|Sam Peckinpah on the set of THE WILD BUNCH|
For Part 2 of this blogpost, CLICK HERE.
Topics Discussed: Technique, ‘form is content’, Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, Modern Art, modernism, painting, sculpture, narrative art, time and art, Memento, Narrative Trap, Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin, Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai, Leadership, Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Jones, Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend, John Milius, Rap culture, jungle tribalism, Bitchassho-Igrayne-Taliban Syndrome, Excalibur, John Boorman, Zardoz, homosexual right, far-right feminism, leftist feminism, madonna, Camille Paglia, New Feminism, jungle fever, ‘subconspiracy’, D.W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation, Bad Sleep Well, Jordan Belfort, morality and materiality and money-ality, 13th Warrior, Milton Friedman, To Live and Die in L.A., Mexican corruption, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Ride the High Country, Franz Kafka, Red River(Howard Hawks), High Noon, Mulholland Dr., David Lynch, continuum and ‘individuum’ of life, La Jetee, Bob Dylan, Basement Tapes, Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Rublev, Richard Linklater, Texas, New York, libertine-ism, Spartacus, Kirk Douglas, John Ford, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, exhibitionism, narcissism, Lena Dunham, piggishness or piggerousness, Broadcast News, Albert Brooks, National Socialism, Adolf Hitler, alpha female nationalism, Jim Jeffries, Jack Johnson, tribalism and survival, The Jewish Formula for Tribal Survival, Rambo, Rocky, Sylvester Stallone, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, Social-communal dream-nature, John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Harold and Maude, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville directed by Robert Altman, The Godfather, black saint, Mean Streets, total goodness and total badness, individualism and tribalism, Takeshi Kitano, Walter Hill and psychology, The Long Riders, Wild Bill, making-something-out-of-nothing, Protestant Work Ethic, Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean, John Huston, Dirty Dozen, Robert Aldrich, In Cold Blood, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, The Longest Yard, The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Vito Corleone, Clemenza, Spartacus, Kirk Douglas, Zionism.
There are few films I’ve seen as many times as THE WILD BUNCH. One reason is the marvel of its film-making, which is so inspired, original, and powerful on multiple levels. It is that rare film that is both masterly and revolutionary, confounding the borderline between the traditional and the ‘radical’. Like the goddess Athena born complete from the head of Zeus, THE WILD BUNCH emerged as an instant classic, a complete universe unto itself. It was startling and stately, urgent and timeless. On that score, it was a landmark film not unlike Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
Certain ‘seminal’ films garnered attention for their innovative qualities, but novelty alone passes as a fad, which is why so many films by Jean-Luc Godard and Nagisa Oshima are all but forgotten. Godard’s films that have lasted over the years were built on something more than experimentation and contrariness. After all, technique is just a means of expression. The fact remains that the major themes of art are timeless and revolve around the profound questions of fear & desire, love & hate, power & weakness, vision & void. Technique(however clever or brilliant) that fails to grapple with the great themes is just a tic, a quirk, an eccentricity. We can appreciate TV commercials, some of which are devilishly clever or stylish, but can never truly admire them. It is also why so many films of the 60s that seemed ‘new’ and ‘different’ then seem so empty and hollow now. They were little more than exercises in ‘Look ma, no hands, Look ma, no feet.’ Richard Lester’s A HARD DAY’S NIGHT has had a better shelf-life than HELP! because the Beatles emerge as vivid personalities, making the film more than an assemblage of Lester’s visual tricks. In contrast, all we notice in HELP! is technique because the Beatles seem bored with the ludicrous plot and stoned out of their minds.
The issue of technique brings to mind Stanley Kauffmann’s critique of someone’s characterization of a TV commercial as a mini-RASHOMON. Kauffmann took exception because the appraisal implied that RASHOMON’s significance was all about technique. In truth, Akira Kurosawa’s film is about something. Its form adds up to meaningful content. Some film critics and scholars have maintained that CITIZEN KANE is mostly trite and to be admired only for its groundbreaking techniques. But would a film have exerted so much power over the years if it were little more than a bundle of trickery? Even if it’s the best kind of trickery, is trickery ever enough, at least in the narrative arts?
Didn’t Francis Ford Coppola prove beyond a doubt with ONE FROM THE HEART and RUMBLE FISH that technique alone isn’t sufficient to hold our interest?
Of course, technique is essential to art. The notion of ‘form is content’ is true inasmuch everything about any work can only be manifested through its form. Every detail, every movement, every word, every sound, and etc. are part of the form. Even so, there’s a difference between forms-used-to-convey-certain-truths-about-life and forms-played-with-just-to-impress-the-senses.
|The unbending Howard Roark(Gary Cooper) of Ayn Rand's THE FOUNTAINHEAD|
In contrast, in works where the artist controls the element of time, he has an obligation to string successive moments together into meaning and sense. Because we are no choice but to follow his command of time, he has to make something of it that forms into a ‘narrative’. If the progression is completely arbitrary, random, or chaotic, audience is left with confusion and ultimately boredom. If a painting doesn’t make sense immediately, the viewer at least controls the time and could discern sense from it through concentrated meditation and interpretation. But if a film progresses by making little or no sense, we remain confused and even cheated. If something is sufficiently strange or ‘difficult’, we need control over time to slow down and ponder its impact and meaning. It’s like we need the freedom to stop reading and consult a dictionary to look up words when reading a text loaded with obscure words or written in foreign language. Because we have no such control of time when we watch a film, a film that follows the logic of an abstract painting will simple tire and wear out the mind of the viewer. This isn’t to say a film cannot be modernist. Cinema can be many things, but because things are always in a state of flux in a film, the narrative must develop into some semblance of story and meaning that is sufficiently intelligible to the audience. Not surprisingly, the best modernist film-makers found means to balance the strange and the familiar. This is why David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD and MULHOLLAND DR. are more successful as works of art than something so baffling as TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME and INLAND EMPIRE. This is why Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA that hovers between clarity and chaos works better than HOUR OF THE WOLF that surrenders to disintegration. If indeed every art form has intrinsic qualities, controlled time and narrative are essential to novels and especially to films. (Even though the reader controls the speed at which he or she flips through the pages of a novel, all texts are meant to be read in the order in which they were written. There’s no rule in painting or sculpture that says one has to look at ‘this’ detail before ‘that’ detail, but it’s the rule of literature that you begin with the first page until you reach the final page. The reader can control the pace but not the progression. Since narrative is inevitable and intrinsic to novels and film, it is the foolish writer or director who has tried to apply the rules of modernism in the other art-forms to the novel or a film. This is why Andrew Sarris bemoaned most of what passed for ‘avant-garde cinema’. Personally, while I can tolerate and even enjoy something avant-garde and short like "Mothlight", I would lose interest if it ran for hours on end..
Granted, modernist artists did try to expand the perimeters of cinema, but they could never entirely abandon the rules of narrative because the meaning of film derives from the connective and associative links among everything from the beginning to the middle to the end. Thus, some of the most remarkable instances of modernism in cinema are found in works like LE JETEE(Chris Marker), MURIEL(Alain Resnais), and SIMON OF THE DESERT(Luis Bunuel) that tread carefully through a mine field of uncertainties. Even when a painting or sculpture makes no sense on first impression, the viewer controls the time and space(around the work) to make sense of the work. But as a film is constantly progressing along the continuum of the narrative, if moment after moment after moment makes no sense, it moves along unintelligibly and fails to form into any larger meaning. Of course, there’s the other kind of avant-garde cinema that goes for near-total static-ness or ‘staticity’. In a film like this, almost nothing happens, and one could theoretically approach it like a painting, photography, ‘real time’, or ‘life’. Consider Andy Warhol’s EMPIRE. But even this doesn’t work because the intrinsic nature of cinema is to tell a story, to take us places, to reveal things, to offer change of scenarios. After all, why go see a movie if we simply want to stare at a single object for hours on end? We could just look at a still photograph or a painting. We could just sit on a park bench and stare at a building for two hours, and it won’t cost us the price of a ticket. "To thine ownself be true" is generally the best advice for art, especially cinema. (I suppose a film that fixes on a single image or hardly changes at all can challenge our ‘conventional’ notions of art, film, photography, time, and life as the film both confirms and violates the principles of every one of those forms and/or states, but it’s too easy and lazy way for the ‘artist’ to be provocative — leaving it all up to us to ponder the meaning of whatever he or she did or may have done — and too boring and dreary for us since such works are the dime a dozen of every art school.) SANS SOLEIL by Chris Marker is a fascinating case of a film that skips back and forth between the realms of order and chance, and it is perhaps as far as cinema can go in narrative experimentation without falling into the abyss.
LE JETEE, Marker’s most famous film, is about a man’s search for meaning in a post-apocalyptic world without memory and moral order. French film-makers, at their elliptical best, have especially been adept at exploring curious links among things of no apparent relation to one another. A kind of poetic intellectualism that favor ideas BETWEEN things than ideas ABOUT things.
Modernism fundamentally deviated from standards & conventions and boldly ventured into new forms and expressions. If the Renaissance was inspired by ideals and if Romanticism was fueled by passion, modernism was driven by self-conscious neurosis. If earlier ‘movements’ used art as a means of expressive representation — of beauty, ideals, moods, and reality — , modernism turned art back on itself to explore, subvert, and then devour itself. Modernism was not only the biggest enemy of tradition but of itself as its aggressive ‘agenda’ always needed something to challenge, subvert, bore through, and upend. If traditional forms of art had continued in the spirit of adding something more to a proud heritage, modernism functioned iconoclastically by either rejecting, disassembling, or burrowing through all that had been prior. Once the traditional arts had been shunted aside as no longer relevant in the 20th century, modernism could only progress by ‘attacking’ earlier or contemporary forms of modernism, and then, finally, the modernist had nothing left but to turn the scalpel on himself, and then it had effectively died as a movement. Modernism wasn’t like a garden or a forest but like a fascinating disease that wouldn’t stop until it infected and ate up every flower and tree in the garden and forest and then turned on itself.
If the element of change served art prior to modernism, it was as if art existed to serve the mania for change under modernism. And there was an explosion of new shapes and patterns hitherto un-imagined by artists and critics of earlier times. So, where did modernism go ‘wrong’? It inevitably discovered that art forms can easily be exhausted of their possibilities. Paintings and sculptures soon ran out of new ideas. Also, as the shock of the new faded, even new expressions no longer generated much excitement. Once novelty became the standard in arts-and-culture, it no longer seemed very novel and fresh. Everything became the same new, same new.
Also, as time passed, certain achievements of modernism became established forms copied by innumerable artists. They simply became the New Tradition. Think of the countless painters who painted like Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Matisse, Pollock, etc. Indeed, certain modernist expressions became as standard as styles in English landscape painting had been in their day.
Also, there was a narcissistic-nihilism at the core of modernism that undermined the long-term appeal of many of its works. If indeed the fame and respect accorded to an artist depends on his willful differentness and eccentricity, then art has turned into a game of signatures than meaning. If we accord special attention to something because it ‘stands out’, then artists are encouraged to think in terms of hogging notoriety. But even this is a self-defeating game since the art world has been and always will be dominated by people with clout, connections, and money. So, even the kind of ‘notoriety’ that is favored is generally what is approved by the cultural establishment and the powers-that-be. But then, what is the use of politically correct notoriety? After all, can an artist can succeed today by being notorious in ways that offend Jewish oligarchs or homosexual princelings? Furthermore, the problem with notoriety-for-notoriety’s-sake is that something that gained attention in that manner — often through hype by the media and/or in the academia — has no other value, and notoriety is usually a case of here-today-gone-tomorrow. Who cares about the ugly photos of Robert Mapplethorpe or "Piss Christ" anymore? If not for the obscenity trial or hyped-up controversy, no one would have paid them any attention as that kind of filth is dime-a-dozen in the arts community that has long been filled with not-too-bright kids from affluent families who couldn’t make it to college on substantive academic grounds.
|One of Robert Mapplethorpe's silly antics.|
Unless life exists, even a billion suns wouldn’t know that they exist.
Also, even though there is a kind of ‘story’ of the birth, life, and death of stars, it takes place over billions of years and are thus meaningless on the human scale. Even among living organisms, the sense of narrative can only exist among creatures that are animate and have complex memories. When Jean-Do in DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY loses his ability to move, his story essentially comes to an end in terms of a ‘lived life’ and continues only in the realm of memory in which he can move back and forth in time. Though not nearly as incapacitated, a similar kind of logic pervades TIME REGAINED(directed by Raul Ruiz) and MULHOLLAND DR. in which the protagonists more or less recede from lived life and wander through the realm of memory, wishes, and dreams.
It is interesting that boldness, daring, and eccentricity in action cinema are mostly to be found in the early era of cinema — especially the Silent Era — before they were revived with Peckinpah, Steven Spielberg, and Walter Hill in the 1970s. As action directors, most established masters such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock and others tended to prefer classic setups, lateral movements, clean editing, and stable framing to techniques that amplified the sense of spontaneity, unpredictability, and dynamism. Hollywood cinema, well into the late 60s, mostly dispensed with the kind of rambunctious style found in D.W. Griffith’s first great epic. The violence in THE BIRTH OF A NATION sometimes feel like "There’s a White Riot Goin’ On." It seems as though the action isn’t contained within the frame but about to flow over into the theater and whup some Negroes in the audience. It’s no wonder that Pauline Kael wrote of SEVEN SAMURAI as the greatest action film since THE BIRTH OF A NATION. It looks like an uncaged animal running wild, whereas even in the African safari films of Howard Hawks, the action looks walled and corralled within the frame of the film. Indeed, the frightening power of THE BIRTH OF THE NATION probably had as much to do with its style as its subject. Just like the audience freaked out during George Melies’ "Arrival of a Train" by naively mistaking the train for real, the sheer power of THE BIRTH OF A NATION made it seem as though the KKK on the screen were about to leap into the audience, grab some Negroes, and hang them from the balcony. It done make the Negro flip out if he be foolish to attend a screening.
|A Negro responding to an outdoor screening of THE BIRTH OF A NATION.|
And it was this quality that was so electrifying and thunderous about Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI, the sheer impact of which wasn’t equaled or topped until screens across America were blasted with THE WILD BUNCH. (Arthur Penn’s BONNIE AND CLYDE was only a warmup.) SEVEN SAMURAI was like a giant aquarium that shattered and flooded the audience with fish & water. With THE WILD BUNCH, it was as if the dam burst.(Stanley Kubrick may have felt obligated to top it with all the blood in THE SHINING.) With films like BONNIE AND CLYDE and THE WILD BUNCH, the audience didn’t so much respond to violence ON the screen as FROM the screen. The editing didn’t so much neatly match a series of ‘objective’ shots as frenetically alternate between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ shots. And instead of a steady and logical progression of images, there was an element of syncopation, thus conveying the impression of violence occurring at different levels, paces, and intensities — psychological as well as physical — among the participants. The startling thing about the action scenes of Sergie Eisenstein was how the impersonal progression of violence were inter-cut with the individual & idiosyncratic reactions to them. The famous Odessa Step scene in BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is effective not only for the masterly choreography and steadfast progression of the soldiers marching down and shooting in lockstep but how those elements are juxtaposed and counterposed with the panicked & all-too-human spontaneity of the people who are being mowed down. The diametrically opposed clash(yet also strange fusion) of the faceless troops marching to order and the multi-faced scramble of humanity driven by fright makes for powerful cinema. (The first gun battle in THE WILD BUNCH reverses the emphasis of the Odessa sequence by showing us the faces of the gunmen while rendering faceless most of the civilians caught in the crossfire.) The uniformly mechanical and ruthless advance of soldiers suggest a shared sense of time and place, of ‘objectivity’. They march as one and fire as one. In contrast, their victims all experience time differently, ‘subjectively’. We see how each victim has a unique face and responds to the tragedy in his/her own way. Eisenstein employed the same kind of visual and stylistic dichotomy in the famous battle scene in ALEXANDER NEVSKY that pits the uniformly armored & disciplined troops of the Teutonic Knights against the ragtag Russian warriors whose faces and formations suggest humanity and individuality(rather ironic since the film was made for Stalinist Russia). The great battle scene in SPARTACUS surely borrowed a few cues from Eisenstein.
