PRINT September 1991


Girls with Guns

FORGET THE DEERHUNTER II, cancel China Beach, ditch Oliver Stone. The Vietnam War is history and its spectacular representations are obsolete—or reduced to a romantic backdrop as in Miss Saigon. The show’s over. Blame or credit those tough little B “operations” Urgent Fury—Grenada, 1983—and Just Cause—Panama, 1989—and the blitzkrieg extravaganza Desert Storm—the Gulf War, 1991.

Six months after that techno-telewar hypnotized the public, we’re still pondering the experience. Where Vietnam produced a frenzy of alienation, Desert Storm inspired a kind of fascinated disassociating. The viewing experience was routinely compared to Nintendo video games, the movie Top Gun, computer-generated virtual reality. New military oxymorons “surgical strikes,” “collateral damage,” “smart bombs”—paled before the Pentagon’s mise-en-scène, the adroit orchestration of our point of view: TV watchers were routinely

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