Friday, July 2, 2010

How To End All Wars - Proposed By A Movie, But That Doesn't Make It A Bad Idea"

Some people love war. I’m not talking about the people who manufacture armaments, uniforms and “Meals Ready To Eat.” Those guys don’t even need war to make a killing. They just need the threat of war. Which during my lifetime I can’t remember ever not existing.

“There could a war any minute!”

“Right! Stock up on ‘Meals Ready To Eat!’ God willing, war won’t come, but if it does, we need to insure that our ‘Meals Ready To Eat’ are ready. To eat.”

The war lovers I’m talking about are the people who love the reality of war – putting your life on the line while you’re killing people from other countries, unless it’s a civil war, in which case you’re killing people from your own country.

There’s something about the exhilaration. You know the line: “You never feel more alive that when bullets are whizzing past your head.” You hear considerably less enthusiasm for bullets whizzing into your head, at which point, I would imagine, you never feel more dead.

There’s also something about war and manliness, which, I suppose, with females in the military, now expands to include womanliness, though, in this context, I’m not exactly sure what that means. I guess, for both genders, it has something to do with courage under fire, confronting the enemy, without losing your head. And, hopefully, your face and your extremities.

We are encouraged to be non-judgmental, though this concept more regularly applies to little boys who enjoy playing “Barbies.” But in fairness, if we’re asked to be accepting of boys whose behavior is uncharacteristically “girly”, how do we reject boys whose behavior is characteristically, though admittedly on the extreme end of things, “boy-ey”?

“They like to kill. Who are we to judge?”


The problem arises, when, in the really big wars – not Panama, or Grenada – the “war effort” requires participants in far greater numbers than simply “the people who like to kill”, at which point, “the people who don’t like to kill” are lawfully conscripted to join the party.

That’s when it gets personal.

If little boys want to play “Barbies”, let ‘em play “Barbies.” But don’t draft me to play “Barbies” with them. I don’t care for the game.

The situations are the same, except for one difference. You can play “Barbies” by yourself. But you can’t go to war by yourself. People would laugh at you.


“’He’s going off to war by himself.”

“That’s a bit odd, isn’t it?”

War requires the involvement of enormous numbers of people, only a fraction of whom are truly interested in participating. The catch is, without everyone’s participation, nobody gets to go, meaning the war lovers miss out on the thing they love doing the most.


The movie was called The Tenth Victim, an Italian film (which I saw with subtitles) from 1965. It was based on a Robert Sheckley short story called “The Seventh Victim”, to which the filmed version added three victims, I suppose, so the movie wouldn’t be too short.

The synopsis of The Tenth Victim is the following: “A futuristic thriller where violence is channeled into legalized Murder Hunts.”

And there you have it. People who only feel turned on when their lives are on the line, join a club – and here’s the key point –

Leaving the rest of us alone.

The movie’s plot involved an arrangement, wherein the club members take turns being “the killer” or “the victim.” If a “victim” turns the tables and kills their “killer”, then they become the “killer” and they’re assigned a new victim. If they make it through ten rounds – five as “killer”, five as “victim” – they get to retire with a bunch of money, their bloodlust hopefully satisfied for life.

In the movie, the mayhem is played out in a light and bouncy manner to the accompaniment of a lively, Casino Royale-type score. In a typical scene, bystanders relax at an outdoor café, chattering away as “killer” and “victim” race through the restaurant, bullets flying, but the oblivious bystanders remaining untouched.

It seems like a perfect solution to the problem. The wackos are all in the club, facing death and having the times of their lives; the rest of us sip espressos in comfortable wicker chairs. We don’t bother them; they don’t bother us. And everyone gets what they want.

Okay, I’ve done my part, promoting an ideal arrangement for ending all wars.

I’m taking the rest of the day off.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I forget who asked the question, "what if they gave a war and nobody came?" Whoever "they" are. Seems as likely a solution to war as The Tenth Victim. Or, equally unlikely. Still, I like the idea.