Thursday, March 17, 2011

Political Presence

"The second technology of the gullible, then, available in the film's revisionary historicism, is the right-wing cultural agenda of the Reagan revolution, whose effects are everywhere present."

Berlant, Lauren. "On Being Normal, Average, Common, Ordinary, Standard, Typical, and Usual in Contemporary America." The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. 180-87.

Even though I agree with Berlant’s notion that a set of conservative values are emphasized in Forrest Gump through a liberal depiction of historical events, it seems unfair to think that the film was produced with a definite "right-wing cultural agenda" in mind. It’s difficult in any case to show a political event without expressing some form of bias, or to avoid the influences of political perspective. If Forrest Gump attempts to “express a nostalgic desire for official national culture” using examples of the nation in turmoil, what good does dwelling on a conservative bias do to further her assertion concerning nostalgic desires? She’s correct in referencing these conservative ideals in the movie, as they are expressed through manifested liberal values (Jenny). This political atmosphere is shown in a much clearer light with the innocent Forrest Gump, who carries no bias with him when at war in Vietnam or when present at a Black Panther meeting. Portraying the radical sexual movements of the 60’s, the “drugs and disco culture” of the 70’s, and the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s only emphasizes this radical shift in social construct in our nation’s history. It was not intended to be used as a tool to impress conservative beliefs upon the audience, though this perspective can be understood because of the radical liberalism expressed in the film.

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