Dr. Strangelove Reflections- Melissa Green
In Burgess' film review, he notes the "curiosity" in the portrayal of the generals as being "lovable lunatics" rather than incompetent or villainous. While it could be construed that this was used by Kubrick to enhance the comic effect (which it in fact did), I believe that the choice goes deeper than that. We as a society have always loved eccentrics (Take Seinfeld's Kramer for example). I think that we tend towards these buffoonish types because they allow for a vicarious release from the social rules that we are expected to follow. As long as they don't stray too far from the expected rules (as in talking to oneself), we view them almost as childlike- laughing at their foibles but not really holding them accountable. I think it reflects a desire in all of us for escape. Given the time and the context when the movie was made, the need for escapism in the face of the nuclear threat must have been great. I believe this sort of desire for lovable lunatics has continued today with the war on terror. George W. Bush has long cultivated a persona of likable incompetence, which had for quite some time worked in garnering favor and support. Unfortunately for us, instead of seeking an eccentric in film, we have found one in real life.