Watched Jarhead last night. It begins with the usual ‘grunt’ camaraderie and training obligatory in all depictions of the US military. but then continues into deployment in Kuwait during the First Gulf War where bleached out days and nights lit by burning oil fields seem like a computer game. I suspect this is deliberate. What is shows brilliantly – and quite possibly accurately – is how America has managed to extend the experience and envelope of the consumer society to the very front line of the battlefield. At no point do you feel that any of these ‘citizen’ soldiers even touch the reality of where they are or who they’re fighting. even when they walk amidst the carnage of the flight to Bagdad with its carbonized corpses of children in school buses.

Posted by Ricardo

writer and blogger

4 Replies to “Jarhead”

  1. “sublimated” is right. I wonder if it isn’t the case that our familiarity with ‘war’ is set up by our upbringing, where conflict is endemic, often in one’s family, so that, as we grow up, the background of violence and struggle naturally maps to the wars occurring in the ‘real’ world – that is the world our ‘inner’ world grows into…?


  2. Well put.

    War seems such a common place thing – almost a sublimated reality we expect to be there. Joanna Smith Rakhof’s ‘A Fortunate Age’ talks about 4 friends who graduated from university and developed their careers in the window period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11 – the window where there was no war in North America’s eyes. So when you think about it, we’ve all grown up with one war or another in the past 200+ centuries at least…


  3. So I guess it’s sort of the Full Metal Jacket (or Platoon) of this time?… Because of how the movie was marketed I’d sort of assumed it was a run-of-the-mill war movie, but in light of this I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.


    1. it has been argued to me that it lacks emotional impact… and this may well be so… in which case it is not like Full Metal Jacket or Platoon… On the other hand, since it is all about alienation and brain washing and about people not feeling anything… then it seems to me that this emotional numbness is just right…


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