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Inscribing the American body politic: Martin Sheen and two American decades

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon Philpott



Film and television have been influential in the remaking of the American self since the traumas of Vietnam. We undertake readings of class, gender, ethnicity and race focusing on the roles of Martin Sheen and his two 'crews' in Apocalypse Now Redux and in the television series The West Wing. We argue that despite the appearance of a more progressive America as represented by the Bartlet White House it remains within a long tradition that represents the US in discourses of innocence and pureness of will and is largely blind to the kind of violence perpetrated by Willard and his crew in Apocalypse Now Redux. We suggest that the capacity of the US repeatedly to 'forget' its use of certain kinds of violence marks the limits of self-sacrifice of the American self and provides the discursive possibility for the eternal return of innocence. Copyright © 2005 Taylor & Francis, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Philpott S, Mutimer D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geopolitics

Year: 2005

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 335-355

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

ISSN (print): 1465-0045

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3028


DOI: 10.1080/14650040590946610


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