I believe my fascination with World War I has come to an end. I watched the new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet On The Western Front” on Netflix and realized, during a hand-to-hand combat scene when un soldat français takes a shovel to the face, that I can no longer stomach visions of the “war to end all wars.” I no longer wish to contemplate the muddy, bloody patch of western history between 1914 and 1918, an international killing spree that left 13 million dead “in tow’ring waves, in walls of flesh,” as Jacques Brel put it. I had to ask myself: Why are you watching this? Why did someone remake this movie, and remake it on such a grand and ghoulish scale? 

This is an excerpt from my Sun column on the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Shocking? Hardly. Violence is everywhere, in real life and in movies, making it seem constant and inevitable. All of us need to part ways with it.

8 thoughts on “Goodbye to all that

  1. I’m with you on this. Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose is getting old, too. The more things change the more things need to change. The country and the world is in the grip of change resistance that it cannot seem to shake. Thanks for continuing to blow the horn of the necessity for change.

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  2. Dan, until our culture acquires the most basic human characteristic, i.e. LOVE, we can continue to exist in a world where hate and anger prevail!

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  3. I agree as well. I note that almost every political advertisement, radio or TV, uses the word “fight.” The candidate will “fight” for X, or fight against Y, or has led the fight for Z in the past. We don’t need politicians who fight. We need politicians who orate, debate, negotiate, and legislate.
    By advertising that “I will fight” for X, the politician is inherently advocating pugilism and fisticuffs.
    This isn’t so new, however. Look at https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/The_Caning_of_Senator_Charles_Sumner.htm

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  4. Completely agree with your stance, Dan. You must have a much longer fuse, though. After seeing Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, I was done watching anything relating to man’s inhumanity to man. And it seems the world is filling its tank with it right now. I prefer sticking to offerings like the Extraordinary Attorney Woo!

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  5. I agree. WWI was ghastly, but there’s hope. The conclusion to WWIII (it’s already started) will be the much more globally humane: a relatively painless and instant death by nuclear vaporization. They key is locate oneself as close as one can to a blast ground-zero. Those on the blast periphery may not be so lucky, i.e. burns, cancer, etc., unless big Pharma comes up with some kind of terabyte-SPF sunscreen protection.

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  6. Right there with you. I think my personal obsession with WW2 ended with Saving Private Ryan. Although I mostly was interested in the stories of the people involved (GIs, nurses, families), you can’t read them or see them told without astonishing amounts of horror. My takeaway lesson was wars are indescribably horrific. I think that every time I read about combat in Ukraine. Humans are not susceptible to learning at all from the past.

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  7. I understand. I watched it too and was haunted by it. At some point are we watching non fiction violence just for gratuitous entertainment. I feel the same about drama about the holocaust. I am already informed enough.

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