Monday, May 08, 2006

Oh Wow

Andrew Klavan has written a model opinion piece in the LA Times about the need for war movies that support this war. It is packed with information and sound conclusions, so much so that I'm struggling to figure out what to excerpt. Let's try this:

In short, we need war movies now even more than in the '40s. So why aren't we getting them? One reason surely is that, in the years since World War II, our self-assurance as a nation, the self-assurance necessary for the waging of war, has been shaken, and Hollywood reflects that. The change occurred against the backdrop of postwar history, but I believe it has as much to do with our cultural values, their uses and misuses, as it does with events. The Western ethos, with its Christian roots, demands that we look to our own sins before judging the sins of others. It's amazing how quickly, after the war ended, Hollywood began to examine the ways in which Americans shared the moral failings of the Axis.

As early as 1947, we had "Crossfire," about an American GI who commits an anti-Semitic murder. In 1949, "Home of the Brave" depicted a heroic African American soldier dealing with prejudice. And by 1955, there was the classic "Bad Day at Black Rock," in which a veteran uncovers homicidal anti-Japanese bigotry when he tries to deliver a medal to the father of a Japanese American killed on the battlefields of Italy.

Such self-examination and reform are part of the measure of our greatness. But there's a difference between a humble nation confessing its sins and a country of flagellants whipping themselves for every impure thought. Since the '60s, we have had, it seems, an endless string of war movies, from "Dr. Strangelove" to "Syriana," in which the United States is depicted as wildly aggressive and endlessly corrupt — which, in fact, it's not; which, in fact, it never has been.
Read the whole thing.

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