The latest movie from famed comedian Tina Fey, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, is based on the memoir by Kim Barker, The Taliban Shuffle. While the movie diverges somewhat from the memoir’s original plot, it still focuses on a war correspondent confronting the realities of the War in Afghanistan.
Not only does the war itself offer many research paper topics, but also the role of the media in wartime is another area to explore.
Tina Fey as a war correspondent
Many reviewers gave Tina Fey high marks in the film version The Taliban Shuffle, even the author, Kim Barker (who becomes Kim Baker in the film) has voiced her approval of the portrayal. Not a true comedy, the film touches on some issues that are ongoing in the War on Afghanistan, but as “Movie Review: Tina Fey Is a Woman on a Mission in ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’” by Alexandra MacAaron March 22, 2016, for womensvoicesforchange.org, points out it could also have done more to highlight the treatment of women in the region. Women’s rights in the region are a possible research paper topic, or the issue of human rights in general in Afghanistan.
MacAaron summed up the film, “When Baker finally decides that she’s ready to leave, she explains her reasons. “It feels too normal here. This isn’t normal life, you know.” The problem that the movie skirts is that she’s wrong. It absolutely is normal life for millions of Afghans.”
The realities of the War in Afghanistan
With the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, there would appear to be no shortage of news for war correspondents to cover. Despite the coverage of these battle zones, war remains a reality too few Americans are in touch with. For the reporters on the ground, the adrenaline high from being in a war zone can become addictive, something other journalists have alluded to in their stories, such as Chris Hedges and Michael Ware. Another topic to cover in a research paper could be the psychological toll war takes on not only soldiers, but also those covering the war.
Charles Munitz noted in his post, “War Correspondent Tells The True Story Behind “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’,” on artery.wbur.org March 17, 2016, one connection between the memoir by Kim Barker, The Taliban Shuffle, and the Tina Fey film, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, that addresses the idea of the mental effect war has on war correspondents. He wrote, “both memoir and film note the difference between a new reporter’s aggressiveness in finding the best story and the more sober reflections by the seasoned reporter on the cost of getting that edge.”
America’s failed wars
Another area rich with research paper topics is the links between the ongoing war in Afghanistan and previous American invasions and conflicts. Dan Simpson cites a connection between the Afghan War and Vietnam in “Vietnam Redux? America’s Failure to Exit Afghanistan Has a Familiar Ring” for the February 24, 2016, edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Simpson wrote, “For me, the current actions of the Afghan security forces, in principle overseen by U.S. forces, have the tinny echo of American troops in Vietnam trying to restrain some of the more reprehensible actions of the South Vietnamese soldiers.” What are some other links between today’s conflicts in the Middle East and previous American wars? A research paper could also explore how the media’s role in covering wars has changed since the Vietnam era.
Do you think Whiskey Tango Foxtrot shed any new light on the War in Afghanistan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.