Kyle posted a comment about the new War Museum opening this week in Ottawa. The Museum's mandate:
The Canadian War Museum, the national military history museum, is a living memorial to those men and women who served in Canada's armed forces. It is also a centre for research and the dissemination of information and expertise on all aspects of the country's military past from the pre-contact era to the present. It preserves the artifacts of Canadian military experience, interprets them for present and future generations, and advances the professional study of Canadian military history, including the effects of war and conflict on the nation and all its citizens. [emphasis mine]
Since I read and think a lot about war - why wars are fought, how they effect us - this seems pretty interesting, especially since it aims to present a full history, not a sanitized or glorified one.

It's amazing what can get sanitized when it contradicts The Message. Did you know that the original Godzilla movies contained political meaning that has never been seen in the US? I imagine sci-fi folks and Godzilla-heads already knew this, but I'd never come across it before. From the New York Times' Brent Staples:
A fire-breathing reptile is pretty much the same in any language. But the butchered version of the film that swept the world after release in the United States was stripped of the political subtext - and the anti-American, antinuclear messages - that had saturated the original. The uncut version of the film is due out on home video early next year, and should push serious Godzilla fans to rethink the 50-year evolution of the series. It should also show them that they were hoodwinked by the denatured Americanized version that dominated many of their childhoods in the late 20th century. . . .

The original "Gojira" was never intended as a conventional monster-on-the-loose movie. Nor did it resemble the farcical rubber-suit wrestling matches or the domesticated movies (with Godzilla cast as a mammoth household pet) that the series degenerated into during the 1960's and 70's.

As the historian William Tsutsui reminded us in last year's cult classic, "Godzilla on My Mind," the 1954 movie was a dark, poetic production that dealt openly with Japanese misgivings about the nuclear menace, environmental degradation and the traumatic experience associated with World War II.

The nuclear annihilations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in mind when the famous Toho Company embarked on the "Gojira" project in 1954. . . .
It's a great little piece called "Godzilla vs. the Giant Scissors: Cutting the Antiwar Heart Out of a Classic"; read it here.

More info about the original, uncut Godzilla is here, including links to some of the ink its gotten.


Right now there is construction (or demolition?) going on across the street from us. I'm losing my mind. A glass of red wine and a baseball game is the only solution.

1 comment:

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I've known for a long time that the "American Edition" of Godzilla was heavily sanitized.

I also always thought it was stupid that they felt it necessary to add in American characters in the English versions. I suppose it was too much to ask in the 50's to have a movie without any white people.