Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Response to "When Hollywood Rode Right: American Western Cinema as an Expression of Older Virtues" by Boyd Cathey — Dilemma of Gun & Morality in the Western — Can the Good Guy be Honorable and Win?

When Hollywood Rode Right:American Western Cinema as an Expression of Older Virtues -

Indeed, most of Hollywood’s leading Western and cowboy actors have been politically conservative, and quite a few have been Southerners.

But actors serve the story, and a good number of writers for Westerns were Liberals and even Leftists. Gary Cooper may have been conservative, but his role in HIGH NOON was written by Liberals. Not uncommonly, the directors were conservative but the writers were leftist. Unless the director is 'auteur' enough to rework the material, he will be realizing the vision of his ideological opposite. Of course, the ideology was only implied in many such Westerns. A story of white injustice against the Indians could be a sly dig at the mistreatment of blacks.

Also, we need to keep in mind that, as Paul Gottfried noted, leftism in them days was not what goes by its name these days. Leftists back then dealt with real issues. Maybe their solutions were misguided or misconceived, but they addressed real world problems faced by real people.

Today, most of what goes by 'leftism' is mindless capitalist celebration of globo-homo vanity, which has NOTHING to do with classic leftism. Globo-Homo, like much of what falls into the category of 'wokeness', is about neo-aristo egomania of narcissistic homos and even trannies. It is also a proxy of ultra-rightist Jewish Supremacism. Jews seek to kill two birds with one stone: Kill both classic leftism and white pride. Jews now hate classic leftism that strove for equal justice for all. Jews don't want equal treatment for Palestinians and white goyim. Jews want to lord over them as cattle. So, Jews have no use for classic leftism, which also happens to be anti-capitalist. Why would Jews want radical socialism when they got the most money?
One may say there's a strain of leftism in BLM & 1619 because blacks are socio-economically poorer, therefore 'equity' is about making things fairer or more equal between blacks and whites(and non-blacks). But this too is bogus. BLM is about ultra-right black supremacism. It's about howling about injustice even when some lowlife black thug is justifiably killed by the police while all the hapless victims of black thugs are totally ignored by the media. There is no equal justice in BLM. It's about blacks being given carte blanche to do as they please. Blacks can carry out massive pogroms and burn down cities and loot, but BLM tells us to pretend it's not happening(or to be justified as 'social revolution'). And even though there's all this hair-pulling about black under-representation in various fields, it's perfectly fine for blacks to be over-represented in pop music, sports, and government jobs.

BLM got so much traction because ultra-right Jewish supremacists find blacks useful to guilt-bait whites. That's it. If Jews really cared about equal justice for all, why do they shut down BDS? If anything, what Palestinians face in West Bank is 1000x worse than what blacks face in the US. If anything, blacks are the one who prey on non-blacks. And, virtually every black killed by the police deserved to die as they not only resisted arrest but did so violently. Like black-on-white violence is tolerated and even justified, US power looks the other way while Zionist settler-invaders continue to take land from Palestinians in West Bank. And IDF, the Israel Death Squad, is given leeway to mow Palestinians down like animals.

So, how about dropping the BS of calling the other side the 'left'? Firstly, today's 'left' isn't the real left. Furthermore, the left did its share of creating the Modern West. After all, the default position of civilizations throughout history was conservatism, i.e. to preserve the existing power system. Then, what set the West apart from the Rest. Unlike the Rest that was mired only in conservatism, the West broke free with a new spirit of progress, change, and even revolution(at times). These energies, growing in the West from the Renaissance onward, culminated in the French Revolution where leftism got overly radical and bloody. The lesson from the whole affair was one cannot change the world overnight, as Edmund Burke explained. Burke, by the way, was a gradualist liberal, not a conservative. He only seemed conservative relative to the hot-blooded French radicals. He was actually on the side of change and progress.
This is what set the West from the Rest that only knew conservatism. Now, there is great value in conservatism because civilization, even in 'liberal democracies', must be 90% conservative in its daily operations. Even if a society is open to new things, most of what it does must be familiar and established. When you order a hamburger, you don't want to be served an experiment every time. Also, there is a great heritage in the conservation of arts, culture, philosophy, history, and spirituality. Non-Western history is proof that the concept of progress and revolution aren't integral to the rise of great civilizations. Persia, India, China, and etc. were great civilizations without the cult of progress or revolutionary fire. But it was Western Modernity that brought mankind to new heights and even sent men to the Moon, and that adventurous spirit of curiosity and daring couldn't have come from conservatism alone.

And the Western genre's appeal is as much liberal as conservative. There is surely the timeless themes of heroism and good vs evil, but there is also the thrill of breaking free, being adventurous, taking risks, and trying new things in a new land. The conservative person is more likely to stick close to home, with familiar sights and sounds. The liberal person is more likely to venture to new places, even if it means never seeing home again, which is largely the story of American Immigration. How many Americans have gone back to visit their ancestral homelands?

