Monday, October 27, 2008

Shell Shock (and the commodification of war)

My Dad and I were looking up images of shell shock from World War I, in preparation for a series of lectures that he is doing on giving psychological assistance to recent war veterans, and came across some scary videos of those broken by war. Their shaking makes me wonder whether some of the effects was due to neurological damage from mustard gas, but my wife reminded me that sedative medications may simply remove such effects from our contemporary eyes. One of my great uncles was committed after the war, and never heard from again.

Meanwhile, our culture continues to produce simulated versions of war, and uses terms like "shell shock" with little apparent irony (replete with Metallica soundtrack, from their famous lifting of Dalton Trumbo's story, Johnny Got His Gun).

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