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The West led primarily by Europe and the U.S. has primarily been imperialistic and ethnocentric in its treatment of other cultures. To reinforce the values of the West as superior, such relations often mirror other cultures as inferior. In his discussion of the diplomacy and the politics of the Kissinger era, Said writes in Orientalism that such perspectives also enable the wholesale takeover of other cultures for self-gain and validation of self-aggrandizement. As Said writes, “Both the traditional Orientalist and Kissinger conceive of the difference between cultures, first, as creating a battlefront that separates them, and second, as inviting the West to control, contain, and otherwise govern (through superior knowledge and accommodating power) the Other,” (47-48. In the revisionist account of history observable in the film Apocalypse Now, great affirmation of Said’s theory can be found.

In the film we see the West pitted against East, with little distinction among different Eastern cultures. Lumped together whether Cambodian, North Vietnamese or South Vietnamese, the film’s discourse primarily equates Orientals with “Charlies”. Above all else, Charlie is the enemy and the land where he resides is abominable. As Captain Willard maintains, “I was going to the worst place in the world and I didn’t even know it yet” (Coppola 1979). The film portrays Vietnam as a locale even worse than Hell. As Chef exp


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Orientalism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:37, October 22, 2014, from
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