Memorial Day LRC, carried a column from Charles Burris, highlighting Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun.
Trumbo surely cheered when the Wehrmacht invaded Russia, if only so he could get right with the times; Trumbo was a Red who would be blacklisted, if offered enough work to write Spartacus under a pen name, let alone, the JFK assassination agitprop he co-wrote, amongst others, with Mark Lane — associated with the Liberty Lobby, Executive Action.
Media is a powerful thing, and it was by accident, that a populist video format on MTV, gave an opportunity for a San Fransisco thrash metal act, Metallica, recovering from the death by bus accident of their chief theorist, Cliff Burton, the opportunity to weave in a long forgotten movie, to their music video.
As a recovering, scared child of the Cold War fears, the media presentation, with an appropriate set of music, never leaves. The late ’80s was that sort of time.
Regardless of Trumbo’s geopolitical angle, his weaving of war and technology, not from the Junger “storm of steel” perspective, but the medical perspective, is timeless. There are, right now, thanks to technology, more pieces of meat in military hospitals then there was after the Great War.
The protagonist in Johnny Got His Gun, finds a will to live as a symbol of the horror, if only they would let him run the media circus. Of course, that would never be allowed to happen, so he prays for death.