A little background: Glee is a very popular TV show about high-school glee-club singers. "Unconventional warfare" is when one or more sides in a military conflict employ methods such as guerrilla tactics or terrorism. The U.S. is currently engaged in unconventional warfare against the insurgency in Afghanistan and the terrorist threats in Yemen and elsewhere.
You might think that Glee and unconventional warfare don't have much in common. Well, you may have thought wrong. According to Central Asia expert and blogger Joshua Foust, "Glee is an allegory for unconventional warfare."
Watching Glee tonight, as Jesse from Vocal Adrenaline conducted a major PSYOP operation against Rachel to throw off the Glee Club before Regionals, it struck me: Glee is an allegory for classic unconventional warfare. Shu knows he has a Sue (Russian) problem, who is screwed because the Indian principal (UN/NATO/EU) is being wishy-washy. He doesn't realize his internal policy team, the Glee Club (i.e. the Beltway Bandits), is flaky and indecisive. Meanwhile, the jocks are like dopey America, who care but really don't. The ex-wife baby drama is totally the insider threat or maybe the FBI. Vocal Adrenaline are like the Israelis - they want to make out, learn all about you, but they're really just screwing with you. And in the end, shit gets thrown down because the Club is functional in performance, but dysfunctional outside of its enclave or off-stage. Coach Tanaka represents disenfranchised allies like the UK and Australia—depressed he lost the chick, but always told what to do and eats for fun. Think about it, it's perfect.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.