The North Coast times-eagle. (Wheeler, Oregon) 1971-2007, August 03, 1979, Page 7, Image 7

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    T h e N o r t h C o a s t T im e s E a g l e , F r i d a y ,
Bambi Meets the Deer Hunter
b y M ic h a e l M cC u sker
Bambi and the Deer
Hunter have something
in common. Neither
movie is about the
Vietnam war.
The Deer Hunter
is about three guys
who grew up together in
a Pennsylvania steel
town. 3ambi is about
three guys who grew up
together in the woods.
All three guys are white,
but the animals are a
mixed cast; a deer,
a rabbit and a skunk.
The three guys go to
war after a drunken
wedding and a deer
hunt. The war comes
to the woods in the form
of a hunter and the
forest fire he caused.
The forest fire
and the excape of Bambi,
Thumper and Flower
thrilled me with more
horror than the escape
of Mike, Steve and Nick
from the Viet Cong.
As a war movie Bambi
was more plausible.
The catastrophe of man
the hunter was certainly
more realistically por­
The Deer Hunter is
not so finely drawn. It
pretends to be an anology
of the catastrophic
effects of war upon three
men, and its apologists
explain that it was not
intended to portray Viet­
nam except as an example
of war itself.
If that is indeed
the case, then I find it
not only a badly conceived
effort, but a complete
disservice to the Amer­
ican public that is de­
manding, finally, after
cho ¿ re
Vietnam ese
D O lD O lO U la D C O IO P P a
(¡Dirait Jhittrry
understand they often
were, my memory is that
those portrayed in the
movie such as throwing
a grenade in a bomb
shelter overflowing
with mothers and child­
ren, or the machinegun­
H e m lo c k & 2 n d
a 10 year sleep, to know
what happened in Vietnam.
I found the movie to
be a pack of lies.
I do not know the
finer points of cinema
criticism. I know
something about war, how­
ever. And the Deer
Hunter disturbed me be­
cause after they all sang
God Bless America and the
lights were turned on in
the Seaside theater, some
youngsters of teen age
asked me if that was the
way it was in Vietnam.
Trying to explain that it
was not, I found myself
almost shouting in rage,
perhaps because those
same youngsters were
fodder for the next one,
and the lies of this
movie might ultimately,
kill them.
Let's start with the
big deal made about
the single shot theory.
Mike, the movie's main
man, will expend only
one round to get a deer.
If he was that chary in
returning fire in Vietnam,
his first fire fight
would have been his last.
I remember that even a
fire cracker would be
answered with a torrent
of fire. One of the ma­
jor criticism by warfare
experts was that we threw
rounds around like water
out of a hose.
Then we move on to
the game of Russian rou­
lette, which was the
device the entire plot
revolved upon. If it
ever happened, no veteran
of Vietnam I ever talked
with knew about it. We
used to hear a lot of
wild stories about what
what Mr. Cong would do
to us if we were captured
— same stuff the Japanese
were told if captured by
Americans a generation
and two previous wars ago
— but none of them in­
cluded roulette. I found
it an irony, perhaps a
contempt for the average
moviegoer by the producer
or director, that Russian
Americans were the sup­
posed victims of Russian
roulette played upon them
by Vietnamese.
That moves us to a
racism so explicit in
the Deer Hunter that it
is a stench. Nowhere
within the movie are
Vietnamese portrayed as
human beings, and cer­
tainly not as a worthy
foe. "Their Vietnamese"
and 'Our Vietnamese'
have no redeeming qual­
ities whatever« and
the symbol of their dec­
adence is based on a
fiction— the aforemention­
ed roulette. Even the
atrocities the movie
shows committed upon
jlj T dl j T l jli I lj û lo n lt j u I cj n lo tJ lc irjn
125 MPG T3° Pm
T h e i n t e l l i g e n t a n s w e r to
e c o n o m ic a l t r a n s p o r t a t io n
to d a y
4 3 6 -1 2 6 6
ning of a mother and
her child— were actually
committed by us children
of redblooded American
mothers. Or have we
forgotten My Lai?
