Humanizing the Humvee: Personification techniques and visual rhetoric as used in a U.S. Army technical comic book
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Since 1951, the U.S. Army has published PS, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly, a magazine that teaches soldiers to maintain field equipment. Rhetorical strategies used by PS's writers and artists have varied at times: First, they used exemplum, a moralized tale with a character named Joe Dope. After the Army disapproved of Joe Dope, PS abounded with depictions of scantily-clad females to gain soldiers' attention. When such depictions of women became objectionable in the 1980s, writers added more anthropomorphized machines. To analyze the increasing prominence of anthropomorphized machines within PS, I randomly chose 28 issues, tallied their numbers, and found that their frequency has been increasing. I offer reasons why people anthropomorphize machines. I conclude that anthropomorphizing machines is a way PS writers create reader solidarity, and I speculate that such anthropomorphized depictions of machines may even become more numerous, as the military becomes more dependent upon computers and robotics.