In the movies of John Ford and even Howard Hawks — though RED RIVER was something of an exception — , action is presented as if seen through the eyes of referees who are untouched by the melee. In contrast, in the films of Elia Kazan, especially VIVA ZAPATA, and Sam Peckinpah, beginning with MAJOR DUNDEE and culminating with THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS, there’s no such refereeing of violence; we see and feel the violence through the players, and the game is played without rules. Thus, the violence isn’t ‘observational’ as in most John Ford movies. Even when brutal things happen in Ford movies, the camera generally maintains a steadfastness and distance from the mayhem. It never need worry being hit with arrow or shot. But in MAJOR DUNDEE and THE WILD BUNCH, it is as if the camera itself, as player than referee, must duck from bullets, run & hide, exert its last ounce of strength to survive, etc. The camera in classic Hollywood movies is like the Tin Man(of THE WIZARD OF OZ)that gets things but doesn’t have a heart. It is a machine and a tool without personality. It watches and records objectively. It was as if the camera that had been like a hungry animal or Frankenstein monster in the Silent Era(and early German and Soviet cinemas) had been tamed, leashed, and turned into a steady and obedient tool. But in the new kind of cinema that developed in the post-war period, the personality of the camera was resurrected; it came alive almost as if it had a heart of its own. It didn’t merely have a steady eye but gained legs and lungs. Consider the sheer power of Roberto Rossellini’s OPEN CITY. It seems as though the camera is part of the partisan movement, fighting, suffering, struggling, spying, and weeping with the participants.
It’s like the how HAL computer of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, though designed and programmed to dutifully serve man, gains a personality and will of its own. Of course, HAL is something far more ‘radical’ since it has gained a mind than a heart. It seeks not participation with but power over humanity.(Kubrick saw himself as a kind of human computer who processes information and possibilities faster and more powerfully than any other director. He might have wondered, what if an artificial-intelligence-film-maker were to work with him on a project? Suppose, instead of aiding and serving Kubrick, the A.I. began to take over and insist that the project should be its?)
THE WILD BUNCH is worth revisiting not only for the usual considerations of story, characters, themes, action, and etc. After all, there were similar movies set along the US-Mexican border. And there have been similar characters, similar conflicts, and similar situations in other films. And as thrilling and exciting as THE WILD BUNCH, there have been many films since with as much or even more action/violence. The reason for the continued fascination with Peckinpah’s film is simple: Everything. Every detail counts in THE WILD BUNCH. Shot by shot, scene by scene, it is an astounding work. Every detail/element has worth in its being apart from whether it has meaning(as motif, metaphor, or symbol). THE WILD BUNCH abounds in what Susan Sontag called the ‘erotics of art’. One can surely ‘read’ or interpret the images of children sitting around a mound of ants and scorpions for symbolism, but even apart such considerations, there is a visceral and poetic power in their presence/presentation alone. Though any film can be open to interpretation, it is the great film that invites interpretation because its elements capture our fascination even before our rational faculties come into play. Impression precedes interpretation.
It’s like the difference between Madeleine and Midge in VERTIGO. Both women can be patiently observed, studied, and analyzed by any man, but it is Madeleine who completely captures Scotty’s fancy to the point where he wants to know her and understand her. It’s no mere dry academic exercise. Though anything or anyone can be observed and studied, people generally fixate on the thing or person that has special power over them, and this power precedes understanding and analysis. And this power is never egalitarian as, for example, beauty is not universal and genius is a rare quality. Most of us don’t know the psychology of why humans appreciate beauty, but we know beauty when we see it. We don’t know the mechanics of humor, but we know what is and isn’t funny.
|Deke Thorton and the Bounty Hunters|
everything that is essential about cinema, at least prior to the rise of CGI.
As with most so-called action movies, much of the screen time of THE WILD BUNCH doesn’t feature action or violence. Like SEVEN SAMURAI, the narrative dwells more on character development, plot twists, tensions within and without the group, and welcome respites from danger. It is nothing like THE ROAD WARRIOR or 300, vast stretches of which offer little else but action and mayhem(though with some impressive results).
It is the rare movie where everything not only comes together but has its own integrity, commanding attention in its own right. Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI is such a film, which is why, despite its length of 3 hrs and 20 min, it never flags. There’s a sense that everything and everyone not only relate to the story but to themselves in ways that has nothing to do with the story. They may be secondary to the story but not subservient to it. They are in the background but not THE background.
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Akira Kurosawa|
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Opening Scene|
|THE WILD BUNCH - Title|
The masterless samurai in Kurosawa’s film are somewhere between the farmers and the bandits. Ideally, samurai are supposed to serve the masters of a clan, but without masters, samurai become ronin, masterless and rootless. Farmers, in contrast, always have land beneath their feet on which they grow food, build homes, and raise families(which is why it is emotionally impossible for some villagers to abandon their homes when the samurai decide that the outlying areas cannot be defended). Farmers, regardless of whether they’re free or not, have meaning in growing food on the land on which they raise families. In contrast, samurai have meaning only insofar as they have someone to serve. (One advantage of Jews was that, even torn from their lands, they always had God to serve.) And as role of samurai is to fight, nothing threatens their existence more than peace. In wars they may die but with meaning and purpose. In peace they may live but lack purpose if they are without a clan. Thus, the samurai wish to belong to a clan, but lacking such, they feel tempted to turn to banditry. Of course, some farmers also feel temptation to become bandits. They could have lost their lands to drought, war, or indebtedness. They could have been driven to desperation by hunger. Or they could have been excited by the prospect of riding around and stealing than toiling from sunup to sundown. As the young son of a honest farmer says in YOJIMBO, "A long life eating gruel -- to hell with that! I'm gonna live it up and die young!" And there is something about Toshiro Mifune’s character in SEVEN SAMURAI that is half-bandit. He was a born a farmer but left the farm, and he wants to be a samurai but hasn’t the pedigree. He has the instincts of a bandit, but something holds him back from joining an outlaw gang.
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Toshiro Mifune|
To be sure, there’s the matter of moral character that some people innately possess more of than others do. While people can be driven to steal in order to survive, many will quit if availed of an honest existence(though the rule may not apply to ghastly Negroes. In contrast, some people revel in thievery and all manner of crookedness that come naturally to them. The samurai of Kurosawa’s film seem to have been born with innately superior moral characters. Even as masterless samurai facing hard times, they prefer not to become marauders and parasites. Indeed, we first see the elder samurai volunteering to save a child being held hostage(a scenario much expanded in HIGH AND LOW).
In some ways, the samurai feel, initially at least, that the mission of defending the village is beneath them. It’s like people who were trained to be doctors or lawyers having to take on lowly jobs — the young doctor initially feels this way in RED BEARD when faced with the prospect of treating the poor, and the businessman in HIGH AND LOW initially resists the idea of sacrificing his money for his chauffeur’s son. Even so, samurai are nothing unless they have something to fight for and defend. Besides, like what Old Man Sykes says at the end of THE WILD BUNCH: "Aint like it used to be, but it’ll do." Samurai are supposed to serve, and the warriors of Kurosawa’s film offer their service toward protecting a village of farmers.
And yet, the situation is rife with contradictions since, being of higher status than the farmers, the samurai are serviced by the farmers as much they serve the farmers. Unlike in a clan in which the samurai would have mere retainers subservient to their lord, the samurai protecting the village become its temporary rulers. It takes time for both sides to adjust to a condition wherein the socially superior samurai are serving the socially inferior farmers who, however, must obey the samurai.
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Farmers|
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Kambei - Takashi Shimura|
THE WILD BUNCH is also very keen on the importance of leadership. Among the Bunch, Pike Bishop’s intelligence, foresight, and fortitude(balanced with pragmatism) are key to keeping them together. Among the bounty hunters, Deke Thornton is the only one with the skills and knowhow to keep the band together in pursuit of the Bunch. Even though the Bunch are merely masquerading as soldiers when they arrive in the town of Starbuck in the opening of the film, there is something genuinely military-like in Pike Bishop’s command over the organization. Though the Bunch freely roams from town to town to rob and steal, they interact on the basis of strict equality since coordination is key to their success, and it is the smarter and more experienced man who has the wherewithal to ‘lead this bunch or end it right now.’
Thus, a certain contradiction exists at the core of their operation. As outlaws, they are like anarchists and mavericks who do as they wish. But like animals of a predatory pack that must carefully coordinate their attacks in order to succeed, there is a sense of hierarchy within the Bunch. It’s like among wolves, there are dominant members and the lesser ones, and each member, more or less, has to know its rank in the overall hierarchy.
If not for Pike Bishop, it’s dubious that the Bunch would stay together for long, especially as the hierarchy isn’t so certain among the rest. Indeed, the biggest threat to the unity of the Bunch comes when Pike falls while mounting his horse. The Gorch brothers mock him as the injured alpha who may be alpha no more — Deke Thornton is similarly taunted and tested by the bounty hunters in the film — , and it is only because Pike manages to get back on the horse and ride on that order and balance are restored.
|Pike Bishop(William Holden) - The Leader of the Pack|
|Mapache(Emilio Fernandez), the Big Man of Agua Verde|
Given the lack of a consistent narrative thread in THE WILD BUNCH, it’s a wonder that it holds together so well. In SEVEN SAMURAI the entire story revolves around a village’s need to defend itself from bandits. Since farmers are not a warring people, they recruit samurai to lead and guide them. And fortunately for the farmers, they find a sterling bunch of samurai, not least because their first recruit, Kambei, a man of courage and decency, sets the template for the others who are inspired by his strengths and virtues. Kambei demonstrates the importance of the guiding hand. Some people are good, some people are bad, and some people are somewhere in the middle. But power and leadership aren’t so much determined by goodness or badness but intelligence, talent, acumen, and other qualities. In a world of untalented good people and talented bad people, bad people will become leaders and as such will set a bad example for the rest of society. Many Jews who run this country are undeniably men of talent, but because of their vileness and lowness of integrity & moral character, their example spreads the rot to everyone else. Much of the world is, of course, like this. Most of the elites and oligarchs in nation after nation tend to be bad men of some talent and cunning. Sadly, intelligence is as prone to badness as well as to goodness because, after all, intelligence is about the ability to calculate risks and assess the right course of action for personal success; intelligent people in a rotten world soon learn that it’s smarter to row along than rock the boat if one wants personal success; worse, they aid and abet the system in promoting the bad as the official good to dupe all the dumb suckers into obedience; indeed, consider how the powers-that-be have convinced so many dumb Americans that ‘gay marriage’ is the New Normal. Even when the intelligent are able to beat the system, they often do so not to build a better world but to fleece the world even more. Consider the powerful men of Kurosawa’s BAD SLEEP WELL, which is especially dark because some of the men sucked into the system aren’t innately evil and even have some measure of decency, but their goodness is distorted into selflessly sacrificing themselves for selfish men above them; their virtue of honor and loyalty is made to serve the vice of greed and cynicism.
|Jordan Belfort, slimeball Jewish leader & corrupter of men.|
“In these very moments, the protocols are being rewritten. Rich Jews are writing them in their own handwriting. They, in their wealth, are confirming with their own signatures what anti-Semites used to slander them with in days gone by: We, the elders of Zion, pull the strings of Congress, and the congressmen are nothing but marionettes who do our will. If they don’t understand our words, they’ll understand our threats. And if in the past, we ran the show from behind the scenes, now we’re doing it openly, from center stage. And if you forget our donations, the wellspring will run dry.”
Because the fullness of talent(backed by will-to-power) rules over lack of talent, there’s always the chance that the bad will rule over the good. It’s like the case in Akira Kurosawa’s BAD SLEEP WELL. Of course, the talented bad will be exposed if it openly acts bad, and so it plays the game of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing and pretends to be good. (On the other hand, as our social mores or lack thereof become more shameless in their vanity, greed, wantonness, excesses, obscenity, and self-centeredness, they could have a spillover effect on abuses in other sectors in life. A society that isn’t offended by the likes of Kim Kartrashian, Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham, and Larry Kramer is likely to be more tolerant of all the lies and filth in government, Wall Street, and journalism. This is why Edward Snowden has to go into hiding while Sabrina Rubin Erdely wasn’t even fired for the journalistic equivalent of Bernie Madoff-ism. We’re living in the age of GONE-GIRL-ism. We also live in a world where materiality has become divorced from morality. Morality should be based on material truth. If I steal $20 from you, the material fact that I took money from you means that I need to make moral amends toward you, not the other way around. For me to steal from you and then demand that you apologize to me would be ridiculous. Morality would be divorced from materiality. Likewise, marriage, a moral institution, needs to be based on the material truth of biology and how it works. The sexual organs of men and women are meant to be complementary, a material fact. The notion of ‘gay marriage’ disassociates morality from materiality by pretending that a man’s anus is as much a sex organ as a woman’s vagina; it pretends that ‘two daddies’ or ‘two mommies’ can ‘have a baby together’. Why do homos get away with such nonsense? Because morality in our ultra-capitalist society is associated primarily with money. It’s like Jews can do anything they want to Palestinians, but most Americans side with Jews because Jews have the prestige via money-ality.) If the talented bad may gain an advantage over the talented good, it’s because the latter sticks to some degree of scruples and principles whereas the former will pull every dirty trick in the book to win. This is why politics is especially slimy. It attracts talented bad characters who play dirty but pretend to be good. In contrast, talented good people don’t want to play dirty, or at least not too dirty. But their scruples make them vulnerable to the talented bad who are absolutely sociopathic in their determination to go to any lengths and pull any amount of dirty tricks to win. This was why Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon were especially loathsome. They had few qualms about playing as dirty as possible — though Nixon’s defenders rationalize that Nixon had to play dirty because the Establishment pulled every dirty trick to undermine him at every turn(whereas it had treated John F. Kennedy, who apparently could do no wrong, with kid gloves). The Founding Fathers of America weren’t necessarily the most honest bunch of men. Their rationale for rebellion against the Mother Country was mostly exaggerated and dishonest. Nevertheless, a new republic couldn’t have hoped for a better bunch of men in terms of talent, foresight, wisdom, and relative goodness(within the realm of politics). It was the few instances in the history of mankind that men who could be said to be the talented good were at the helm in shaping and defining the future of a nation. Indeed, imagine if the founders had been men like Idi Amin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Che Guevara, Huey Long, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Victoria Nuland, Mugabe, Boris Yeltsin, Donald Trump, Eric Holder, and others. The aforementioned persons may have been of some intelligence and talent, but they were low in character and lacking in anything that could be called sanity, judiciousness, and/or virtue. Che Guevara, for example, had some smarts and was genuinely devoted to the Revolution, but he was a sociopath lunatic. Huey Long initially did care about the people(at least according to ALL THE KING’S MEN, the film of the novel based on him which I haven’t read by the way) but succumbed to demagoguery and egomania. In a way, the rise of Jews, homos, and mulattos as the new elites is very troubling in America because all three groups have troubled or dark personalities. Jews are notorious for their pushiness, arrogance, nastiness, resentfulness, and viciousness. Homos are notorious for their snottiness, bitchiness, hissiness, narcissistic, and Tim-Roth-likeness-in-ROB-ROY. Even people with a little bit of Negro blood tend to be shameless, self-centered, and pathological. Worse, because all three groups hide behind the mantle of ‘victim-hood’ they face no social, moral, or political pressure to stare into the mirror at their own foulness. So, we have the likes of Bill Maher, Chris Hughes, and Eric Holder pushing their weight around, pulling every dirty trick in the book, and spreading lies... but acting like members of ‘oppressed minorities’. The old Wasp elites had big flaws and problems, but they were not averse to looking in the mirror and reforming what needed to be reformed about their own power. Would you rather trust Oliver Barrett Sr. in LOVE STORY or Hyman Roth of THE GODFATHER Part II? In the past when Jews, blacks, and homos were made to feel somewhat culturally or morally deficient, they came under some pressure to be a credit-to-their-own-people. Such pressures weren’t entirely fair, but at the very least, it made those communities self-critical and self-reflective. But ever since straight white gentiles were made to surrender all their moral authority in relation to Jews(due to Holocaust cult), blacks(due to slavery cult and cult of MLK), and homocules(due to fancy-pants-whoopsy-doo-colorfulness-cult), those three groups have been running amok with their power-hunger, arrogance, pushiness, and nastiness. Privilege of ‘victim-hood’, or ‘privictimage’ is what’s really destroying this country.
Of course, there have been plenty of talented bad among gentiles. Consider the Nazi elites. Hitler and some of his cohorts were certainly men of some intelligence, talent, vision, and foresight. And initially, they did some good when they had a sense of limits. But as they amassed ever more power, their bad side eventually revealed itself completely and brought ruin on Europe and the white race. It’s too bad Adolf Hitler wasn’t more like Kemal Ataturk. National Socialism might have been a great success. Today, Jews and homos are the new Hitlers of the world, and they never seem to know where or when to stop. Their lusts are insatiable.
