Let me tell you a story and you tell me what comes to mind:
A small armed rebel militia launches near-daily attacks against a State it considers to be a foreign invader. The State needs the natural resources from the land and uses technologically advanced predator drones to monitor the insurgents and protect its supply lines. They also use local actors to manage and maintain the drones. After more than a half century of occupation the only possibility for success for the insurgent militia to take back ‘their’ land is by suicide bombers. And so the insurgents sends a team of two to blow up the State’s infrastructure using IEDs. The widow and young daughter of the suicide bomber end up connecting with the now-victorious insurgents.
Did it remind you of Iraq? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Yemen? Somalia? Palestine? Perhaps an Al-Qaeda recruiting video?
Actually, this is the storyline of ‘Oblivion‘, the new Tom Cruise sci-fi flick. The protagonist who saves the day through an IED- based suicide mission is an American, former NASA employee. The movie has received mixed reviews with high marks for visual bling and plenty of criticism for not having an internally consistent storyline.
Perhaps visiting extremist web-sites is not the only way to “Inspire” deadly violence. Perhaps planting seeds in impressionable minds through visually striking, seemingly banal & derivative sci-fi movies can also play a role in changing value systems. Perhaps we need to ask what else we are oblivious to in our lives.