'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Over There 

Via Karmalised, here's Justin Raimondo's thoroughly entertaining skewering of Steven Bochco's Over There. I didn't watch the show but am not really surprised by Raimondo's review because I read in, I think, The New Yorker that Bochco claimed his intention was to make a TV series about Iraq that was entirely devoid of politics, which is such an asinine statement that the show just had to come out as sneakily rightwing drivel.

In the passage below Raimondo mentions a theme that you see a lot in Hollywood war movies:

Tying it loosely together is an overarching view of soldiering as an inherently noble and valorizing activity, one that is not necessarily tied to country or ideology. The aesthetic quality of military life that brings out the human capacity for teamwork is underscored in the opening battle scene, as the unit sticks together under enemy fire. Yet these are not unthinking automatons: they disobey orders and spontaneously fire back, even though they've been told to hunker down – while Sergeant Screamer faces down his superior officer by protesting orders that contradict the rules of engagement "and common sense," as the Screamer avers. As if the U.S. military, which decimated Fallujah and is systematically leveling the Sunni Triangle, isn't being aggressive enough. Yeah, that's the real problem, isn't it? After all, we've only killed around 100,000 Iraqis so far – what're we waiting for?

For example, I just watched Apocalypse Now for the first time in a long while and, while I like the movie on aesthetic grounds, Apocalypse Now is a deeply conservative film. The idea that the US military just isn't ruthless enough is pretty much the primary theme of Apocalypse Now. If the US was only willing to go all out in the way that Kurtz was willing to it could have won the Vietnam War but, no, it was too noble, waging such a war would be too immoral, Kurtz had to be killed -- damn that liberal army brass! Seriously, I know the standard take is that it's an antiwar film depicting the horror of war and so forth, but the thing was co-written by John Milius who is a, you know, crazy conservative gun nut.

Anyway, I think Steven Bochco would have been better off doing a remake of his ... umm ... underrated masterpiece, Cop Rock...

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