Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Spygone Eras

Last week I took the boys on a mini-vacation to visit my family in Baltimore. Debbie stayed home with Shayna since Shayna's school has vacation a different week.

One day we went into DC to see the Spy Museum. The second word is apt, since its focus is almost entirely on past history, rather than state of the art as I had expected. The equipment exhibits were mostly vintage 1940s and 1950s, with nothing less than about thirty years old. (I suppose the contemporary tools of espionage are not yet released for public display.) In addition, the biggest museum sub-sections were on World War II - "Loose Lips Sink Ships" - and on the Cold War.

In the WWII section they showed a couple of fascinating wartime cartoons. One, a Warner Bros., starred a sailor - with a voice eerily like Bugs Bunny's - who literally does get his ship sunk by blabbing about their deployment plans to a gal he wants to impress in a bar. He ends up in hell being tortured by a Hitler-lookalike devil. The other cartoon, by Disney, had the usually irascible Donald Duck full of patriotic enthusiasm for paying his "taxes to fight Axis".

I couldn't help but be struck by these images. Back then, our country at war with a clearly hideous aggressor, all strata of American society rallied around the cause of patriotism and the war effort - with Hollywood playing a major part. Today, faced with an equally virulent and implacable foe in radical Islamism - an enemy no less dedicated to our destruction than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan were - we are deeply divided, not only on the proper methods and fronts in the current war (which I concede are less clearcut than they were back then) but on its very necessity. And today, the movie industry - with a notable exception or two - is solidly in the anti-war camp. To say nothing of the dreaded "mainstream" media.

I wonder which is really the cause, and which the effect here - which the cart, and which the horse? Are so many Americans not convinced - not aware - of the criticality of the current danger, largely because of what they read in the papers and see in the movies? Or is the media merely the mirror of a public whose leadership has failed to properly inform, properly persuade, properly lead? Like most chicken-and-egg questions, the truth is probably somewhere in-between.


At 2/1/06, 1:02 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

IMO, there are many people who prefer very simple explanations in which they can ignore ideological differences and blame things upon oppression.

A bit of a Robin Hood type scenario.

It is much harder for them to accept that some people refuse to look at those who disagree with them as being people and that because they consider them less they are able to murder with impunity.

Kind of a long and rambling reply, I hope that it makes sense.


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