September 23, 2007

Ken Burns' The War: A Necessary War

Watched the first night. History learned: the significance of Bataan, Corrigador, and Guadalcanal. I love when history comes alive like that - my high school history teacher, Mr. Soliwada, made that happen like no person before or since.

Chilling moment for me - the Latino soldier who was part of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, who participated in Carlson's Long Patrol. Describing the success of what was basically a guerilla action, he comments that the Japanese armies confidence that they were a superior fighting force against the undisciplined US forces was a key to their downfall. And went on to describe a style of fighting that involved sneaking up behind enemy lines, striking a quick and unexpected blow, and disappearing back into the jungle.

Hope President Bush and the neo-cons are watching. Cause yanno, those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. Except this time, we're not the guerilla force.

P.S. - I wish I had not caught wind of the Latino community complaints about under-representation and the fact that the series was editted to add Latino voices and stories. Because honestly, it's pretty evident where the editing was done: the stories are just not as compelling and it seems forced. You have four towns represented, and only one (Sacramento) seems to have had a large latino population. So there will, by nature of the work, be fewer voices. (I expect Waterbury to have a bit of an Italian slant, Mobile to deal with the racial issues)

I dunno. It's like hiring quotas. You have 'em in place and it begins to create a secondary level of racism, where one begins to look at targeted races or classes as being there not because of their skills or qualities, but because of their protected class status. There are other ways to work towards equality.

It hurts the series a bit, I think, because every latino story that is told will have me consciously or unconsciously evaluating it - was this really in the film or was it added later? Is this a story and a voice on a par with others, in terms of the information and emotional impact?

I just wish I had not picked up on that controversy......would have made my viewing experience a little more pure.

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