Posts Tagged ‘heroism’

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I also discuss Star Wars as American war propaganda in my short book on allegory and metaphor (free).

NY Times:

‘Star Wars’ and the Fantasy of American Violence

The bloody track of American history, from slavery to genocide to empire, is plain for all to see. But reckoning with the violence itself was the appeal: I thought I could confront our dark side, just like Luke Skywalker, and come away enlightened.

 

The most frustrating reality of all, American youth who join the military despite knowing they are agents of immoral empire. They do it anyway, like mercenaries, content with swallowing any and all bullshit myths, even those from popular movies.

And that’s why this blog is here.

 

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Wow. We all like to think we’d run toward the danger and be heroic, rather than running away from the sounds of gunshots.

…the teacher intercepted the gunman as he paused, possibly trying to reload.

It was not clear if the student committed suicide or if he accidentally shot himself while in struggling with Silberberger.

Teacher hailed for intervening in Washington high school shooting

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Trouble in Panem

Unspoiled

You’ll definitely want to catch the next installment of The Hunger Games, which is done even better than the first film. The arbitrary shaky cam is gone, and the story is tense and moves along at a slightly faster tempo.  The characters are true to themselves, and the situation escalates from bad to worse.  Catching Fire played to a packed audience, and the crowd stayed with the film to the end.

Donald Sutherland’s stunning call for a revolution aligns with the story itself.  The comparisons with America’s slide toward despotism and a police state are intended and striking.  Even more so than the first movie, a lot of young people are going to be contemplating political messages embedded in the film.  This is not a neutral situation, and neither is our current reality.  While we are in no way as oppressive a society as is Panem, we edge continually toward it with each passing power grab in “the capital,” a place nearly as out of touch with average Americans and their plights today.

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What delights is the blatant shredding of propaganda, the political exploitation of the manufactured heroes, and how they are stage managed to placate the masses. The thinly-veiled propaganda techniques, such as those used by Stanley Tucci’s character mirror our own TV media reality.  There isn’t much difference except for the hyperbolic degree which Panem takes their messaging.  Our real world version is far more subtle, far more insidious and yet retains similar goals.

The family can’t wait for the next film, and hopefully it won’t be so long off.  Jennifer Lawrence remain truthful, beautiful and powerful, an icon for the next generation.

 

This is going on my queue.

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Joe Giambrone

All Aboard the Bullshit Express

Like everything else corporate whoredom shits out, the very nature of the language is undermined and debauched daily.  Concepts that embody morality and sacrifice turn into game shows for self-aggrandizement.

Heroism is now unrecognizable, the mindless commands of a steroid enhanced actor replacing intelligence and moral fortitude.  A bag full of money features in the teaser for this reckless show to risk life and serious injury so that one can perform on TV under the fake banner of “The Hero.”

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Enough of this programming, this Pavlovian conditioning, has warped the social fabric of the nation.  Heroism is itself a marketing slogan for mercenary militarists, Hollywood snake oil salesmen and skeezy “reality” show producers.  And so it is dead in this nation.  The true heroes are labeled state enemies and criminals, sent to prison while the pig ignorant couch slugs gawk on at gibberish like “The Hero.”

Modern American heroes include Edward Snowden, who exposed NSA mass surveillance.  And William Binney, who exposed NSA mass surveillance.  And Adrienne Kinne, who exposed NSA mass surveillance.  And Mark Klein, who exposed NSA mass surveillance.  Is anyone noticing a pattern?

And Bradley Manning who exposed US war crimes, lies and deceptions of the US State Department, and is currently being tried in a military kangaroo court that won’t let him argue the actual reasons why he did what he did.  And Lieutenant Ehren Watada who refused to be deployed to Iraq on the grounds that it was a Crime Against the Peace, an illegal war of aggression, which he similarly was not allowed to say at his kangaroo court martial.

And Sibel Edmonds, the FBI translator who saw raw intelligence documenting massive US official complicit criminality and support for terrorists in Central Asia, but was fired from the FBI and gagged instead of rewarded and having her evidence used in prosecutions of wrongdoing.  And John Kiriakou who exposed CIA torture and was rewarded with jail time.  And Senator Bob Graham who would not let the 9/11 cover-up stand and has vehemently protested to this day the suppression of evidence of Saudi Arabian and other foreign government involvement in those attacks.

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There are heroes in America today.  But they aren’t the kind that Hollywood sells to children.  They most certainly are not the jackasses playing on the outsides of skyscrapers to make some cash in the service of selling commercial air time – glorified car and beer salesmen.  Such a bastardization and trivialization of the meaning of the word is an insult to every thinking person on this planet.  Dwayne, “The Rock,” should apologize to the world in shame.  That’s not heroism, Dwayne.  Not even close.

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Abu Ghraib defense team psychologist shows the “bad barrel” vs. the “bad apple” story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cMoZ3ThW6x0

This talk by Philip Zimbardo is one of the most important docs I’ve ever posted here.  Zimbardo is the psychologist who designed and implemented the Stanford Prison Experiment.  Talk includes the Millgram experiment and The Lucifer Effect.

He is s firm proponent of a culture of heroism, of having an antidote to evil systems.  Very good talk, needed in the world right now.

“A moral commitment to other people.”

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Well I was pleasantly surprised by this one, certainly a great popcorn movie, more comedy than drama.  But, I was wrong on which direction they were heading from the initial teasers.  Seems JJ and crew managed to pull it off, and even left some simmering issues to ponder over.  Thumbs are up (thanks Roger Ebert, maybe I’ll use this distinction in the future).

So, let’s get spoiling!

But wait – a lot of my gripes are just sort of dumb scenes, perhaps hastily written in order to milk the character developments that occur later on.  I get that.  It’s more Fi than Sci.  As a space comedy it’s up there with Spaceballs and Galaxy Quest, and so the added perspective on war and vengeance is delivered with even more resonance.

 

SPOILERS

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