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Kambei confronts Kikuchiyo(Mifune)|
|THE WILD BUNCH - Mr. Harrigan(Albert Dekker)|
Though Pike can be likable, even gallant at times, there’s something cold and steely-eyed about him that matches Harrigan’s ruthless drive to get what he wants. When Pike says, "If they move, kill ‘em", it sends chills down our spine because we know he means it — and Crazy Lee later takes it to heart. At times, we can see something of Hitler in him. (Indeed, DOWNFALL makes for an interesting comparison with THE WILD BUNCH because both films are about ‘bad men’ perversely sticking together to the very end in the name of loyalty, honor, and warrior code.) If Harrigan comes across as somewhat more unpleasant, it’s because he’s a bad man with the "law’s arms around him", and in this, he is sort of like Mapache who’s a thief playing at general. On the other hand, Harrigan seems to be serious in ways that Mapache is not. In his own way, Harrigan seems committed to building up the West, making sure that trains run on time, and ensuring the rule of law so that wilderness and outlawry will give way to development and social order. He maybe crooked and on the take, but he nevertheless uses his power to create greater order in the West. In contrast, Mapache seems to revel in craziness and loutishness. Harrigan is a bad gentleman but a gentleman nevertheless. Mapache is a barbarian chieftain in a soldier’s uniform. And this could be why Pike Bishop and Harrigan sort of envy one another. In a way, Bishop wants to be someone like Harrigan. Though an outlaw, he wants the law’s arms around himself; he wants to be a real leader of man, a manager of projects. Indeed, he’s the master strategist of the Bunch, and even Dutch, the virtually the second-in-command, generally defer to Pike. Indeed, at one point, Pike says: "I caught up with them. Two or three times. There was a man named Harrigan. He used to have a way of doing things. I made him change his ways. And a hell of a lot of people just can't stand being wrong."
two tycoons Ian Straun and Quillan Gornt in NOBLE HOUSE. As much as they hate one another and want to destroy one another, they know they need one another to keep sharp and competitive.) We get the impression that Pike may have nursed bigger ambitions than mere outlawry.
But there could be an element of envy on Harrigan’s part for Pike as well. Harrigan is a big man, an established figure, but he also has to do a lot of pencil pushing and waiting around. He cannot ride around freely like Pike does. He has a noticeable paunch, and he seems less impressive as a specimen of manhood than the tall & lean Pike Bishop and Deke Thornton. Harrigan surely knows how to use a gun — he takes part in the first shootout — , but he usually ‘hires his killings’. It gives him a sense of power, but he must know that he isn’t respected as man of direct action. Outlaws are robbers and killers, but they put their necks on the line like soldiers do. Harrigan, in contrast, is like a commander who gives orders but usually doesn’t risk his neck; he’s like the generals in PATHS OF GLORY.
|The passion of Angel. And you thought Tuco had it bad at the hands of Angel Eyes in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.|
|"Just five cents a glass. Does anyone think that's really the price of a drink?"|
The idea of outlawry seems the polar opposite of moral sanctimony(of, say, the gathering of the Temperance Union), and Dutch snickers when he hears the marching sounds of the Union singing "We Shall Gather at the River", but in some ways, the outlaw Bunch have to be even more disciplined and mindful at times than law-abiding folks do. Ordinary people can usually take it easy and go through the routines of everyday life. They go to work, return home, and sleep in a warm bed. They take security for granted. In contrast, the Bunch are constantly on the move and don’t know what will happen next. So, in order to stick together, they must be bound by some kind of honor code. Without such, they can easily fall apart and go separate ways or end up killing one another, as nearly happens when Angel rankles the much agitated Gorch brothers and when Tector Gorch(Ben Johnson), in a fit of rage, decides to ‘get rid of’ Old Man Sykes.
|Tector tries to get rid of Sykes.|
|Teresa the whore with her sugar daddy Mapache.|
|Teresa(Sonia Amelio) tells Angel(Jaime Sanchez) to get lost.|
|Susan George in STRAW DOGS: She likes it! She likes it!|
|"Ain't your woman no more." Teresa goes with Big Man Mapache.|
|TAXI DRIVER - Travis Bickle - Todd's Lonely Man|
There’s also the death of serious culture of canons and classics. If members of a family are well-read and knowledgeable of the classics, they’ll have something in common in the shared appreciation of, say, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Beethoven, Brahms, Michelangelo, and etc. Grandparents may remember 40s pop culture, parents might remember 60s pop culture, children might remember 80s pop culture, and their children might enjoy pop culture today, but they may all share something in their appreciation of serious culture. Pop culture and fashion come and go, and each generation has its own ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ stuff. But the classics last, and it is the appreciation of the great classics, along with the knowledge of the history of one’s people, that provides common bonds across the generations. But today, many kids go to college and indulge in nothing but pop culture, as if they can’t get enough pop culture from TV, movies, and the internet. Therefore, little unity and understanding are found across the generations, a real pity.
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Something to live and die for.|
|Peasants of SEVEN SAMURAI|
Samurai can have a stable life with family and property only if they are secure in pride, and that means having to serve somebody. In the American West with all that land, anyone could stake some territory and be the lord of his domain. In feudal Japan where all the land had long been claimed by the various powerful clans, a samurai could only serve one of the established powers. Thus, a samurai was man of both immense pride and insecurity. His status as a member of the warrior provided him with all sorts of privileges. And yet, unless he could secure a lord to serve, he was like a homeless drifter, indeed even lower than a peasant for he had no certain place in the world. Perhaps, this acute sense of shame among men of honor is one reason why suicide came to be accepted as legitimate in Japan. When a man of immense pride couldn’t live a life of honor, what was there for him to do but remove himself from the world? If he hadn’t been burdened with such pride of caste, he could have just settled for something else in life. But to be born a samurai meant that you were special, a member of the warrior god race. So, it wasn’t easy for a masterless samurai to swallow his pride and be something else. In the film SEPPUKU(aka HARAKIRI) by Masaki Kobayashi, we are shown the psycho-social cost of pride in an uncertain world. Some of this lingers in modern Japan, as shown in quiet desperation of men who lose their jobs in TOKYO SONATA and DEPARTURES, where a classically trained musician loses his job and makes a living handling dead bodies, something deemed lowly and dirty in a nation where cleanliness is next to godliness. (The final scene of DEPARTURES surely takes some cues from the ending of SIXTH SENSE. Stone and the ring). But then, given that everyone dies and must be disposed of, why should there be any shame associated with the business of funerals? The Japanese discrimination against the so-called ‘burakumin’ — people whose ancestry has been linked with the ‘unclean’ skinning and tanning of animal parts — is less ‘racial’ than cultural. Full acceptance of the Burakumin subverts the primacy of purity as a core essence of Japanese spirituality. So, it’s not so much the Burakumin themselves but what they stand for that threatens the Japanese Way. Though handling dead people isn’t the same as handling dead animals, it too carries a stigma due to the nature of what’s involved. When Japanese were mostly peasants, they could just bury their dead family members in the soil on which they lived or cremate the bodies according to Buddhism. In more extreme cases, there were something like the death ritual in THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA. But today’s Japanese in cities obviously can’t do that, so there is no organic or clean option left for modern people in dealing with the dead. Thus, an industry specializing in the handling of dead people have, and since it all does it is deal with dead people, it may have taken on a stigma not unlike what the Burakumin once had.
Anyway, the reason why the samurai decide to help out the village in SEVEN SAMURAI isn’t only about good deeds. It’s their desire to have something to live for. In playing the role of guardians of the village, they gain a measure of pride even if it’s nothing like membership in a great clan. On the other hand, it is more special because they get to play the role of warrior-lords over the farmers, whereas they would merely be warrior-servants in a clan. So, even as Kambei and the other samurai are eager to defeat the bandits and bring the fight to an end, victory isn’t reassuring to them because they’ll be rendered without a purpose once again. This is perhaps why Yukio Mishima argued that the concept of the Emperor was so absolutely essential to Japan. Not because Mishima believe in any of that stuff about the royal family being descended from the Sun gods but because it was through the Emperor that all Japanese felt united as a racial, cultural, and spiritual family on the sacred island of Japan. That way, whether Japan was at war or at peace, whether Japan was in a state of stability or transformation, there would be a sense of unity and continuity both horizontally through social space and vertically through time. During times of peace, people are liable to get bored and apathetic. Yet, if they feel as part of a holy race related to the Emperor, their lives will continue to have special meaning. And during times of rapid change, when it’s so easy to become lost in the all the tumult & upheaval and forget who you & your people are, the Emperor would remind everyone that he or she is still a member of a special race on the sacred soil of one’s ancestors.
Perhaps on a subconscious level, the Bunch later become especially sensitive about the fate of Angel because they’d visited his village, the paradisiacal images of which may have lingered in their minds. Furthermore, the village gave them quite a welcome despite its own impoverishment, especially after Mapache’s men had swept through like a plague of locusts. Also, the fact that Angel sacrificed his share of the gold from the train robbery to help out the village and the fact that he didn’t rat on the bunch after being captured by Mapache make his ordeal harder to shake off than what happened with other members of the Bunch who were killed in the opening gun battle. Also, even though Angel is the only Mexican in the Bunch, he’s been square with them. When the Gorches taunted Pike Bishop after the first failed robbery, Angel stood by the Jefe, Pike Bishop.
|Lyle and Tector Gorch not happy with 'sharing up'.|
|Ernest Borgnine as Dutch.|
Indeed, Dutch could be said to be the only person who wins an argument with Pike in the film. Pike is easily able to outwit, outshout, or out-stare the not-too-bright Gorches. He persuades grief-stricken Angel to ‘learn to live with it’ at the village — though the life of the Bunch is rough and dangerous, Angel finds it more therapeutic than sticking around the village and feeling sorry for himself. And when Angel stubbornly refuses to go along on the train heist, Pike, with the help of Dutch, turns him around by offering one case of rifles and one case of ammunition in exchange for Angel’s share of the gold. Usually whenever the Bunch get into an argument or a jam, it is Pike who usually saves the day or comes out on top. When Mapache sends his men to take the guns from the Bunch without paying, it is Pike, having had the foresight of rigging the wagon with dynamite, who convinces the Mexican ‘officer’ to back down and go tell Mapache to keep up his end of the bargain. Even in the argument with Deke Thornton in the flashback, Pike gets the upperhand by assuring his friend that they’re safe and have nothing to worry about, a grave mistake as Thornton is soon captured while Pike makes the getaway.
But in his shouting match with Dutch, Pike doesn’t come out on top. He won’t back down but neither will Dutch. Not that Dutch is right about Deke Thornton. He doesn’t know the history between Pike & Deke and only thinks of Deke as a turncoat siding with the law to save his own skin. When Dutch yells, "Damn that Deke Thornton"(possibly with some jealousy over the fact that Bishop, whom Dutch admires, still considers Thornton to be his dearest friend), Pike defends Thornton with, "What would you do? He gave his word." Dutch counters with, "To the railroad!" whereupon Pike glares back and shouts, "It’s his word", whereupon Dutch gets the last word with, "That’s not what counts. It’s who you give it to." It’s not so much that Dutch is right and Pike is wrong. In a way, both are right, at least depending on what one knows of Deke Thornton and the situation they’re faced with. It’s true that Thornton betrayed the Bunch, but he got caught only because of Pike’s cocksure arrogance. Though Pike, in saving his own skin, didn’t necessarily betray the rule of the outlaw(who is ultimately about serving himself), his assurance of authority cost his friend dearly. Pike’s guilt regarding Thornton — something Dutch knows nothing about — compels him to defend him. He knows it’s not a simple case of betrayal. As for Dutch who is saddened and moved by Angel who ‘played his strings right to the end’, he can only see Thornton as a traitor who caved under pressure, and he’s especially enraged because Ole Man Sykes was just felled by one of the bounty hunters.
The relationship between Deke Thornton and Pike Bishop(and even Ole Man Sykes) is multi-layered and contradictory. Like the James Coburn character in PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, Thornton is loaded with a job he doesn’t want to carry out. He doesn’t want to capture or kill his friend Pike. And yet, he fears being sent back to prison. Also, there’s an element of personal resentment if not revenge because it was Pike’s carelessness that got him caught in the first place. So, a part of him wants to strike back at Pike and get even, but another part of him keeps his distance. In the first gun battle, Thornton at one point had a clean shot at Pike but hesitated. When Ole Man Sykes is shot, Thornton manages to persuade the bounty hunters to forget about him and chase after the Bunch. It’s his way of giving Sykes, an old pal, a second chance.
|Sam Peckinpah with Edmund O'Brien as Old Man Sykes|
In a way, the ambiguity and dualism of friend/enemy reflected Peckinpah’s own paranoia and his irascible personality that often had problems telling friends apart from enemies.
One striking feature of Peckinpah’s films is how the core conflict isn’t so much about us vs them as about the dissensions within the ‘us’. The core conflict in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is really between the two old men even though they are on the same side. The Hammond brothers pose a physical threat, but there’s a ‘spiritual’ conflict between Steve Judd(Joel McCrea) and Gil Westrum(Randolph Scott). And we’re never sure how things will turn out between the Charlton Heston character and Richard Harris character in MAJOR DUNDEE. And in BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, Hogue manages to alienate his friend and his lover, losing them both, and then dying when they return. In STRAW DOGS, the central conflict is as much between the Dustin Hoffman character and his wife as about his struggle against the local thugs.
In THE GETAWAY, Steve McQueen’s character finds it difficult to forgive his wife who’d betrayed him. In BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, a major rift happens between Benny(Warren Oates) and his woman when he demands that she take him to the grave of Alfredo Garcia so he remove his head as trophy. KILLER ELITE is about a friend betraying a friend by choosing professional duty over personal loyalty. Perhaps THE CROSS OF IRON dramatically suffers from the lack of such a tortured dichotomy between friend/enemies. James Coburn’s Steiner is pretty much a stand-alone guy, and none of the side characters played by actors of varying nationalities amount to memorable personalities. Coburn has no one to interact with. There is the grand villain in Maximillian Schell’s Stransky, but he’s off to the side posturing pompously as a Prussian Harrigan with the law’s arms around him. There is no emotional connection or conflict between Steiner and Stransky that matches the emotional tensions and psychological complexities found in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, MAJOR DUNDEE, THE WILD BUNCH, KILLER ELITE, and etc. OSTERMAN WEEKEND, Peckinpah’s last film, is a return to form with its memorable friend/enemy dynamics between Rutger Hauer’s character and Craig T. Nelson’s character.
Anyway, it isn’t easy to pinpoint as to why the Bunch finally decide to go after Angel. For example, when Dutch returns from Agua Verde without Angel — now captive of Mapache — , he argues they must do something. But Lyle Gorch says there’s nothing they can do about it since Mapache has two hundred men and too many guns. Pike agrees with Lyle and sighs, "No way." And as upset as Dutch is about Angel’s condition, he must know the others are right. The men stand around waiting for Sykes to return with the horses, and if Sykes had made it back, it’s possible that they would have driven off and left Angel behind. But just then, Sykes is ambushed by Thornton’s bounty hunters and hit on the leg. This forces Pike to make a decision. He can take on Thornton and the bounty hunters and try to save Sykes. But he doesn’t want to face or kill Thornton. Out of shame and guilt, he wants to avoid any kind of confrontation with him. Pike cannot overcome the guilt of having fled and leaving Thornton behind to be caught. (To be sure, in that instant, there was nothing Pike could do but save his own skin. But like the character in LORD JIM, he feels the guilt of the ‘coward’. In the West with its codes of warrior honor, such things do matter.) Ironically, in avoiding a confrontation with Thornton, Pike does to Sykes what he’d done to Thornton. He leaves Sykes behind at the mercy of bounty hunters. (On the other hand, maybe Pike meant to help Sykes by riding off, thereby drawing Thornton and the bounty hunters away from Sykes in pursuit of the Bunch.) At that point, Pike could have just taken off on his own, but he knows Thornton and his gang will keep on pursuing him. He’s tired of running, but then, he’s not keen on risking everything to save Angel either. His decision to go to Agua Verde has less to do with trying to save Angel than finding respite from Thornton’s relentless pursuit of him. Pike isn’t afeared of Thornton and the bounty hunters for their skill with guns — if anything, the Bunch are much better gunmen than the bounty hunters who are seen as worthless by Thornton, who wishes to be with the Bunch whom he calls ‘real men’. Rather, Pike is ashamed of the prospect of coming face to face with Thornton because there is something of J’Accuse in Thornton’s haunting shadow. Pike figures that as long he takes the Bunch to Agua Verde, they can have a moment of respite before figuring on what to do next. But in fact, Pike is caught between a rock and a hard place, between Charybdis and Scylla. Not in an life-and-death manner. In a fair firefight, the Bunch have a good chance of defeating the bounty hunters. As for Mapache, he’s happy with the guns, throwing a fiesta, and has no ill-will toward the Bunch. The crisis is really personal and existential, especially in the mind of Pike Bishop; and THE WILD BUNCH is essentially the psycho-drama of Pike Bishop whose inner torments steer the direction of the action. Though Pike rationalizes all his actions to the Bunch and postures as the most intelligent and objective member of the gang, his decisions are as driven by issues of psychology as of strategy. It is no different with his decision to return to Agua Verde. Unless one understands how he feels about Deke Thornton — something only Sykes understands — , one could be mistaken into believing that Pike is only trying to be calculating and rational. It’s like libertarians always pretend like they are all about reason, logic, and objective strategy, but they are, as often as not, driven by personal and psychological issues, much of which is subconscious. It’s like Jewish Liberals and Homocules pretend to be all about ‘equality’, reason, and rule of law, but they cleverly twist those concepts to serve their own interests and agendas. It’s like Ayn Rand couldn’t really be trusted as an objective thinker. Everyone claims to be for objectivity and equal/universal application of the law for everyone, but they find subtle ways to deviate from the golden rule in so many ways. Christians especially became masters at this because of the huge discrepancy between what they preached and what they actually did.
