Hollywood supports the war effort
My man Alex Cockburn was in fine form the other day, a propos the Oscar for Hurt Locker:
The film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, said at the end of her acceptance speech, “I'd like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world and may they come home safe.”That quote makes me wish Mackie had some real enemies, enemies in a position to do him substantial, perhaps definitive harm.
...I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker and don’t plan to.... “We had these Blackwater guys that were working with us in the Middle East and they taught us like tactical maneuvers and stuff – how to just basically position yourself and move with a gun,” Hurt Locker actor Anthony Mackie told the New York Times’ Melena Ryzik. “We were shooting in Palestinian refugee camps. We were shooting in some pretty hard places. It wasn't like we were without enemies. There were people there looking at us, 'cuz we were three guys in American military suits runnin' around with guns. It was nothing easy about it. It was always a compromising situation.”
I love Alex for breezily dismissing a movie he hasn't seen. You can tell a book by its cover, I've always said, and all you really need to know about a movie is how people respond to it. I am not being ironical here. Reception is not just the main thing, it's the only thing.
I personally made this discovery years ago, in connection with the movie The Deer Hunter, which I still haven't seen. I found that all I had to do was get people to tell me what they liked about the movie, and I had plenty of grist for my mill. Sentimentality is chief lady-in-waiting to militarism -- sloppily weeping and waving her sodden handkerchief as Moloch marches off to the fields of slaughter.
Sentimentality also gets to have it both ways. IMDB has an unsourced quote supposedly from director Kathryn Bigelow:
I'm thinking of the war and I think it's a deplorable situation. [Movies are] a great medium in which to speak about that. This is a war [i.e. Afghanistan] that cannot be won, why are we sending troops over there? Well, the only medium I have, the only opportunity I have, is to use film. There will always be issues I care about.War is a "deplorable situation" but hey, there's Oscar gold in them thar corpses. And corpses in that Oscar -- bet you anything this is a movie that sends a fresh crop of impressionable kids off to the recruiting stations.