
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