Krieg ohne Fronten: Die USA in Vietnam (German Edition)
The disintegration of the myth of America began in Vietnam, but was not really significant as long as the economic and security interests of the Old World remained identical with those of the United States.
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But this collapse of the old order led to a fatal form of triumphalism in the West. The sense of having been proved right by world history 14 led the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, and many others along with him, to conclude that the end of history of violence had come and that the very spirit of history had determined that the American-European social and political model was the guarantor of the market, of freedom, and of democracy. The desire to destroy American dominance derived from its violent colonization of all aspects of life by its exclusively economic logic.
This transformed even universal values into a negotiable instrument in the economic sense, with the objective of a unified ideal which subsumes everything that is individual or singular, every other form of culture, and ultimately everything that has non-monetary value. The collapse of the system repeated the human tragedy of the attacks in the form of a monstrous farce.
The event corresponded to the character and the aesthetics of a two-thousand-year tradition of apocalypse—heavenly cataclysm, tortuous mass death, panic and flight. The twin towers in New York represented everything that was American—modernity and progress, innovation and economic power, civilization and freedom—and in targeting them the attackers knew that they were referring to a long tradition in Western symbolism; they made sure that the images of the attack were such that Western observers would all too easily understand.
It brings us face to face with things we dread. And it often challenges us to confront the real-life events it shows with the ideas we commonly entertain about them. When Athena instigated Perseus to slay the monster, she therefore warned him never to look at the face itself but only at its mirror reflection in the polished shield she had given him. The moral of the myth is, of course, that we do not, and cannot, see actual horrors because they paralyze us with blinding fear; and that we shall know what they look like only by watching images that reproduce their true appearance. Now of all existing media the cinema alone holds up a mirror to nature.
Hence our dependence on it for the reflection of happenings which would petrify us were we to encounter them in real life. VII The apocalyptic aesthetics of the images of the September 11 attack then contributed to the argument for the necessity of the Iraq war. This was apocalyptic thinking, with the war on terror positioned within the dialectic teleology of good and evil. The representation of events at Abu Ghraib related to both Christian iconography and recent art and film. Torture was staged as a spectacle for the media, following quite definite rules.
The terrorist, he argues, sacrifices his life but is not prepared to sacrifice his dignity. In contrast, the West is always willing to sacrifice dignity, while death has no symbolic value due to the taboos that civilization has attached to it. This degradation is a programmatic calculated loss that has long been the essence of commercial mass culture, and it was this that images from Abu Ghraib re?
The aim was to make the observers looking at the pictures accomplices in the act of torture. The torturers instrumentalized the bodies of the prisoners so as to create a pictorial document of themselves as powerful and armed. This is the story of a special unit defusing bombs in Baghdad. The proximity of death becomes an elixir of life, and the only real psychological challenge that the soldiers now face is selecting just one breakfast cereal from the endless supermarket shelves when on leave back home. The American TV series Generation Kill , which follows a reconnaissance unit of US Marines during the first weeks of the invasion of Iraq, and shows all sorts of strategic blunders, describes the war no longer as the opposite of civilization, but rather as its continuation by other means.
The main protagonist of The Dark Knight is the Joker, a character with the aura of a clinical schizophrenic.
Played by Heath Ledger, with the mask of terror as a cruel grin cut into his face, he is the allegory of a world in which good and evil merge, madness rules, and anarchy is the norm. Here Siegfried Kra? Caligari comes to mind: Kracauer sees the motif of fairground anarchy and chaos as the flipside of tyranny. With devilish sadism the Joker confronts his opponent Batman with one agonizing decision after another—decisions like that at the center of Alan J.
The March 1968 Massacre in My Lai 4 and My Khe 4
Like the gods, the super heroes of America have to subconsciously conquer the fears within deep layers of the collective soul Siegfried Kracauer , so as to create a brief moment of hope. All that remains is anarchy and chaos. Various kinds of betrayal and terror, power games and revolt are in evidence on both sides in this film. Habitual notions are deconstructed, and all the stereotypes turned on their heads: the hero, the Nazi, the Diva, the Jew, the Jewess.
If the function of cinema is ultimately to allow a new perspective on reality and history, then the fact that the American director Tarantino made a film about German history that was shot in Germany with German actors in most of the main roles is the clearest evidence there can be that American perceptions of Germany have changed. The plot of this fantastic correction of history in five chapters is simple enough.
Under a false identity, Dreyfus runs a cinema theater in Paris, which she resolves to blow up, along with herself and the whole audience, using her entire collection of flammable 35mm film reels. The basterds also decide to plan an attack, together with British special agent Archie Hicox Michael Fassbender , who before the war wrote books about German cinema, after hearing from the German UFA star actress and Allied agent Bridget von Hammersmark Diane Kruger that Hitler played as a choleric clown by Martin Wuttke , Goebbels grotesquely embodied by Sylvester Groth and their entire entourage will be guests of honor at the film gala.
At the end the cinema goes up in flames—as a result of both attacks. And while Flicker is a book about film whose manipulative power serves a gigantic fascist conspiracy, Inglourious Basterds is a film about film—whose power triumphs over the Third Reich. In his film, Tarantino refers to Enzo G. Inglourious Basterds thus plays with diverse film traditions, which are cleverly intertwined. The different narrative strands finally converge in the movie theater, whose destruction not only liberates the world of the Nazis but also of its symbolism.
Tarantino clearly shows that images and language are just as much a part of the crime as they are of resistance to that crime. Inglourious Basterds also reacts to the repressed history of Hollywood—the blindness of American Jews toward the fate of their European counterparts. Tarantino might not have known that this kind of lone warrior really existed. But he created one in the character of Corporal Wilhelm Wicki Gedeon Burkhard , a Jew of Austrian origin who emigrated to America and then returns to France in the service of the American OSS secret service, a basterd character resembling the real Austrian Rudolf Charles actually Karl Hugo von Ripper — , right down to physical likeness.
In he volunteered for the US Army and was sent several times behind the enemy front lines as an Office of Strategic Services officer with the aim of kidnapping or liquidating high-ranking Nazi officers. X The end of a world that was divided politically and morally into two seems to be the key development of the last twenty years. If we look at the history of Germany and America since the early twentieth century through the mirror of media representation as I am attempting to do in this essay , then one thing is sure: This is a history of common political and economic success that also stands as a history of the global advance of the market and freedom, of Wes?
Both of them correspond to a dialectic of triumphal self-representation and repressed acts of violence toward other cultures, accompanied by the idea that the nation can reinvent itself at will. Today the same can be said of the phenomenon of globalization.
But to apportion responsibility in this way is wrong. By that he meant that with the knowledge of the consequences of past events, history could be rewritten. Present action can bring to light the hidden significance of history and thus make renewal possible. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :.
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