The very nature of the Western sub-genre has had a significant influence in attracting certain types of actors to it. Westerns traditionally expressed the purest form of “good vs. evil.” Even in the more conflicted, morally blurred years of the later 1960s and 1970s, the few Westerns that were made seemed to never lose sight of that essential conflict.

Most Westerns are not about good vs evil. That would be THE EXORCIST where noble priests battle the Devil that makes a girl masturbate and puke too much. The Southern is also about good vs evil: Rednecks are totally evil, Negroes are totally good. Certain war movies, especially with Nazis, are about good vs evil. The Germans weren't always featured as monsters in movies like THE YOUNG LIONS, ENEMY BELOW, PATTON, and CROSS OF IRON, but they increasingly became Evil Incarnate as Jewish Power grew more confident in Hollywood.

The Western would lose part of its appeal if it were about Good vs Evil. For the Western to work, the good guys need rough edges, and the bad guys must have some appeal, if only to tempt us — after all, the outlaw embodies the freedom of the Wild West more than the lawman does; indeed, many Westerns are about the lawman figuratively killing himself by killing the outlaw, the death of whom no longer requires the lawman's tough guy ways.
For the Western to really work, good guys mustn't be goody-two-shoes, and bad guys must have a certain 'bad boy' allure — it's like how Leonard DiCaprio's role as heavy in ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD spices up the TV Western episode. So, even though Jack Palance casts a dark shadow in SHANE, he sure is magnificent. And James Stewart in Anthony Mann Westerns is a troubled figure. And Budd Boetticher's Westerns have the Randolph Scott character partnering for long stretches with questionable types who we aren't sure will turn out 'good' or 'bad', a kind of existential element to take shape in the journey. Shane is as much fighting his inner demons as the ranchers; he too was a hired killer. And THE SEARCHERS is riveting not only for its action-adventure but the inner turmoil of Ethan(John Wayne).

Still, many Westerns are indeed about Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and it's almost always about the Good prevailing over the Bad. However, this poses a moral dilemma for the genre. The triumph of the Good over the Bad in the Western is decided by a Single Factor: Which side has more guns and/or which side has the quicker draw. It's a matter of skill and luck, but where's the guarantee that the Good will always be better with the gun than the Bad? After all, chance is 50/50, heads half the time, tails half the time. So, logic would dictate that the Bad would win at least half the time in the Western.
But the Good or the Better almost always wins. It's as if the Good plays with a loaded dice or has an Ace up its sleeve. It has to be 'cheating' in the game of chance. We must believe that chance favors the Good like some cosmic force looking out for Forrest Gump(or Simple Jack) because he is so very good.

But, that's a childish fantasy like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. If anything, the Bad should have the edge because bad types are more likely to gained experience with guns. Also, the good has more on its mind. It's like conscience sometimes gets in the way of Superman in Part II against the villains who have zero inhibitions in their fight. And, even if the Bad Guy loses, it's not the end of the world for badness because anarchy and chaos are the natural state of the world. Badness will always threaten society. But if the Good Guy loses, it feels like the End of the World because most good folks are rather timid and cowardly; they are more like herbivores than carnivores. So, if the tough Good Guy falls to the tough Bad Guys, most good folks will be like sheep without the sheep dog to protect them from wolves and coyotes. Bad is bold and aggressive. But goodness is mostly peaceable and wimpy, and it is the rare person who is both Good and Tough. So, the loss of the Good Tough guy is incalculable.

And yet, in all these Westerns, the Good almost always wins over the Bad. The Western is about tough guys, wilderness, and frontier, but it pushes a reassuring morality fairytale where
the Good will somehow come out on top because, for reasons unknown, it reliably manages to outdraw the Bad in the final showdown.

But then, how reassuring is a moral universe where good vs bad is decided by trigger fingers? Imagine if the fate of social morality, good or bad, hanged in the balance of who won the football match or boxing match? Sports determines which side is tougher or more skilled; it doesn't say what is good, what is bad, let alone evil. The shoot-out is about the faster gun winning, not about the faster gun being the good guy. While the Good Guy has courage and conviction, the moral outcome is simply a matter of who can shoot faster, which is hardly reassuring. This is why duels were so stupid. While it was ostensibly about honor, it boiled down who was better with pistol or saber. So, plenty of duels were won by people who really deserved to lose. Now, we know this about dueling, and it's one of the reasons for its eventual disrepute.

