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January 20

Us vs Them: The War On Conversation

By Ella Miista
The latest cultural storm revolves around Clint Eastwood’s latest film American Sniper. Seth Rogan, no stranger to controversy, sent out a tweet comparing the film to the Nazi propaganda film shown in Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards and director Michael Moore, well known for his anti-war stance, tweeted how he saw snipers as cowards. For some reason these tweets sent people mad. Moore explained his stance. He spoke about his personal experiences that included losing an uncle to a sniper, and wrote this on Facebook:
My dad always said, "Snipers are cowards. They don't believe in a fair fight. Like someone coming up from behind you and coldcocking you. Just isn't right. It's cowardly to shoot a person in the back. Only a coward will shoot someone who can't shoot back."
Rogen also explained: It’s worth mentioning I haven’t seen American Sniper. With the debate it’s sparked I’m curious to see it but I don’t need to see it to know pretty much any war film can be both anti-warm and pro-war. It depends on the viewer. Convictions like that tend to be deep-rooted, and we’re likely to take away what we want from the film. Someone opposing war might see it as the painful portrayal of the divide that exists between us and them. We have dreams and hopes, we become heroes. They are nameless, voiceless; they exist only as a ground for our heroism to grow on. Someone else might see that very divide – the so-called fight between good and bad – and root for the good. But, this isn’t about what the film is trying to convey. This is about debate and the outrage both Moore's and Rogen's tweets caused. Why can’t there be a conversation about war? We’re not naïve – we understand sometimes it’s the only way to protect ourselves. What’s troubling is the refusal to have a conversation about it. We can appreciate someone’s heroic actions even if we don’t support their ideals. Equally, not everyone that goes to war is Jesus dying for our sins. Can we talk maybe talk about this? People are bound to disagree on things and that’s fine. What’s not fine is to present an opinion as an absolute truth, and attack whoever thinks otherwise. It’s not always us versus them and we need to start accepting that. We all have our stories and it's something we have to consider. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a conversation without shooting each other down? Imagine that.
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