I’m fond of the motto, improvise and overcome. I use it a lot but maybe it’s time to find a new one. It’s the catch-phrase of Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway, a grizzled veteran who does frequent battle with the US Army’s top brass – in the establishing, nowadays de rigeur, of anti hero credentials – before doing one last favour for Uncle Sam in Grenada.
The invasion of Grenada took place thirty-eight years ago today. Heartbreak Ridge, with Clint moving between the director’s chair and playing Highway, is a textbook example of the vital service provided by the entertainment industries as propagandists for the US Empire.
Those who buy the evil Putin narrative go on and on about Ukraine 2014 and Georgia 2008. Both are on Russia’s doorstep and both, with NATO expanding eastwards, had/have regimes looking to join that alliance, premised as it is on ‘containing’ Russia.
Do you for one second suppose the USA would tolerate anything remotely comparable?
And the scores of countries invaded, bombed, subjected to murderous economic blockade or overthrowal of their elected governments because Wall Street/Washington didn’t like them? In giving those acts a free pass, the soft propaganda of entertainment is as vital as the hard stuff from CNN and Fox News, BBC, Mail and Guardian.
(Mostly the soft propaganda is blatant. Heartbreak Ridge, like Rambo and 007, falls into this category. 1 But it can also be subtle, intelligent and even witty. The otherwise classy American version of House of Cards 2 plunged into caricature when the Russian President, clearly Putin, paid the White House a visit.)
For a two minute assessment of the Grenada invasion – condemned by the UN and cheered on by one Joe Biden – see this from MintPress.
- I don’t see Eastwood as a conscious apologist for US crimes. His job as director is to put bums on seats, and he delivers. (As with Changeling and other films directed but not necessarily starring Clint, Heartbreak Ridge shows him as a no-nonsense, taut story teller. I’d guess he’s also good at coming in under budget.) But like most in the West, he is fully signed up for the essential goodness of America. That, together with business realism, suffices. Yet another film glorifying the good ol’ US of A follows as night on day.
- Speaking of House of Cards, we need to talk about Kevin. Or rather, about the way a brilliant career – think Woody Allen too – can be destroyed by unproven allegations in a brave new world where to be accused is to be guilty.