Sympathy for the Devil : American imperialism in film.


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While empire-building, and imperialism more broadly, are now generally regarded as unacceptable justifications for military action, the fumes of imperialistic rhetoric that surround military intervention to this day are not so easily dispersed. The post-9/11 age of the War on Terror has reinscribed a worldview steeped in the omnipresence of ill-defined enemies, and a culture of mediated violence required to destroy them. This thesis examines three artifacts of post/9-11 war media: Rod Lurie’s The Outpost, David Simon and Ed Burns’ Generation Kill, and Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Winter Soldier. Though these media vary greatly in release chronology, content, and contextualization, all contain strains of the same imperialist framing that regards soldiers and soldiering as a point of ideographic support. In exploring how these orientations manifest, I seek a deeper understanding of how post-9/11 war media, whether escapist fiction or dramatized reenactment, participate in information systems that, intentionally or not, positively reinforce the goals of American imperialism, if not its outcomes.