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Speaking of the past, I believe American films really changed when Reagan came into office.  I remember how the movie Rambo was received.  People were shocked at the level of violence, and it was really a herald to a new epoch in American culture -  perhaps as a fantasy to help deal with the US' loss in Vietnam...

remember Reagan's rhetoric as well?  about a new day in America was it?

by stevesim on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 03:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reagan was the start of a terrible cycle in america, indeed every time i heard him say 'it's morning in america', i always heard it as 'it's mourning in america'.

bin going downhill ever since...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 05:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Off the top of my head:
  • Straw Dogs - 1971
  • Last House on the Left - 1972
  • Death Wish - 1974
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 1974
and then
* Rambo: First Blood - 1982
I guess Rambo brought it into the mainstream. The previous ones on the list could be considered vaguely Arty.

Ruthless Reviews has some good analysis of what makes an 80s action film

Big sweaty men! Big noisy guns! Dozens of people getting beaten and slaughtered-per scene! Entire cities razed to the ground! Liberal wimps beware as simple handguns become judge, jury and executioner!

The first Rambo is arguably liberal/progressive. The rest are conservative propaganda/fantasy.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 06:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Clockwork Orange (1971) was not an American production, but made by an American director.

There were people back then to complain loudly about violence in the movies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 07:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were there any guns in it?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 10:16:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting point.
Don't recall any, with the possible exception of the cines used in the technique.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's always been a streak of genocide in harder SF.

It's difficult to take modern SF novels seriously unless at least a couple of planets are sterilised, and Space Marines™ are stomping everywhere.

Point being, the macho fantasy crap has deep roots.

I keep meaning to write a diary about the persistence of feudal cultures in 'modern' SF.

There are progressive alternatives, mostly written by feminists. But in the mainstream there's a constant stream of traders/gun monkeys/mercenaries/princelings and the like.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:10:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sense of the sf genre has changed over time.

It used to be for people who liked science (that was my case anyway, in the 60s and 70s). But that's gone and forgotten (I date it from Starwars, in which there is no science whatsoever). Now, I suspect, it's a refuge for people who want politically-incorrect stories.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was always Heinlein doing libertarian SF. And a lot of older space opera was pretty much just 'America in Space - fuck yeah!'

I hear Star Trek is immensely popular with the US military - perhaps because all that noble humanitarianism in the TV shows is how they like to see themselves.

But it's interesting how much 50s SF was about telepathy, precognition, and other mental superpowers. That's almost gone now.

Star Wars was the cross-over point between speculative-imagination SF and blowing-shit-up-in-space SF. It had military elements, and mental superpowers, and princes and princesses, and a mercenary or two. But basically it was hatin-on-the-government made widescreen.

Then there was Aliens, and that was that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 09:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
it's interesting how much 50s SF was about telepathy, precognition, and other mental superpowers

it was also the era when the west took on the concept of brainwashing, due to techniques used by asian and communistic states on prisoners of war.

segueing prettily into the mad men of the 60's, and its usefulness in mass persuasion.

it's a very low, dishonorable abuse of energy, to use sheer repetition to numb brain receptors into battered submission, where even negative response still ensures brand recognition and pavlovian urges to buy, buy, buy.

yet we sucked it up, and still do...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I blame it on HG Wells. Blatantly political all of his novels, and not at all the same level of science geekery as Jules Verne.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 7th, 2013 at 12:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, not really science fiction:
He was a rotten scientist anyway, remarking among other things that a small, bolted-down square of Cavorite could rapidly squirt away the Earth's entire atmosphere. The student is invited to estimate what percentage of our planet's mass would be gravitationally screened off from the viewpoint of an oxygen molecule two miles up.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 8th, 2013 at 05:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

There are progressive alternatives, mostly written by feminists.

Lois McMaster Bujold
Nancy Kress
Marge Piercy

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 05:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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