It is finally upon seeing Angel’s battered face and mangled body that Pike begins to feel a change of heart. Especially as Angel has been tortured, Pike could subconsciously be reminded of Thornton’s ordeal at the hands of Harrigan’s men. Pike knows Thornton better than anyone else does, and he must know the only reason Thornton is riding for the Railroad is because he was broken under pressure. (The Bunch’s animosity to the Railroad is also interesting. As white men who ventured westward in the name of progress — against ‘red savages’ — , the Bunch can’t be entirely against the idea of civilization. After all, they use guns, and Pike especially seems fascinated with machines and stuff like automobiles and machine guns. He even knows something about airplanes. He’s kept up with the news as best he could. Then, why this animus against the Railroad? It seems personal than political or social. It’s like many conservatives have nothing against high-tech and media, but they see Silicon Valley and Hollywood as the enemy since the movers of those empires are out to destroy white conservative nationalist America. For Pike, the Railroad is synonymous with men like Harrigan, and during the train heist he takes special delight in sending the locomotive back to slam into the train compartments left behind. In the West, many people appreciated the railroad, but they hated ‘Railroad Men’ who gained tremendous power and used their clout to gain political and economic power over entire regions. Same kind of animosity existed against bankers during the Great Depression, as exemplified in BONNIE AND CLYDE.) Seeing Angel up close all beaten and bloodied, a crisis unfolds in Pike’s heart. In the first battle, some members of the Bunch got shot and left behind. In the heat of the moment, it was every man for himself. So, the lucky ones rode out from Starbuck as fast as possible. There was no time to save anyone who was shot or left behind. Among one of the survivors is a man who got shot in the face. Eventually, he falls off the horse and pleads with Pike that he can ride even though he can’t see. Deep down inside he knows it’s over, but the animal life force within him fears death and wants to ride on. And yet, the unbearable pain must also make him long for death’s release. Out of mercy and cold-blooded necessity, Pike shoots him dead — like what Willard does to the Vietnamese woman in APOCALYPSE NOW. It’s significant that the man’s bloody face is covered by his hand. It makes it easier for Pike and us to see him shot dead. Few things are harder to take than the sight of a dying man’s face. But when Pike sees the bloodied face of Angel at Agua Verde, he can’t just look away. It’s bruised & swollen and feebly stares back at Pike. Angel continues to ‘play his strings right to the end’ by not ratting out the Bunch. Pike cannot even kill him in mercy like he did with the wounded man in the early part of the film. It might not have been so bad if Mapache had just executed Angel. Instead, Mapache keeps Angel alive and toys with him like a cat with a mouse. It’s possibly even worse than what Thornton got in Yuma at the hands of Harrigan. But if Thornton broke, Angel refuses to break and keeps his silence.
The dramatic impact of Dutch and Pike coming around to go after Angel is a testament to the power of direction. Had THE WILD BUNCH been directed by a lesser director, it would have been an entirely different film. Ten different versions of a solid script directed by ten different hacks might be more or less similar, ranging from passable to good, but it takes a great director to transform it into a singular vision. And few directors were as good as Peckinpah with the Uncertainty Principle, which is why his films are racked with so much tension. Until something actually happens, we aren’t certain it will happen. If Hitchcock was the Master of Suspense, Peckinpah was the Master of Intense.
Compare Alfonso Arau’s dreadful direction of the screenplay of MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS with Orson Welles’ version. Same script, wholly different results. Despite the importance of script/writing — so many egomaniacal ‘auteurs’, including Peckinpah, faltered at times by neglecting its full significance — , it is only a suggestion — indeed, not even a blueprint — that must be turned into a statement by the director of vision. Some directors drastically change the original material, as Kubrick did with THE SHINING, but even if the director were to stick with every word of the script, his own vision will shine through the expressive means of cinema. Peckinpah couldn’t touch the scripts of DEADLY COMPANIONS and THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND, but they are no less distinctly his than his other films in which he had a hand in the writing. It’s like a musical performer can play every note of the composition but make it uniquely his by variations in mood, rhythm, intonation, and mood. After all, the director’s primary pen is the camera. Of course, strikingly different great/interesting films can be made from the same basic script/material by talented directors. Consider the three different versions of the BODY SNATCHERS scenario by Don Siegel, Philip Kaufman, and Abel Ferrara. Both L’APPARTEMENT and WICKER PARK are remarkable films. And Kubrick would surely have made interesting versions of BLADE RUNNER, MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, and SOLARIS. It would be foolish to say that a good script could have been made into a great film by only one director. What is difficult to argue with is the role of the great director in the creation of film of visionary power. A good enough director — even a talented hack — can turn a solid script into an excellent film if the material is essentially plot-and-actor-centric. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS is a fantastic film but essentially an actors’ exercise. It only needed an intelligent director to expertly handle the material and get out of the way so actors could carry the weight. But a script for something like THE WILD BUNCH or BLADE RUNNER call for visionary input on the part of director who must do something more than handle the material; he must give it shape and body.
They’d rather deal with slogans like ‘Stand with Israel’(from the GOP) and ‘Work for Peace’(from American Liberals). Neither side wants to take a cold hard look at what happens to Palestinians who’ve been dehumanized as ‘less evolved’ ‘Muzzie’ savages who aren’t deserving of the kind of sympathy reserved for Jews, homos, and Negroes(at least the jigro-jivers in the West because, after all, even most Liberals don’t care about all the black Africans who’ve been raped and murdered in black Africa). And there are so many ways we can look the other way. Indeed, we do it all the time through mental repression. As horrible stuff depresses us, we repress horrible memories by fixating on funny stuff, pop culture, hanging with friends, and etc.
And in life and art, we prefer death to be quick and easy. So, we don’t have to worry about all those Indians shot in John Ford movies since they die so neatly. They got shot, fall off the horse, die instantly, and disappear altogether like zapped targets in a video-game. And this goes for most soldiers in war movies and action movies too. And this seems to be the case with the first shootout in THE WILD BUNCH. Those who get shot really get shot and pretty much die on the spot. But then, Peckinpah dwells on the consequences of the violence by showing the bounty hunters T.C. and Coffer hovering over dead bodies like vultures. Dead bodies don’t just vanish; they have to be picked up off the ground and buried.
|Pike's 'mercy killing' or 'hog killing'?|
|BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA - the lingering dead.|
|Penelope Cruz in THE COUNSELOR: Soon headed for the garbage dump.|
|SEVEN SAMURAI - Kyuzo readying to kill with maximum efficiency.|
|Ants devouring a scorpion in THE WILD BUNCH.|
Though Kurosawa dealt with many shades of suffering and death prior to RED BEARD, it is with that film that the difficulty of suffering and death are the central themes, indeed even to the point of being archly didactic. Ironically, one could even argue that the hospital run by the humanitarian elder doctor prolongs suffering by taking care of patients who might have died earlier and quicker. And yet, civilization is about mankind taking care of mankind, and if people are indifferent to the suffering of others in the way that animals are to other animals, humans would be no better than animals. And yet, the burden should ideally be shared, which is why everyone, even the sick, pitches into help and do what he/she can in RED BEARD. Humanism fails under the weight of welfare-ism that allows and even encourages too many people to declare themselves ‘victims’ and demand that others take care of them while they themselves feel zero sense of obligation to the rest of humanity. A fat ‘poor’ American eats more in a single day than an entire family in a week in some parts of the world, but she feels no compunction to share her pig-out meal with others; she just demands more freebies for herself because by the exorbitant standards of American wealth, she is ‘poor’, and that makes her a ‘victim’.
Paradoxically, the world of RED BEARD is, in some ways, bleaker than the violent worlds in films like SEVEN SAMURAI, THE LOWER DEPTHS, THRONE OF BLOOD, and HIDDEN FORTRESS. In a world of constant turmoil and bloodshed, the mind focuses on win or lose, live or die, fight or flight. But in RED BEARD, there’s only life and its myriad ways of suffering as it gradually surrenders to death. When the Mifune character is shot in SEVEN SAMURAI, he heroically surges forward and kills the bandit chieftain before collapsing and dying. It’s sad, but one can say he died like a man and even found redemption. But suppose he’s just a sick person wasting away in a clinic, growing feebler and sicker by the day, with death approaching with unbearable levels of pain, and even when he loses consciousness, his body still goes on breathing until it finally gives out. This is the sort of thing we don’t want to experience in life and don’t want to see in life. And so, naturally, we don’t want to see it in films either. But RED BEARD shows it to us. And perhaps Kurosawa was drawn to the story of KING LEAR as the basis for RAN because the old man isn’t snuffed out with merciful death. Instead, he keeps living on and on as the world collapses all around him. (In KAGEMUSHA, the lord soon dies from the gunshot wound, but his double carries on in state that is neither life nor death.) By the time he finally dies, he’d suffered all manner of emotional and psychological duress. Indeed, the most terrible moment for the old lord was when he couldn’t find a sword with which to kill himself. His curse is remaining alive. Life has its joys but continues even after the last flicker of happiness goes out. Is there any point to a ‘fire’ without flames?
In RED BEARD, there’s some degree of comfort in the shared caring that the personnel and patients feel for one another. But then, suffering comes in many shades, and some are harder to assuage than others. One of the patients seems to go the extra mile to help others, but it could be he’s exposing himself to more stress because he secretly nurses a death wish. Finally, on his deathbed, he confesses his tragic love for a woman whose death has haunted him ever since. Though surrounded by patients overcome with sympathy, his mind had really been on nothing else but the woman. A diabolical variation of such a death wish is the revenge plot of Lady Kaeda in RAN. Her soul died when her clan was destroyed by the Ichimonji clan. Her only wish had been to be reunited with her father and brothers in hell, and she goes about doing it by nudging the feebler-willed minds of her husband and his younger brother toward war and destruction. To destroy the world, one need not bother with the world itself. Just toy with the egos of those with the power, and everything else will follow.
|RED BEARD - Facing Death|
|RAN - Facing Death|
It’s like the scene in SANDS OF IWO JIMA when John Wayne’s character knows there’s nothing he can do to save a wounded American soldier crying for help. And ‘Cowboy’ in FULL METAL JACKET orders his men not to rescue a fallen soldier because more men will fall to the sniper. When Pike defended Sykes, he was really defending the enterprise than Sykes per se(though there are personal reasons too, as both men have a history together). The Bunch need to operate on the basis of trust. But this can only go so far. Every member also needs to understand that if the Bunch must choose between the whole and the one, the whole must taken precedence. If the Bunch go to save Angel, they could all be wiped out, and what’s the point of that? There’s a useful limit to loyalty and camaraderie. Indeed, what happens in BLACK HAWK DOWN when a bunch of US soldiers try to rescue a single soldier? More US soldiers get drawn in and get captured and/or killed. And what happens in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? In the name of saving one soldier, a whole bunch of other soldiers end up getting killed.
In a way, it’s oddly fitting that Pike returned to Agua Verde to run from Thornton because it’s Pike’s coming face-to-face with Angel’s sad state that forces his subconscious, if not his conscious self, to comes to terms with what happened to Deke Thornton. Pike had been running from the truth, but staring at the sorry sight of Angel, he can’t hide from himself anymore. He’s been running and hiding from Thornton, but he can no longer hide from his own guilt and shame. Indeed, it is when we can’t hide from ourselves that a crisis erupts within us. It’s like Diane Selywn in MULHOLLAND DR. creates an elaborate myth to hide from herself but is finally unable to run from the truth of what really happened. It’s like how Bernard in MURIEL is ultimately confronted with the fact that he too had taken part in the torture and death of the Algerian girl. For Pike, Angel serves as a kind of an angled mirror that reflnects the accusing face of Thornton. When Diane Selywn can no longer hide within herself from herself, there’s only the gun left to blow her brains out with — like what Guido does at the press conference at the end, though it too turns out to be another layer of fantasy. When Pike can no longer hide from himself, he too must turn to the gun to settle all scores. Not just with Mapache but with himself. And perhaps Deke Thornton understood this aspect of why Pike did what he did at the end. Though Thornton watched the gun battle from afar though a binocular, he might have sensed that, in a strange way, Pike was doing it for him as for whatever other reason. Pike was taking a stand than running, something he failed to do when Thornton got caught. So, when Deke Thornton takes the gun from Pike’s holster, there’s a kind of peace between them.
In KAGEMUSHA, it is of utmost importance to the clan to convince everyone that lord Shingen is alive because he is a much respected figure not only by own his subjects but his enemies. It’s all the more essential because the alternative is rule by Shingen’s unwise and hotheaded son.
In HIGH AND LOW, Mifune’s character is a successful businessman, but unless he does the right thing, he will lose the respect of the public, and his business will suffer. He has to ‘murder’ his business because respect is more important. Even his self-respect is incumbent on the respect of others, not least the good cops who are doing their best. And indeed, it’s their respect for the businessman that inspires them to work extra diligently to capture the criminal.
|MAJOR DUNDEE - Not easy to earn and keep respect.|
Also, can’t respect be bought? James Watson deserves far more respect than a lowlife charlatan like Stephen Jay Gould, but the powers-that-be bestowed the glow of respect on Gould while dumping opprobrium on Watson even though Watson spoke honestly and truthfully. In THE FOUNTAIN, the public have more respect for the likes of Peter Keating than for individuals like Howard Roark. For most people, ‘respect’ comes with a price tag. It’s because the oligarchs of Wall Street, Hollywood, Las Vegas, and etc. poured so much money into the ‘gay agenda’ that a monstrosity like ‘gay marriage’ became ‘respectable’ whereas standing up for true marriage became ‘evil’.
Though Steve Judd of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is very much a man of reality, he is a Don Quixote of morality because he goes on believing that honor and morality will allow him to ‘enter his house justified’. But which house? Of reality or fantasy? He is, after all, just a drifter. In contrast, his friend Gil Westrum believes himself to see reality for what it is(he’s gone to the other extreme and has become the Don Quixote of utter cynicism that is as delusional as is idealism). Everyone is on the take. Everyone looks out for himself. Everyone lies and cheats for his share of the pie. In a world of thieves, why not be a thief oneself? In a world that ignores and forgets its heroes, why be heroic and stick one’s neck out for principles that no one really practices? Westrum is correct to the extent that the Judd is a man worthy of respect but a man without respect. The real world doesn’t respect men like him because they have nothing, and as Billy Preston sang, "nothing from nothing leaves nothing, you gotta have something if you wanna be with me." It’s like the world of DOCTOR ZHIVAGO is more amenable to men like Komarovsky the opportunist and manipulator than to men like Strelnikov(the pure revolutionary) or Zhivago(the romantic poet). In reality, it’s the Komarovskys of the world who get the respect(for their means if not for their character, and it’s the means that decide the power, indeed even the reputation). It’s men like Harrigan who are given the glass key to the city. It’s men like the corrupt rich in BAD SLEEP WELL who win honors as the builders and shakers. In truth, ‘ireality’ beats ‘ideality’. For those with power, wealth, and/or connections who are in the ‘game’, it makes sense to choose the reality of power over the ideals of principle. After all, it doesn’t matter how good a person is. It’s the winning politician who has people kissing the rings on his fingers. Pat Buchanan may be worthy of more respect than George W. Bush and Ted Cruz, but it’s Bush and Cruz who got elected to higher office. It’s the winning businessman who can buy friends and favors. It’s the Hollywood box office kings who get to keep making money while box office failures, no matter how good they are, must struggle to make another picture.
