We went to see Argo the other night at the dollar movie, except its now the $2 movie, which, while still insanely cheap, doesn’t roll off the tongue the way “dollar movie” does.
I thought it would be too violent and scary for my 14 year old daughter. Turns out it was too violent and scary for me. About one minute into the movie I realized that I really didn’t want to see it and should leave and go watch “Wreck it Ralph” or something. The take over of the embassy was very stressful and I was experiencing some very real desire to flee the movie theater. Point for Ben Affleck.
My stomach hurt for the entire two hours. And I already knew how it would turn out. This is history, we know the ending. But it was still very hard to watch.
On the way home in the car we started talking about the earliest historical events we could remember. Mine was watching the Watergate hearings. I specifically remember watching the televised vote to authorize the investigation for impeachment. Of course I didn’t remember it that way, I had to look up what the actual vote was that I remembered. Why it stuck with me was because I remarked to my parents as we watched that the people who were against it were loud, and the people for it were sad.
I remember the Iran hostage crisis from when I was a kid. It was a very big deal and constantly on the news. My husband is five years younger than I am and didn’t really know what the crisis was about, it was just always there in the background. The first national event he remembers clearly is John Lennon being shot. That was pretty awful. I heard it on the radio as I was getting ready for school.
My daughter said her earliest memory of a national event is of the Bush/Kerry election in 2004 and how sad everyone was the day after. Her next national memory is the Bush/Obama election. I think I am seeing a trend here.
It’s difficult for me to put myself into this kind of historical context as I have discovered over the years as my daughters various school projects demanded answers from parents like “What world changing events have happened in your lifetime?”
I never thought about the Iran Hostage Crisis or Soviet War in Afghanistan, both of which helped lay the ground work for current problems in the middle east. Or Iran Contra and the spectacle that was Ollie North. Or when someone I knew first died of the new gay disease called A.I.D.S.
History is complicated, and no less so when its fictionalized. At least ARGO didn’t make the CIA or revolution look like any fun. The glory was saving lives not getting the credit or shooting the gun sideways.