Archive for November, 2010

The Glory and Horror of War

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

There are plenty of ‘anti-war’ films out there. Especially recent ones. I don’t think that war movies are even allowed to be made nowadays, unless they at least comment on the supposed unnecessary reasons why the battle they are depicting is being fought.

On the flip side of this coin are the action films of the 80s and 90s, in which Stallone or Schwarzenegger would blaze into a jungle or a military stronghold somewhere, blowing hundreds of enemies to kingdom come without batting an eye, only to offer a cringe-inducing pun at the end, commenting on his own carnage.

Some people would say we’ve come a long way since then, but I actually kind of miss those movies. Film director Francois Truffaut once said that it was, in fact, impossible to make an anti-war movie. What he meant, was that since battle scenes of movies contain action, they are exciting. This causes the viewer to inevitably root for one side, and look forward to the defeat of the other. So even if you were making an anti-war statement, people would still get excited about war, thus defeating it’s own purpose, even if it were accidental.

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Diomedes, lord of the war cry

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The characters of The Iliad are some of the best characters ever written. And out of all of them, my absolute favorite has got to be Diomedes (with a close second going to Hector). Everything Diomedes does or says exudes awesomeness.

The first time he really gets a chance to speak is in Book 4. Agamemnon has a plan to rouse the Achaeans into fighting: He will march down to his own troops, say that they are defeated, insult their cowardliness, and insult their families. His hope is to get his soldiers worked up so he can charge them into battle again. Ancient reverse psychology I suppose. At first his plan is a giant flop though, and everyone just wants to go home. But with help from silver-tongued Odysseus, it ends up succeeding.

So Agamemnon is making his rounds through the troops when he comes to Diomedes and Sthenelus where he proceeds to insult both them and their fathers. Sthenelus is incensed at this outrage. He gets up and starts screaming back, defending his courage and his honor – playing right into Agamemnon’s hands.

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