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December 1997, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 15:37:32 -0600
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Dear List
I was so interested in your discussion of Starship Troopers and irony
that I went to see it. (I don't usually see much science fiction.) While
the rest of the audience was watching for bugs, I looked for irony. I
thought that only one scene contained irony: the legless officer advising
the new arrival that Federal Service made him the man he is today.
Many scenes were adapted from WWII films. There was a "Why We Fight" film
which was based, of course, on Capra's WWII work of the same name. But
was irony intended? Or was it only a device to suggest a WWII sense of
purpose among the Federal forces?
Maybe the answer is generational and depends on how remote WWII seems. If
WWII seems remote then its patriotism can be reduced to and equated with
propaganda. The filmic Federal efforts to discredit bugs is a send-up of
all patriotic propaganda and all war.
But if irony is broadly intended, why isn't it made more obvious? For
example, nothing in the film suggests that the war itself is purposeless.
The bugs, for example, do not surrender and seek foreign aid as did Peter
Sellers' country in "The Mouse That Roared."
So if irony is intended, it seems incomplete to me.
Does it seem so to any of you?
Peter Latham
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