Skip to main content

Hacksaw Ridge



Diane and I have seen the Mel Gibson directed war movie Hacksaw Ridge. The photo here isn't a still from the movie (which doesn't use b-and-w cinematography). No, what I've pasted above is a historic (May 1945) photo of an escarpment on Okinawa that got the nickname that in turn became the title.

The movie hardly needs any recommendation from me. It has been out for weeks already (it opened Nov. 4 in the US) and has received rave reviews.

Rolling Stone calls it the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan, and that periodical's reviewer says that Gibson as director "deserves a medal."

Another reason the movie needs no recommendation from me: it has done quite well already in box-office terms. It made $15.2 million on its opening weekend, $10.8 million on the second.

These aren't blockbuster level numbers. Andrew Garfield, who plays the conscientious objector at the heart of the story, also played Spider-Man in a 2012 movie, and THAT film earned $35 million on its first day. Still, Garfield is reportedly gratified that he has moved into the realm of real world heroes. And the numbers are quite respectable for an early November release, when the studios are saving their biggest guns for the Thanksgiving-to-New-Year run.

With all that, as I say, I don't do anyone associated with the film any favors by recommending this movie.

 Still: here it is. I highly recommend this movie. It will move you. You may not understand Doss' religious principles before or after you see the movie. He was not drafted -- he enlisted. And as that fact suggests he did not object to the war effort. He just wanted his part in it to be purely that of a medic, and of one who would handle no rifle.

Still, heroism doesn't consist in having the right convictions, it consists in having the courage of the convictions one has. And this movie strikes that note well.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …