Rocky IV and American Violence
The other day I watched the movie Rocky IV.
It’s a bad movie, a very bad movie, and bad in a way that only a movie made in 1985 can be bad. If you’ll recall, Rocky ends up in Russia to fight Ivan Drago, the invincible Soviet super villain played by Dolph Lundgren.
Various dramatic things happen and Rocky wins, as he does pretty much every second movie. What’s striking about it, beyond how awful, cliched and child-like it is, is how vivid and oppressive the American propaganda is.
America has never been particularly subtle about propaganda, and this movie is no exception. It’s an Us Vs. Them proposition, the Soviets are all passionless robots and functionaries living under a cruel and despotic regime, and the Americans, well, they have heart, man, they’re real!
About five years after this movie was made the Soviet Union collapsed beneath it’s own rotting weight. This meant that The Cold War was over, and once again all that was good and free and just and true had won. However Operation Desert Storm, in which the US invaded Iraq, immediately commenced, and ever since, the Middle East (in one form or another) has been the enemy of the West.
After seeing Rocky IV, it struck me that America was always at war, it was as if they HAD to be at war, as if it was a necessary and functioning part of the system. “The Military Industrial Complex,” as it is conspiratorially called, is a huge business in the US, accounting for hundreds of billions dollars. It is a primary economic driver, one from which so much else flows, and it surely looks like it now exists as an essential part of the economy than some subordinate wing of government used to defend abstract principles like justice.
Recently, on December the 2nd there was another mass shooting in the United States, this time in San Bernardino. It was the 355th of the year.
As the news broke, politicians assigned some assistant take to their Twitter accounts and Tweet out their feelings. The event, immediately politicized, had one flavour of politician crying out for gun control, while the other flavour of politician offered “thoughts and prayers.” It turns out that the “thoughts and prayer” crowd had all accepted donations from the NRA.
Granted, this is no scientific study, but it seems to confirm something that we already knew.
On the face of it, the NRA and the on-going weapon crisis is utterly mysterious. Why only in America? Why haven’t they done anything to try to solve this problem? I mean, from 2004 to 2013, there were 316,000 firearm deaths in the US set against 313 deaths from terrorism, but the resources are where?
In the US, politicians and thus policy, are bought.
That’s the way the system works.
War, be it with the Communists or the Terrorists, is very profitable, as is the production and sale of guns. It’s the sort of thing that should actually be put in the Constitution, just so everybody is clear about profit, rather than freedom, being the guiding light of the nation.
Until the anti-gun lobby starts to give representatives money commiserate with what the NRA does, then we are going to have to expect these trends, and all these deaths, to continue.