And those with privilege and wealth have too much to lose for them to favor principles over power. It’s like the rich guy inTHE FOUNTAINHEAD can’t take it any more and just folds before the unrelenting force of public opinion driven by others more devious and savvy than even him.
If the opportunistic can buy official respect(or ‘reputation’) with their wealth, the principled possess priceless kind of respect — at least in theory. In the end, that is what Kingo Gondo, the character of HIGH AND LOW, has for himself. He lost his business and is starting all over again. But he has the self-respect of a man who did the right thing. Likewise, Pike Bishop can go with the honey or with honor. But then, even if he goes off with the gold, he must know he can never be a ‘respected’ man like Harrigan. It’s like Dutch’s rebuke when he said he’d like to make one good score and then to back off: "Back off to what?" Pike chose the life of an outlaw. He’s an aging bandit, and the times have changed, and it ain’t what it used to be. He can keep robbing til he drops or turns into someone like Ole Man Sykes. Or he can ‘back off’ to some nothing-of-a-life. But, he will never be a ‘man of respect’ like Harrigan. Then, the only way he can best Harrigan(and Mapache) is to prove to himself that, when push came to shove, he chose honor above all. His only way to ‘enter his house justified’ is to go after Angel. He must save Angel or must die trying to save or avenge him.
"Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose." It’s what keeps the anti-hero of COOL HAND LUKE doing what he keeps doing. He has nothing in the world but his chilled pride, and he keeps risking everything to retain the respect of his inmates by showing that he never compromises or breaks. Paradoxically, he cares that others are convinced that he doesn’t care.
"I don’t care but I care that you must believe that I don’t care." This contradictory pride is the only hope he lives for.
|EXCALIBUR - Perceval's Last Hope|
Of course, future memory is dependent on the storytellers as events don’t tell their own stories. It’s like what Buliwyf says in THE 13TH WARRIOR: "A man might be thought wealthy if someone were to draw the story of his deeds, that they may be remembered." And there would be no story of the Trojan War if not for men like Homer. There would be no story of King David if not for the Jewish writers of the Torah. And there would no Arthurian legends if not for the authors of the tale. Artists are absolutely crucial in that regard. Narrative art is a form of power that glorifies/sanctifies certain historical events. This is why Jews and Negroes revile D.W. Griffith. His THE BIRTH OF A NATION mythologized the proud and heroic white men who united to save their race, culture, and land from ghastly Negroes whose natural instinct was to whup white boys and take white women.
|D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION|
|John Boorman's EXCALIBUR|
On the other hand, there’s no doubt that the KKK turned ugly and foul, but then such corruption are all-too-common in politics. Consider Neo-Conservatism. Initially, it introduced new ideas to the American conservative movement, and the movement produced its share of first-rate thinkers and strategists. But in time, as Neocons and their fatted-calf sons and daughters gained near-total power in American Conservatism Inc., they’ve used their power to wreak havoc all over the globe, leading to 100,000s, if not millions, of deaths in the Middle East. Indeed, when it comes to piling up dead bodies — even of women and children — , the KKK has nothing on the vile Neocons. The recent Jewish War on Russia is also a Neo-con affair though with the backing of Liberal Zio-globalists. Neocons are now far worse than what became of the KKK. It’s run by sociopathic war-mongers like Victoria Nuland and her hideous cronies. It is funded by lunatics like Sheldon Adelson who says Iran should be nuked even though it has no nukes(while Israel has 200 illegal nukes). And look at the sheer scale of slaughter in Gaza by the Zionist Jews who whoop and holler with joy at the sight of thousands of Palestinian women and children being blown to shreds. So, before Jews bitch about the evil KKK, they should look in the mirror and admit that Jewish-American power has created hell-on-earth all around the world. Indeed, whatever evils the KKK might have committed, they were all within the America, mostly in corners of the South, but even those were usually in retaliation against Negro violence and thuggery.
Anyway, the Arthurian legends and stuff like BEOWULF exist only because ‘artists’ heard and/or read about them, passed them down through oral or written tradition. Without the storytellers, there is no story. Imagine Christianity without the Gospels. This is why the Right, if it is to gain power, must produce the storytellers who provide the stories that lionize their own kind while vilifying the hideous Jews and ghastly Negroes. Negroes have rappers who tell their side of the story. Negroes have white Liberals and Jew funding stuff like 12 YEARS A SLAVE and DJANGO UNCHAINED. They lionize themselves while vilifying white folks. And since those are the only kinds of stories around, even white kids imbibe them and identify with the enemy. It’s like American Indian kids used to watch Westerns and cheer for the white cowboys shooting at and killing the red folks. Since white folks made the Westerns, the narrative glorified whites and degraded the ‘red savages’(though not as much as some folks have charged). Since American Indians didn’t have storytellers to write the novels and make the movies, even their children came under the influence of the White Narrative. But today, whites are not allowed to make stories of their own heroism, honor, and glory — unless it’s something like AMERICAN SNIPER that has white American soldiers fighting and killing ‘muzzies’ who pose no threat to White America.
All stories are about conflict, about us vs them. And many traditional white stories have been about great white folks whupping non-whites or seeing Jews for what they are: a bunch of a**holes. It’s no wonder Jews hate Richard Wagner who understood the Nibelungen-ish ways of Jews. Jews can’t abide by whites gaining race-warrior consciousness. So, unless it’s about white folks hating and killing other white folks — or maybe Muslims or Russians — , the white-centric narrative has been forbidden by the Jewish-controlled media complex.
But Jews and Negroes are allowed to produce all sorts of songs, novels, plays, TV shows, and movies in which they themselves are made noble and wonderful whereas the villains are mostly straight white males. And since white kids — even affluent white kids — grow up absorbing such anti-white diatribes, they’ve become like the American Indian kids who cheered for the US cavalry to rub out the ‘Injuns’ in old Westerns. What a bunch of pathetic idiots, the white race has become.
|13TH WARRIOR - Man of Word & Man of Action|
|Pike Bishop back on the horse after the fall.|
There is an innate sense of guilt gnawing away at the hearts of some people. It’s like what Peter feels after denying Jesus three times to save his own skin. Guilt is shame one feels alone. In most cases, people feel shame in relation to how others see them. So, Bill Clinton felt no shame while he was fooling around with all them hussies, strumpets, floozies, tarts, and wenches. Billy Boy only felt shame when his peccadillos became a scandal. Pike cannot deny his sense of guilt regarding Deke Thornton. And he feels shame in the presence of Dutch in regard to Angel. Indeed, the matter with Angel wouldn’t be so thorny but for the fact that Dutch’s sense of outrage puts Pike to shame. Dutch is willing to go all the way, but Pike isn’t. Pike has more sense, but Dutch, a man Pike has come to respect, has guts and honor.
|Dutch being fiendish|
|Pike and Angel pulling away|
In a way, what Dutch says is so much bullshit. After all, he’s an outlaw who goes around robbing and killing, so who is he to judge the General and his henchmen? And yet, it is somewhat different from Michael Corleone bigger BS in THE GODFATHER: "My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator." Michael is blurring the line between the legitimate world and the criminal world. In contrast, Dutch is saying that the Bunch are honest thieves whereas Mapache is even a bigger thief who hides behind the law. The Corleones want to become part of the ruling power structure — it’s like the Kennedy family was once involved in organized crime but eventually went legit — , whereas Dutch is defiantly proud that the Bunch don’t pretend to be anything other than bandits. (Of course, that’s tough consolation to those who were robbed or murdered by them.) And yet, there is a primitive kind of moral logic to Dutch’s yammering. Bunch are like a pack of wolves. They go around looking for prey, and that’s that. They rob and steal what they need to keep going. They have no pretensions otherwise. There is a naturalness to their outlawry. In contrast, the likes of Mapache(and even Harrigan) are like circus owners or zoo-keepers who pretend to tame and control the wild beasts, all the while whipping and abusing animals for their own self-aggrandizement behind the curtain of ‘civilization’. And through most of history, civilization has been about wicked, corrupt, brutal, ruthless, and cunning men using all sorts of dirty tricks of power, laws, arbitrary rules, and superstitions to control others. When Dutch says, "We don’t hang nobody", he’s saying that the Bunch sometimes kill because it comes with the territory. They either let people live who don’t get in their way or kill them if they get in the way. They don’t pretend to be dispensing law and justice. They act according to need. So, if they must kill, they kill swiftly. They shoot ‘em dead.
|"We don't hang nobody."|
If one says, Muslim radicals attacked 9/11, it is ‘group defamation’ since not all Muslim radicals took part in the attack and most of them were not affiliated with Alqaeda. The statement "Japan attacked Pearl Harbor" would be ‘group defamation’ since not all Japanese took part, and not all Japanese supported the war effort. Or: "Jews ethnically cleansed the Palestinians." Another ‘group defamation’ since not all Jews took part and not all Jews supported the Zionist project. Or: "Germans committed the Holocaust." Obviously ‘group defamation’ since not all Germans took part in the mass killing. Or: "Whites owned slaves in America." ‘Group defamation’ since most whites did not own slaves in America. What a dumb idea this notion of ‘group defamation’.) Genuine Rule of Law is obviously preferable to the outlawry(and even corrupt rule-of-law may be preferable to outlaw ‘anarchy’ since there’s still some semblance of order and powers-in-numbers).. But as often as not, the Power of the Law has been a matter of corrupt, nasty, vile, and venal master-manipulators using the institutions and industries of the media, government, education, and other instruments of power to maximize their own interests.
And this was especially true in parts of the world outside Northern Euro-sphere in the Old World and the New World. Rule of Law was always more questionable in Mexico and other parts of Latin America than in the United States. Also, corrupt Americans were abler and more productive than corrupt Latin Americans; indeed, many corrupt Americans achieved more than uncorrupt Latin Americans. After all, corruption comes in all shapes and sizes. A society run by corrupt Harrigans is going to operate a lot better than one run by corrupt Mapaches. It’s obvious from THE WILD BUNCH that the ruling elites of Mexico were far worse and more incompetent than the ruling elites of America and Northern Europe. Harrigan’s hands aren’t clean, but he comes across a serious man who gets things done. Mapache and his henchmen seem to think mainly in terms of fiesta and siesta. (People of Angel’s village seem to be hardworking folks, but they lack initiative, inspiration, and individuality. They are stuck in the routine of same old same old. Also, as they aren’t committed so social progress, they tend to be passive and therefore vulnerable to the violence of others. What’s the point of working hard to produce food and stuff if you don’t have the will to organize and defend what you have? Furthermore, Angel and his companeros want guns to fend off the Federales than to fight for a better society. Besides, even if the political order were to change, social problems will remain as usual unless the character of the people is changed, and that isn’t easy to do, especially as some races lack certain personality traits that favor social conscience and progress.) Indeed, it seems like the German advisors are the ones who are the real brains of Mapache’s organization. Had Pike been raised in a good German family, he might have been someone like the German diplomat.
|German Advisers to Mapache|
|"Nein! It must be mounted on a tripod!"|
Of course, the risks could be fatal, but as Mexicans were generally corrupt or inept, there were always cracks in the system that any man-with-wits could exploit to his own advantage. So, Peckinpah had a love/hate thing with both America and Mexico. Also, in Mexico, he must felt a sense of power and appreciation he didn’t get from Americans. Just like the villagers greet the Bunch with open arms and admire them as big tall gringos, lots of poor Mexicans whom Peckinpah met treated him with respect, humility, and gratitude, not least a buck went much further south of the border. Paradoxically, the arch-maverick-individualist Peckinpah partly loved Mexico because many humble Mexicans lacked his wild maverick attributes.
Anyway, the Bunch have a cynical outlook on ‘civilization’, seen as a system in which venal men do whatever to get theirs Worse, such men use the arm of the law to feed their own greed. This is true enough todayin places like Detroit and Selma where the local jigro-jiver politicians hold office only to stuff their own pockets as much as possible. (To be sure, when it comes to blacks the blame must go all around. Even if you’re a honest black guy who don’t embezzle funds, the chances are the funds will end up in others’ pockets than be put to proper use. So, you might to tempted to grab it before others do.) And things weren’t much better in Mexico for most of its history, and even today Mexico is notoriously corrupt.
So, when Dutch says, "We don’t hang nobody", it means the Bunch kill when they must. They don’t pretend that their blood-letting has higher moral purpose. In contrast, when a social order decides to hang someone, it is dispensing ‘justice’ or ‘justly deserved punishment’. Mapache’s state-sanctioned violence has nothing to do with justice. Like Idi Amin, he does as he wishes and only feigns political, military, or legal duty. Mapache isn’t as dark a character as Orson Welles’ corrupt detective in TOUCH OF EVIL. Welles’ character was not above dirty tricks — such as planting evidence — , but one could argue he nevertheless wasn’t utterly cynical about justice. Though an egomaniac who could play dirty as anyone, there’s a part of him that remains committed to getting the criminal. In contrast, Mapache seems to have no interest beyond living it up like a warlord pig king over his dominion. Welles’ detective is an fallen man, but there’s still a flicker of the idealist somewhere in him.
|Mexican Face of Corruption: Mapache|
|American Face of Corruption: Harrigan|
|TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. - Trapped between the law and the underworld.|
Pike and Dutch, the two prominent members of the Bunch, are in the hunt for thrills and the loot; like athletes devoted to the game, they "wouldn’t have it any other way." It’s the ‘sport’ they’ve chosen, and win-or-lose they mean to play it as long as they can. They know of no other trade, like the nomad thieves in TIME OF THE GYPSIES by Emir Kusturica who owes much to Peckinpah. It’s a living albeit a bloody one. Angel rides along because it’s his ticket out of the village. In a way, his rage against Teresa is hypocritical since she left the village for the same reason he rides with the Bunch. He wants to ‘see the world’, ride free, and enjoy the excitement of life. And he will even go into a town and kill people to get his fun and treasure. Teresa also wants the better things in life, and she is smitten with the magnetism of Mapache who, though seeming rather grubby to us, is like a demigod to Teresa. And if indeed the tough should have the power to grab what they want — which is what the Bunch do in Starbuck — , then why shouldn’t Mapache, the toughest guy in the region, not grab the all the loot and women in ‘his territory’? To be sure, Angel is loyal to the village in the way that Teresa is not, but then the sexual natures of men and women are different. Male sexual nature is to defend the women of the tribe and keep them for men of the tribe and to raid other tribes for their women. Female sexual nature or ‘feminine nationalism’, especially among the alpha females, is to go with whomever happen to be the biggest honchos around. Angel makes big speeches about his village, but it’s in his sexual interest to keep the women of the village for the men of the village. But the women of the village may not necessarily want to be stuck in the village with its ‘loser men’ when there are other more glamorous men, like Mapache who’s like a Rock Star in the region. Mapache is a ‘bad boy’, but since when did Alpha females necessarily dislike ‘bad boys’? So, when Angel sentimentally invokes The Village when he confronts Teresa, it is both sincere and self-serving. Yes, Angel does have a genuine attachment to the village, but it is also a means of moral upmanship to shame Teresa who has forsaken the village for the bigger man who is Mapache.
|Angel's sentimentality for the Village not shared by Teresa.|
So, it’s not just the knowledge that Angel is held captive by Mapache that rankle Dutch so. It’s that he was there when it happened, and the image of the moment is seared into his mind. And even though he did the only thing that he could do — pretend ignorance, wash his hands of Angel, and ride off — , he can’t shake off the shame of powerlessness and his all-too-mercenary decision. It’s like the woman in SOPHIE’S CHOICE feels guilty despite the fact that she really didn’t have a choice. In THE WILD BUNCH, we have Dutch’s Choice, and even though it made perfect sense given the circumstances, it eats away at his soul; or perhaps his pangs of conscience reminded him that he has a soul.
