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The Graduate vs. MASH satire

The Graduate vs. MASH satire - Wessing 1 Alexander Wessing...

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Wessing 1 Alexander Wessing A07855393 Professor Rouse 5 March 2008 The Great Satires Satirical comedy can be one of the most entertaining forms of comedy there is. This is because of its witty humor and the use of irony in humanity’s vices or faults. This element of comedy is found through two of the greatest movies of all time – Mike Nichols’ The Graduate and Robert Altman’s MASH . Both films extensively use satire but for separate statements. The Graduate focuses on suburban smothering and its ability to be transferred from one generation to the next while MASH pokes fun at authority figures and the Vietnam War. They both use satire differently but at the same time overlap in their aims. MASH uses short stories surrounding the main characters in their everyday lives during the “Korean War”. We talk about the war in this manner because everything about the movie points to the fact that it takes place during the Vietnam War but it explicitly says that it is during the Korean War. This is one of the many ways MASH attempts to satirize the people and time period therein. The many shots of the floating helicopter landing and taking off are in direct contrast to the war itself. The war was hated by much of the US public and was highly criticized. It was brutal and the fighting was even more grotesque. According to Professor Rouse, the imagery of the helicopter, “which is commonly linked to the Vietnam Era” (Rouse Lecture), can be seen as a symbol of grace and innovation. Its use in MASH was contrasted to the overall turmoil of the war, the music of “Suicide is Painless played in the background” (R 164) in these scenes. Even though there was a horrible war going on outside of the camp the grace of the helicopter made it seem as if everything was ok in Vietnam, much like what the government was doing at the time to make the public think the US was winning a losing battle.
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Wessing 2 One of the main authority figures that is satirized within MASH is Major Frank Burns. Even though he is a higher ranking official, many of the people in the camp have no respect for him.
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