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August 1994


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Patrick B Bjork <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 23:12:43 -0500
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 1994 18:47:34 -0500
From: Steven Mintz, U. Houston <[log in to unmask]>
To: Multiple recipients of list H-FILM <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Dr. Strangelove (X-PCAACA)
There is pandering and there is pandering, dumbing down and dumbing
down.  A case could be made that Dr. Strangelove represented a pandering
to an alienated left wing audience that had dumbed down to the extent
that it thought that the only issue in the cold war was the barely
repressed desire of the American military to destroy the world. In the
guise of sophisticated political satire, the film dismisses the world
historical political context needed to understand the mission of
the military derided by Kubrick and Southern.
Richard Gid Powers
Brooklyn, NY"
And sometimes, Richard, there's missing the point.  Strangelove deals as
much with then current analyses of "the world historical political
context" as it does with the military's destructive urges.  Whichever
theorist the good Dr. may have been modeled after, his ideology is an
extension of the ideas of the Herman Kahns, Henry Kissingers, and Samuel
Huntingtons of that time -- and ours.  It's very much about that sweet
reasonableness that permits one to "think about the unthinkable."  Such
modes of thought help us to both  "understand the mission of the military"
and to  _justify_ it.  The film says, in effect,  that too much
think-tanking about global strategic concerns, geopolitical
realism and similar mantras of the technocratic elite is a good way to get a
lot of people killed en masse.
Of course it's exaggerated -- it's satire.  But having jousted with a
former member of the RAND Corporation at a seminar in graduate school at
Columbia University in the mid 60s, I don't think that Dr. Strangelove
was that far off the mark.
That's how it looks from my part of Brooklyn, New York.
Gene Brown
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