War Horse Ė an Anti-Human Story?
by Allan Stevo: I
Donít Trust the Tea Party
This is one
of those movies that makes me feel sort of heartless because as
everyone else in the packed theater "ooohs" and "aaaaahs"
Iím seething with anger at what a bunch of idiots Iím surrounded
by. Kitsch is enough to drive some people into unquestioning adoration
of a scene. Kitsch isnít enough to make me ignore the fact that
the underlying message of what is happening around me is entirely
me at least a little ashamed for my emotions and leaves me with
the conclusion that Steven Spielberg is either really twisted or
has made the movie The War Horse in order to make fun of
Americans. Two months back, I watched it in the theater. It was
two days after Christmas, everyone around me probably had their
bellies still full of food from the yuletide feasts Ė in that situation
Iím supposed to be even more likely to like mushy movies. But I
wasnít sold on this one.
For the sake
of argument, Iím going to give Spielberg the benefit of the doubt
and assume for the next 700 words that Spielberg made The War
Horse in order to make fun of Americans. He too realized that
after a decade of war, crap like this makes an American "ooh"
felt so bad for being a human before
At least thatís
what I think Spielberg was trying to make me feel. I am supposed
to feel some kind of terrible collective racist guilt (as in the
"human race") for the horse who is treated cruelly.
All the while, people are dying in that movie. World
War I is the backdrop for much of the film. You could make the argument
that ultimately, a soldier chooses to go to war and ultimately a
beast has no choice. However, the scene where a human fourteen-year-old
deserter is shot sort of removes that theory. Shooting teenage deserters
was presented by the filmmaker as less of a tear-jerker than a stupid
horse running through barbed wire.
desensitizes the viewer to human suffering
I felt surrounded
by ninnies in this movie theater. The American government is fighting
umpteen wars around the world where innocents are having ordnance
dropped on them at the orders of our Commander-in-Chief, killing
parents, scarring children, maiming people for life, and we are
supposed to watch this "anti-war" movie that cajoles us
into downplaying the loss of human life? Contrary to what Spielberg
may have intended, the great collective guilt I felt sitting in
that theater was not "Humans can be so cruel to animals"
but instead was "How can I justify spending 2Ĺ hours watching
this film instead of campaigning for Ron Paul, the single anti-war
candidate, or doing something, anything in opposition to
the wars." I justified it as family time, but the watching
of nonsense with my family is some pretty lame family time. Time
is of the essence Ė Ron Paul doesnít get the nomination in August,
doesnít get elected in November and the U.S. will continue the wars
for four more years or until the money runs out (whichever comes
who watched this movie and felt bad for the horse seemed to think
nothing of the horrors of war. Itís a movie that makes a fool of
people for their twisted morals. Is it really possible that I sat
in a packed house of 500 people and heard gasps with every threat
against an animal, but heard nothing with every death of a human?
This movie was filled with human misery that was intended to be
entirely tangential to the story. Was Speilberg seamlessly stringing
his audience along, like so many manipulative moviemakers are able
to do, using techniques that only a movie maker would notice? Or,
are we Americans really so freakin out of touch with the value of
human life that we gasp at pain for a creature while thinking nothing
of the death of another human?
not sad; WWI and its successors are
not sad. WWI is sad. That the U.S., this last 95 years, has continued
making the same mistakes of warmongering and seeking bogeymen abroad
is much, much sadder. Gigantic wars fought between gigantic states
controlled by sociopaths does not need to happen. Death needs to
happen. One is very sad, the other happens.
standard of this film
or cruelty for a horse is the basis for how the characters are judged
morally in this film. The director intended the most emotionally
evocative moment of the film to be when the horse runs through
barbed wire instead of jumping over the barbed wire Ė a mild
gasp could be heard from the audience in all directions.
a British soldier defies orders by walking into no manís land to
cut the horse out of the barbed wire. He intelligently waves a white
flag the whole time. A German comes from the safety of his trenches
to join him as both armies watch on, not firing a single shot as
the two evil enemies set aside their differences to rescue this
good English," the British soldier informs the German.
English well," the German responds.
horse," one of them says.
But I donít
recall anyone telling a person heís remarkable through the whole
horse," is also said about this creature, the star of the film.
Later in the
film killing the injured horse to put it out of its misery drew
more protests from the audience than killing a 14-year-old boy for
deserting. The threatened killing of the horse was also more played
up by the director than any killing of any human, the 14-year-old
deserter and his brother, included.
At the end
of the film, the father (who fought in the Boer Wars and is still
physically and psychologically scarred a generation later) and the
son (freshly home from the trenches of the "Great" War)
Ė both of them injured for following their government into some
god-awful war to kill and maim others Ė hug. The camera hangs over
them, these wounded obedient murderers. But at least they were never
cruel to an animal. The screen goes black.
clapped at the end.
Then the words
"Steven Spielberg" appeared on the screen, and everyone
began moving as the house lights came up.
was a good story," I heard someone say.
story," responded another.
Peace on earth
good will toward men?
February 18, 2012
Stevo [send him mail]
a writer from Chicago currently pounding the pavement for Ron Paul.
Stevo is the author of How
to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012,
a newly released book that draws a plan for how Ron Paulís grassroots
supporters can, one precinct at a time, very effectively win the
nomination and the presidency for Ron Paul.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.