Close this search box.

Thursday, July 25, 2024


Raised on Macho – Force Instead of Diplomacy 2.22.2006

By Nick Colin

Raised on Macho
Force Instead of Diplomacy
CREST HAVEN- Has anyone ever examined the political undertones of a 1980s action film?  Consider particularly an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone vehicle, saturated with blood and one-liners.
I grew up on those Reagan era movies, watching many of them more times than is healthy.  Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean-Claude Van Damme were my heroes.
My generation was raised on macho, patriotic films like Rocky, Rambo, Commando, and many others that instilled in us a pro-war predilection. We have been eligible to vote for the last two elections and we chose George W. Bush, a man who chooses action over words.
First, there is John Rambo, “the ultimate fighting machine,” whose adventures glorify the idea of fighting for one’s country. In the second film, Rambo goes back to Vietnam to rescue Vietnam War POWs and finds himself in a fight with North Vietnam and the Russians.
By the end of the film, he has rescued the POWs single-handedly and managed to put a huge dent in the enemy’s population.
The film romanticizes the war hero image and acts as a tool for enlisting soldiers. Rambo is portrayed as an honorable American hero who fights for a just cause. My friends and I used to play Rambo in my backyard. We wanted to wield a ferocious-looking knife and deadly arsenal of guns and rocket-tipped arrows.
President Reagan once held up a sign for the media that read, “Rambo is a Republican!” He knew the stoic, human weapon would be an influential poster boy for his Cold War military machine.
Many compared Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California. Both were Republican movie actors who went on to become governor of California, but Reagan never reached the movie star heights of the biggest action hero of the 80s.  
In the movie Commando, Arnold takes out an entire army without getting shot once, crashes a Porshe into a phone pole at full speed and sustains no injury, jumps out of a plane that is half way to the clouds and lands on his feet, and ends up with the woman in the end.
He is also witty, busting out one-liners like: “Don’t wake my friend, he is dead tired,” after breaking his captor’s neck on a plane and putting his hat over his eyes. And of course, “I’ll be back,” which he used in every film.
He is John Wayne with muscles and a thick Austrian accent. Schwarzenegger’s characters are nearly invisible, super-cool, a hit with the ladies, and respected by the brass. What guy wouldn’t want to be like him?
When President Bush tells us he wants to hunt down the Taliban and that he wants Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive,” it reminds us of those action heroes from our youth. We want men who aren’t overly intelligent and poetic, but who act with force, instead of diplomacy, at the controls.
To our generation, a hero is one of action who won’t be pushed around by evil-doers. They are good and humane until they are put into a position where they must act to defend those that matter to them. In those films, the John Kerry, Al Gore type was the one that played it safe, tried to negotiate and ultimately needed the hero in order for good to prevail.

Spout Off

Court House – For the person(s) who are destroying the fields at Goshen Complex and ruining the chance for the children of our community to play on, SHAME on you! We all know the facilities out there are bad as is…

Read More

Cape May County – The Dems if elected will push for more affordable housing in Cape May County to turn the county blue – funding for affordable housing comes from the govt. and this has been an Obama goal for years…

Read More

Middle Township – Middle township schools are attempting to impose a $26.5 million dollar Bond referendum on the residents of Middle twp., increasing taxes when families are struggling to get by. To ensure this goes…

Read More

Most Read

Print Editions

Recommended Articles

Skip to content