We are sometimes faced with a hard choice where the options aren’t between good and bad or even between bad and bad but between the unbearable and the unbearable. It’s like Emperor Hirohito said when Japan declared unconditional surrender in the Pacific War: "endure the unendurable and suffer what is not sufferable". The idea of Japan, a sacred nation that had never been conquered, being conquered and occupied by Americans was unendurable. Yet, the other choice, of being nuked over and over and being reduced to ashes, was also unendurable. For some Japanese, both choices were so unbearable that they could only find exit through ritual suicide. And such emotions seep into Dutch and then Pike. For Dutch, it was most painful to leave Angel behind. And yet, there was no other way, unless he wished to be killed by Mapache on the spot or be taken prisoner as well. The choice was between the unendurable and the endurable. Though Dutch rides out of Agua Verde with the gold, he feels disgusted with himself. Though he did what was necessary to save his own skin, once he’s back with the Bunch, he argues they should take some kind of action.
The relation of the Bunch(and Peckinpah) to Angel and his village is somewhat contradictory. Peckinpah was in love with the myth of freedom of the Wild West, and he loved Mexico because elements of the Old West still seemed to be alive there in contrast to modern California that was all about cars and surfing. But look at Angel’s village, and it’s a very settled place. It looks as if the village had been there for centuries, indeed as if villagers have ancient roots there. It’s not something that would be called ‘civilization’, but the villagers are a settled people with a sense of lineage and tradition. What they stand for is the opposite of the American Western myth that idealized adventurous men who left civilization behind to explore and stake out new territories. The villagers seem unambitious and unadventurous, content to stay where they are and make tacos and sing & dance. Also, they seem to be pretty well-organized despite the poverty. The women seem hard-at-work with domestic chores. It’s work, work, work without a break but with an organic sense of community. When a pretty young girls plays a game with the Gorch brothers, her mother admonishes her to get to work, and the girl obediently does as told.
There was a conceit during the 1960s when Counterculture types romanticized the American Indians and the less industrialized parts of the world as living in harmony with nature unlike the busybodied materialistic Americans. It’s there even in stuff like THIN RED LINE(directed by boomer Terrence Malick) that contrasts the idyllic existence of island natives with the industrial war machines of US and Japan. And in films like KOYANNISQATSI and BARAKA, the cosmic ways of spirituality, primitivism, and/or nature are contrasted with the breakneck pace of the modern world. But as the actual business of existence is more precarious in primitive or backward societies, it’s not like people can just take it easy like teenagers listening to Rock music and eating pizza in their bedrooms. Indeed, a primitive person may have to struggle all day just to have enough to eat. And of course, one can’t just flush the shit down the toilet or just leave out the garbage for the sanitation trucks to pick up. Like what Kevin Costner’s character says of the Indians in DANCES WITH WOLVES: "By the time I gathered my things, the entire tribe was well on its way. Their efficiency and the speed at which they moved was enough to impress any military commander." In other words, Indians had no time to ‘play Indians’. As they didn’t have modern amenities and conveniences, everything had to be done by members of the group. Woodstock concert turned into a stinking mess in mere three days because all those youths were ‘playing Indians’ than ‘being Indians’. (Altamont Rock concert imploded in a single day.) Indeed, precisely because Indians had to deal with the harsh conditions of nature all the time, they had to be mindful and alert at all times. Anyone who has gone camping knows this, which is why camping is as stressful as it is recreational. You have to set up and take down everything instead of jumping in the sack, switching on the light, or flushing the toilet. Even having to urinate in the middle of the night can be a chore. Though the people of Angel’s village are not savages, they too lead a precarious existence. As Dutch says, "Won't find very much around here. That damn Huerta's scraped it clean." But Huerta or no Huerta, the villagers are at the mercy of the seasons, and there isn’t much to spare. The fact that they put on a big fiesta for the Bunch despite their scarcities is either a sign of their respect or product of movie logic.
Pike has the anxiety of James Coburn’s character in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID who’s opted for security over rootless freedom that has lost its luster over the years. PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID is set around thirty years before THE WILD BUNCH, so this feeling of weariness isn’t so much historical as it is personal. Every man, when he comes to a certain age, pines for something he can hold onto. Freedom goes from exciting to wearying. (The young couple in SUMMER WITH MONIKA find out soon enough as their self-exile goes from idyll to struggle.) Everything starts to seem old and ‘been there, done that’. As B.B. King sang, ‘the Thrill is gone’. It’s like what Uther says in EXCALIBUR: "All I know is how to butcher men. From now on, I shall learn to love them. I am weary of battle. I shall stay by his(baby Arthur) side." Or consider what old Noodles says in ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA: "I haven't had a gun in my hand for many, many years. My eyes aren't too good, even with my glasses. My hands shake... It's true, I have killed people, Mr. Bailey. Sometimes to defend myself. Sometimes for money. And many people used to come to us. Business partners, rivals... lovers. Some of the jobs we took, and some we didn't. Yours is one we would never touch."
Even a tough fellow like the ‘mountain man’ in DERSU UZALA is desperate for security when his eyes fail him. Some men want to be free to roam around as he pleases. But comes a time when the wider world seems no longer fresh and exciting, when man becomes ever more acutely aware of his decline. Even though there’s so much more to see and discover, his soul has been worn out by weariness that is no longer excited by the new. What he really wants is shelter from the storm. The world that was once inviting now seems threatening. It’s there in the story of THE ODYSSEY. And in Yasujiro Ozu’s UKIGUSA and Ingmar Bergman’s THE CLOWN’S EVENING(aka SAWDUST AND TINSEL): traveling performers facing middle age crisis and hoping to settle down with women they’d left behind. There’s the Burt Lancaster figure in THE SWIMMER who wants both freedom and family but loses both. Pike faces a similar crisis in THE WILD BUNCH. His pride rests on being the leader of the Bunch riding wild and free. But with each passing year, he finds it more difficult, wearier, and more pointless. (Also, others have come to rely on him, and sometimes he feels as if under obligation to keep going for their sake.)
Akira Kurosawa’s DREAMS or the farm community in Hayao Miyazaki’s MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO.
It’s not easy for an egotistical person, who’d chosen freedom on the road over loyalty to home, to suddenly turn around and beg for security. In THE CLOWN’S EVENING, the estranged wife has built up a business and become more independent(ironic since she settled into permanent residence; having a steady home and occupation, she is free with her time when not working, whereas her circus master husband, though free to move from place to place, is always occupied managing the dreary logistics of the operation); she no longer wants her husband back who went off on his own to roam freely. (GONE GIRL is a weirdo twist on this theme where the woman crawls back to her husband but for totally wacky reasons in a wicked way.)
Pike longs for security but has no place to go. We sense he has no one to turn to outside the Bunch. The one woman who could have been his wife was killed years ago. Also, as the Bunch look to him as their leader, so he can’t just abandon them and go off on his own even if he wanted to.
|CROSS OF IRON: James Coburn as Steiner the Natural, albeit reluctant, Leader of Men|
Pike relishes the role of leader more than Steiner does, but even he’s conflicted about his need to lead and the burden of leading. As leader he has the authority but also has to bear most of the blame too when things go wrong. Whatever the Bunch must do, everyone looks to him for the answers, and so it’s his gamble for the lion’s share of the credit or the blame. When the first robbery goes wrong, the Gorches rip into him. Others remain more loyal, but they must be disappointed too. But when the train robbery goes well, it is Tector himself — the man who’d taunted Pike when he fell mounting his horse — who, as a gesture of respect and appreciation, offers the first sip of whiskey to Pike.
And for a man of Pike’s character, settling down may offer security but not necessarily comfort. He may be tired of roaming around but wouldn’t know what to do once he stops. He’s weary of the horseback but too restless for the bed. It’s like the James Coburn character in PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID found security(with home and wife) and even a respectable job as sheriff but often looks for excuses to ride around and drink whiskey and sleep with whores and kill people. Old habits die hard even when one has tired of them. Indeed, even when Pike did have a chance of settling down with a lovely Mexican woman, we see in the flashback that he was far from an ideal lover. Pike doesn’t spell out the details to Dutch, but we see the woman slap him as he enters because he’s late, very late, and didn’t keep his word. Maybe he was too busy whoring around or doing whatever to come on time and commit to her. And something of Peckinpah’s own nature was surely projected onto the character as he had a tendency to swing dramatically between domestic life and nomadic ventures. Peckinpah was he was a man of extremes. At one extreme, he liked the traditional idea of a loyal woman/wife who waits for him and cooks for him. As America was becoming more modern and the women more demanding, Peckinpah was charmed by the more docile and feminine ways of Mexican women. They were more into the way of "stand by your hombre". Such women appreciated a man for what he was worth. But she was also a bit dull and clinging; she’d expect the man to stick around the house and settle down and give up being wild and free. The domestic wife could be an anchor but also a ball-and-chain around one’s ankle. So, the other kind of woman that appealed to Peckinpah was the whore who catered to men who came and went as they pleased. But then, such women were not to be trusted for they go where the money/power is and have no real loyalties. This is why the women in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, STRAW DOGS, THE GETAWAY, and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA are the stuff of much neurosis in the male characters. Hildy in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOUGE is a whore who becomes a love partner of Hogue. Amy in STRAW DOGS is David Sumner’s wife, but she has the personality of a wench. In THE GETAWAY, the wife really does love her man and is devoted to him but whored herself out to get him out of jail, and it takes awhile for Doc McCoy to come around to reconciling with her as a partner not only in crime but in bed. Isela Vega’s character in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is both a strumpet who easily gives herself to any man and a genuine lover of Benny. Some women were born to be wives, some women were born to be hussies, and some women are a bit of both, and it’s the third kind that foment the (im)potent kind of neurosis in the men of Peckinpah’s films. Indeed, Angel gets so crazy about Teresa because she’s both ‘my woman’ and a strumpet who goes with Mapache. And yet, one can’t help feeling that Angel was attracted to her in the first place for her temptress-whore qualities. Indeed, she might have been attracted to him earlier because he was the alpha male of the village who went on raids and brought back money and loot. But once she encounters a bigger man with more power and more loot, she switches her loyalty to him. It’s like a sports groupie will fuc* whomever happens to be the star athlete at the moment. In that sense, both her attraction to Angel and her attraction to Mapache were of the same kind. She’s the kind of whore who goes with the top dog. And as much as Angel hates to admit it, he probably liked her that very reason. When she was his woman, she made him feel like the top dog of the village. But then, the mastiff Mapache came along and carried away the bitches in heat.
|Mapache, the man who hogs the Muchachas Bonitas.|
|TAXI DRIVER - Strumpet Iris and Travis Bickle|
|THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST - Whore Magdalene and Jesus.|
|EYES WIDE SHUT - Alice Harford's Gonad-Annihilating Confession.|
Beauty is mysterious. We don’t know why certain slight variations in facial structures create such powerful effect on us. All faces are fundamentally similar with two eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and etc. But some people look so much more beautiful, and this beauty may even seem divine. Why? Simply because of slight variations in the eyes, cheeks, lips, etc. It seems ridiculous, but the effect is true enough, and people are fascinated because they don’t understand its power. This could be one reason why there’s such a fetish for all things homosexual in our times. As our culture has become ever more extreme in its narcissism, the aestheticism of homosexual men may strike a chord with lots of people. In past times, only aristocrats could afford to be into such fetishistic narcissism, but mass media and pop culture have democratized narcissism for every person, even for poor saps in Third World nations. Is it surprising that even Brazil and South Africa, two nations still burdened with massive poverty, have opted for ‘gay marriage’? They are soaked in junky pop culture heavily saturated by the influence of ultra-narcissistic homos and their ilk. Mystery enthralls us. It’s like the apes go nuts in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY when they come upon the Monolith because they’d never seen such a perfect object. It overwhelms them with a sense of mystery, and mystery is the ultimate power since power that isn’t understood is more awesome than power that is understood. When primitive folks saw a white man firing a gun, they thought he was a god. It was why so many primitive folks hastily submitted to white imperialists in the Americas and Africa. The natives of South America thought white folks were divine beings. And black Africans thought white imperialists with guns had magical powers. As such, white folks were even worshiped as gods. Of course, this god-worship has become reversed in our times as so many white boys and girls are now worshipful of the black soul, as that of the mountain-sized Negro who wuvs a wittle white mouse in GREEN MILE. Perhaps, there is a kind of evolutionary advantage to the god-fetish. After all, having the god-fetish means that you are curious and aspire to something higher. In 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the tribe of apes that is ‘blessed’ by the Monolith and develops a sense of fascination begins to see the world with new eyes; its members sense new possibilities and make weapons and whup other tribes. Suppose there are two tribes of mankind. One tribe is uninspired and just sticks with the same old same old. But another tribe has members who are dreamy and can be inspired by new visions. One might argue that such trait in the second tribe is counterproductive since it makes the members fixate on the fantastic than on the real. It’s like Alice’s desire almost tempts her to give up her meal ticket of security with husband and child. But unless a tribe has individuals who can imagine and strive for something more than the same-old-same-old, there won’t be any breakthrough. It’s like what Howard Roark of THE FOUNTAINHEAD says of the visionary individual who is misunderstood and mocked by his peers but comes up with something profoundly new and fresh that can change the course of history. Now, some tart like Alice Harford swooning over a handsome naval officer may seem irrelevant to the progress of man, but the fact remains that Alice has the power to dream of something more, and this obsession may be related in nature to obsessions in the arts, science, technology, military, and etc. It’s often been said that the West made great progress and surpassed other societies and civilizations because of the rise of rationality and science, but why did Western man feel this obsessive and visionary need to use the tools of science, math, and technology to keep pushing ahead to find more and more and more, until he finally arrived at something like nuclear power and the super-computer? How did Western man end up with the power of the gods to destroy as well as to build? In this sense, Alice’s confession seems to be both at odds and in confluence with evolutionary theory. If we apply a very limited theory of evolution as being all about simple survival and security, then Alice’s desire to sacrifice her security for one night with the naval officer throws a monkey wrench into evolutionary theory. But if we expand the theory to argue that evolution favors those traits that allow for breakthroughs that lead to the attainment of greater power, then Alice’s power to dream[of higher love] can be linked to the apes power to dream[of better weapons] in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Instead of just seeing bones as mere bones, apes were able to ‘envision’ them as weapons and tools. They were able to ‘dream’ a bone into a stick. There’s more than one way of seeing everything. It’s like what Kubrick said of the story of Icarus when he received the D.W. Griffith award. It could be taken as a warning not to challenge the sun or as a challenge to build a better contraption to conquer heaven. Without such power to dream, there can be no new reality. It’s like in THE FOUNTAINHEAD the movie. When Howard Roark[Gary Cooper] first sees Dominique Francon[Patricia Neal] at the quarry, we have the classic archetypal image of the hero looking up at the unattainable goddess. She is high above, he is below. But in the end, Roark the man has conquered heaven, and it is the goddess who ascends to him in one of the most rapturous and mind-blowing scenes in cinema, especially to Max Steiner’s music. Though most fantasies don’t come true, unless one has the power to dream, no dream can be realized. Indeed, consider Jews and Episcopalians. Both are equal, more or less, in IQ, but why did Jews gain dominance in America? They had more people like Ayn Rand and Stanley Kubrick with the obsessive power to dream. While the dream isn’t enough, neither is intelligence enough. China has lots of smart people, but not enough dreamers; they tend to be drones. The Jewish dream of taking over America would have seemed crazy to most people in the early part of the 20th century, but Jews dreamed such dream and they made it come true. It’s like Hyman Roth ‘always made money for his partners’ because he was always dreaming of the bigger pie, all the cake. It’s like homos reached great heights because they kept dreaming their tutti-fruity dream of buttfuc*ing the moon in the sky. Their dream turned out to be a nightmare for good moral folks, but such is the power of dreams. In contrast, conservatives don’t know how to dream. They just stay awake with their limited known reality, and when they grow bored with their limited vision, they fall under the spell of others with the power to dream. Thus, American Conservatives, instead of dreaming their own dream of power, are under the hypnosis of the Jewish sorcerer and serve the dreams of Jews. Those who don’t dream their own dreams follow the dreams of others.) And as our society grows more shameless, we see more people who eat too much & grow big in size and more people who fuc* too much & are unable to develop the kinds of emotions and values that can lead to lasting relationships and commitments. People have much less sense of how the sex organs are related to reproduction and how mouths are related to the entire digestive systems. Pleasures of the pud and pooter used to be associated with the full process of childbearing, i.e. the pooter was the hole that led to the womb and the mouth was the hole that led to the stomach and digestive tract. But in our orgasmo-consumer society, the sex organs and mouths are considered independently of their connections to other organs and their deeper functions. It’s like puds & pooters exist only for orgasmic pleasure and mouths exist only for savoring flavors. But things were different for most of history. According to Jewish moral law, there were many laws about the ways to eat right and have sex right. There were laws about the proper way of marriage, proper and improper ways of sex, proper way to be husbands, proper ways to be wives, proper way to be parents, proper way to be children, and etc. Though such laws could regulate human behavior, they couldn’t alter human nature that was, is, and will always be problematic and ‘sinful’. But even if every Jew were to live in perfect accordance with God’s Laws as written in the Torah, it wouldn’t resolve the moral/spiritual crisis of mankind, at least according to Martin Scoresese’s film. After all, the temptation that Jesus nearly falls for is NOT of the ‘boing’ variety. He resisted the temptation of Mary Magdalene the whore. He watched her being banged by other men but didn’t join in. (Ironically, the whore and the saint have one thing in common in that they must serve men of all races and colors. In this sense, one could argue that a saint is a spiritual whore. The whore stands for universal temptation, and the saint stands for universal redemption. Recently, Christianity has been taken over by whores posing as saints who sold the House of Christ to the forces of Mammon in Wall Street, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Washington D.C, and etc. Now, we have the universal corruption of Mammon as the universal salvation of the human race. Just line up at ‘gay pride’ parades and wave the ‘gay rainbow flag’.) The temptation that nearly gets Jesus in the film is being married to Mary Magdalene(and upon her death, her sister) and raising a proper family. And yet, for Jesus, even that is a betrayal as he must be the savior of all men. If he has a family, then he will primarily be attached to his own children, to his own kin. He would be like the Jews, and he wouldn’t be able to rise above Jew-hood. Even if he were to have kids with a non-Jewish woman, he would come to favor his own kids over the rest of mankind. So, for higher morality, even the traditional Jewish morality of having a wife and raising a family would be sinful for Jesus. Sin is relative in this sense.
