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Gabbard, K. (2002). Response to Maizels. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(1):271-272.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(1):271-272

Response to Maizels Related Papers

Krin Gabbard

Dear Sirs,

Neil Maizels reads Saving Private Ryan as an artistic artifact sealed off from the rest of the world. His emphasis on the mother as the driving force behind the narrative therefore makes perfect sense. Maizels is certainly entitled to an interpretation that brings a great deal of credulity to the events depicted in the film. I just wish he had brought as much credulity to his reading of my review and not misrepresented it so drastically. I certainly did not characterise Spielberg's (and his generation's) Oedipal rivalry with the father as the real cause of War. Rather, I asked why SPR should give us such a highly positive view of American soldiers, especially when compared to earlier films such as Catch-22 (1970) and Full Metal Jacket (1987). SPR's reverential treatment of the American fighting man was driven at least in part by the death and dying of the last veterans of World War II, many of whom were the fathers of middle-aged men like Steven Spielberg, who created SPR, as well as Tom Brokaw and those who have also idealised the men who fought that war. This shift in representations ought to be placed in historical context—satirical and irreverent views of World War II gave way to accounts such as those of Spielberg and Brokaw at the end of the twentieth century when baby boomers were mourning the passing of fathers who came of age during the war. Both conscious and unconscious forces lie behind the need to reconcile with ageing fathers, especially those fathers who were in conflict with their children during the years of the American invasion of Vietnam.

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