In Harm’s Way

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like movies. Movies take you away to some other place than your life for two hours, then allows you to return to the relative safety of the theater lobby.

Most of the time the movies are about conflict. Often about war.  There is something about conflict that is a compelling story. We cannot turn away.

And yet there is sometimes a scene that leaves me disturbed because of it reflects much about us and our obsession with conflict. What comes to mind today is that scene in the 1965 film In Harms Way where Kirk Douglas and John Wayne have each survived the Pearl Harbor attack, then look at each other and smile. The script then reads something like this:

“Well Buck, looks like we got ourselves a war. A rooten-tooten mother loving Navy War. “

Then continue smiling and shake hands. Like this is a time to be happy.

Read any account of the actual conditions in the Pacific during World War II and you will not smile. But for the audience, who cannot turn away, they smile too because the movie is only getting going, and when it is done they can return to a relatively conflict free life.

We see our clients normally in a time of conflict. They are not smiling. None of them come into my office and say “Well Mark, looks like we got ourselves a lawsuit. A rooten-tooten Mother loving lawsuit. ” No one ever says that.

Better to avoid conflict, except in the movies.


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