Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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The “Hard Body” during the Reagan Era vs. The “Smart Warrior” in the Bush Era

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The “Hard Body” persona that we have been discussing in class was brought around during the Reagan Presidential Era.  During this time period America was in a state of uncertainty, money was tight and Russia was knocking on our door.  Americans needed a form of hope in their entertainment and thus the “hard body” persona was created.  Hard body is described as a man who is visually physically very strong, his emotions are held back, he has a persistence and determination to get his way, he protects what he must, he does what he must to succeed and it seems like it is him vs the world.  The reason these traits were so important to the hard body character were because they described what Americans wanted for our country.  T.V. created this character through many different movies and he is a symbol of hope to the people.  One of the major characters during this era was Rambo.  Rambo was played by actor Sylvester Stallone, a man who appeared extremely strong.  The chronicles of the Rambo movie started off with Rambo as a war vet on the road looking for a place to go when he finds himself in a small town where the police do not take kindly to him.  Rambo being an veteran of Vietnam is not just a normal soldier, but an expert in many war tactics.  Once the cops of the town lock him up he deceased to go against the entire police force and the small army they send after him after he escapes prison.  We see his “hard body” persona very clearly as he muscles his way through all of his enemies and achieves success.  With later Rambo movies we see the same traits he has accept with different settings, but no matter where Rambo is or who he is battling with he always has pure determination enabling him to put his emotions away and come away with victory.  As time goes on and our country advances a new era is formed, that of President Bush.  During this era the people of America are looking for a problem solver, someone who is going to advert danger rather than battle anarchy like the “hard body” persona we see from Reagan’s era; this formed the “smart warrior”.  The “smart warrior” can be seen as a person of many things, someone who is extremely skilled, capable of doing many things, adverting crisis, protecting people, dealing with extreme situations, but at the same time relating the people of America by having emotions, family ties, and basically being an American.  Jack Bauer on the show “24” fits into the role of the “smart warrior”, he is a man who has solved the impossible countless times.  During the show 24, each episode is an actual hour in a 24 hour day ending with a cliff hanger every time.  During the Bush era we see our country having many different disputes and problems with everyday ending  with a new problem.  Just like our country, Jack Bauer is faced with a new problem every episode with one main focus, stopping a danger crisis.  His shows have ranged from saving the life of the president, government corruption, and putting an end to a terrorist attack such as nuclear war fare.  The show 24 also allows us to be there with the president and the government by having Jack Bauers direct connection with the government through the shows greater form of Homeland security and having Jack in the briefing room of the president on countless occasions.  The people of America during the Bush era are constantly uneasy and want to solve the problems our country has, Jack’s presence in the briefing rooms and encounters with government officials allows the viewers to be apart of the country by seeing it through Jack’s eyes and the government’s eyes as well.  We see the traits of the “smart warrior” in Jack Bauer with his constant skill to kill the people who are doing our country harm, protecting others, being extremely selfless, having to deal with the problems that everyday Americans do such as starting or protecting his family, and having the emotions necessary to make educated and sometimes uneducated decisions.  What we see on T.V. through Jack Bauer and Rambo is entertainment, but entertainment with a higher level of importance and understanding.  Both characters are molded after America, and both characters are different due to the different time eras that their show/move was created during, showing us how much our country affects our entertainment.  Its extraordinary to see how the time period and problems have changed between the two eras and how Jack Bauer has represented America during the present with deterring danger while Rambo during the Reagan era handles anarchy constantly with success.  There is a diagram from the article that i read that shows visually a better understanding of this concept, unfortunately it will not let me add the diagram itself but you can visit the link and scroll down to page 10 to see it.


Written by nickpiotti

May 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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