Here’s my point, summer movie fans. Movies matter! They always have. They are the national subconsciousness as shared by tens of millions of us who regularly get our most enduring impressions and values from what and who we’ve just seen on the screen.
Critics explain this in various ways, statistically tracking the national rise or fall in our feelings about race…. sex… religion …crime….government…police…drones…right down to the cars we drive and the products we buy. But there’s something else going on here too. The way movies help manufacture the enemies we hate.
Back in WWII the movies were, of course, all about the “dirty Nazis” and the “sneaky Japs.” Right after the war, the same Hollywood actors who played our old enemies [ie. Nazis and Japs] now got roles playing our new enemies [ie. Russians and Chinese]. Ask any talent agent and they’ll tell you some of their actors are “always working” mainly because they “have that certain enemy look.”
But lets make no mistake about it, movie fans, we love to have enemies to hate. Enemies are more fun to play and to watch then Wonder Bread heroes and heroines. And what’s true here in the good old U S of A is likewise true in other countries where they too love to hate enemies. If you’ve spent any time on a college campus before the big-game rivalry — say Notre Dame vs Michigan — you can experience the delicious venom of ivy-wall-to-wall hatred heating your blood and powering your adrenaline.
Right now, this very summer, Tom Cruise and our other hunks will be playing the “national enemies” the latest box office receipts show are the best money-makers. At the same time, Russian films feature scads and scads of evil American CIA and drone operators while in China the largest number of war movies feature their old enemy: the sneaky Japs.
I mean, get with the program, fans! It’s fun to hate! It’s good to hate! Hating your “national enemies” is, well doggone it, it’s the patriotic way to spend your coming summer!
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