06 March 2010


See the New York Times-online (3/6/10) for this op-ed opinion piece--"Home Fires: The Bomb within Us," by an American veteran of the Iraq War, now poet and teacher (<http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/home-fires-the-bomb-within-us/?tham=&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a3>), about the recent Hollywood film The Hurt Locker.

Seems the social psychology of America--our national psyche--is like a diffused "hurt locker," abstract for most, yet nightmarishly real for some individuals, a hurt locker in which we store our fears, obsessions, and psychic pain. A nation at war overseas also battles itself at the home front, especially in interior psychescapes haunted by war experiences, war tragedies, and lingering images of war. Dismembered bodies make for both dismembered individual psyches and a roadside-bomb sociological imagination.

To the politically motivated admonition that "we fight them there, so we will not have to fight them here," I say that in the globality of war the combat and slaughter return home anyway. A geographic imagination de guerre attempts to restrict preventive warfare to far away battlefields, but, the movement of people and images will not stay at the battlefield. They return to the home front to create new psychic battle lines.

For many of us, the battlefield noncombatants, we do not fight war, any war, consciously, yet subconsciously, living in a thoroughly mediated environment, the war plays out anyway. The hurt locker is there before us, in us as a nation, whether we consciously acknowledge it or not. We are the Hurt-Locker Nation.

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