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Establishment in the Political and Cultural Discourse of the 50s and the 60s in America This particular subject was and still is from my perspective a very complex one to write something, 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 freedom and/establishment either from a political stand point or from a cultural one. Still America in the 50s and 60s had a lot of action going on, starting from the Cold War, the Korean War, continuing with the hippie movement, the rock-and-roll era of Elvis and ending in 1969 with the moon landing and the space race between America and the USSR. Among these milestones, America had the civil movements which granted equal rights for men and women, the boom of television or 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 Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood and examples could continue. These two decades were very abundant in movie production, music production and the entire movement that went along with it, be it the boom of television and cinema, the rise of drive-in and the rebel without a cause motif that young people adopted or the hippie movement that counteracted the capitalist movement that started to emerge in this period. Talking about movies in the 50s and 60s, I want to emphasize about the movies that have their central subject the Vietnam War. These movies started to be produced after the war, and in most cases, the movies depicted the horrible atmosphere among the soldiers fighting for the so called freedom of the Vietnamese people.
Duță Ovidiu Ionel, Media Communication 2nd Year;
Culture and Counterculture The Vietnam war is even to this day a very strong subject and a very harsh reality that America has endured since it began until the very end. The lives that were lost, the civilians that were killed, the amount of money that was invested in weapons, soldiers and anything related to the war. To better understand what this war meant, we must take into account the period in which 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 Communist forces and those opposing this regime, mainly the USA alongside Australia, South Korea and other countries supporting the fight against the Vietcong and the ideas that were portrayed by the Communist Party in USSR and North Vietnam. Usually numbers speak more loudly about the horrific atrocities that took place during the Vietnam War. There war more than 400000 civilian dead in South Vietnam, 65000 in North Vietnam and from this perspective a lot of innocent lives were lost. If we take into account the number 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 Camp and 1 million killed and 600000 wounded in the Communist Camp. All in all, close to 4 million live were lost during 20 years of war in which both Vietnamese and Americans lost more than lives. They lost money, energy, years of progress, casualties ranging from live stock, housing and basic requirements to have a decent life. Still, in America this war had a more glamorous side to it. The only thing beautiful about it is that movies were made to portray the harsh reality that was going on during the war and the outcome of war veterans that returned home and tried to adapt to a normal life. Movies like Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, shoot in the years after the war depicted a very vivid scene of how the war changed the soldier, inside out.
Culture and Counterculture Still the movies had some stereotypes that hurt the truth, either the American soldiers were portrayed as heroes that were trapped in Vietcong camps and had to escape, either the Vietnamese people were depicted as passive victims of the war and the Vietnamese soldiers were like animals killing everything in side in kamikaze style using guerrilla warfare to kill the Americans that tried to invade their country. But one thing to take into account is that movies used more footage to reenact the horrors that took place during the Vietnam War. Movie directors 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 brutally showing how horrific Vietnam was during that period. A single movie stands out from the crowd from this perspective and this movie is Good Morning Vietnam. This was the only movie worth taking 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 in Vietnam during the war wasn't all sunshine and daisies. People needed to survive on a daily basis and occasionally watch out for bombers that tried to destroy Vietcong camps and alongside them some 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 fellow Marine recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 in Hue, 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 when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man. We can see that these movies show
Culture and Counterculture how awful the war was and how those fighting in the war changed with it. Either those who survived and lived to tell the story or those that had storied passed down from a journal or simply a script that paints an accurate portrait of the Vietnam War. In any case, the war had and still has long lasting effects, especially to those who lost someone dear, be it a son, father, brother or friend. Those who became war heroes or veterans aren't proud of what they've done, no matter if they followed orders or did it because they felt they had to protect democracy or some sort of freedom of the Vietnamese people. Speaking of heroes that seem to do good but in the long term evolution are haunted by the ghosts of war, Rambo, the action hero that was the icon of the Vietnam war in the 1990 had a very stereotypical image created around him but in the last Rambo movie, we can see that the horrors of war had caught up to him and although that was just a movie, it is clear to understand why this change had occurred. No man, no matter how strong he is, can stand unimpressed by war and its horrific nature. Especially if that man is Rambo and sees the lives being taken by soldiers, either American or Vietcong and seeing this day after day until the war ends tends to inflict changes both to the personality as well to the long term behavior of that person. John Rambo alongside other movie heroes after the war are clearly injured, both physical and psychological and those wounds heal very hard if not at all. That's why the Vietnam War was depicted in so different manners but keeping the same central idea, that war changes you, changes to society that has endured the war, changes the perception of a country that fought in a war. And in recent history, except World War II and the Gulf War, no other war was more brutal or more portrayed in movies than the Vietnam War. The reasons are clear, either as a propaganda material for the American soldiers, either as a statement of how war can change society or in recent years, to remind that society has still a long way to go
Culture and Counterculture towards civilization. In America, the war was a reason of pride when America won and had heroes and a reason to criticize the Army and the Government for the lost lives, especially if your beloved son died trying to defend the freedom of another country, not even your own. That's when America has a strong voice against war. Until then, guns are being produced, soldiers are trained and wars are being fought. When you start to draw a line and see how much you have won and how much you have lost, then you start to realize that America is very fond of war and constantly tries to get into a war to defend democracy, freedom and the price of oil. To conclude, from a cultural stand point, the Vietnam War had profound implications in cinematography, being a strong subject for movie makers to focus on, for different reasons, be it money, glory, to depict reality, to create heroes, to make America look less evil, to educate the people of how war can change soldiers and civilians trapped between to opposing ideas and the countries that fight to enforce one idea over the other. The war had a very strong implication in the hippie movement because both the Korean War and the Vietnam War that followed sparked an anti-violence movement in America that had implications in music, movies, social movements and civil rights movements. Both wars were the starting point for those against war and violence to speak their mind and adopt a more pacifist approach. If we must speak about countercultures during the Vietnam War, the only thing that stands out is are the hippies and the families that lost sons, brothers, father during the war. These are the opposing side of the war that movies use to portray realities too gruesome to be remembered. Last but not least, if we must include politics into the war, it's safe to say that politicians start wars and soldiers fight them and this was the case for Vietnam as well. The only sure to focus on 30 years after the war is that movies are still being made based on this subject and this is a clear indicator that a 20 year war fought for
Culture and Counterculture nothing loosing countless lives is a statement that America or the world needs to reassess its priorities concerning freedom and democracy. Bibliography 1. Spencer C. Tucker, The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History 2. James Olson and Randy Roberts, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945–1990 3. Taylor, Charles Lewis, The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators 4. Neale, Jonathan, The American War 5. Douglas Blaufarb. The Counterinsurgency Era 6. George C. Herring. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950–1975 7. Simon, Dennis M. (August 2002). "The War in Vietnam,1965–1968" 8. Anderson, David L. Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War 9. Brigham, Robert K. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History 10. Taylor, Mark (2003), The Vietnam War in History, Literature, and Film 11. Anderegg, Michael A. (1991), Inventing Vietnam: The War in Film and Television 12. Hixon, Walter (2000), Historical memory and representations of the Vietnam War, 13. Dittmar, Linda; Michaud, Gene (1990), From Hanoi to Hollywood: the Vietnam War in American film 14. www.imdb.com
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