TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT September 1991

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

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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