13 Jun 2017

Potpourri and Wonder Woman

Movie Reviews, Potpourri 15 Comments

==> Catholic readers in particular might want to take a look at this video for a school that is up your alley.

==> Von Pepe passes along this Gerry O’Driscoll post on the jobs conundrum.

==> Dan Sanchez’s review of Wonder Woman is a very thoughtful take, but I am going to disagree with him. I admit that he makes good points, and he supports each of his claims with evidence from the movie (warning: spoilers if you keep reading), but I can make the opposite case by citing evidence as well.

+++ Like Dan, I at first recoiled from the portrayal of WW1 as being due to the evil Germans. (I even made a Twitter joke about it, which half my readers misunderstood–the mark of a good tweet.)

+++ However, near the end of the movie, Steve admits that humans are all flawed and responsible for the war, and that even he himself may be guilty. Clearly the filmmakers were showing growth in Diana’s original, naive approach to the problem. So although I’m not saying their message was, “The Lusitania was an inside job,” I don’t think the filmmakers were trying to say, “Germany was 100% responsible for WW1.”

+++ Dan says, “Wonder Woman, who throughout the film racks up quite a body count of conscripted German youths, is not so much a princess of peace as she is a valkyrie for “humanitarian” war…” I don’t think that’s correct. I am pretty sure Diana doesn’t actually kill any Germans until after the big gas attack, when she is furious. E.g. in the occupied town, when she jumps into a building, she uses her sword to knock tables over etc.; she doesn’t cut anybody. Instead she uses her lasso or arms/legs to knock them over.

+++ For my last point, I just want to note that I can use the same evidence as Dan to reach the opposite conclusion. In his review, Dan first complains that the filmmakers leave out any role of war guilt for the Allied powers. Then Dan quickly moves on to explain how the real villain in the movie is not Ludendorff, but the British politician. Do you see the problem here? It seems Dan just contradicted himself. But he saves his narrative–that this is a blockbuster film pushing war–by saying the specific problem with the British politician is that he’s a Neville Chamberlain type. As Dan puts it well: “That’s right: a war god furthering war by seeking peace.”

But hang on a second. The big picture here is that just as the powers were negotiating the armistice, Ludendorff was going to hit London with a massive gas attack. And this was all orchestrated by Ares. So I think it’s a bit misleading to say “a war god furthering war by seeking peace.” Rather, it would be more correct to say, “a war god furthering war by inspiring massive weapons development to one side, while on the other taking steps to discredit the idea of peace.”

It is standard for libertarians to be suspicious of things like the PATRIOT Act–is it really a mark of patriotism? etc. So is it really a pro-war, pro-good-guys-in-gov’t message, to suggest that someone who is actively “seeking peace” could secretly be funneling support to the other side of the conflict, and really doesn’t want peace at all?

I’m not saying this is necessarily the film’s message–maybe Dan is right–but I’m just pointing out that any movie which is so cynical of government officials on both sides, might be a move in the right direction. Plus, I thought the no man’s land scene was awesome.

15 Responses to “Potpourri and Wonder Woman”

  1. Rory says:

    Props to Wonder Woman for setting the film in the midst of World War I, which is oddly ignored in favor (heavily) of World War II. I guess WWII has the better built-in narrative considering Nazis are just about the ultimate villains. But the setting didn’t just push my buttons as far as being a WWI buff – it really suited the story and general vibe of Wonder Woman.

    Plus WWII is Captain America territory, I suppose.

  2. Craw says:

    Odd how the aggressor is never at fault for Rothbardians — not Germany in WWI, not Japan in WWII, not the Southern Confederacy. Attack first, that’s the path to absolution!

    • Dan says:

      God this comment is so freaking stupid. Embarrassingly stupid. To the point that you’ve either just given up on being more than just a low IQ troll, or you literally are that stupid, and I should just feel sorry for you.

    • Rory says:

      I’m not speaking for Rothbardians, but in the case of WWI how would Germany have been the prime aggressor? To my knowledge they were dragged in via an alliance after Austria-Hungary’s heir apparent was assassinated by Serbians that objected to Austrian-Hungarian meddling in the region. Now whether it was right on the part of the Serbian unificationists or right on the part of Austria-Hungary to declare war as a reaction to the assassination, how does Germany factor in as the first mover in this situation? Also having just looked it up, it seems that Russia mobilized against Germany before Germany mobilized against anyone, but I could be corrected on that.

      • Stephen Dedalus says:

        It’s very complicated, but there were many forces in Germany agitating and planning for war, so the idea “they started it,” while arguable, is not ridiculous.

        • Craw says:

          Ah, you are citing facts. People here prefer theory. So much less to learn you see.

          My point was simpler. They are the ones who attacked.

          Europe’s Last Summer by Fromkin summarizes the case against Moltke and his faction (and Berchtold and his).

      • Craw says:

        Not dragged. See my other comment for a citation. There was an ascendant faction in the German government determined to seize the opportunity to attack France before, as they feared, France became stronger.
        More to the point, the Germans marched into Luxembourg, en route to France, then into Belgium, and the into France. There was no prior attack upon them. They were the aggressors, as were the Austrians against Serbia.

      • Harold says:

        Nonsense. We all know Trump started WWI [deranged gnashing of teeth].

        • Craw says:

          Drat you Harold, I must give you a well-earned +1

    • Andrew_FL says:

      On the contrary, if your theory was true, Rothbard would’ve been just fine with Vietnam, which (spoiler alert) he wasn’t.

  3. Stephen Dedalus says:

    Works of art should not have “a message.” But I haven’t seen this movie: maybe it does, I don’t know.

    • Harold says:

      Should works of art have a message? I have seen arguments on both sides. A quick example
      “Of course, Dylan didn’t have a message – or so he explains in Martin Scorsese’s 2005 film No Direction Home – and the reason he changed his music and lyrics so profoundly in the mid-60s, from the agitprop of his early folk songs to the tumbled words of Desolation Row, was precisely to escape from people who thought they understood him. It was a self-conscious defence of the idea of art.”

      This seems self contradictory. He had no message, yet it was a self-conscious defence of the idea of art. Is that not a form of message? Art without a message is perhaps craft.

      I agree that art should certainly not have a message that can be summed up with a slogan, so Iguess the inverted commas can be interpreted this way.

  4. JimS says:

    At least she never said anything like Mattis about how it’s a hoot to kill the bad guys.

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