American Sniper – War Porn

Howdy, Pardners…

There’s been quite a ruckus lately about a movie called ‘American Sniper’. Just about everyone who wants to be anyone has chimed in on this, and the loudest voices seem to be saying that either you like this movie, or you’re a traitor. Seems fair enough on a third-grade level, but I thought that I’d add some of my own thoughts that just might straighten the course of the conversation (or controversy, depending on how deep your ideology runs).

First… this is just a movie. A Hollywood movie. There’s nothing special about it, because the aim of any American movie is to make money. War Porn (or any other hyper-violence) is nearly always a good bet, because it gives little chubbies to violence-hungry males, and hardcore war buffs. Personally, I think that all War Porn is should be rated NC-17 (at least), but I think as a philosopher, not as an accountant. No moral value can be attached to money.

War is about increasing the level of violence until your opponent surrenders. There are no rules after that. Men who want power and wealth decide that it is time to go to war, and then the young men (and increasingly, women) go out and start killing as many people as possible. Kill, rape, humiliate, pillage, and plunder. Of course, our young killers think that they’re doing all of this for some sort of mystical greater good, but in the end… it doesn’t matter. It’s just murder on an industrial scale.

War Porn is necessary for any government, because if your society has raised a generation of questioning non-violent young people, you’re society will never get a motivated military out into the field. War Porn glamorizes the adventure, nobility, and courage that industrialized murder brings to young people who are still trying to figure out what pubic hair is. This is why our military is always more than happy to partner-up with Hollywood. The military knows that War Porn is a recruiting tool. The propagandized glory must always overwhelm the actual consequences. War Porn serves a very real purpose, so in a way… condemning this movie just might be bordering on treason.

Snipers are not cowards. Over the past century, the use of sniper teams during wartime has proved to be a useful and efficient killing methodology. It’s just about murder, and the business of any soldier is to murder. There is no particularly brave or honorable way to do that.

So, we can wrap this up by saying that ‘American Sniper’ is a shallow Hollywood War Porn movie about a soldier (Chris Kyle) who kills a lot of people and becomes famous for it. And we have to kind of let it go at that. Using this movie as a springboard for any intelligent conversation is a lot like using a Shirley Temple movie to discuss the Antebellum South.

Have a day.


primum vivere, deinde philosophari.

3 Responses to American Sniper – War Porn

  1. If this is what you got out of the move American Sniper I have to question whether you even saw the movie. I agree with everything you say about War Porn but the American Sniper wasn’t War Porn in my view. Yes, it showed some killing but it showed so much more. It showed the dilemma we put out kids in when we tell them to kill the enemy and the enemy turns out to be a 9 year old boy. It showed what happens over time to the mind of even the most dedicated soldier. I think it was very much an anti-war movie. No 18 year old would go “WOW! Where do I sign up!” after seeing this movie. It screamed “Do you see what war does to people and their families! Let’s promise ourselves we will never send our children into another war unless it’s really, really, really, really necessary.” Then, when the war is over, let’s make sure we take care of all the returning servicemen, immediately and with no quibbling over cost. The movie had to be about Chris Kyle. If it was about your average soldier who had PTSD, nobody would have watched.

  2. Jim,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I think we’re both on the same page. We just disagree on what young boys will take away from this. I think that they will take away the excitement, honor, and glory of war. Their brains aren’t mature enough to see the long-term consequences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *