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January 28, 2009 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Johnny Rico, lead character in the hit movie Starship Troopers, is suiting up once again to fight back against the evils of the galaxy. Hollywood actor Casper Van Dien has reprised the combat savvy character for Childhelp to talk about fighting a different war – the war against child abuse. (via Ain't It Cool News, embarrassingly enough.)

Though the PSAs were produced with no doubt entirely noble intentions, one cannot help but consider the parallels between these and the propaganda films and recruitment shorts peppered throughout Starship Troopers, as both are warning against a shadowy, largely unseen threat (and, needless to say, fashioned after fascist propaganda shorts of the past).
posted by incomple (72 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Roughnecks!
posted by Joe Beese at 8:17 PM on January 28, 2009


Look, pal, you're the giant head in the sky, not me.
posted by longsleeves at 8:20 PM on January 28, 2009


In drawing these parallels, I obviously don't wish to lessen the horrors of child abuse by comparing it to assault by the Klendathu bugs from Starship Troopers (though from what I remember in the movie, that seemed pretty fucking horrible in its own right). I'm just impressed by the appalling lack of thought that went into this campaign.

At the risk of seeming to overmoderate the thread, I would also like to invite discussion as to where these PSAs fall into the greater Starship Troopers canon, not just with regard to the novel and films, but also the boring-as-shit Roughnecks animated series from the late '90s, and the 1980s OVA anime series (the latter of which I had literally never heard of until just now).
posted by incomple at 8:22 PM on January 28, 2009


Did that remind anyone else of BibleMan?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:29 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In drawing these parallels, I obviously don't wish to lessen the horrors of child abuse by comparing it to assault by the Klendathu bugs from Starship Troopers

Oh, Metafilter. You have brought me such wonderful sentences throughout our relationship. But this one is extra special. Thank you.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:34 PM on January 28, 2009 [28 favorites]


incomple: "I'm just impressed by the appalling lack of thought that went into this campaign."

from the AICN comments:

i used to work for childhelp

helped to build its database, and manned the phone lines

really was a good gig and it was a very good org

then the founders chose to move it to arizona and started staffing it with lower waged non professionals

posted by Joe Beese at 8:37 PM on January 28, 2009


Starship Troopers is available for viewing on Hulu, if you want to get your Johnny Rico fix.
posted by hooray at 8:37 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Starship Toopers, that's good!

Child abuse, that's bad.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2009


I'd like to take a moment to point out how awesome Starship Troopers 3: Marauder really is.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jesus, Jeff_Larson. You've just made me feel that this post was an enormous missed opportunity.
posted by incomple at 8:45 PM on January 28, 2009


"You kill child abusers good, Rico."
posted by Curry at 8:48 PM on January 28, 2009


Would you like to know more?
posted by dr_dank at 9:00 PM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


They sucked his brains out.
posted by furtive at 9:04 PM on January 28, 2009


Newsreel announcer: Young people from all over the globe are joining up to fight for the future.

Soldier #1: I'm doing my part.
Soldier #2: I'm doing my part.
Soldier #3: I'm doing my part.

Young kid dressed up as a soldier: I'm doing my part too.

[Soldiers eye each other warily]
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:08 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Starship Troopers is a great film.

Watch it closely, it is the most anti-facist films ever made. Especially watch the "propaganda breaks." Basically, the human government is lying the people into the war.

The director's really read the Heinlein and is mocking the old man's quasi-facist ideals. Heinlein is basically a pop Ernst Junger. The film is amazing. I can't believe that got past the studio.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 PM on January 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Nothing about the movies is canon, starting with the casting of Van Dien as Juan Rico. The character is Filipino.
posted by Manjusri at 9:18 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh, yeah, ST3 is pretty great, there are like 40 minutes of downtime in the middle, but on this go around instead of nazis fighting space bugs it's the conservative christian right fighting space bugs. Allegory and Hilarity ensues. Written by the same guy as the first one -- though Verhoeven is nowhere in sight -- it's all around a good shlocky romp. I have no idea what 2 is like. I'm pretty sure it's horrid, and noone ever saw it.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 9:21 PM on January 28, 2009


Starship Troopers is an easy read and fairly interesting diatribe on civics. Not much action, unlike the movie, which I thought was pretty cool. Actually, the first pair of breasts I remember ever seeing were in that movie.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 9:21 PM on January 28, 2009


*CENSORED*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on January 28, 2009


Dizzy: My mother always told me that violence doesn't solve anything.
Jean Rasczak: Really? I wonder what the city founders of Hiroshima would have to say about that.
[to Carmen]
Jean Rasczak: You.
Carmen: They wouldn't say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed.
Jean Rasczak: Correct. Violence has resolved more conflicts than anything else. The contrary opinion that violence doesn't solve anything is merely wishful thinking at its worst.



Bottom line is, the kids need to learn how to defend themselves.





/goingtohell.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:31 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


> The director's really read the Heinlein and is mocking the old man's quasi-facist ideals. Heinlein is basically a pop Ernst Junger. The film is amazing. I can't believe that got past the studio.

He's not even mocking Heinlein, he is mocking western / American globalism also. Everyone is in brazil, but is pretty much white and speaks english? The whole thing is a political satire dressed up in science fiction big budget movie. And I do believe the man is smart, the same way George A Romero is, but at the same time, they do commentary, but will sometimes just want to make gorey fun zombie movies and get distracted in the process.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:05 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I guess they got their props back from Firefly to do movies 2 and 3
posted by mrzarquon at 10:07 PM on January 28, 2009


As a wee lad I was biased severely toward ender's game. As such, this film has become nothing more than a shower scene and green goop in my memory banks.

After watching the newsreel slice on youtube, i'm starting to think that the film is worth revisiting.
posted by vantam at 10:14 PM on January 28, 2009


Starship Troopers in combat with perverts and child abusers seems entirely appropriate, given their experience fighting the crustacean bugs. To quote Dr. Fox: "Genetically, paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me. Now that is scientific fact. There's no real evidence for it, but it is scientific fact."
posted by Abiezer at 10:21 PM on January 28, 2009


Starship Troopers is a great film.

HAAAAHAHA-DeeperLayer-HAHAHA-Satire-HAHAHAAAAAA...oh...whew! You guys are hilarious! Where's a good comment when you need one!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:25 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


P.o.B., are you arguing that Starship Troopers is not a satire, or merely a shitty one? Because admittedly I haven't seen it in something like ten years, but I think the satire is pretty hamfisted. I mean, Doogie Howser wears an SS uniform.

(Any argument to the contrary, I believe, would be akin of accusing Paul Verhoeven of espousing fascist leanings, which... C'mon. I have—rather unbelievably—actually had this discussion many times with friends and colleagues, who insisted that the film's "message" was sincere.)

But if you merely think it's a shitty movie, then fair enough. It is kinda shitty, though in that awesome, Verhoeven-y way that so many of his movies are shitty and awesome. I think, like RoboCop, it's a movie that's SO MUCH BETTER than it needs to be from a sheer entertainment standpoint, while simultaneously conveying a message far more interesting and daring than most anything else Hollywood produces. I'm someone who's typically extremely bored by action movies, and unimpressed with hamfisted satire, and I can't help but find Verhoeven's better work to be really goddamn interesting (at a bare minimum).
posted by incomple at 11:17 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did that remind anyone else of BibleMan?

I have a friend who worked with the Bibleman show years back. He told me that one day people were standing around and Willie kinda turned to each person with an open box of Altoids and was saying "mint? ... mint?". Then there was a pause and he said "I used to do this with 'ludes."

Also, the same friend revealed to me that Willie feared for Scott Baio's soul (who he starred in the movie Zapped with).

posted by blueberry at 11:24 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder what the per Dien was.
posted by dhartung at 11:41 PM on January 28, 2009


But if you merely think it's a shitty movie, then fair enough. It is kinda shitty, though in that awesome, Verhoeven-y way that so many of his movies are shitty and awesome. I think, like RoboCop, it's a movie that's SO MUCH BETTER than it needs to be from a sheer entertainment standpoint, while simultaneously conveying a message far more interesting and daring than most anything else Hollywood produces

I'll agree with about three quarters of you're statement there. What do you consider Verhoeven's better work?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:51 PM on January 28, 2009


RoboCop, certainly—for reasons too obvious and well-trodden for anyone to discuss ever again—but also Showgirls, which only recently seems to be getting the props it deserves. It's a movie made with the utmost contempt of its backers and audience; an angry, violent, vulgar denunciation of both the entertainment industry and the American dream as a whole. It's a story about people who dive headlong into a world of indignity and shame, told by a man doing exactly the same.

(It's also an awesome riff on those old movies about women in showbiz fighting their way to the top; All About Eve is all that immediately comes to mind, but god knows I've seen plenty of other movies like it.)

It's unfortunate that Showgirls isn't a better movie, because in a way it's incredibly representative, thematically anyway, of Verhoeven's Hollywood work. Also, Total Recall isn't exactly what I'd call a very good movie, but I'm very, very pleased that it exists. Our pop culture landscape would be much poorer without it.

Anyway, I know better than to say that Verhoeven is a supposed "great filmmaker"; I'm only saying that he's consistently interesting, and often incredibly, unbelievably ballsy, which counts for a lot in my book. I even have to have some measure of respect for his movies that I outright dislike, like Hollow Man. Was Hollow Man a failure? Almost certainly, by anyone's measure. But holy fuck if it didn't fail HUGE.

I'm having trouble articulating my last point, but hopefully my rambling, shitty message will be clarified by the following: I have little desire to waste my time on mediocre art (to use the broadest sense of the word), and I find giant failures just as interesting, artistically, as giant successes. Giant failures that are compelled by an artist's hubris and clarity of vision—however misguided—are far more valuable than a million mediocre, boring, Ron Howard-directed pieces of Oscar-bait shit. Even if one was to think that Starship Troopers sucks, I would hope that he or she would also think that it's more worthwhile a hundred Frost/Nixons or Cinderella Mans.
posted by incomple at 12:35 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


A summary of Starship Troopers.

thread filtered to only the OP's posts, if that's more to your taste
posted by flatluigi at 12:57 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Couldn't say I disagree, incomple. Your last paragraph about 'giant failures' made me think of Ewe Boll, but then I realized you were talking about someone who considers themselves (or are at least trying to be) an artist.

Which reminds me, (kind of along the same lines) they're making Screamers 2: The Hunting. Peter Weller AND Lance Henriksen!
posted by P.o.B. at 12:57 AM on January 29, 2009


I've never subjected myself to a Uwe Boll movie (and given that a handful of his movies have been in my Netflix queue for over three years now, it seems unlikely that I ever will). But all the same—to repeat a sentiment that I expressed toward Total Recall—I'm very pleased that he exists. (I do not wish the prior statement to indicate that I think Uwe Boll is anywhere near as cool or badass as Total Recall, only that I regard them both as being in similar spheres of influence and affection.)

The man's entire career and persona is like an extended piece of performance art; he makes some of the most reviled movies in history thanks to a weird loophole tax shelter, and then organizes boxing tournaments between him and his critics. As far as I'm concerned, he conducts himself in such a way as to make his "work" irrelevant. Seeing any of his movies could either bolster or undermine my opinion of him; I'd rather not take the risk, either way.

As far as Screamers 2: The Hunting is concerned, I totally forgot that the original Screamers even existed. I've literally not thought about the movie since it first came out, when I was about eleven years old.

I'm a bit thrown off by the casting of Lance Henriksen, when Peter Weller's character is (apparently) named "Joe Hendricksson." DIFFERENT PEOPLE SHOULD BE CALLED DIFFERENT NAMES!!
posted by incomple at 1:24 AM on January 29, 2009


I suspect that people who don't like Starship Troopers have a genetic deficiency, sort of like how some people can't taste certain kinds of food.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:09 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well if it weren't for this discussion I wouldn't have ended up looking up Verhoeven's 1985 film "Flesh & Blood" and from there discovering the Dutch children's TV show "Floris" which got Verhoeven and Rutger Hauer started. I am now going to dig out an old VHS of that tonight and watch Brion James play a 15th Century Italian mercenary. Hopefully I can find an English language version of Floris now...
posted by longbaugh at 4:34 AM on January 29, 2009


Anyway, I know better than to say that Verhoeven is a supposed "great filmmaker"; I'm only saying that he's consistently interesting, and often incredibly, unbelievably ballsy, which counts for a lot in my book.

This comment reminds me of why I found his most recent film Black Book compelling, even though I'm not even sure that I think it's a good movie. It functions as a reminder that there are generally two flavors of WWII-era movies--thrillers and action films in which there is little or no explicit mention of the Holocaust, and films that do mention the Holocaust but that are somber affairs, and that it's one's duty, not pleasure, to see.

But Black Book is a melodramatic thriller that at the same time is fully aware of the Holocaust, and the resulting reviews for it were all over the place. (Note how often the word "shameless" appears in those reviews.) It's a film that mixes two flavors that shouldn't be mixed (according to conventional wisdom, at least), and it seems to want you to feel guilty for enjoying it.
posted by Prospero at 5:17 AM on January 29, 2009


While I appreciated the parody aspect of Starship Troopers: The Movie, they had to make some major changes to the characterization and plot to make it work, so would it be too much for them to have changed the name as well?

A story about child runaways who get caught up in drugs and prostitution before they're killed might be a good movie with an interesting moral statement, but if you call it "From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler", prepare for some people to be rightfully annoyed.
posted by roystgnr at 5:54 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suspect that people who don't like Starship Troopers have a genetic deficiency, sort of like how some people can't taste certain kinds of food.

That makes much more sense now.

Stop pretending you found layers and meaning in that abortion/train wreck/anal fissure of a film. Starship Troopers was an eye-rape. And you are bunch of pseudo-intellectual poseurs if you disagree.
posted by grubi at 6:05 AM on January 29, 2009


(Man, am I have a grumpy morning or WHAT?)
posted by grubi at 6:05 AM on January 29, 2009


Grubi, you are quite wrong, whatever kind of morning you are having. Starship Troopers works as a Killing Giant Space Bugs movie and as Political/Social Satire.

That said, I am certainly a pseudo-intellectual poseur.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:13 AM on January 29, 2009


It would be Cookiebastard who calls me out. Damn you, sir!
posted by grubi at 6:15 AM on January 29, 2009


Starship Troopers is like cilantro. Those who like it say that those who can't appreciate it are missing out. Those who don't like it say it that it's rancid and soapy and gross, and anyone who does like it has some sort of deficient sense of taste.

Regardless of your opinion, I think we can agree that like lovers of cilantro, lovers of Starship Troopers sprinkle it on too liberally. Despite its relative merits, there are many other spices/movies out there. Life is too short to waste on cilantro/Starship Troopers.
posted by explosion at 6:18 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's great about that film is that the film's stars appear to have no idea they are part of a giant satire. Van Diem just plows through.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2009


...with the sole exception of Neil Patrick Harris, who hams it up shamelessly the entire movie. If one find oneself in a crypto-anarchist scifi-bug killing farce, what other options does one have but to don the SS uniform and to emulate Shatner?
posted by bonehead at 7:02 AM on January 29, 2009


I would just like to point out that Denise Richards has a really large mouth. It's extravagant. I get nervous when she smiles because I fear that it will just keep opening and opening, like a seam coming apart, until her head is lolling between her shoulderblades.

Also, a story from a friend who worked on Showgirls: Elizabeth Berkley emerges from Verhoeven's trailer in a bathrobe. She's in full makeup, which for this scene includes plenty of crotch glitter...and she's followed shortly by Verhoeven, who has glitter all around his mouth.
posted by sixswitch at 8:00 AM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also: except for about 6 seconds, Richards NEVER STOPS SMILING the entire film. Creepy as all get-out.
posted by grubi at 8:03 AM on January 29, 2009


Starship Troopers is the exact opposite sci-fi metaphor. It should be more like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Child abusers don't look like freaky space bugs, they look like--and most likely are--family members and friends.

A story about child runaways who get caught up in drugs and prostitution before they're killed might be a good movie with an interesting moral statement, but if you call it "From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler", prepare for some people to be rightfully annoyed.

Right, that was From the Fucked-up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:09 AM on January 29, 2009


MetaFilter: nothing more than a shower scene and green goop in my memory banks.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:11 AM on January 29, 2009


I, um, where to turn?

Shall I piquantly explore the lovely warmth of the cilantro analogy or wallow in the can't-look-away trashy awesomeness of anecdotal crotch glitter?

While I'm sure the vision of Denise Richard's mouthhole turning her into a Beetlejuice vision will keep me up at night, I will be comforted by the axis of determination that I will face vis-a-vis Starship Troopers as satire or way cool bug zap splatter.

Life is so kind to me these days.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:21 AM on January 29, 2009


Also, Total Recall isn't exactly what I'd call a very good movie, but I'm very, very pleased that it exists. Our pop culture landscape would be much poorer without it.


Get your ass to Mahs.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2009


Stop pretending you found layers and meaning in that abortion/train wreck/anal fissure of a film. Starship Troopers was an eye-rape. And you are bunch of pseudo-intellectual poseurs if you disagree.

The layers of meaning are so obvious they aren't even layers. Really. Watch it again. The action sequences seem like the people are heroes fighting a tough but needed war.

The propaganda and other parts show what they believe in to be a lie. It is blatantly obvious.

Take the final propaganda part where Doogie Howser's character says that the bugs feel nothing and fear nothing. In the background, someone takes a weapon to a queen bug which screams in horror at being hurt. Or the news bites trying to explain away how the humans attacked first. Layers? Its right out in the open in the midst of the film.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Am I wrong, or didn't the book of ST have a fairly huge section devoted towards defending physical punishment of children?

I can'r remember if it was in that or in another heinlein 'facsism is okay if I'm the dictator' romp.

As for the movie. The satire is ham-handed, the acting is crap, the script worse, and the sexual undertones of all the bug stuff truly disturbing. Verhoven has a real problem with women.

That being said, 4th Man and Man From Orange were great movies. Actually Robocop was a great movie too.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:07 AM on January 29, 2009


Is it worth pointing out that Verhoven is the only big Hollywood director with personal experience of living under the Nazis?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2009




The movie only really has the same title as the book.
There is a vast divergence between the original book and film. A report in an American Cinematographer article around the same time as the film's release states the Heinlein novel was optioned well into the pre-production period of the film, which had a working title of Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine; most of the writing team reportedly were unaware of the novel at the time. According to the DVD commentary, Paul Verhoeven never finished reading the novel, claiming he read through the first few chapters and became both "bored and depressed."^
The film wasn't about Verhoeven changing the film into a satire, it was him making something else entirely that shared some proper nouns with the book.
posted by MythMaker at 11:19 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are a handful of moviegoing memories that I shall cherish until I die. Hearing the laughter of the Salt Lake City audience at the scene where the Mormon settlers are reported slaughtered is one of them.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2009


Well, just to put this out there just to play the devil's advocate. I hope you do enjoy it for whatever satire you can muster out of the thing because the movie is fucking stupid. I mean that in the most basic sense, the movie is fucking stupid. There are huge plot holes and logic gaps in the movie that you have to accept it as completely ridiculous (read: satire). Also keep in mind Neil Patrick Harris hadn't really done anything of note since Doogie Howser. So some say he was acting "ham-fisted", I would say he was giving it all he could. Because, hell, all he had going for him other than that was either bit parts or Lifetime movie roles.
So by all means enjoy this movie because it is completely. fucking. stupid.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The film wasn't about Verhoeven changing the film into a satire, it was him making something else entirely that shared some proper nouns with the book.

Hence my utter distaste for the movie. I'm a pretty staunch liberal, but I like the book, and while I can accept the necessity of certain changes for the transition to film, it's kind of BS to adapt something (supposedly; I hadn't heard that anecdote about it starting out as another project entirely) with the exact opposite intention and meaning as the original material. Sorry if the original doesn't share your politics. Go make something else.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:15 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also keep in mind Neil Patrick Harris hadn't really done anything of note since Doogie Howser.

Au contraire. [NSFW]
posted by kirkaracha at 2:25 PM on January 29, 2009


come on Amanojaku, satire is an accepted form of art production. and if we're going to call it 'bs' then we're going to wipe a lot of stuff from the canon. hell, if we do that then we'll never get to read about damien hirst or banksy ever again.

and thank you kirkaracha for posting harold and kumar bits! i watched that last weekend and thought, "god damn! why didn't anyone ever tell me about that shit before? brilliant!" totally takes the satire as social commentary up a level. hell, the damn thing reads like 'gargantua and pantagruel.'
posted by artof.mulata at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2009


So some say he was acting "ham-fisted", I would say he was giving it all he could.

You take that back right now.

You can insult Starship Troopers all you want, but I draw the line at NPH!
posted by flaterik at 3:23 PM on January 29, 2009


NPH is great, especially in the Harold & Kumar movies! I would say the first one is probably what reiginted/jumpstarted his career again. But if you go to his IMDB link you can see after Doogie Howser was over all he got was bit parts and Lifetime movie roles until Starship Troopers (which is what I was referring to, and even then it was a good few years until H & K G.toW.C.).
posted by P.o.B. at 1:20 AM on January 30, 2009


Not true, he did a lot of plays and musicals. I get the impression that the move away from high profile tv and movie parts was deliberate.
posted by minifigs at 2:46 AM on January 30, 2009


"The director's really read the Heinlein and is mocking the old man's quasi-facist ideals. Heinlein is basically a pop Ernst Junger."

You didn't read the book did you? It's the quintessence of extrapolative fiction, a philosophical thought-experiement: Heinlein asks, what is the consequence of taking seriously the idea that full membership in a civil society means being willing to lay down one's life for it?

It's no more fascist than the signers of the Declaration of Independence "mutually pledg[ing] to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor," or Jefferson's observation that "what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants."

One can, perhaps justify calling Heinlein "pro-military" from the novel; but to call him fascist -- with all the connotative baggage that entails -- is simply wrong.

Fascism's central tenets are nationalism, generally based in celebrating racial superiority, and collaboration between the government, military and industry. Starship Troopers -- the novel -- makes very explicit that the government is a (multi-) world government with no preference for any one particular race or nation or Volk, and which not only does not attempt to impose a single cultural pattern but encourages multi-culturalism (it's explicitly mentioned that, e.g., marriage laws are regulated by member states).

Heinlein makes a point of showing soldiers drawn from many different cultures, all of whom are equal within the military.

The novel's protagonist is a Filipino, the pampered son of a wealthy industrialist who -- contra Fascism -- despite his wealth does not have the right to vote because he has not served in the military. The family in fact has a proud tradition of not serving in the military.

Military service, and thus the right to vote, is open to all persons, women as well as men, and Heinlein makes a point of noting that certain combat positions are naturally more suited to women, contra the Fascist doctrine of Kinder, Küche, Kirche which relegates women to prodcuing more soldiers for the State.

Contra to a military-dominated government, that right to vote obtains only after a soldier retires from the service -- active duty soldiers can't vote or run for office.

Nor is it the only book Heinlein wrote: in other books he writes about universal manhood suffrage democracies, constitutional monarchies, technocracies, Socialisms, anarcho-libertarian polities, etc. The only political forms that he explicitly demonizes are theocracy and totalitarianism. And in all of his books, long before it was safe for a popular author dependent for his income on book purchases from libraries in the American South, he holds up as exemplary and heroic characters persons of all races and colors and creeds, and explicty endorses interacial relationships and marriage.

To call Heinlein quasi-fascist is facile and ugly slur that requires ignoring his entire body of work.
posted by orthogonality at 3:33 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


come on Amanojaku, satire is an accepted form of art production. and if we're going to call it 'bs' then we're going to wipe a lot of stuff from the canon. hell, if we do that then we'll never get to read about damien hirst or banksy ever again.

The problem isn't that it's satire, the problem is that it's masquerading as an adaptation. Adaptations promise, if nothing else, a faithfulness to the spirit of the original source material. If you can't swing that, just don't option it. You can still make your satire; just call it "Bug Monsters from Planet X" or whatever.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not true, he did a lot of plays and musicals.

So you're saying Hollywood was banging down his door after Doogie Howser? So he had the pick of the lot and chose Starship Troopers? Yeah, I didn't think so.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:18 PM on January 30, 2009


So by all means enjoy this movie because it is completely. fucking. stupid.

Man, I hope we all get the chance to relentlessly shit on something you love someday. On second thought, maybe we won't because we're not incorrigible dicks.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:53 PM on January 30, 2009


Oh, please! Like my bitching isn't par for the course around here. Besides, calling me an "incorrigible dick" for spouting my opinion about something doesn't exactly make you a saint, friend. An opinion, that obviously, I'm not the only one who holds.

But, seriously, you LOVE Starship Troopers?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:24 PM on January 30, 2009


calling me an "incorrigible dick" for spouting my opinion about something doesn't exactly make you a saint, friend.

An opinion you seem to make special effort to come into every single thread the movie is mentioned in to spout ad nauseum. Besides, who ever said I was a saint?

But, seriously, you LOVE Starship Troopers?

Yeah, you know? I kinda do.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:15 AM on February 1, 2009


My point is the movie is watchable and enjoyable (beyond that your reaching for loose threads)

Pasted from a comment by you in that other thread. I guess I'm not sure what to make of that...but anyway I have no idea why I got so riled over this whole thing. I was saying more that we would be incorrigible dicks if we dumped on something you liked just because you'd done the same to us, but I think I owe you an apology anyway, and now you have it.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:21 AM on February 1, 2009


What's great about that film is that the film's stars appear to have no idea they are part of a giant satire. Van Diem just plows through.

If you'll excuse the Farkism, this.

We don't judge harshly Slim Pickens for playing Major Kong straight, because, well, it was just so awesome that he did.

But this blatant and brilliantly executed satire went completely over the heads of most of the dim-witted actors and a multitude of supposedly educated movie critics, who whined about its fascism, its pretty white-bread characters, its comic book dialogue, its complete and utter lack of moral awareness. Add to that the horde of angry white male Heinlein fans, who get that the movie is ridiculing the book and many of their own values (in direct contradiction to all the outraged liberal critics), and we have the most delicious whining ever produced by a work of film.

Here we are, over ten years later, and there are still indignant haters who insist that the film is somehow beneath them, that everything we claim it is is somehow not, and doing so without expressing any evidence of sophistication in their own cinematic knowledge or taste.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 12:15 PM on February 1, 2009


Thanks adamdschneider, but you didn't owe me an apology.

Here we are, over ten years later, and there are still indignant haters who insist that the film is somehow beneath them, that everything we claim it is is somehow not, and doing so without expressing any evidence of sophistication in their own cinematic knowledge or taste.

Well at least I have never tried to invalidate other people's opinion by attacking them. I've only tried to express my opinion in an open forum about what I thought about the film, and have backed that up with examples.
This is your satire with the song that was commonly used in the trailers. I didn't see any brilliance then, and I haven't seen anybody point out anything specific that would lead me to think otherwise.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:40 PM on February 1, 2009


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