Class and Politics

Contemporary American War Films and First-Person Shooter Video War Games
  • Patricia Keeton
  • Peter Scheckner


In film as in literature, depicting war is to confront an oxymoronic truth: combat is as sensationally savage as it is brutishly thrilling: The Iliad is a paean both to the pitiless as well as to the grandeur and insatiable excitement of war. Most of the poem’s 16,000-plus lines describe with awe the intensity, vitality, and exultance of hand-to-hand combat, all but drowning out Thersites’s dark accusations made early in the work, and this has always been a central paradox of both the literature and cinema of war. From Saving Private Ryan to Zero Dark Thirty the more realistic, “gritty,” and high tech the combat scenes are re-created, the less the viewer even thinks that the issues of politics, ideology, or social class are elements in all wars. The battle becomes everything. Kathyrn Bigelow’s ZDT is so technologically sophisticated that the spectator sees everything through the green night vision goggles of SEAL Team 6 and so, in effect, the audience becomes the shooter, a war movie as FPS war video.


Video Game Saving Private Displace Worker Video Game Industry Modern Warfare 
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Copyright information

© Patricia Keeton and Peter Scheckner 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Keeton
  • Peter Scheckner

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