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Old 05-09-2010   #1
AusPTE
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Default Iron Man, Technology and the Privatisation of War

I was watching the new Iron Man movie and was trying to figure out what it was trying to tell me and the audience.
Given that the hero of the movie is a billionaire military industrialist who has designed a technowow suit to fight crime and terrorism and the Russians I possibly got three things from this movie:

1.) The privatisation of war will yield better results for a Pax Americana because it will allow American businessman to rapidly advance the USA's arms technology.
2.) Technology is a panacea to everything in modern warfare and as long as you have the technological edge over your adversaries you'll be the dominant actor.
3.) Russian physicists frequently sport tattoos, are experts in self-defence and love to cause mischief.

I'm amazed the movie has been successful given the first two points. Here in Australialand anything with the word "privatisation" attached to it now has a stigma and there's plenty of bubbling rage about things like the use of drones in Af-Pak or the purchasing of F35's from the US.

So those are my three takeaways from Iron Man. Or, you know... I suppose I could be completely wrong - that Iron Man wasn't trying to say anything and was meant solely as a fun and explosion filled comic flick.

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 05-09-2010   #2
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Originally Posted by AusPTE View Post
So those are my three takeaways from Iron Man. Or, you know... I suppose I could be completely wrong - that Iron Man wasn't trying to say anything and was meant solely as a fun and explosion filled comic flick.
You're reading too much into it, but your observations are perfectly valid, regardless, of that.
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Old 05-09-2010   #3
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Have not seen Iron Man yet but in my neck of the woods I think this one is going to be more timely. Supposed to be released in Sep. 2010.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FMvT3g8MxE
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Old 05-09-2010   #4
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An alternate interpretation of Iron Man 2: Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates. Tony Stark with his cheesy little hipster goatee and over the top corporate pitches versus the nerdy guy. Ironic, as Jobs and Apple are the grasping, self-serving virtual hegemon (no, not an obnoxious toy from Japan), and Gates seems to have matured out of that and has been very generous with medical research and supporting education.

Slapout - Good trailer! Roberto Rodruigez fans and conspiracy nuts will be loving that one (not to mention the cast he got for it).

Last edited by Van; 05-09-2010 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010   #5
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Slapout - Good trailer! Roberto Rodruigez fans and conspiracy nuts will be loving that one (not to mention the cast he got for it).

Yea, that is some cast of supporting actors. Being an Iron Man fan since my childhood maybe they can get together and make a sequal.....Iron Man and Machete vs.The Taliban
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Old 05-10-2010   #6
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Gates seems to have matured out of that and has been very generous with medical research and supporting education.
(momentary rant...)

Let's not kid ourselves. One of the reasons Gates has been so "supportive" of education was that it was one of the last markets where Apple was beating MS on market share. Gates' plunge in education was crafted by MS as a philanthropic gesture in the wake of the Netscape trial, but the ulterior motive was to push out a competitor in a space not yet dominated by MS.

MS's hegemony over government computers is pretty remarkable, given that the DOD walked away from Apple in '85 b/c they were a single-source vendor, and the DoD wanted to be able to buy (hardware) from multiple sources, not realizing they were hitching themselves to MS's (software) wagon for the next 25+ years.

The fact that Apple's devices are a closed ecosystem and yet still insanely popular is a testament to the fact that most consumers are willing to give up that customization for not having to spend 30 hrs/wk tinkering under the hood. Just like more people by Fords than Jaguars

(rant off... now back to our regularly-scheduled comic-book-movie adoration)
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Old 05-10-2010   #7
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3.) Russian physicists frequently sport tattoos, are experts in self-defence and love to cause mischief.
The eight-pointed star tattoos on his knees and shoulders would have meant he was high level vor v zakone (traditional Russian mafia). I don't know how he would have gotten all that hooliganism in while at the same time balancing his post-doc work!
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Old 05-10-2010   #8
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What a dumb movie. I really liked the first one, but this one was just dumb.
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Old 05-10-2010   #9
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Quote:
MS's hegemony over government computers is pretty remarkable, given that the DOD walked away from Apple in '85 b/c they were a single-source vendor, and the DoD wanted to be able to buy (hardware) from multiple sources, not realizing they were hitching themselves to MS's (software) wagon for the next 25+ years.
This hegemony exists not only over gov computers, but over the vast majority of the private sector as well. Every financial sector company I have worked in (3 large banks + 2 hedge funds) uses MS. I'm not aware of a single financial sector company that doesn't use MS as standard.
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Old 05-11-2010   #10
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Quote:
1.) The privatisation of war will yield better results for a Pax Americana because it will allow American businessman to rapidly advance the USA's arms technology.
Debatable. Certainly, privatization does have its advantages.

Quote:
2.) Technology is a panacea to everything in modern warfare and as long as you have the technological edge over your adversaries you'll be the dominant actor.
Clearly this is not true. Overreliance on technology has gotten more than one country in trouble.

Quote:
3.) Russian physicists frequently sport tattoos, are experts in self-defence and love to cause mischief.
Absolute gospel truth.
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Old 05-12-2010   #11
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Note:
The 3 dot points I expressed aren't my views. My own views are irrelevant. The dot points are what I interpreted as being the opinions of the film.

Ie:
The director wants to tell us:
1.) Privatisation is good
2.) Government sucks, particularly Senators in charge of oversight committees (that scene was very reminiscent of the Blackwater hearings with Eirik Prince). The Air Force cops a bit as well.
3.) Technology is the answer to everything.

Bizarre... given that the film came out of Hollywood. Maybe a touch of irony here. Maybe because Tony Stark is such a caricature of "the evil capitalist" he becomes everyone's favourite anti-hero.

PS -
Sneaky Russians.

Last edited by AusPTE; 05-12-2010 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 05-12-2010   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusPTE View Post
Maybe a touch of irony here.
....Irony Man.... eyh...I kill me! Thank you. Thank you.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 07-14-2010   #13
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I just noticed this thread and, I usually just read here at SWJ, but I can't help myself.

Dude, respectfully, you totally missed the point of Iron Man 2 if you think its pro-privatization of defense.

The whole point of the film is that the US can't rely on Tony Stark (who himself symbolizes private industry) because, despite being a heroic genius, he's also overworked, an alcoholic, and arrogant to the point of miscalculation. The point of the War Machine character--and the conflict between him and Stark--is that allowing the military to fall too far behind private individuals in terms of firepower is dangerous to the nation. The film's conflict is resolved and its villains defeated--in true American fashion--with a partnership between private innovation (Stark) and government/military teamwork (Rhodes, Fury, Widow, SHIELD, etc).

Stark oversells himself (again a jab at privatization) to Congress by saying he's years ahead of any competition, only to be proven wrong when Whiplash (another private contractor, by the way) attacks him at the race.

Most importantly, did you not see the scene were Stark is drunk in the suit, stumbling around using the the most powerful weapon in the world for a self-indulgent bender? You think thats not a metaphor for private industry responsibility?
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