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November 1997, Week 3


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"Gareth B." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 14:06:07 -0700
text/plain (70 lines)
Viet Nguyen wrote:
> But, in my memory, the genders in the movie are not
> "politically correct"---in Heinlein's book, Carmen really is the officer,
> Johnny the enlisted man.  Heinlein may have been a fascist, but he was a
> smart fascist.  He saw that gender and race equality were necessary in his
> vision of a new world order, which was premised upon a certain vision of
> meritocracy, i.e., anyone could be a citizen if they earned the right to
> it.
I stand corrected.  But Heinlein's attitude, that producers of millions
of sperm are more expendable than producers of dozens of ova, is in fact
one he touted quite often.
> This brings up another interesting issue, which is that I thought, in
> the book, Johnny and Carmen weren't "white."  (Clinco mentions that Carmen
> is played by a Hispanic actor, although that's not "visible" either from
> her appearance or her name).
Perhaps. Willem Dafoe played a convincing black guy in a movie once.
The character was supposed to Hispanic, whether or not the player was.
> All
> the people of color in ST got their guts ripped out.  In that sense,
> Verhoeven's film is politically correct. It's much more PC to be a white
> male than a person of color. (To forestall any flames, let me simply point
> out that "politically correct" in this sense means having the real
> power--getting the money, getting the women, getting the kicks, and so on.)
But from the point of view of film-making, having your guts ripped out
on screen gives you a chance to act a moment of deep suffering. Actors
love that. Maximizing those roles for people of color is indeed
"politically correct."
> Let this younger person point out a fact: Heinlein didn't write it that
> way.  In his book, all the soldiers are running around in suits of armor
> that let them run faster than a speeding bullet and leap tall buildings in
> a single bound.  In short, they're supermen, ha ha.  Hitler would be proud.
Hugp Gernsback would be proud, too.  They may be wearing superduper
fighting suits, but they're still just G.I. Joe.
>  This is probably the area of adaptation where Verhoeven tries to undercut
> the fascism in the book the most, by making the humans as vulnerable as
> possible.
I disagree. If you hire a beautiful cast, why put them in costumes where
the audience can't see how beautiful they are?  Or even tell them apart?
> However, as someone else pointed out, it's highly doubtful
> whether all the irony in the film that seems to be evident to people on
> this list ever actually makes its way through to the bulk of the audience,
> who are caught up in the special effects and narrative.
To paraphrase Raphael Sabatini: "Bah. His ironies are all unconscious."
Perceptions of STARSHIP TROOPERS's irony are projecting a depth that is
no where apparent -- unless you call producing a glorification of
militarism an act of irony in the Aquarian Age.  But I see nothing
ironic in having gorgeous half-naked babes, dazzling digital animation,
and so much gore that stage blood and stage slime must have been ordered
in 55 gallon drums.  What I see is thoughtful, successful marketing to
the teen audience.
The only thing missing from this movie was Leonardo DiCaprio.
Paul E. Clinco
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