Hollywood Western -or- Gun Control?

MacGyver's Swiss Army Knife -or- Who Will Write the History of Firearms?

Marshall McLuhan "Understanding Media" tells his readers; "It was the literate Bostonians who outshot the British regulars. Marksmanship is not the gift of the native or the woodsman, but the literate colonist. So runs this argument that links gunfire itself with the rise of perspective, and with the extension of visual power in literacy. In the Marine Corps it has been found that there is a definite correlation between education and marksmanship." 

The Hollywood dream factory has glorified the character of the "lawman" whose badge and masculine code of honor is second only to his mastery of gun play. The Hollywood dream factory features the on-going rhetorical struggle and archetypal conflict between good and evil

The Hollywood Western classics such as "High Noon", "Shane" , "The Magnificent Seven" features the "good guys" against the "bad guys". In those films of yesteryear, recognizing social evil and villainy was simple, in today's post-Cold War, post-modern political world, identifying and fighting the "bad guys" is much more difficult. M, James Bond's boss (Casino Royale) provides the sentiment about the political problem; "Christ, I miss the Cold War!" 

At the time of the making of the Hollywood film franchise "Star Wars", whose Jedi Knights used light sabers instead of guns (blasters), the geo-political idea of the "Cold War" was being rhetorically re-worked by US President Ronald Reagan (who did survive an assassin's bullets) in his personification of the USSR as the "evil empire". 

After 9/11, President George W. Bush called the terrorists "evil doers". Bush reportedly answered a reporter's question; "Reporter: Do you want bin Laden dead? Bush: I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, "Wanted: Dead or Alive." The final hunt for Osama bin Laden the master mind of 9/11 was left to President Obama who authorized the military operation to kill bin Laden

Personally I like the TV troubleshooting character MacGyver who swears off the use of guns, instead is armed with his trusty Swiss army knife, a prop weapon that helps him to complete his missions.

Below is a dream that has gone through psychological stages of development to become a killer, here is the dream; 

Bill, 26 American 

Since I was a child, I have had the same kind of dreams. I am always fighting. What I am fighting in my dreams is evil. I may or may not be able to see it, but I recognize it for what it is. One dream I remember, I was on a series of cliffs, and on each cliff were witches. They wanted me, but instead of running, I turned to fight them. Sometimes I am in buildings, sometimes underground, the places always change, and so do the different personifications, but in two things are always constant. There is an evil enemy which I recognize and no the enemy isn't me. And the other constant is that I must fight or die.

Only one things has changed in my dreams. When I was younger I could not hurt anyone or thing. I would win the fight, and end up having to run away because I could not finish it. In some of my dreams I had a gun and did not have the physical strength to pull the trigger. As I have grown up and received training with various weapons, I have found that I am quite capable of destroying the enemy completely, although now, there never seems to be an end to how many I have to face. Sometimes the enemy is witches, other times, evil men or terrorists. Sometimes the evil is in a form I cannot describe. 

Mr Hagen's Reply: Facing Evil -or- Personifications of the Enemy in Dreams 

I've often wondered, if you could count the yearly number of gun bullets used in Planet Hollywood's film and TV shows, would they far outnumber the bullets shot in reality? For that matter, how many bullets are shot in our dreams every night across the planet? Who will write the history of firearms found in our dreams? In the successful film franchise James Bond who has had many personae, the constant use of physical force and his gun license to kill, is part and parcel of his secret agent persona's allure. 

Dirty Harry's "Sudden Impact" classic catchphrase to a criminal who rhetorically asks Harry; whose going to stop him? Harry's laconic response is; "Smith and Weeson".  When only one criminal is left standing and has taken a hostage, Harry points his gun at him and his signature line reads; "Go ahead, make my day."  

This all plays to the modern iconography of the poetic magnum force of the gun and the aphrodisiac of "gun culture". You say, two oneiric themes remain constant, your fight for survival and the enemy whose "personifications" are changing. Another constant, is the political "evil" enemy who is relentless. 

Most likely this is the reason that the Bible prophesizes the final apocalyptic battle of good versus evil at Har Meggidon (Armageddon). From the perspective of history, the eschatological oneiric idea of Armageddon, has become something akin to a political pathological self fulfilling prophesy of "Judgment Day". Will they never learn? 

The dream interpretation, "Medieval Allegory in the Global Village" speaks of the ongoing historical battle of "good and evil" that plays out in our dreams. In the dream (above) it features "a series of cliffs". The cliffhanger ending is a Hollywood mise en scene franchise staple, on TV, "Who Shot JR?" became water cooler talk for months. When the answer finally came in the "Who Done It?" episode, it reportedly was the highest rated TV episode in US history. 

Postscript: Collective Dreams, Mystique and Deadly Folklore of the Gun 

In real life, a gun killed Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, John Lennon, Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin to name a few. You the reader may say and argue that a person that pulled the trigger of the gun is responsible. In Bill's dream above at first he was unable to "pull the trigger", however with education, training and experience he has learned to desensitize himself to kill. 

Watching CNN a few days ago, Wolf Blitzer was talking to an expert in the aftermath of the latest shootings in the US, defining the psychological difference between a psychopath and a person who was psychotic. For me there is no real difference, in the sense that, how did mentally unstable people get the guns in the first place? One of the Hollywood films that underscores the whole American political "gun control" problem is "Runaway Jury." As well the US political fiction film of "The American President" features the President advocating for gun control (watch video). 

The political list of assassinations around the planet is mind-boggling. On a final Hollywood film note and quote from "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" who are ready to go out guns a blazing to certain death, Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) says to Sundance (Robert Redford), "For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble."


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.