Sunday, February 18, 2007

I often wonder......

How much effect the advent of television and movies has had on our (as a culture) willingness to engage in warfare. While people often credit TV (Huntley-Brinkley-Cronkite) for helping to end the VietNam war by delivering the reality of the carnage to our living rooms, at the same time, we are subject to an endless series of fictional scenarios in which, with the sacrifice of sencondary and tertiary players in the game, the heroes ALWAYS win in the end.

That would certainly help explain the chickenhawk mentality. The problem isn't that they haven't experienced actual combat and warfare. The problem is that they've experienced an idealized and unrealistic version instead. That's why they keep on insisting that we clap louder. They actually believe that that's the key to victory. It also helps explain all this claptrap about "giving comfort to the enemy". They actually believe that cheerleading helps us win.


1 comment:

Mooser said...

Mr. Dirks, I have read and enjoyed your comments at Unclaimed Territory for over a year now. Here you have hit on a subject which interests me a lot. My interest in the effect of popular entertainment on the thinking process was started by a phenomenom a noticed in High School. Some guys seemed to have an intimate knowledge of two subjects I knew positively they could have no personal experience with. The two subjects were women and guns. To make a long story short, it didn't take long to conclude that the knowledge of these subjects came by contextualising fiction they had seen on movies and TV.
That is to say, a person may know, rationally, that a movie or TV program is fiction but the context and basic assumptions of the entertainment are taken as fact.
Anotherwords, even thought the viewer knows there is really no such persons as, say Starsky and Hutch (or a thousand others) the context, that undercover police officers operate in this or that manner, is absorbed as fact. A viewer may know that the people in a war movie are fictional, but they take the way the unit operates, the relations between the officers and enlisted men, and almost every other thing which makes up the context of the movie, as fact.
And so we have reached our political and intellectual nadir, as the situations and contexts in a piece of shit like "i>24
" are used to bolster the arguements of pro-torture idiots.
America is solidly grounded in the texts of mellodrama in much the same way that 19th century people were grounded in the Bible.
If Bush had simply taken a "ast of thousands" and made a movie about invading Iraq, a movie in which all the neo-con fantasies were fulfilled, he could be the unquestioned dictator of the US today. Instead, he had to go and try the real thing, the fool.
Anyway, there's one thing you can't go wrong with: Any right-wing arguement is grounded in the tropes and contexts of popular entertainment, not reality. If you probe, you can usually identify the specific movie or TV show (books, not so much) which was used in place of facts.