But, the Western perpetuated the myth that the Good invariably wins over the Bad even though the only determinant is who can shoot faster. When two men face off against one another over honor in a classic due, there's 50/50 chance of either winning, or losing. But when two men face off in the Western, the good almost always wins?
Sure, we get it, people want happy endings where good guys win and ride into the sunset, but it's really a child's fantasy for adults, especially as the quickdraw was the invention of Western as fiction. The real gunslingers approached gunfights more like gangsters, with caution and dread, to come out alive by any means necessary. Gunfights were more like the confrontation in John Sayles' MATEWAN, not a Western but where guns prove decisive between capital and labor. Though set up like a classic showdown, it quickly turns into a bloodbath for both sides.

To the best of my knowledge, the only Western where the good guy loses to the bad guy is in THE BIG SILENCE(aka THE GREAT SILENCE), unsurprisingly a Spaghetti Western by Sergio Corbucci. Italians were far more nihilistic or radical in their treatment of the genre. The last man standing was simply the best shot, not necessarily a 'good' guy. Or the violence was a condemnation of the brutality of the Anglo order.
The ending of THE BIG SILENCE is traumatic precisely because we've grown so accustomed to the Good guy ultimately coming out on top... even if by something akin to a miracle(just like the classic anti-hero of the gangster genre invariably is killed at the end). The upright lawman(Brian Keith) is also felled tragically in CENTENNIAL, but it's a TV mini-series, a pretty good one, than a classic Western. The leftist Corbucci was out to dismantle the myth of the Western. CENTENNIAL strove to be a historically accurate saga of the West in a state of transformation from the world of the Indians & frontiersmen to the Modern World.

At any rate, the Western perpetuated the myth that chance, which is 50/50, will miraculously almost 100/0 favor the Good over the Bad when it comes to a contest of guns. It encouraged fallacious thinking bordering on fairytale. It also explains why John Ford made THE MAN WHO SHOT LIVERTY VALANCE as his last significant statement on the West(ern).
The 'legend' in the movie is that the Good Guy Stoddard(James Stewart) killed the Bad Guy Valance(Lee Marvin), and it went a long way in taming the West. But unbeknownst to the Good Guy on the night of the showdown, the Bad Guy was really felled by John Wayne's character lurking in the shadows. The Good Guy was slipped an Ace. The dice was loaded in his favor. The 'legend' in the movie is especially remarkable because the Good Guy didn't even have a 50/50 chance against the Bad Guy, a natural born killer. All he had was a prayer, a Hail Mary that miraculously became a touchdown. But in fact, an 'angel' was watching over him, much like Tuco has Blondie(Clint Eastwood) to save his neck in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

In the Western Genre, where good vs bad is decided by gunplay, how could it be that the good almost always wins, especially if the good guy fights honorably without cheating? Under those conditions, the bad guy has the equal chance of winning. For the good to usually or almost always win, it cannot fight fair, but that would mean good cannot be honorable. The Western formula of "Honor + Good Triumphant" simply doesn't compute. It can have one or the other but not both. This is the point of David Mamet's screenplay of THE UNTOUCHABLES. Elliott Ness tries to fight fair, but he simply cannot win that way. Sean Connery's character coaches him that you must not only fight dirty but dirtier. If they bring a knife, you bring a gun. If they beat up one of yours, you kill one of theirs. No wonder Jews won over the Anglos. Ugly Winning beats Beautiful Losing.

Especially if the Western good guy is upright and honorable(which implies he disdains cheating to win and offers an even chance to the bad guy), the main reason he always wins is because the contest is rigged in his favor by none other than the author. Of course, he is unaware of this, like the James Stewart character in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE is unaware, at least initially, that Valance was actually killed by someone else. If a Western author is really fair, he would flip a coin to see who wins at the end, good guy or bad guy? But people like happy endings.

In reality, black boxers beat the white ones, but in ROCKY II and III, the Italian Stallion manages to whup the Negroes in the era of Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes. But the implication extends beyond storytelling. It's about history. For all the talk of principles and meritocracy, white Americans rigged things in their favor. At one time, blacks were kept out of sports, which ensured that all the champions were white. Anglo-Americans favored one another over the ethnics. And this has been the case with every society. Jews rigged it for Jews, Italians rigged it for Italians, Japanese rigged it for Japanese.
After all, in a pure meritocracy, your kind has as much chance of losing as winning. So, for your group to win as a whole, the system must be rigged, at least in part. This is why intra-meritocracy makes more sense than inter-meritocracy. Anglo-Americans adopted inter-meritocracy and lost so much. Jews, in contrast, still play the game of intra-meritocracy, i.e. Jews fiercely compete with other Jews, but they also work together to rig the system against non-Jews. Just ask the Palestinians and the BDS movement. Incidentally, Jews use BLM as moral cover against what they do to BDS.

