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Medium cool for heat ray guns

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Analysis In 1991, Bad: Or the Dumbing of America was published. Written by Paul Fussell, a man with experience of war, it pessimistically ran through all that was execrable in the United States with the realisation things were only going to get worse.

Under bad magazines, scorn was reserved for the successful Soldier of Fortune, a magazine aimed at "the mentally ill... for people who fantasise about plunging a trench knife into a foreigner of colour, generally smaller than themselves".

(Don't be too smug. Fussell described The Monthly Royal Review "for people who get an erection when they think of the Queen Mother - or rather her privileges, furniture and jewels...")

Soldier of Fortune still exists along with a host of US supermarket offerings like Shotgun News and an inexhaustible fountain of Guns & Ammo spin-offs. But the new king of weaponry media produced for and by psychotics is the Military Channel's Futureweapons.

If you have the right cable package in the US, it's on about half a dozen times a week.

Futureweapons' mission: Free publicity for world arms developers and the televising of great enthusiasms over the technologies of massacre, as mostly developed by American business in cooperation with the military.

Hosted by ex-Navy SEAL Richard Machowicz, every episode is unintentionally tasteless and crazy, dedicated to the genital stiffening qualities of cluster bombs, super-sized armour-piercing sniper rifles, computerised bounding mine dispensers, machine guns, massive ordnance air blasts and the mercenary army, Blackwater USA. Somewhat curiously, it's produced by Waddell Media of Northern Ireland, also creator of quizzical shows on the correction of disobedient dogs.

Futureweapons shows the beamish face of alleged US supremacy in all things concerned with firepower.

While the mainstream news media has focused on Blackwater USA pumping fire into civilians in Iraq, Futureweapons was devoting most of a recent episode to the magnificence of the company's firing range in North Carolina, its design of Grizzly armored cars, and the amount of lead that special grenade-spouting shotguns and machine guns being developed on its property could put on a target.

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