Sunday, August 30, 2009

what Hurt Locker taught me about men

After seeing the trailer for 'Hurt Locker' on apple trailers, I've been wanting to see it. Most of my guy friends who would see it with me are dealing with some form of PTSD and watched the trailer and immediately said no. None of my female friends I asked seemed interested. So I went to my stand-by action movie companion: my dad.

The movie was everything I'd hoped it would be. So horrible, beautiful, interesting, deep. It opened with the quote (what's the word for a quote that starts off a novel or movie?) - "The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug." - Chris Hedges

I want to read Hedges' book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

I have a word document going with evidence and ideas about men and war. Although I think about it quite frequently, I only have one other quote written down, by Ted Turner (found on that quote thingy above my gmail): "Sports is like a war without the killing."

I think that there is something intrinsic in men - something that enables them to go to war. Something in them that finds it desirable. I've seen the joy of the rush of battle many times with men, from middle school boys up to old men.
This observation is to be contrasted with the horrible emotional wrecks that the army spits out after a couple tours of duty.
Is there a good way to wage war?

At the end of 'Hurt Locker' (spoiler alert), it shows the main character (his job in Iraq was dismantling bombs - extreme adrenaline) coming back to his ex-wife and child and being told to clean out the gutter and chop mushrooms. The next scene shows him walking off the plane in Iraq with a big smile on his face.
What can be made of this? Does the army brainwash and condition these men in such a way that makes them unable to reenter society? Is this necessary? Is there any way a person could be good at a job that constantly puts them in a position of certain death, while also comfortable with the mundane pleasantries of life?

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