Home Tech Alex Garland’s ‘Civil War’ Plays Both Sides

Alex Garland’s ‘Civil War’ Plays Both Sides

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Alex Garland's 'Civil War' Plays Both Sides

Garland and A24, one of the film’s distributors, declined to grant WIRED an interview to discuss these issues and did not respond to emailed questions, so it’s difficult to say how influenced Garland was by the Boogaloo movement when writing the script. . But since an NBC report in February 2020At the time Garland was sitting down to write the script, it was one of the first major reports in the mainstream media about the group, it seems certain that they influenced the narrative that unfolds on screen.

Regardless of whether the inclusion of this real-world reference was intentional or not, the impact is likely to be the same.

“Many of these people, particularly young, radicalized, right-wing white people, are absolutely steeped in the media, and if you spend any time in these online circles, all of their references are misunderstood art, like the Matrix either fight clubor it is an ambiguous art that they can co-opt for their own purposes,” says political analyst Jared Yates Sexton.

Sexton’s book The Midnight Kingdom: A Story of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis, details how modern America is built on white supremacist rhetoric, Christian nationalism, and conspiracy theories that now threaten to plunge the country into an authoritarian nightmare like the one unfolding in Civil war. “I think this is absolutely ripe for the right to embrace and celebrate and turn into their own kind of vision board for lack of a better term,” he says.

He hasn’t seen the movie yet, but he’s reviewed Garland’s comments on making Civil war and believes the disconnect between reality and the director’s vision may be due to how Garland views the divide dividing America right now.

When it premiered at SXSW earlier this year, Garland was quoted as saying that “the left and the right, to be clear, are ideological arguments about how to govern a state. That’s all they are. They are not right or wrong, in terms of right or wrong.” This generated a lot of criticism, but in an interview published this week in stunnedGarland tried to clarify what he meant.

“I would just say to people: Before you start getting angry, let’s find out if our definitions of left and right are the same,” Garland said. “Low taxes to stimulate economic growth, or high taxes to help disadvantaged people through educational welfare. That’s what I mean when I talk about left and right.”

For Sexton, this narrowly defined view of the battle between left and right may be technically accurate, but it is not based in reality.

“The American and global understanding of right versus left has simply become a Rorschach test,” Sexton says, adding that Garland’s definition is not the widespread understanding of those terms. “Right,” he says, implies “unbridled white supremacist and patriarchal fascist power,” while “left” is defined as “diversity and inclusion and real history and science.” Garland, he believes, “has a libertarian point of view that will likely be co-opted by the right in times of political crisis.”

Garland has repeatedly saying that what he wants the audience to take away from this film is “aversion,” but he hasn’t defined exactly what the audience should feel an aversion toward.

For many, the visceral action with brutal but realistic violence and scenes of tanks rolling into Washington, DC, will inspire an aversion to war, as it should. But for a small group of extremists who have been fantasizing about another civil war for years, the film’s confusing politics and muddled narrative may create not aversion but inspiration.

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