Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I Want My War TV

The Los Angeles Times reports that, thanks to the portability and affordability of video and DVD technology, US troops in Iraq are making their own music videos of the Iraq War. Filled with images of dead, mutilated Iraqis, with the sophisticated editing on the beat that seems hard-wired into a generation raised on MTV, these DVDs document what's really going on with our troops in the Iraqi meat-grinder.

It's easy to condemn these budding auteurs, and in fact many of their fellow soldiers are appalled at the practice. But we shouldn't dismiss the practice as merely voyeurism. According to Daniel Nelson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine:
What seems disrespectful or a trivialization is also a way for soldiers to distance themselves from the trauma...which says: "I don't want to see what I've done or experienced as real."

The creation of videos resembles what Nelson has seen in his work with traumatized children and Vietnam veterans, he said.

"How do we create the story about our lives?" he asked. "Part of the healing process is for them to create a narrative, to organize an emotional story that allows them to get a handle on it."
I think this is probably true. And I think, how is it, once again, that America will have yet another generation of traumatized young people in need of emotional healing, whose only way of making sense of their lives is to set the deaths they have witnessed, the deaths they have caused, to heavy metal music?

People wonder why we have so much violence in our culture, and I'll tell you, this is one reason why. Because generation after generation, we send our kids to war. And lately, we send our kids to war for no good reason.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How very sad and frightening!

JR said...

Very true Lisa, and not just for young people but for adults also, I think I am somewhere between numb to traumatized (somewhat) by all the graphic photos of dead and wounded people in the news lately, not just the Iraq war but also the photos of the Tsunami victims.

Other Lisa said...

I think I know what you mean...it seems to me that if you are an aware person, it's awfully hard sometimes to deal with what's out there...

KC said...

Lisa always has the most original and masterful way in the English language to paint a poignant picture. It used to be that in wartime of the ancient past [1940's - 1970's] first class journalism depicted the horrors of war with B&W film and the photographers' award-winning images left the global viewer shocked and riveted by the brutality that was captured on film and the inevitable indecency of war. They were taken for that effect and for no other reason.

Today, we have therapeutic brainwashed entertainment in the creation of music videos from Iraq. How much more horrifying and delusional can it get? That's like making a Chip & Dale story out of Bush's presidency.

Other Lisa said...

"Chip & Dale - Abu Ghraib Hi-Jinks!"

Would someone just wake me up in three years?

KC, thanks for your comments. I think most professional photographers still try to present the horrors of war - but what the participants do is another story...