Indeed, the paucity of films in the genre during the last thirty years is the clearest indication that the Western as a clear-sighted vehicle for representing society’s conception of itself and its frontier past has fallen on hard times. Too many heroes in white hats and too strong an identification with a triumphant—and white—country, subduing all before it, doesn’t offer the best medium for representing the morally conflicted and self-loathing America of the 21st century.

I don't think it has much to do with Indians. After all, most Westerns were about lawmen vs outlaws than Cowboys vs Indians. Many more Westerns were like SHANE, HIGH NOON, and BIG COUNTRY than THE SEARCHERS. Even in STAGECOACH, which has a thrilling chase and shootout with the Indians, Ringo's(John Wayne) ultimate enemy is a band of white guys. And MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday vs the Clanton Gang. So, the Western can easily skirt around the Indian issue. I recall there was a popular long-running foul-mouthed TV Western series called DEADWOOD. Its popularity was proof that the Western could be revived with generous servings of violence and vulgarity.

Besides, the 'woke' community could have a field day with the 'genocide' of the Native Americans, and indeed, some anti-Westerns of the late 60s and early 70s ran on that very topic, like SOLDIER BLUE with its over-the-top scene of whites butchering helpless Indians. And there was LITTLE BIG MAN, a much better movie. Oddly enough, it was in this period that JEREMIAH JOHNSON was a pretty big hit. It was made by 'liberal' Jewish Sydney Pollack and starred 'ultra-liberal' Robert Redford, but it's really a celebration of tough white guy battling and whupping Indians. It shows the importance of the writer.

Anyway, 'woke' Hollywood has no problem making these Southerns about white 'racism', evil rednecks, angelic blacks, monstrous KKK, and etc. In a way, DJANGO UNCHAINED was as much a Southern as a Western, somewhat similar to the movies about Jesse James and Younger Gang(and RIDE WITH THE DEVIL). If Jewish Hollywood loves to rub the white nose in Slavery and Jim Crow, why not rub the white nose in the 'genocide' of the so-called 'Native Americans', though 'Pre-Americans' would be more accurate?

The reasons are threefold. Even though Jews in the past did occasionally compare the demise of the Indians with the Jewish Holocaust, it also has similarities with what Jews have done to Palestinians. Some Palestinian-American activist have made that very point. Also, Jews push the pro-immigration line of Great Replacement or White Nakba, and guess which people were 'replaced' first in America? The American Indians, of course, and the whole process was accelerated by mass immigration.
Yes, Indians are bad for the pro-immigration narrative. Plenty of immigrants arrived in the New Land to displace the Indians. Chinese laborers laid down railroad tracks that hastened the total erasure of Plain-Indians-America. Also, Jewish merchants sold guns and ammo to the cowboys to kill the Indians, i.e. Jews took part in the 'American Holocaust', and it is a sign of Jewish obnoxiousness the Holocaust Museum occupies the prominent moral space in Washington D.C. Yes, the Shoah was a horror, but it didn't happen in the US, and Americans didn't do it. In contrast, the destruction of Indians happened HERE IN AMERICA. And yet, Jews hold the vaunted position as the top victimological icons in American Politics. So vile.


At any rate, the Jewish logic of Zionism is now also applied to the US, i.e. while Jewish mass immigration to Palestine to replace the Arabs was a great thing, Israel must now remain a Jewish State and non-Jewish immigration must be prohibited or kept to a bare minimum.
Guess how Jews see white goyim, as akin to Jews in Israel with the right to homeland or akin to Palestinians who deserve to be replaced?
The way Jews see the US, it's one big Palestine, and Jews welcome masses of non-white immigrants whose children are indoctrinated with 'wokeness' to blame everything on whitey and to worship Jews, blacks, and homos(as the Tri-Idolatry) over all else, even their own identities and cultures, and this madness is even exported abroad.

Furthermore, Indians simply don't have much market value for current 'wokeness'. While the tragedy of Cowboys-killing-Indians may be morally charged for some, it just doesn't have the kind of power of Southerners-lynching-Negroes. At the very least, the American Indians fought back and did kill and/or torture a fair amount of whites. In contrast, especially because people don't know about black thuggery in the Old South, people have this image of neanderthal rednecks randomly killing helpless angelic Negroes. But there's an even bigger factor, and it's about black stardom in sports and pop music, which makes whites feel more sensitive and sorry for what was done to 'cool' blacks than to 'cold' Indians.
Notice the Noble Indian in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST hardly says anything, whereas mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND is always hollering up a storm. Silence may be golden, but noise takes the cake. It's like Tommy gets more 'respect' than Henry in GOODFELLAS. Tommy never shuts up whereas Henry doesn't say much. Don Rickles certainly didn't get where he did by being a stone-faced Indian.


1 comment:

  1. You should do an analysis of the hit tv show "Yellowstone."