Film Influence No. 2: The Men Who Stare at Goats

        You’ve got to love a film that starts with the line: “More of this is true than you would believe.”  Of course, when it comes to a military that this year alone out spent its nearest rival (China) by more than half a trillion dollars, well nothing’s really that unbelievable.  With that kind of money, I’m sure there isn’t much that the U.S. military hasn’t explored at one point or another.  Plus, I just love the idea of the Army trying to create Jedi warriors.  It doesn’t hurt either that the film has an all star cast including: George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, and Ewan McGregor.

        One of my favorite exchanges in the film comes between General Brown and Brigadier General Dean Hopgood.  During the exchange, Hopgood explains that the Russians started doing psychic research based on the belief that America was already doing psychic research, which at the time was false but based on the Russians belief that is was true, subsequently the U.S. couldn’t afford to let the Russians lead the field in the paranormal.  The logic behind that exchange seems so absurd that I probably wouldn’t believe it, except that it has to do with military intelligence.  When it comes to a military that spends nearly 700 billion dollars annually, what’s not to believe.  By contrast, the U.S. Department of Education is due to receive about 72 billion dollars this year.  That’s about 90% less than the Department of Defense.

        When it comes down to it, though, what I like most about this film is the path that it lead me down.  After watching the film, I wanted to know more.  That thirst lead me to read the book by Jon Ronson of the same name (I’ve always been a fan of gonzo journalists).  Afterward, I read another Ronson book Them: Adventures with Extremists.  Eventually, I even put Boston’s song “More Than a Feeling” on my iPod.  For some reason I just couldn’t get it out of my head, but I suppose you already knew that.

        In the end, the path, or unbroken chain as I like to refer to it, that I’m on began long before I watched The Men Who Stare at Goats.  That being said, the film provided for an entertaining and interesting detour along the way.  Just another link in the chain.  Like Kanishka, and others, I am not afraid to veer from time to time.  I suppose it’s time to close things down for today.  In the meantime, I leave you with the trailer for The Men Who Stare at Goats, and a portion of the final monologue:

“And that was it.  That was the only bit of my story that ran anywhere.  And it was a joke.  And if I ever needed proof of how the Dark Side have taken the beautiful dream of what a nation could be and had twisted it, destroyed it.  Well, that was it.  But I won’t stop.  I won’t give up.  Because when I look at what is happening in the world, I know that now, more than ever, we need to be all that we can be.  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.”

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11 Comments

  1. I never could bring myself to watch a movie with that title – but I share your sentiments

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  September 1, 2013

      It is a ridiculous title…. I’m glad to know that you share my sentiments. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  2. I got this as a belated birthday present once and remember watching the original documentary when it came out on Channel Four. Ronson sounds a bit camp which always made me wonder how the all American soldiers viewed him. Life is definitely stranger than fiction…

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  September 2, 2013

      I’ll have to see if I can get my hands of the original documentary. Wait, I just did. You have to love the Internet…. Now all I need is some popcorn. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  3. Great film. 😀 The book was also worth the read.

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  September 2, 2013

      I did like the book. I almost used it as a literary influence, but decided to go with the film since I watched it first and read the book later. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  4. I have found you! Someone who understands politics, film and ..well I have to read more..
    That film was so goofy, but now I get it.
    Military intelligence.
    Okey doke.
    was raised in an officer household.. ‘nuf said.

    “.. pause, well that part about the hookers is a lie”.

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  September 2, 2013

      I’m glad you found me too. When it comes to understanding things, I do what I can. For some reason, though, it seems like the more I know, the less I know…. I guess that’s just life. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  5. Reblogged this on Karen Ellis's Blog and commented:
    I found someone who thinks in these ways, or at least on this post.

    The Men Who Stare at Goats… “military intelligence”?,
    Jedi… perfect.. it never makes sense until it does.

    Reply

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