Damn Ashleigh, Back at it again with the media! 😉
Sorry, but with this meme going around, I thought it would be fun. Don’t judge me too much please?
But even though this is a fun thing, it is relevant to what I would like to talk about. In the past I have blogged about war in specific areas forms of media, and discussed just one example of each (Talked about a web-comic here, and an anime here). But what about other forms of media? Books, television, movies and the like. War pervades these areas too. Just look at Marvel. They have entire series devoted to characters that are battling in different types of war. From the blatant in the Captain America comic series and movie franchise (initially in World War 2), to the more subtle, social justice wars that the X-men comics tend to lean toward, there is war prevalent in much of the comic series that then bleeds into the movies the company makes, and by extension the television series (I mean Agents of Shield and Agent Carter), and shorts they have also made. And this company is not the only example. From Game of Thrones on HBO, to all of the war movies that have been made in the last 10 years (of which Black Hawk Down, Act of Valor, and American Sniper are just a sampling), war pervades the media that many people find enjoyment in.
But does that mean its okay to have people constantly immersed in make believe war? Is it okay to become to desensitized to it? I don’t think so. Several of these movies link torture to war, and almost trivialize it as “just something that happens”.
For example, in Act of Valor, one of the US CIA operatives in South America is captured, and is subsequently tortured for information on the US, on what she know about the group who captured her, etc. You know, just the typical stuff. In this scene, the informant, Morales, is shown as already having suffered a beating, with a bruised face. She is seated at a table, with her hands strapped down to said table. She is then approached by a large, muscular man. In his hands is a drill, which he revs a few times as he approaches. He also sort of explains what he is going to do, that being drill into the middle of her hands. Once he is at the table, the camera shows his back, then flashes to the soldiers that are supposed to recover her as you hear her pained screams. ( I would link the movie, but I am unable to find it online) Later, you see her, and she does not seem all that affected by her torture emotionally. The rest of the movie is also filled with violent acts, from suicide bombers to the soldiers shooting at people that may or may not be connected. While this is bad enough on its own, a movie that trivializes the brutality of war, this is made worse by the fact that the US government gave this movie the “okay”, and even allowed the soldiers parts be played by actual soldiers, supposedly to enhance the “realness” of the scenes. Essentially, the government advocated this.
“But this movie wasn’t seen by a lot of people; It’s a R rated war movie,” etc. While Act of Valor wasn’t seen by nearly as many people as it could have been, there are other movies that many have seen, that children have seen, that also trivialize war. Back to Captain America for some examples. In the first C.A. movie, Steve Rogers is desperately trying to enter the war, yadda yadda yadda, we all know the basic plot of the movie. But, what many people don’t pay attention to is the implied torture scene on his friend Bucky. When The Cap storms the Hydra Base to rescue his friend, Bucky is found strapped down on a table, looking rather worse for the wear. Based on the fact he was in the clutches of a Nazi funded group, and was considered an enemy, the scene is supposed to imply he was “roughed up” a bit. The company was letting children see some mild aftermath of torture. Not like we shouldn’t indoctrinate them young right! Torture is fine, is just a part of war, and they are fine in the end anyway, so who really cares! (: *sarcasm*
My point is that war has pervaded all areas of the media, and that one must be very careful to not become desensitized to this horror. Because being desensitized means apathy, and terrible things happen when an entire nation becomes desensitized to horror; just take a look at the Holocaust.