Eastwood’s Sniper: The American Messiah (RELS 348)

For my third blog I have chosen an article by Lee C. Camp titled, “Clint Eastwood’s Sniper, and the American Messiah,” Huffington Post, 27 January 2015. The article discusses the recently released movie American Sniper directed by Clint Eastwood. More specifically it discusses how movies like American Sniper set the standard for the virtues people follow within the community that the movie is viewed in. Camp goes on to discuss how this sets a dangerous precedent for society as it prevents them from asking important questions. An example of one these unasked questions that Camp provides is what role the American nation’s violence contributes to the development of violence of other nations? Camp discusses imperialism towards the end of the article when he refers to the New Testament and how Eastwood’s portrayal of the main character Chris Kyle carries it around when going about his killing missions. Camp states that the New Testament is subversive to imperialist agendas as it refuses to prioritize a good guy versus bad guy narrative. He then goes on to say that the New Testament “insists that we are all caught up in some sort of politically realistic, patient and suffering good-will for all, brought in not by an overbearing Messiah bearing the sword, but a suffering Messiah bearing a new way of life.”

I found this article to be very interesting and in my opinion the way in which Camp connects the New Testament to imperialist agendas relates very well with our studies of imperialism and religion. Although I lack a thorough knowledge of the stories found in the New Testament I found Camp’s interpretation of it and the way Eastwood uses it in his movie to be unique. I do agree with Camp’s arguments when he is discussing how movies like American Sniper mould the virtues of the communities that the movies are viewed in. To be more specific I agree with Camp’s argument that it is dangerous how movies like American Sniper lead people to believe that the world is neatly divided between good and evil. American Sniper only portrays the story from one point of view and as the old saying goes there is always more than one side to every story. The danger here is evident as people are being led to believe that there is only one side to the story and that side is the good one. From what I have read the danger doesn’t seem to end with this one sided thinking. As Camp states important questions like what role the American nation’s violence plays in contributing to other nations violence are being forgotten. In turn forgetting to ask questions like these suggest that movies like American Sniper are leading people to turn a blind eye to Western Imperialism. Although my opinion should not be interpreted as only pertaining to American Sniper and Western Imperialism as I’m sure there are movies like American Sniper being shown in other parts of the world that are having the same effect on the communities in those countries.


#uwreligions #348

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