What’s most unnerving about THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST is that the Devil tempts Jesus not with the obvious evil but with something that most cultures through the ages— indeed the Torah itself — consider as an absolute good: spouse, family, and children. In other words, the Devil tempts Jesus with the very laws of God, his holy father. Therefore, for Jesus to rise to a higher spirituality, he must paradoxically reject not only the Devil but his father. According to the Torah, God ordered every Jewish man to grow up, get a wife, and produce kids. Thus, when the Devil tempts Jesus with the prospect of wife and family, he[in the guise of a cherubic girl with an English accent] is putting Jesus in a bind. If Jesus rejects the Devil’s offer, he is also disobeying the way of God who told Jewish men to be fruitful(not to be confused with fruity)and multiply. And yet, for a new branch of religion to be birthed, the prophet has to disobey his god but then in the name of serving him better. It’s like the Japanese story of the 47 Ronin who must disobey the edict of the Shogun to serve the Shogun ever better as the Shogun represents the higher code of Bushido. Likewise, paradoxically Jesus must disobey the way of God in order to better serve the higher purpose of God. It’s the timeless but rare archetype of the rebel/maverick as the most loyal servant.
|THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST|
It’s like Peter’s betrayal of Jesus weighs heavily on his soul because of their intimacy as master and follower. And Judas felt likewise, which is why he killed himself out of guilt and shame. Dutch did what he had to make it out alive, and Angel understood why. If the situation had been reversed, Angel might have done much the same to save his own skin while leaving Dutch behind. But the ‘understanding’ makes Dutch hate himself even more. He did the ‘right’ thing in terms of saving his own skin and riding off with the gold, but he has to live with the fact that Angel ‘played his string right out to the end’ while he himself acted only mercenarily. It doesn’t matter that Angel knew the rules of the game and probably even forgives Dutch. If anything, Angel’s grace and cool under pressure makes Dutch all the more ashamed. If Angel has panicked and freaked out and tried to implicate the Bunch and if Dutch had made it out alive under those circumstances, he might not have felt so guilt-ridden. It is precisely because Angel ‘played his string right to the end’ so as to allow clear passage for Dutch that Dutch is overcome with powerful feelings for Angel. Besides, even the diversion of a case of rifles and case of ammunition was for the good of the village, not for Angel’s own aggrandizement. Dutch’s last words(to Mapache) before he rode off was "He’s a thief. You take care of him." But in some ways, Angel is the only one who isn’t a thief in this matter. Mapache wanted the guns stolen from the ‘gringos’ to arm his men. And the Bunch stole the guns for gold. But Angel joined in the robbery only so that the villagers could have guns to defend themselves with. He got nothing for himself from the bargain, not even a piece of gold which he gave up in exchange for the guns and ammo.
|Angel's amigos come to pick up the rifles and ammos.|
|L.Q. Jones as T.C.|
|Strother Martin as Coffer|
If anything, the intense level of blood-letting in some of Peckinpah’s films makes the violence seem all the more frustrating than ‘empowering’. In the opening gun fury of THE WILD BUNCH, the members of the Bunch who make it out alive owe their survival more to luck than prowess. It was the melee caused by the Temperance Union getting caught in the crossfire that improved the chance of the getaway. The intensity of violence also makes for heightened anxiety. Consider the scene when a wheel of the wagon loaded with the cargo of stolen rifles and ammo breaks through a wooden plank. It is nerve-racking as bullets swish past and as the bridge is about to blow up at any minute. (In a way, what happens to Deke Thornton on the bridge is reminiscent of the time he was left behind while Pike made the getaway. Again as then, Thornton is blind-sided and falls into trouble while Pike rides away. Perhaps, that’s why Pike’s sense of victory over Thornton-on-the-bridge is short-lived when Sykes reminds him that Thornton will be on his trail soon enough once again. Pike once again got the better of Thornton, but he didn’t deserve to.)
There’s no character in Peckinpah’s films who comes anywhere near the stature of John Wayne who, simply by standing firm, could command the respect of those around him. It takes more doing for the (anti)heroes of Peckinpah’s films to gain and hold the respect of others. It’s a constant struggle for Pike to keep the crew together, as is the case with Heston’s character in MAJOR DUNDEE. John Wayne in John Ford movies usually takes his authority for granted. (Wayne’s characters in movies like RED RIVER, THE SEARCHERS, and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE undergo a special kind of crisis when up against challenges that cannot be met with gun or fists. In RED RIVER, his arch-rival is none other than a young man he’s raised like a son. He can’t just rub him out like the others. In THE SEARCHERS, Wayne’s character has no problems fighting Indians and other men in his way, but he can’t make up his mind about Debbie, who’s almost like a daughter to him. In THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, Wayne’s character stands up to the villain Valance but is completely at a loss upon realizing that the woman he loves is really in love with James Stewart’s character. Tough guy has it easier in a tough world than in a gentle world in which he becomes like a bull in a china shop. Valance as the bad tough guy bull doesn’t mind smashing all the china, but the good tough guy does mind, which makes it difficult for him in non-tough situations.) In contrast, the characters of Peckinpah films are more like Will Kane(Gary Cooper) of HIGH NOON who’s faced with all manner of uncertainties. Of course, Peckinpah didn’t introduce the element of anxiety into the Western. It can be found in any number of Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher Westerns. Or Howard Hawks’ RED RIVER, one of the most dark and disturbing Westerns. There is also THE BIG COUNTRY by William Wyler, a Western packed with misgivings and misunderstandings. Peckinpah did, however, ratchet it up to whole new level where any real triumph or resolution, in conflict and meaning, remains out of reach to the very end. At the end of HIGH NOON, the good guy does win, proves his point, and rides away justified. But there are no real good guys in Peckinpah films, and nothing is resolved in any objective sense. Whatever meaning the final act of the Bunch might have, it’s purely subjective to each member of the Bunch and everyone else. For Thornton, it’s all about Pike; perhaps he senses Pike’s last stand was partly an act of atonement toward him. For the bounty hunters, it’s all just a picnic and easy money. For some Mexicans, the massacre will be remembered as ‘loco gringos’ gone wild. For people of Angel’s village, the Bunch will be remembered as heroes who took on Mapache. The conflict of meanings continues. Besides, who really won when both Mapache & his men and the Bunch are all dead? (The lack of resolution is even more palpable in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, which is like a drunken version of POINT BLANK. Like Boorman’s film, there are moments in Peckinpah’s lurid film when we are not sure if we’re watching reality or a dream. Did Benny really dig himself out of Garcia’s grave and go on a revenge rampage? Or was it all just a dream of a dying man? The strange feature of Franz Kafka stories is that the barrier between subjectivity and objectivity breaks down. In most classic storytelling, the characters are clearly etched as archetypes or individuals. And the storyteller either narrates strictly in the first person mode or third-person mode. In the first person mode the teller clearly indicates that the story is seen through his or her eyes, and a clear distinction is maintained between the storyteller’s experience of reality and those of his characters who are assumed to have their own personal/private individualities impermeable to others, including the storyteller. In the third person narrative, the storyteller renders himself or herself invisible. His or her role becomes omnipotent or semi-omnipotent. He or she has the power to enter the minds of various characters. Nevertheless, a clear distinction is maintained between the storyteller and the characters and among the characters. The storyteller is NOT any of the characters, and each character is a distinct individual separate from others. But in the stories of Kafka, even though mostly told in the third person narrative, there’s an inkling of the story teller and the main character trespassing into each other’s territories. The main character, instead of being an individual distinct unto himself, appears to morph and warp according to the neurosis of the storyteller, and the mind of the storyteller seems inhabited by his characters crawling around like insects. The world feels at times like the mental attic of the storyteller than a plausible world unto itself. And all the other characters seem to be reflections, projections, extensions, and contradictions of the main character who, in turn, is all those things in relation to the storyteller. In truth, all stories are the mental projections of storytellers. No matter how realistically and convincingly presented, the fictional world and all the characters constitute a puppet play in the mind of the storyteller. In classic storytelling, the teller and listener/reader made belief with the illusion of stories of individual characters in distinctly plausible world. But the walls of illusion erode in the stories of Kafka, rendering them dream-like. Dreams take place entirely in a single person’s mind but create the impression that the dreamer is in a real world with distinct individuals; and yet, there are intimations that this ‘real’ works according to a strange logic of space, time, objects, and personalities. There’s a haunting sense that one’s mind permeates everything/everyone all around and vice versa. Likewise, there is no distinct barrier among the storyteller, the main character, the side characters, and the world they inhabit in the stories of Kafka. And of course, David Lynch, at his best, is the master at this sort of thing, especially in MULHOLLAND DR., in which the first 4/5th of the film seems real yet unreal, until it is revealed in the final segment that it was all Kafkaing inside in the mind of Diane Selwyn. There’s something like that in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, not least because it’s difficult to tell which parts were conceived and/or directed sober or drunk.)
There is something womb-like about all genres. The characters, plot, emotions, values, style, and outcomes are shielded and guaranteed by the conventions of the formula. It’s like everything is happening inside a certain bubble, a well-defined universe(no matter how violent or crazy it may be, as in most horror movies). In contrast, a rawness pervades the films of Peckinpah. They "have more sand than most." It’s there even in DEADLY COMPANIONS and RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY(especially in the scenes with the Hammond Brothers). It’s unmistakable in MAJOR DUNDEE. It’s like the Western has been pushed out of the womb, its nerves exposed to the elements. Some critics consider MAJOR DUNDEE a stillborn baby, but it’d clearly broken out of protective genre sack of the Western. And with THE WILD BUNCH, we can hear the wailing of the baby from full exposure to reality. In some ways, THE WILD BUNCH is to the Western what 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is to science-fiction. It is Western reborn than revised. Most striking isn’t what it owes to earlier Westerns — though the debt is considerable — but how it is so utterly different from them in key ways, indeed as if Peckinpah invented(than reinvented) the Western on his own terms than extended an existing tradition according to its own logic. THE WILD BUNCH de-genre-ified the Western, and it is in this regard that Peckinpah’s vision is in stark contrast to that of Sergio Leone who, though revolutionary and visionary, built upon earlier genres to formulate a new genre, what came to be known as the ‘Spaghetti Western’. THE WILD BUNCH, like Kubrick’s sci-fi epic, is almost a standalone work; there’s been nothing quite like it before or since. There’s really no other Western that is comparable in scope, power, and imagination. Even Walter Hill’s highly impressive THE LONG RIDERS comes nowhere near. Though THE WILD BUNCH isn’t a very plausible film(especially in the final shootout), it cuts and scrapes itself against authenticity and verisimilitude seen in almost no other Western. Though at times the Bunch verge on looming larger-than-life, they slide and tumble once again into the full brunt of life. When one of the riders from the first robbery falls off the horse and holds his shattered & blinded face(from shotgun blast), it goes way beyond what guns can do.
Countless movies have demonstrated that guns kill and maim, and a fair amount of movies have shown the long-term effect of violence; this is especially true of ‘anti-war’ films such as COMING HOME and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. The human mind prefers dichotomies, i.e. we can deal with guns killing people in the heat of violence, and we can deal with people coping with long-term effect of violence away from violence, but we feel uneasy with the harrowing effect of violence in the field of violence. It’s like in sports, we love the fury of violence during play, but if someone gets hurt, the game comes to a standstill until the injured is carried away to safety, and only then, the play resumes; we don’t want to watch a game where the injured are left on the field writhing in pain while other players are stepping all over them; the scene with the man with bloodied face in THE WILD BUNCH gets under our skin because it violates the dichotomy we are used to. It would have been more convenient if the man had escaped uninjured like the other members of the Bunch or if he’d been shot dead and left behind like some others in Starbuck. THE WILD BUNCH violates such expectations by having a horribly injured rider tag along for some distance until he has to be finally dealt with, underscoring the inconvenience of reality and how it plays by no rules. "I can’t see but I can ride", a man at war with himself in body and soul, torn between will to live and surrender to death, what with one part of him pushing him to get back on the horse and another part of him pulling him down to the ground to give up. Later, Pike’s body is similarly at war when HE falls off his horse. Part of him says get back up and reassert his authority as leader, another part of him says it’s all over and he might as well give it up. Indignation vs resignation theme pervades much of PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID as well. James Coburn, upon kicking Poe — in the 2005 Turner Version — , says, "What you want and what you get are two different things." Or as some characters say in THE WILD BUNCH, "It’s not what you meant to do, it’s what you did I don’t like" and "Ain’t like it used to be, but it will do." THE WILD BUNCH is a Western of discontentment and discrepancies. Though countless Westerns have unhappy peoples and unhappy situations, the characters seem naturally a part of the world they inhabit. They may be unhappy with things IN the world, but they are in tune WITH the world. It’s a genre-defined world where conflicts and incidences are limited in relevance to plot and theme. Bad things happen but in accordance to the needs of the story. In contrast, there’s much in THE WILD BUNCH that seem incongruous to the general development of the story, as if the world refuses to comply with the narrative. There are so many ‘accidents’ along the way, more monkey wrenches, more aches and pains, more disruptions of incidents that seem, on the surface, unrelated to the story. There’s such plethora of details upon details, the odds and ends of life. Indeed, consider the sheer ‘accidentalism’ that eventually led to the mayhem at the end. Angel’s fit of jealousy led to him killing Teresa, German officers saw his pistol, the Bunch were presented with an offer, they promise Angel some guns, Teresa’s mother ratted out Angel(to avenger her daughter), Angel becomes captured, and the Bunch end up trying to save him. So many things happen as if tumbling into one another by accident — like when Sykes falls off the horse and causes an avalanche of toppling horses and horsemen. And there are incidents created by impulse, like when Tector Gorch takes a stick of dynamite and tosses it at Sykes who’s trying to relieve himself. It has nothing to do with the plot but adds yet another compelling sense of reality’s incongruent obliviousness to the narrative; the bumps and creases of Peckinpah’s vision refuse to be smoothed/ironed out by the narrative. Of course, this feature could simply come across as banal, trite, or pointless, and indeed, there were plenty of New Hollywood films of the early 1970s made on the mistaken assumption that anything that contravened plot conventions is automatically art and truth. So, monstrosities like Dennis Hopper’s THE LAST MOVIE resulted from such sensibility. But in the hands of a master of Sam Peckinpah, the discordance of reality imbued the narrative with extra servings of rugged authenticity. After all, despite the accidental & random feel of THE WILD BUNCH, it’s actually a meticulously plotted and orchestrated work. This is reflected in Jerry Fielding’s score that sounds hit-or-miss but is bull’s eye with every note. Or, consider the action scene from the train heist to the bridge explosion, especially alongside Fielding’s score that amazingly syncopates just about every known convention of Western music: Hollywood, folkloric, and military. It is one of the most wild, hectic, maniacal, and dizzying scenes ever filmed, but all its little bits and pieces work together with the precision of a Swiss watch. Fury and finesse fuse into one.
