Cold War of the Watchman

“In tandem with American cinema during the 1950s and much of the 1960s, Cold War television brought the fear of the Chinese and North Korean “red menace” into American living rooms day and night.” Page 259.

 

Cold War of the Watchman

This passage, and chapter for that matter, reminds me of a scene from the film Watchmen. In this scene, the character known as the Comedian (an American) is in a bar in Vietnam during the Vietnamese War. He is ignoring a Vietnamese woman who is clearly pregnant and is screaming at him. After a few minutes of this, he shoots her. Though this film came out in the 2000’s, this particular scene, even though it takes place in cinema, is an example of the “Cally-Reeves Syndrome” type of violence.

While there is a similarity to the “Cally-Reeves Syndrome” in this film’s violence against Asian women, which is depicted in the attitude of the Comedian (as an American) in his violence towards the Vietnamese woman, but this scene is weakened by the following scenes’ which completely over shadows it in its over the top violence toward Asian people in general. Also, even though the Asian woman in the first scene dies violently, she is depicted as angry, greedy and mean, suggesting that she might have been trying to use the “American,” to get a ticket to America. This dilutes the impact of her being murdered.

It is this part of the film that shows the fear engendered by “red menace” of the Cold War era as it was first viewed in the 1950s and 1960s, and the suspicions against the Chinese and North Koreans. Though the film only shows violence towards Vietnamese people during this era, the “red menace” scare that Asian people represented at that time in history is the reason used to justify showing the gruesome death of the pregnant lady. It manages, in this way, to both treats the Asian woman as a victim of “American” power and shows her still to be the feared “red menace.”

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