When I was in high school I loved editing sports clips. I would use my trusty Fisher VHS and tape every sport highlight show imaginable. After a few months I would borrow another VHS machine and edit the highlights together into a kind of video montage. Then I would hook a CD player to the VHS and add audio to the tapes. It was great fun! Most of my tapes were collections of hockey fights and slam dunks. I loved it when by some kind of miracle the action on the tape actually matched the beat of music. I loved seeing Bob Probert punching the shit out of someone while Axel Rose screamed 'Welcome to the Jungle.' I was equally pleased when a Dr. J dunk was punctuated by Chuck D's "Bring the Noise."
A few weeks back I was thinking about how difficult it was to make those tapes then and how easy it would be today. Then I read this article Extreme Cinema Verite originally posted at the LA Times and reposted on Information Clearing House. The article details how American GIs make videos of the death and destruction they see everyday. The best part is they add heavy metal soundtracks to these little slices of life. The article tells of a soldier returning home and showing his new video to family and friends and being surprised at their shocked reactions. The article interviews Daniel Nelson, a professor of psychiatry. He argues that this is a very common practice for trauma victims.
How do we create the story about our lives?" he asked. "Part of the healing process is for them to create a narrative, to organize an emotional story that allows them to get a handle on it.
A film professor Thomas Doherty, adds that the videos an 'authentic diary of war.' He also says:
Of course you're struck by the gruesomeness of the carnage, but it's a wide range of images." He went on to praise "the contra-punctual editing the beat of the tune and the flash of the images," calling it "a very slick piece of work." "The MTV generation goes to war," he said. "They should enter it at Sundance."
The article then goes on to explain that surprise, surprise there are web sites selling these videos. I find this all a little disturbing but at the same time wouldn't mind actually seeing some of these videos. But I sure as hell ain't going to buy one! I imagine that this isn't that different than the 'insurgents,' making tapes of their version of this war to sell in bazaars throughout the Middle East. I am curious about the lack of uproar in the American media. I do remember an American media feeding frenzy when the the 'insurgents,' brutalized those 'contractors,' in Fallujah and video taped some beheadings. I think that the main criticism was that only barbaric uncivilized folks video tape beheadings and other atrocities. I guess when American GIs do the very same thing its not barbaric but just a part of the healing process.