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Delaney Demaret Blog Post for 11/2

Oliver Stone’s Platoon has been praised for its brutal, yet honest depiction of wartime horrors during American deployment in Vietnam. The use of harsh violence does not seek to blindly heroicize soldiers, but to depict a sort of reality that gives a greater insight into life for soldiers during the war. While it is a war movie, it’s fair to say that it is a sort of protest in itself. It rejects the go-to heroic narrative of most war movies, instead opting for a more raw view of a less-than-united front. Taylor’s entrance into and exit from serving are both symbolic of issues that plagued soldiers, inexperience and painful emotional trauma.

Platoon begs an analysis of media that seeks signs of protest in unexpected places. The American counterculture ranged from larger and explicit movements like protests to smaller, day to day implicit protests and declarations of anti-establishment. The movie falls somewhere within this scale, with the ability to reach a wide range of audiences- after all, counterculture movies like “Hair” (my Mom’s personal favorite) do not necessarily attract viewership that hasn’t already bought into the movement and all its oddities. The existence of Platoon as a movie about war, written by a veteran, appeals to the idea that those who experienced the trauma firsthand are often the most raw and powerful creators of subversion and protest in the media. 

I hold that sometimes, the best forms of protest to historically analyze are those that subvert establishment powers by implicit means, surprising viewers like Platoon does. Do you all have any favorite movies or other media that accomplishes this feat?

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4 Comments

  1. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    I agree that this movie was more effective than many of these Hollywood heroic war movies in displaying an accurate and raw representation of the war played out. When media is transparent and not afraid to show the hidden flaws of America’s history, real change is stimulated. Media is powerful, and we must learn how to utilize it productively, instead of using it as a tool to maintain flawed versions of America.

  2. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    I thought that highlighting the fact that the writer of the movie being a veteran of the war was really important. We often get the biased or only partial truth when it comes to wars, battles, and other diagreements of this sort. However, I think that the fact that it was a veteran of the war gives the movie more credibility, as opposed to if someone who did not have such a connection to the war had written or directed it. As you mentioned, the media is very powerful, so having it be controlled by someone who experienced these events gives us a more clear picture, for better or worse, of what actually happened, not what we are supposed to think happened

  3. Michael Stein Michael Stein

    I really like how you note that Platoon represents a kind of protest art that we often don’t think about. Indeed, Platoon’s ability to balance main stream media with protest art makes it an honest, interesting account of the war. This attracts a wider audience to view and understand the war through a veteran’s perspective. This is extremely important in getting the general public to understand the struggling of soldiers both during and after the war.

  4. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I totally agree with you. I think this movie shows the war in such a realistic way with all the flaws in history rather than showing Americans as heroes and because of that, it can be seen as a protest by itself. I think that this is absolutely important as history is often told to people in the wrong way because of the way the media shows it.

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