No matter how badly
any movie portrays the
Vietnamese— and I am
sure the ground has been
broken for many more— no
amount of sour grapes
will diminish the fact
that those people whipped
the hell out of us, not
because they were better
soldiers, but because
they fought us in the
same manner our ancestors,
for the same reasons,
fought the British 200
years ago,' and like the
3ritish, the Americans
were too inflexible to
adapt. America, with
its bombers and battalions,
tried to play chess in
the Land of Go, and lost.
But there was another
form of racism in the Deer
Hunter, perhaps less notic­
ed. Contrary to the script,
the American soldier was
not entirely white. In fact
the greater percentage of
actual combat troops
were off-white. The
rear areas were filled
with caucasions, but the
closer to the bunkers
the more America's
racial stew was in evi­
dence. Some of the more
cynical have noted that
nations always ensure
that a goodly number of
their lower orders are
killed off in combat
against another nation's
lower orders, so no mat­
ter who wins or loses,
there are less potentially
troublesome 'niggers' left
in either.
I could go on, but
I am getting mad again.
I am getting tne reeling
that once more we are
being used. For almost
10 years the Vietnam vet­
eran has borne the nation­
al guilt for the war be­
cause the rest of the
nation refused to face
its responsibility for
the war. Even President
Carter, in a New York
Times interview has ad­
mitted that the country's
spiritual malaise is a
result of its cowardly
failure to realize that
we lost the war and that
it was immoral. The
veteran, after suffering
the intense losses and
anguish of combat, and
the terrible guilt of
this war in particular,
was given no help when he
returned homo. Instead
he became the leper, the
repository of all our sins.
He was treated like dirt
because he did the coun­
try's dirty work.
- -healthy
against a common foe. To­
day's war movies present
a more invidious propa­
ganda. They seem to de­
sire revising history so
that the distortion will
not only disguise the fact
we were defeated in a
war, they intend to jus­
tify the war and the gov­
erning of us still by the
power structures that
got us into the damn
thing to begin with— you
know who they are: the
guys who are holding back
on the gas and robbing
us at the supermarket.
Maybe that is why I
felt distress in my lower
tract when the two sur­
viving veterans sang "God
Bless America" after drop­
ping the third into a
hole. Even Bambi had
better taste than to
stretch credulity so fan­
3 A u g u s t,
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer, conductor
and a leader in the country's socialist movement in
the early years of this century. He was born Anton
von Webern in 1883, but dropped the aristocratic
title during the 1918 revolution which followed the
collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World
War I .
Webern began his professional career in 1908 as
conductor of various orchestras throughout Austria.
He joined the Social Démocraties Party in 1920 and
became conductor of a workers' orchestra. He con­
tinued to compose music and conduct orchestras dur­
ing the Nazi occupation of Austria and during World
War II. His son was killed in battle and his home
was destroyed by bombs.
Webern's fortunes took a brighter turn in the
final days of the war. He received an official
letter from Vienna requesting that he take a major
role in the postwar reconstruction of Austrian cul­
ture .
At the end of the war the allies occupied Vienna.
A curfew was imposed. One night Webern returned
home in ovservance of the curfew. He stopped out­
side his Vienna apartment to light a cigarette. An
American sentry shouted an order at him, but by this
time the 62-year-old composer was partially deaf.
He did not respond to the order. The soldier shot
Though his work was largely unknown to the gener­
al public, Webern was widely esteemed by classical
musicians and by socialists throughout Europe. Ro­
berta Schanek, who lives in Cannon Beach, wrote the
following poem mourning his tragic death
the slender fingers crumble
textured as flesh, preserved in tannic acid
each ganglion
each tortured final harmony
the hand turns on its side, raw side out
exposing varicolored fluid tendrils
the trumpet screams in horror
mutilated fractions of gestures
graspings at the cold
wings sear and sever the air
and the music
falls in jagged bloody pieces
thin sour fragments lodged
between the sharp enamelled points
sir, does each star
assign itself to name and number?
but hear the lone, the broken whisper
foreign anger diminished
to a contraction of crystalline iris
at last, motionless
the composer's neck hairs bristle
at untuned scrapings on a sunless window
gunmetal, dense behind a heavy door
R o b e r ta S c h a n e k
‘Hey, Anybody —I'm Back!'
c * « toom
av to u emcMtot
Page 7
and Espresso Bar
South H^rtJoch.Canim Beach.