Monday, February 13, 2017

Core Response 2: Homeland as Domesticity at War

 I normally don't watch hyper-thrilling violent television shows like Homeland, so I'm going to base my analysis on the clip we saw in class. The fact that a show like this exist is very shocking to me since I see it as point-obvious thrilling patriotism.
  In "Domesticity at War", Beatriz Colomina describes how war ideology moved into the domestic sphere and began to break down private-public dichotomy. Her examples of war rhetoric into the domestic sphere include an analysis of home architecture, television, and cabinets. Written in 1991, Colomina's theory still remains relevant, especially since the U.S. and other countries are now hyper-police states post-9/11. I will explain how the Homeland, "The Return" (S6E1), clip we watched in class is a TV show masking war ideology as private entertainment.
   In S6E1 of Homeland, U.S. marine Nicholas Brody returns home after being MIA for 8 years. Though Brody is celebrated as a war hero, CIA agent Carrie Mathison believes the soldier was coerced to become a terrorist. Throughout the clip, Mathison obsessively tries to prove her truth, only to be distracted by the other agents who theorize her as mentally unstable, paranoid, and incompetent.
   To quote Colomina, "This displacement of time and space produced within the house problematizes traditional spatial distinctions such as that between inside and outside. But these distinctions are not simply abandoned here...[they] are all areas inside the shell" (pg. 7). In other words, our home, or TV in my examples reshapes our conception of public and private, and private becomes public.
Most of us civilians will probably never go to Iraq, at least during its U.S. occupation. Thus, for many of us, our participation of the war machine remains invisible. However, through shows like Homeland, we began to enter that public space--in this case, intimate knowledge of the Iraq war-- through our private means--in this case, the very Netflix in our home. In Homeland, we, like Carrie Mathison, gain intimate knowledge of the war as we walk around with her through the culturally-coded "primitive" world of the Middle East; we, too, walk in the "strange" (re: non-white and Arabic) world and life of Carrie Mathison. In other words, inside of becoming mere invisible participants in the war machine, through Homeland, we become visible participants of the war because, like Carrie, we know what its like to be in war-torn Iraq. Thus, to quote Colomina again, "To enter here is to be placed in front of a screen" (pg. 8).
  Throughout the drama and conflict of this specific episode, and throughout the series as well, we become drawn to the front lines of the U.S. war. Through the screen, "The various battle lines are multiplied, disseminated, and juxtaposed. The war that is domestic both occupies and is about this complex space" (pg. 19).

1 comment:

  1. After watching Homeland in class, I also was intrigued to watch more of the Hollywood take on CIA confidential issues, focusing on how the representation of individuals who practice Islam. The second episode set up what would follow in the season, a platform of islamophobic rhetoric. The portrayal of the Sergeant Brody as a hero archetype, but due to his preference of practicing Islam, the spectator can infer that he has now been ‘turned’, the overlaying phrase of the first few episodes. What does it mean to show a character that symbolizes patriotism at the fullest, a marine war hero, to have been tainted with the ‘other’s religion’ , thus placing him in negative light to the spectator. Not to mention the only black character on the show is incompetent compared to the other main characters on the show.. But that is a whole different post. Hollywood perpetuates these narratives to mainstream America plays to the idea of islamophobia which has helped reassure audience of loonies like Stephen Miller--

    To be sure, Carrie’s young niece says “the bad guys, the ones who blow people up”, referencing to 9/11. However, the show so far, never references the destruction the U.S. has done in the Middle East. One sided, eh?