Volume 12, Issue 1/2, 2009
Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation
Mystic River’s Blood-Dimmed Tide
This chapter interrogates Hollywood film as a powerful public pedagogical machine and as an influential component of the broader media culture, that serves as a primary terrain where the authority of violence and the violence of authority expresses, justifies, and legitimates itself in the U.S. Allegiances to, identifications with, beliefs in, desires for, and attitudes about violence, authority, militarism, and power are largely constructed, imbued, directed and shaped through dominant media formations as they create images and spectacles of violence, either real or fabricated. During a time of continuing imperial aggression, expanding Pentagon budgets, increased international violence, growing authoritarian tendencies, and when an “imperially ambitious” United States has embarked on what Anatole Lieven calls a policy of “unilateral global domination through absolute military superiority,” the inculcation into the mass consciousness of the justification for, identification with, acceptance and pursuit of mass violence through military aggression becomes all the more crucial.