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Culture and Counter Culture. Freedom vs. Establishment in the Political and Cultural Discourse of the 50s and the 60s in America

Culture and Counter Culture. Freedom vs. Establishment in the Political and Cultural Discourse of the 50s and the 60s in America

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Published by Duţă Ovidiu Ionel
Paperwork done to analyze the impact that the Vietnam War had on the American society, economy and media.
Paperwork done to analyze the impact that the Vietnam War had on the American society, economy and media.

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Published by: Duţă Ovidiu Ionel on May 12, 2013
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09/02/2013

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Culture and CountercultureFreedom vs. Establishment in the Political and Cultural Discourse of the 50s and the 60sin AmericaThis particular subject was and still is from my perspective a very complex one to writesomething, especially if no guidelines are given and the task requires to write a minimum of 3 pages bases on this title. Nothing in particular comes to mind when talking about freedomand/establishment either from a political stand point or from a cultural one. Still America in the50s and 60s had a lot of action going on, starting from the Cold War, the Korean War, continuingwith the hippie movement, the rock-and-roll era of Elvis and ending in 1969 with the moonlanding and the space race between America and the USSR. Among these milestones, Americahad the civil movements which granted equal rights for men and women, the boom of televisionor the start of consumerism as we know it today.If we speak only about the cultural aspect, the 50s and 60s had a lot of movies that became cult movies, a lot of actors and actresses that were considered teen idols, such as RichardBurton, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood and examples could continue. Thesetwo decades were very abundant in movie production, music production and the entiremovement that went along with it, be it the boom of television and cinema, the rise of drive-inand the rebel without a cause motif that young people adopted or the hippie movement thatcounteracted the capitalist movement that started to emerge in this period. Talking about moviesin the 50s and 60s, I want to emphasize about the movies that have their central subject theVietnam War. These movies started to be produced after the war, and in most cases, the moviesdepicted the horrible atmosphere among the soldiers fighting for the so called freedom of theVietnamese people.Duă
ț
Ovidiu Ionel, Media Communication 2
nd
Year; e-mail: dutaovidiuionel@gmail.com
 
Culture and CountercultureThe Vietnam war is even to this day a very strong subject and a very harsh reality thatAmerica has endured since it began until the very end. The lives that were lost, the civilians thatwere killed, the amount of money that was invested in weapons, soldiers and anything related tothe war. To better understand what this war meant, we must take into account the period inwhich this war took place. It spanned for 19 and a half years, during the Cold War period between USA and USSR and during this time, Vietnam was the playground between Communistforces and those opposing this regime, mainly the USA alongside Australia, South Korea andother countries supporting the fight against the Vietcong and the ideas that were portrayed by theCommunist Party in USSR and North Vietnam.Usually numbers speak more loudly about the horrific atrocities that took place duringthe Vietnam War. There war more than 400000 civilian dead in South Vietnam, 65000 in NorthVietnam and from this perspective a lot of innocent lives were lost. If we take into account thenumber of soldiers killed or wounded or handicapped for life, then the numbers would look something like this: almost 700000 killed and more than double injured in the Opposing Campand 1 million killed and 600000 wounded in the Communist Camp. All in all, close to 4 millionlive were lost during 20 years of war in which both Vietnamese and Americans lost more thanlives. They lost money, energy, years of progress, casualties ranging from live stock, housingand basic requirements to have a decent life. Still, in America this war had a more glamorousside to it. The only thing beautiful about it is that movies were made to portray the harsh realitythat was going on during the war and the outcome of war veterans that returned home and triedto adapt to a normal life. Movies like Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, shoot in the yearsafter the war depicted a very vivid scene of how the war changed the soldier, inside out.
 
Culture and CountercultureStill the movies had some stereotypes that hurt the truth, either the American soldierswere portrayed as heroes that were trapped in Vietcong camps and had to escape, either theVietnamese people were depicted as passive victims of the war and the Vietnamese soldiers werelike animals killing everything in side in kamikaze style using guerrilla warfare to kill theAmericans that tried to invade their country. But one thing to take into account is that moviesused more footage to reenact the horrors that took place during the Vietnam War. Moviedirectors were more confident to use footage from the war or try to make the movie more believable either through acting that made the entire war seem like hell on earth or by brutallyshowing how horrific Vietnam was during that period. A single movie stands out from the crowdfrom this perspective and this movie is Good Morning Vietnam. This was the only movie worthtaking into consideration that depicted the Vietnam War in a more lively manner due to the presence of Robin Williams that made the horrors of the war less horrific. Even so, the life inVietnam during the war wasn't all sunshine and daisies. People needed to survive on a daily basisand occasionally watch out for bombers that tried to destroy Vietcong camps and alongside themsome innocent civilians.Continuing with the movies, the top three movies made on this subject have the following briefs based on their stories. For example: “Full Metal Jacket” made in 1987 tells the story of a pragmatic US Marine that observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellowMarine recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 inHue, Vietnam. The movie “The Deer Hunter” made in 1978 portrays an in-depth examination of the way that the Vietnam War affected the lives of people in a small industrial town in the USA.“Platoon” shot in 1986 shows how a young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis whenconfronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man. We can see that these movies show

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