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Hollywood, War Trauma and the Rule of Money

A simple human story In tumultuous times

The cultural question that interests me is whether the American movie-going audience has been corrupted by -- and become addicted to -- the post-9/11, mythic demand for military heroes in conjunction with seeing special effects as normal. Without these kinds of life-enhancing narrative effects, are movie audiences bored? As Seitz put it, above, do filmmakers need to "shoehorn extra melodrama or contrived genre-movie elements into the mix"? Then you have to ask, does the average American want to know what it’s actually like to come home after being thrown into intimately violent situations like the ones Adam Schumann lived through? Or do they want to wave the flag and have couch-potato thrills? Can a good-hearted film that tells a simple, poignant story like this without resorting to hero-worship or melodramatics make it in the free market, money-obsessed world of Hollywood culture. That culture is now expelling the producer Harvey Weinstein as a pariah. Is this a sign of reform and change? It will be interesting to see if this movie (without loudness and special effects) can make money. My wife and I went to a suburban multiplex on Halloween night and watched it with two other people kn the theater. Money as the final arbiter of value has become a sickness in American politics and culture. As our most vocal cultural patriots love to assure us, men like Adam Schumann fought in Iraq for our freedom to thrive in such a market economy. In this sense, freedom is not free. You have to buy it or you fight for it. It's interesting that the film ends with a dirge by Bruce Springstein and the enigmatic (ironic?) lyric, "Freedom comes from the barrel of a gun."

This film is powerful because it’s honest and it's simply told. It's about ordinary, good people in very difficult but real situations. If a culture chooses militarism as an answer to so many of its problems -- that is, to get Freudian about it -- if a culture by choice or default pursues the Death Instinct at the expense of the Life Instinct, self-destruction is a very real unanticipated consequence. I think what Freud was saying, like the Adam Schumanns of the world, that Cultures and Societies can suffer Post Traumatic Stress too. Just like individual human beings, they can explode inwardly and outwardly too.



story | by Dr. Radut