Monday, December 26, 2011

The Hunt for Red October and the illusion of Reaganite war mongering

I Saw "The Hunt for Red October" on TV over the holidays. It was one of my favorite movies growing up, but now I see as just another bearer of Reaganite illusion. The upstepping of the Cold War during in the 80s, a response to the anti-war tolerance of the '60s and '70s, was based on a figment of the Republican elite's imagination. Back then, up to the Gulf War, you had a string of movies that played on fears of the "Evil Empire". To think that the Soviet Union under Gorbachev was intent on conquering the world, and so must be patriotically opposed, was laughably out of touch with reality. We portrayed the Soviets as evil Slavic conspirators while Gorbachev was allowing more freedom of speech and restructuring the economy. If there had been some relation of the rhetoric to reality, maybe there would have been some value to it, but there was no subtlety in pop culture portrayals of the Cold War. Much like the post 9/11 Bush years, in the '80s, media reality overcame physical reality and depending on your point of view, you either lived in a reality in touch with actual events, or one that was objectively, bizarrely, false.

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