Sometimes I worry that I’m too difficult to please these days.
At first glance I thought this latest example of ‘soldiers acting gay on video’, in this instance Swedish Marines in Afghanistan, was, despite the lashings of good humour on display, not to mention the military precision that has been put into the choreography, a little dissatisfying. And it wasn’t just the beards. Too many levels of irony here, I huffed. Butch mechanic Marines pretending to be chorus boys in Grease pretending to be butch mechanics. Please. You should have stuck to Abba, darlings.
And then I watched it again, so as to identify exactly why it didn’t hit the spot — for the benefit of military chaps making these important videos in future. And this time I noticed a couple of Hitchcockian ‘master strokes’ that entirely transformed my opinion of it:
1) The ‘rearguard’ action at 0.48 with one Marine bent over, combat trousers pulled down, while a tall bearded comrade standing behind him gives him an oil change.
2) The touching tableau at 1.01, stage left, over the rear of the impossibly butch reconnaissance vehicle, where a Marine on his back has his legs held in the air by a chum driving home his greased lightning.
So clearly I’m not very difficult to please after all.
Trying to justify myself I might say that it’s a wonderful deconstruction of Grease, Marines, masculinity and camp military videos. Or maybe just quote the old joke US sailors like to tell against Marines:
Q: What’s the difference between a butch Marine and a nelly Marine?
A: A butch Marine HOLDS HIS OWN GODDAMN LEGS IN THE AIR!!
Tip: Simon F