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The Hurt Locker: A Tale of Hidden Truth

In 2008, director Kathryn Bigelow awed not only moviegoers, but also citizens across the nation with her innovated, and inventive war film, “The Hurt Locker”.  For the past decade films depicting the war in Iraq, and other politically war-centered films have taken a plunge in the box office.  Films like “In The Valley of Elah” saw depressing reviews and a small fan base.  While “The Hurt Locker” has become well known for its historical war tale, its unique angle made it a “must see” movie of the year.  Surprisingly, the aspect of the film that drew viewers in the most was its lack of controversy.    Watching the film it is quite evident that the story represents those of men fighting “the war on terrorism” in Iraq, however there is not even a single mention about politics or government.  Film blogger, Michael Cusumano, comments, “The Hurt Locker was marketed as a film with all of the excitement of war films with none of the preachiness, and the ecstatic reviews greeting the film focused mainly on Bigelow’s filmmaking prowess with the action scenes.”  However, despite the lack of direct correlation between the film, and the war in Iraq there seems to be something utterly realistic about its story.

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Fear: Box Office Hit

The press, and film can be considered two of terrorism’s most prominent outlets in distributing and creating fear.  One of the most prevalent examples of our obsession with fear lies in the depiction and portrayal of terrorism.  Its presence will never age with time, and its existence knows no countries’ borders.  While we read about terrorist attacks everyday in the paper, its stories are carried onto film, and other means of media. Whether its context is completely accurate, or created by art directors, or whether it’s an article in the newspaper, or a box office hit “based on actual events”, its only message to its audience is “fear”.  While it may not seem obvious at first glance, film and the press produce many of the same effects.  Both the press, and film tell stories.  They also tell stories through an angle, or bias known as framing.  While the press may decide to produce a story on terrorism at an angle that focuses on government contribution, film makers may chose to tell the story from an emotional perspective which focuses on personal hardship throughout the event.  Film and the press also help to shape the opinions and thoughts of their viewers through this framing.  Whether the thought is positive, or negative, the plot of the story told is what shapes it.  The two have, no doubt, different purposes, but their final message always remains the same: be afraid.

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Appearance of Invisible Morality

The concept of morality may be the one and only concept that people spend their entire lives studying, and searching for, but never find the right answers.  What is morality?  The Oxford American Dictionary defines morality as “the principles of concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”.   While the definition seems simple, the confusion lies in the definitions of good, bad, wrong, and right.  While attempting to define these concepts of morality, our focus should not be on those who do wrong, but rather we should reach further and discover the fuel, which drives immorality to the surface.

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New Zealand Pen Pal’s Thoughts on Eco-Terrorism

Today, my pen pal and I discussed eco-terrorism.  What I really enjoyed about this groups presentation was its originality.  I wasn’t expecting a topic like theirs, so it was very exciting to learn about something so new.  It also held my attention!  Needless to say, when I signed onto skype and saw that my pen pal, Jaron, was logged on—I quickly started to talk to him about this topic called “eco-terrorism”.  Oddly enough, he had quite a lot of knowledge regarding the subject.  Here were some of his views:

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WTC 93: Failed or Successful

While discussing 9 11 again the other day, Jaron and myself began to discuss other terrorist attacks that we remember others discussing.  It’s interesting to see how people our age associate certain terrorist attacks when they don’t remember.  One of the terrorist attacks that Jaron brought up was another attack that was profiled by our classmates:

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Conversation over Oklahoma City Bombing

While skyping the other day Jaron mentioned to me that he had been watching our blog, and had noticed that there had been a post regarding the Oklahoma City bombing.  Coming from out of the country, I was very surprised to hear that he recognized the events.  I quickly learned that this was a ridiculous assumption for me to make.  Even though he was younger and want clash of clans hacks, and didn’t remember as much, he had still heard a lot about the incident and recognized the names, and events that occurred.  His response:

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New Zealand’s Look at a Third Cup of Tea

My pen pal, Jaron, had never heard of the custom paper book “Three Cups of Tea”, but after some discussion I had explained the book to him, and he was able to read over my reflection on the book offering my own third cup of tea.  This was his response:

“I really enjoy your idea and the quote that you shouldn’t divide and conquer but instead unite and conquer. It is such a simple concept that it seems it should work on any problem or conflict, as I wish it could. Though for some reason the idea of understanding is hard for many people to, ironically, understand. I feel that the concept of being able to easily “understand different sides” is acquired early in life and that at that time it must be reinforced.  This starts out with parenting and lands on the shoulders of the parents of the world who need to look at “understanding” as a key component to teach children and to show them that they need to be able to look at things in different lights and points of views. If that can be achieved I think that the world overall can become much more cohesive. When the world looks at itself as more of a whole and instead of parts then a lot of this hate of other people will dissipate and hopefully disappear.”

Jaron was actually used for my paper on my own third cup of tea, so it was interesting to see how he thought the finished product seemed.  We both had very similar ideas on the subject manner, so it made for excellent discussion.  The biggest similarity amongst the two of us was that we both agreed that such a large problem could be solved by the smallest efforts.  Not everyone needs to build a school to relieve poverty, and terrorism—they just need to make a little extra effort.

Pen Pal’s Thoughts on “Terrorism and the Press”

I showed my pen pal our blog just the other day, and he seemed very excited about the way our class was collaborating together in such a fashion.  These were his comments:

“I enjoy seeing the use of one of mans greatest creations, the internet, being integrated more into education. Having everything on one blog to go through seems like it can make things simpler and more convenient. It strikes me as a classroom away from the physical allowing free roam for discussion. The discussions are also helped out by eliminating some of the shyness people can have, when someone isn’t face to face they can be more truthful with their ideas. They aren’t subjected to the possibility of immediate rejection. I know that I cannot stand having someone read something I have written while I am around. “

Like my pen pal and my paper writer, I do agree that the blog is an excellent place for students to express themselves.  While any class can make every effort to make someone feel more comfortable, some students are just too shy to speak up in class.  I, too, believe that this blog gives those students an opportunity to express themselves in each subject of our class.  I’m really excited to see how others go about this.

New Zealand Pen Pal Reflection on 9/11

While my pen pal, and I discussed my reflection on 9 11 we ran into a rather heated discussion on the media’s role in reporting terrorist attacks.  We first began discussing the events, and the public’s reaction to them.  After further discussion, we began to talk about paranoia.  More specifically how to write my essay and the public reacts to paranoia, and how it’s created.  Soon after that we began talking about the media and its role with paranoia as well.  Here were some of his thoughts:

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Terrorism and the Press

This blog is an integral part of a special section of Honors 394 Spring 2010, Arizona State University. Rather than a routine history course this dynamic, interactive seminar explores the interplay between terrorism and television, and other media sources on-line and in print. 26 students and their global pen pals comprise the bloggers. We welcome all to share their opinions, pertinent observations, insights, comments, feedback. Please post in a responsible manner.