Platoon and groups

Platoon unfortunately deserves to be added to my list of a few posts ago, with a vengeance. If there is an argument to excuse it from having focused entirely on the problems of conscience of soldiers rather than on their victims, it is precisely that it does so unabashedly: this is a film emphatically told from the subjectivity of one individual. Even in the rare instances where we see something he does not see, all is seen from the perspective of another “grunt” (literally and otherwise).


One more serious doubt. While the movie was playing, two thirds of me were leaning towards the notion that the scene were E. – whom we had seen shot repeatedly at point-blank range a few minutes ago – is portrayed still alive and running from enemy fire was nothing other than a hallucination or fantasy on the part of Chris Taylor. I soon had to admit I had no arguments to back this up with, other than (a) the subjectivity from which the movie is told makes this into an actual possibility, (b) the alternative would be a kind of soap-opera quasi-immortality, where a character will defy the laws of nature to remain alive until explicitly guaranteed to be dead – and that simply went against the respect that the film had more or less earned by that point.

A conversation with friends on this point after the movie was inconclusive, except in that we all agreed that B. would not have messed up such a trivial job or left a thing half-done; moreover, he would have had every rational reason not to merely shoot E. in the shoulder, say. Thus there really seems to be no third alternative – fantasy or soap opera it is. Or is there another take on this?


Voilà une question que je viens de demander à Mathoverflow: est-ce qu’il y a une preuve de longueur et difficulté bornés de la classification des groupes simples finis si on permet on nombre fini d’exceptions? (C’est à dire: est-ce qu’on arrive à classifier tous les groupes d’ordre plus grand qu’une grande constante, peut-être pas nécessairement explicite?)

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About valuevar

I am a number theorist with side interests in combinatorics and group theory.
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