The Pentagon’s Vanity Channel

Recently, the Pentagon Channel was featured in the news and we wondered: What is the Pentagon Channel of 2009?

The feature showcased “Grill Sergeants,” a Pentagon Channel original series. “Grill Sergeants” is a cooking show featuring military cooks and chefs. Kitschy and lower-budget, it appears it can hold its own in creativity and quality to many of the food offerings on, say, the Food Channel, but we’re not sure who in the demographic is watching TV Mondays at noon when new episodes air. This week it was Swiss Chicken Cutlet, which sounds about as appetizing as Hamburger Helper. Mais laissez les bontemps rouler! New Orleans-born host Army Sgt. 1st Class Brad Turner and his myriad guest chefs of the services present interesting fare in interesting ways. One show featured admirals’ favorites, while another was devoted to brownies — and is there a food group more worthy?

The Pentagon Channel has other offbeat offering of shows that target the young and the restless. “Command Performance” features military journalists stalking (our word) entertainers and interviewing them backstage. (It appears to be unabashed marketing by the artists.) There’s the hip “FNG,” a show “for new guys” that shows the bold and the beautiful low-cost travel tips, cooking secrets, and advices on electronics. “Recon Revisited,” another original Pentagon Channel series, “is a half-hour informational television program providing an in-depth look at real-world operations, missions, military events / history and other subjects highlighting the accomplishments of U.S. military men and women.” Sounds like the network primetime “Homeland Security” series earlier this year — which begs the question, “Why a Pentagon Channel?

Our guess is the cost is infinitesimal when compared with Defense Secretary Robert M Gates’ favorite program, the F-22, the plane that wouldn’t die. Our parallel guess is the Pentagon Channel is approaching functional obsolescence given the hundreds of channels available through cable and the nearly endless choices on the Internet. You Tube vs. the Pentagon Channel? Hmmmm.

Is vanity ever obsolete?

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