|Alex and his droogs couldn't hold |
a candle to modern ultra-violence...
even with Rossini on his side.
No bellwether in our culture shows this fact more clearly than our film ratings system, which allows grotesque depictions of man's inhumanity to man to be peddled to teens but turns its nose up at even the slightest mention of human fecal matter or copulation.
We, as a collective American culture, promote violence, normalize it as the proper reaction to any given problem and outright encourage it.
Except violence in entertainment is easy, cheap and meaningless. It's some of the easiest filler in any script. As an exercise a few weeks back, I edited down a copy of Ron Maxwell's Gettysburg to remove every line spoken by a Southern character. The only Southerners left on camera would be in non-speaking scenes only, I decreed to myself. I expected the movie to shrink to somewhere in the window of 20 minutes. It didn't.
But that wasn't a function of an abundance of Federal dialogue (although there was more in aggregate than I expected). The movie seemed to become one never-ending explosion punctuated by flapping flags. I'd wager that even removing the Federal dialogue, there would be nearly a solid hour of random things blowing up and random plumes of smoke.
Compare this to the two greatest war films ever produced : Bridge Over The River Kwai and Glory. The amount of real, gut-wrenching violence in these films is miniscule, and used to a very specific end. But what they lack in violent, orgasmic gore they make up for in deep,l philosophical meaning about the nature of war, suffering, loss, struggle and liberty. The greatest war films of all time are actually anti-war films, weaving a narrative that investigates why war, as Sherman once said, is, "all hell."
When visitors step onto battlefields, what type of story are they seeing? Is it a grand glorification of a nation drenched in blood, valour through slaughter? Or is it a real, deep discussion of the concrete consequences of politicians and citizens deciding that a nation or people deserves to be attacked? Is it glory or heartbreak?
|Never forget that when the original cast |
fell down dead 150 years ago that
they didn't go out for a cold one later
that night. / CC Graham Milldrum
But what better reaction to a place where thousands of men tore at the entrails of thousands of other men, where children lost beloved fathers, mothers lost beloved sons, men lost beloved arms which had plowed the land or worked the lathe that fed their families? Isn't any reaction aside from tears callous, hardhearted and inhumane on some level?
Shouldn't the most meaningful landscapes of war, like the most meaningful films about those wars, inherently be anti-war landscapes? Shouldn't they be places where we atone for the collective sins of the past and learn to make better decisions in the future?
No. They should simply be places where we glorify torture and death, like a masculine version of a Mary-sue porn novel. Who needs deep, resonant meaning when you can just soak up the orgasmic excitement of battles and tactics?
 - Yes, I am aware this is an entirely personal judgement, but this is afterall my blog post.