This Video Explores Starship Troopers’ Messy Satirical Relationship With Fascism

“The only good bug is a dead bug.” Yeesh.
“The only good bug is a dead bug.” Yeesh.
Image: TriStar Pictures

Starship Troopers is a seductive satire. Let’s dig into why, and how.

In a thoughtful new video posted by YouTube channel Wisecrack, the creators of the channel take a deep look at Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s classic novel. Troopers is a complicated film, a satire that’s so straightforward that some people miss the satire entirely, and this video digs into the murky complexity of the film’s relationship with fascism.

Wisecrack argues, interestingly, that Starship Troopers isn’t a straightforward satire, even if it’s intended as one, and nor is it a movie that accidentally glorifies fascism. Instead, it’s somewhere in the middle, exploring a fascist state of mind in a way that’s sometimes celebratory, sometimes mocking, and always enthralling in a way that’s built to cause the viewer to be drawn into the mindset of the movie’s fascist heroes, in a way that, no matter what its conclusion, is a harrowing reminder of how seductive fascist ideology can be in its presentation.

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It’s a great video, and complicated my thoughts about Starship Troopers, which is a really fascinating film in its own right. Do give it a watch.

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

DISCUSSION

captaincontrarian
Captain Contrarian

I’ve thought about that ever since the idea most anti-fascist media end up making fascism look cool crossed my path. Stuff like American History X just doesn’t work. Neo-nazis reportedly bought tickets and left after the first scene. You can stop a kid with the inclination from growing up into a fascist by showing them brutalizing innocents, however heartbreakingly, because the fascist soul gts off on that.

No, you have to portray them like they really are. Bumbling, pathetic fuck-ups.

Yeah, don’t get me wrong, only because they’re losers doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. In a world where babies have shot people to death, grown men like them can do serious damage.

My movie would be something like American History X meets, I don’t know, Superbad? A rich, privileged kid who has inadequacy issues, but is a total asshole anway, joins a polo shirt nazi alt-right gang to live out his most base desires and feel in control. But instead he’s put through one humiliation after another, often by his new Kameraden. There should be not a single second where the bastards are shown to be happy, cool or in control.

In the end protag should be killed by mishandling a gun. Now THAT would be an anti-fascist movie.