2011-09-17 17:58 (UTC)
The methods used to break down the individual and rebuild them are much more subtle and psychological, relying on a continual high-stress environment and repeated drilling to obey orders instantly and without question, so that even if your brain runs off into a corner and hides, you'll still be able to function under fire. The classic "Strip the bed! Make the bed! Strip the bed! Make the bed!" and "Empty the pack! Pack the pack! Empty the pack! Pack the pack!" routines are examples of this; they seem like pointless things, but it's intended to both make following orders instinctive, and build an instinctive attention to detail.
That makes more sense, but I still don't agree that it is "breaking down an individual and rebuilding them." For one thing, that sounds ridiculous and hyperbolic, and for another that's not actually what's happening, is it? They are being trained to deal with extreme and unusual situations in an quick and instinctive way - that's hardly the annihilation and rebuilding of a personality,* that's adapting to and becoming skilled in a high-stress environment. I've always had a problem with the phrase precisely it's hilariously imprecise, and it has a disturbing power-tripping feel to it - part of me just think that any institution that would proudly claim to do such a thing must be either stupid or malign.
As for the sense of comradeship that beasting engenders... Well, I could believe that it was the most effective method of encouraging teamwork if the military didn't have such a terrible reputation for bullying, corruption and sexual violence - and a culture that provides a convenient smokescreen for such behaviour under the guise of 'training.' It's the same ethos that made English Public schools a hotbed of bullying, corruption and sexual violence when the fagging system was in place.
Hence Kate's behavior; she's putting Bette through the wringer to make sure she can cut the mustard before she shifts to a more (subtly) supportive instructional technique and builds her up into the sort of fighting machine she has the potential for.
If by "cut the mustard" you mean be subservient to a bloviating asshole, then sure. It isn't fun to read about though.
Well ok, I have met one person who proudly claimed to have been broken down and rebuilt by the military, but if that was true then the military rebuilt him into a spineless, dimwitted dick. He was also the only murderer I've ever consciously known (murderer in a civilian setting, although he was still in the army when he did it).
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