Did We Need Alyssa Milano's "Sex Tape" to Learn About Syria?
It's likely that you've already seen or heard of the Alyssa Milano "sex tape" that was "leaked" on Wednesday morning. It's also likely that you, and anyone who grew up in the 90s, were disappointed to spot the Funny or Die domain in the video's url.
Or maybe you were among those pleasantly surprised by the clip's ulterior motive: to educate the masses about the current conflict in Syria.
The two-minute, staged video features a scantily-clad Milano and a handsome robed man about to get it on when the former Charmed actress "accidentally" kicks the camera so it is instead facing a television broadcast of the crisis in Syria, while Milano's loud romp is reduced to background noise; flailing bedsheets can be seen in the reflection of a mirror next to the television. The fake newscaster gives a concise primer to the Syria conflict, which has caught the attention of the public via reports of chemical warfare and bloodshed caused by "sectarian divisions" as it is explained in the clip.
Watch the clip below:
"I think it was a really fun way to get people to realize that there are important issues our country is dealing with right now," Milano told Mother Jones. "If people end up learning something about the crisis in Syria that's a good thing — even if I had to do a sex tape to lure them in."
It's doubtful that this "sex tape" was needed to increase awareness of America's latest Middle East exploit, as this conflict and the looming U.S. intervention has been covered relentlessly as of late. Yet, the video's attempt at providing millennials with a primer on the conflict is a noble feat, considering our mercilessly fleeting attention spans.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — prominent voices heard by Generation Y — go a step further to enlighten millennial audiences to the current issues clouding what Stewart calls "a dark, dark place." Both Stewart and Colbert slammed the notion of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Most notably, Stewart revisits previous Middle East conflicts and draws parallels between the current situation in Syria and Iraq in the 80s, when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranian troops, civilians, and Iraqi Kurds in the First Persian Gulf War — a reminder of a time when the U.S. government had supported such a practice.
Stewart and Colbert reflect millennials' tendency to harbor a comparatively progressive view of foreign policy than Generation X and Baby Boomers. Millennials are the most likely to believe that "relying too much on military force creates hatred that leads to more terrorism," and are much less enthusiastic about "using overwhelming military force" as a means to "defeat terrorism," according to an extensive study of generational views on foreign policy by the Pew Research Center.
Millennials were also among those who are most likely to identify Syria on a map, according to a Pew survey conducted earlier this year, which found that more than half of Americans cannot do the same.
Towards the end of the video, Milano finally notices the newscaster on TV and says, "This is boring. Change the channel." The somber Syria report is replaced by Swamp People, a reality show about the lives of alligator hunters in Louisiana.
Perhaps it is telling of our generation that Milano and Funny or Die were compelled to create such a video. But whether millennials learn of the world's most pressing current events on Funny or Die or the Daily Show is not important, as long as there is awareness and an effort to understand the whole story rather than mindlessly regurgitate the mainstream media's abbreviated and often one-sided version of the news.