|Train Heist - Pike Bishop|
|Train Heist - Lyle Gorch|
Powerful sense of reality requires something more than graphic violence or gore. After all, ineffective gore and/or violence merely irritates, annoys, and disgusts(and ultimately just bores)
I finally got around to watching a few scenes from I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and ‘yuck’ was all I felt. It is the master director like John Boorman or Sam Peckinpah who understands the shifting balances of poetry and brutality required in order for violence to have real impact. Even the most prosaic or grim representation of reality requires sophistication of aesthetics. Consider the ugly brutalist poetry but poetry nonetheless of THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE and LOS OLIVDADOS. Consider how Peckinpah sets up the tension when Pike mercy-kills the wounded man. We see the man fall off his horse along a slope and reassure Pike that he can still ride even though he can’t see. We sense his desperation, his powerful life-force clinging on. But we also see a bloody pulp, a doomed man. We sense the contrast between the brightness of day and darkness enveloping the blinded man. He surmises Pike is near and pleads with him. But Pike remains silent as if he, as judge and jury, has already sentenced the doomed man. And deep down inside, the man knows it; he can’t expect the Bunch to slow down for his sake; and a blind bandit is as good as useless, like a legless runner. He’s like a wounded member of a wolf pack or lion pride. There’s nothing the others can do for him. Predators have no use for a wounded member. The man finally admits this and asks Pike to shoot him — indeed, as most likely, Pike would have finished him off even if he begged for life. If anything, his request redeems him as a man who died of free will instead of as a pitiful creature put down like a wounded beast. His resignation allows an honorable death than a mere ‘hog killing’. Nevertheless, there’s an element of shock because, even before we notice it, Pike has his pistol out and pulls the trigger just as the man utters his last word, sounding a deafening blast that shakes and clears the air. The abruptness is both rude and gracious; the man has been put out of his misery. We sort of knew it was coming but not exactly when or how. (William Friedkin did a variation in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. when Willem Dafoe’s character closes in with his shotgun on the downed federal agent.) Once it’s over and Pike turns to face the others, we are left with the sudden contrast of silence after a moment filled with desperation and fright. The calm feels unsettling and deceptive. The extremity of the gun blast reverberated with the declarative power to change the world. But as soon as the ring of gunfire fades, perfect silence is restored as if everything is as it’s always been. We sense the vanity and futility of everything. Every act of violence, every agony, every howl, and every last-ditch response does nothing to change anything. It’s like the final scene of THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE where, soon after Hogue’s death and the departure of his friends, the desert goes on as if no one had been there.
|Robert Ryan and Sam Peckinpah on the Set.|
Similarly, some civilizations seem so powerful and their official memories so pervasive that they hold with the impression that their greatness is shall be everlasting by decree of the gods of the universe themselves. Think of the Ancient Egyptian civilization that lasted over the millennia. It must have seemed to Egyptians that their sacred order and memory would never fade away. But they were eventually forgotten, and Ancient Egypt was buried and lost in the sand when the new invaders forbade/neglected the official memory of the Ancient Egyptians and replaced it with a New Narrative and New Official Memory. Of course, in time, the architecture and artifacts of Ancient Egypt were rediscovered, and scholars have been hard at work to understand them. Nevertheless, Ancient Egypt now exists only as a museum piece, not as a living sacred & official memory of a people. The lesson is no matter how awesome, tremendous, and everlasting something may seem, it is really just an illusion of power that has no innate power to perpetuate itself. It’s like watching a movie. It looks so grand and spectacular, but movies don’t run themselves; they have to be preserved and projected by people. When people stop showing the pictures, the movies are forgotten and lost; it’s like most Americans never saw THE BIRTH OF A NATION since it’s hardly projected anymore, but most Americans heard of or saw TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD or DJANGO UNCHAINED because they are revived or shown nonstop everywhere. No matter how awesome a movie may seem on the big screen, it can be turned off with the flick of the switch. Who controls the programming and the switch is what really determines history, culture, and power.
Likewise, if a civilization fails in its elaborate mechanisms of maintenance and continuance, all that had been — no matter how great, tragic, triumphant, and inspiring — might as well as not even have happened. There will be nothing in the air, rocks, sand, trees, and sky that will remind us of what had been. And no one will know of anything unless they’ve been told, and they will soon forget unless it is drummed into their heads over and over and over. It seems obvious enough, but something in our psyche resists this truth because the implications are lonely and terrifying. It is why the last-man-on-earth scenario is so depressing. It’s not just the loneliness of being the last one in the present but the knowledge that with one’s death, everything that had ever been will be completely forgotten and remembered by no one. There’s nothing outside mankind that maintains any kind of memory through the thread of time. Sure, the moon is pockmarked with records of being bombarded by meteors, but it is just a fact, not a knowledge. By creating gods and God, we can fool ourselves that even if humans forget and die out, the mind of the universe will remember us; we can make believe that the universe(controlled by gods or God) may keep our spirts in heaven or fill the universe with new creatures, one that may even come to know of us who’d existed earlier. One of the central crises of the man who wants to kill himself in Abbas Kiarostami’s TASTE OF CHERRY is the need for someone to remember him. As depressing as death can be, more terrifying — even for someone seeking death — is that the world will go on as if one had never existed. Because each of us can conceive of eternity despite my or your short existence on the planet, there is a natural tendency to conflate the world with the self. Simpler organisms only know of the ever-changing present, and higher animals have some degree of past and maybe future. Humans live only for several decades — a mere blip in time — but can cosmologically conceive, spiritually or scientifically, the eternity of past and future. Same goes for spatial imagination. A gerbil in a closed box might think of the box as all of space that exists, whereas humans, even in a closed room, can imagine the infinitude of space that stretch in all directions outside the room. If a human who lives for 70 yrs can only conceive of time within those 70 yrs, his sense of time would be fundamentally different from ours. Each of our lives is short, but each of us can conceive of billions of years stretching into the past and future. And yet, it’s just a trick of the mind because our experience of time cannot go beyond what is apportioned to each of us. (It’s possible that some races are naturally more time-imaginative. It could be the Negro is, by nature, more fixed on here-and-now, whereas other races are consciously and emotionally more attuned to the stretch of time. This could be why Negroes be so crazy about instant-gratification. Their emotions be fixed on here-and-now, and so their minds be thinking more in terms of "I’s gots to have me some fried chicken now and shit.") Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE seems very mindful of how even a flicker of lifetime can touch on immensities of time and space. Furthermore, even though the universe is vast and billions of years old whereas a human life is measured only in decades, the knowledge of the universe exists only in the minds of humans. So, the birth and death of each person is like the birth and death of the universe. It gives each of us the impression that ‘I’ matter since the universe seems to have come into being with ‘me’. And even as we know that the universe will go on after we die, there’s a part of us that feels the universe will die with us because even our most objective estimations of reality are processed through our subjectivity. Individual memory is lonely and fragile. It completely disappears with the passing of the person. So, there’s the need for official memory, but even official memory is less about democratized collective memory than selective memory to idolize and/or legitimize a narrative amenable to certain interests or agendas. So, we don’t need to know of most Jews who died in the Holocaust. We don’t know their faces and their names. But we know Anne Frank. And we don’t know of all the individual white folks who moved westward to farm the land and build cities. We only know of some offered up as representative of the whole. As often as not, the most famous or beloved representatives of collective memory are fictional than real. Consider how a lot of Russians know of the 19th century through the novel WAR AND PEACE. And for many Americans, the image of the Antebellum South came from Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND. And for some Americans, the most powerful image of World War II may be from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA and the most powerful image of the Vietnam War may be from PLATOON. There was once a time when proud Anglo-Americans selectively chose, edited, and promoted certain individuals and narratives as representative of the American Experience. Think of Davy Crockett. "Remember the Alamo". Robert E. Lee. Charles Lindbergh. Anglo-Americans in their prime emphasized the kind of individuals who would do their people proud while suppressing the kind who weren’t such a credit to their race. And Anglo-American-dominated vision of the nation seemed so dominant and overwhelming that surely many white Americans thought it would last forever simply of its own self-sustaining momentum, like a boulder rolling down a slope(when, in fact, historical memory is more like a never-ending task of rolling a boulder up a slope). It’s so easy to fall for a fallacy. A people may do great things and create a great narrative that apparently possesses the self-sustaining drive to not only perpetuate itself but to assure the greatness of the people for all time. But all narratives, great and small, are only sustained by the powers-that-be. And unless the powers-that-be keep reminding the people with steady doses of the official narrative, the people will forget and not give a damn as your average person is a dodo who mostly only cares about idle pleasures and trendy narcissism. So, when the Jews became the new powers-that-be, they gradually and step-by-step replaced the old heroes with new ones. In some cases, the old heroes were redefined as villains while the villains were rehabilitated as saints. So, the great white men who were once glorified as the heroes of the West were re-branded as ‘genocidal murderers’. And Charles Lindbergh who had primarily been admired for his aerial feat came to be remembered mostly for his ‘antisemitism’. In contrast, all sorts of non-white individuals have been promoted to the top of the canon. And those individuals who’d once been regarded with suspicion or vitriol have been reinterpreted and elevated into sainthood. As ‘good’ and ‘bad ‘in politics is always relative and at the mercy of ideological and/or tribal biases, anyone can be seen as a hero or a villain. In Jew-run America, all decent whites are now compelled to despise Robert E. Lee while praising Nelson Mandela to high heaven.
The final part of Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE evokes the fragility of memory. Mankind has been extinct for thousands of years, and there is nothing in the world to suggest its past presence or significance. If mankind still matters as a theme, it’s only because elastic robots have an interest in the origins of their own kind. Otherwise, time-and-space is utterly oblivious as to whether mankind had ever existed or not, whether it did ‘good’ or ‘bad’, whether it had existed for a little while or a long time. It’s like whether a pebble or boulder has been dropped into a pond, the pond reverts to itself as soon as the ripples fade. Whether there was no Holocaust, one Holocaust, two Holocausts, hundred Holocausts, or a million Holocausts, it means nothing to time-and-space that simple is. One might say the entire history of life has been a never-ending Holocaust as life is about life devouring life. Imagine if pigs or cows had the means to record and preach their holocausts.
The fragility of memory can gleaned in way THE WILD BUNCH begins. Peckinpah’s Western isn’t so much a culmination of the genre as an ‘authenticist’ recovery of legends lost to the official/popular narrative. The key here is authenticity of legend than authenticity of history. THE WILD BUNCH doesn’t pretend to be historically accurate. Rather, it presents the legends raw and unfiltered. In the time of the Wild West, all kinds of stories, mixes of facts and fiction, and tall tales & rumors were passed around orally and in print. Most were trivial and forgotten, of no significance to anyone but the storyteller. It’s like the old man Pete Maxwell who mutter something to himself while Billy goes off to make love to a woman in PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID. Earlier in the film, Billy recounts a story of some old man who got killed in a duel over a pair of boots before he and his gun down a several men who’d been stalking him. They tell stories of violence and act out violence that will be turned into stories. The talk and the walk go hand-in-hand in the West. Also, storytelling is as much a matter of the teller as of the story. Some people have a knack of turning even a simple story into a lively tale while others kill a perfectly good story or keep what they know to themselves. In the Wild West, the telling and the killing existed side by side. Consider the scene in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID where Billy sits down to a meal with a family that runs a trading post. Alamosa Bill is there as deputy, which means a gun duel is inevitable between him and Billy. Before the two men get down to it, the patriarch of the place recounts how his oldest son was killed recently. Billy sincerely offers condolences, but shortly thereafter, he shoots down Alamosa Bill in front of the entire family. In our world where people rarely get killed by guns, an account of someone shot dead is an anomaly and has little bearing on the present or immediate future. But in the world of PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, past tense of violence is mere prelude to more violence in the present and near future. Billy has a way of talking that makes others listen. There’s something about his stature, style, and voice that commands attention, indeed even when he says little.
Legends arise from a mix of facts and fantasy, which is why the Dark Ages of Greece and Britain were so crucial to the rise of Hellenic myths and Arthurian legends. History clears the air, whereas legend thrive on mist. Though the American Wild West was short-lived, there was a Dark Age aspect to it because of the murkiness of all that had happened among the pioneers, mavericks, and outlaws away from the purview of proper record-keeping and historiography. Legends take on a life of their own regardless of the truth. Ideally, a journalist or historian is one who ferrets out the facts and truth, indeed even if it kills a good story. In contrast, legends work according to whatever enlivens the story, even if facts be damned. Of course, much of early Western journalism and historiography favored legend over fact, but in time the rise of professionalism elevated fact over legend. (Strangely enough, Judeo-Homo-controlled Political Correctness has revived back legend-over-fact, as its cult of hysteria feeds on a vision of a bogeyman-infested world of neo-Nazi freaks who go around raping innocent girls in college fraternities. This is a disturbing development because the professional institutions themselves seem to support, enable, and even encourage the corruption of truth. The unreliability of Western legends was understandable given the nature of oral history and storytelling. They were to be taken with a grain of salt as their main value was to kill the time. No one claimed them to be the truth and nothing but the truth, help me God. In contrast, institutions such as colleges, journalism schools, and media outlets exist to verify and uphold facts & truth over rumors, lies, fantasies, and propaganda. But when the very professional institutions and industries trusted to uphold the highest standards of truth allow the likes of Sabrina Rubin Erderly to get away with blatant fraud, then what is truth and who can be trusted? If even the highest institutions push the agenda over the truth, then all standards have been lost. It’s like true justice is just about finished in America when Supreme Court bends the Constitution to serve the narrow interests of Jews and homos. Fish rots from the head, and the very mind of America has grown syphilitic with the Jewish virus. US was ultimately able to deal with the power of organized crime because the Federal Government was sufficiently independent of the influences of Crime Inc. This cannot be said of Mexico were drug cartels have their claws into the very heart of government and military. But Organized Jewry now have their tentacles all over the Fed, the State Department, all the intelligence services, academia, and courts. Individuals not unlike Jordan Belfort and Victoria Nuland are everywhere in elite institutions and industries, and they sneer at the notion ofhigher principles or laws and only care for self interest or the power of the Tribe. Who can we turn to for justice even or especially when the highest echelons of power have been taken over by Jewish Supremacists and homo agents, people who are dementedly neurotic and pathological in their insatiable greed, lust, and hatred?)
In time, a slick genre developed around the Wild West idealized in paintings/portraits, popular fiction, and of course Hollywood movies. To suit public tastes and not to offend the general morals of society, the West was cleaned up and the conflicts were formulated into stories of good guys and bad guys. But the original accounts and tales were raunchier, crazier, and not for sensitive ears. THE WILD BUNCH, in this sense, is like Bob Dylan & the Band’s THE BASEMENT TAPES, an exercise in recapturing the spirited pungency of old-time folk-music before they were streamlined into political tools, academic ethnography, and bohemian posturing. Though BASEMENT TAPES was inconceivable without the folk movement that had inspired Dylan, it was also a rejection of established folk standards as it dug and panned for ‘real’ lost music. (This ‘archaeology’ was as psychological as historical and cultural. Though Dylan and Robbie Robertson & others tirelessly researched traditional music, they also rummaged through the junkyard of their own psyches for creative flotsam and occasional treasures. It was a kind of prankster Platonism. If Plato believed in the mind as the pantheon of perfect forms, Dylan, perhaps channeling Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, approached the mind as a playground of infinite imperfection. Dylan felt he didn’t have to know the thing academically, intellectually, and factually to get to its essence. Music scholars knew more about the facts and details about folk music history but purely as a conscious endeavor. In contrast, the artist connects with the music’s essence and is able to explore its latent counterpart within his own soul. Through creative intuition, he is able to tap into the music’s core in ways that no academic or scholar — like Mr. Jones of "The Ballad of a Thin Man" — ever could. Indeed, American folk music was created in that very manner. Unlearned poor whites and blacks caught bits & pieces of melodies & tunes and, thus intrigued, dug into their own hearts, souls, and balls for inspiration. This is why so many academic music majors achieve little that is original. They learn a lot about music but it’s all conscious. In contrast, some of the most profoundly influential musical figures in the 20th century knew far less but used whatever they came across to tap into their creative juices. If art is all about influence, then artists could only imitate what they see and learn of others. No matter how much he or she gains in knowledge, he or she will only reflect what he or she taken in from others since the conscious mind can analyze and replicate but cannot organically create. But if he or she has a connection to his/her own creative balls/womb, even a sampling of, say a piece of music or a painting, will causes the juices to start flowing. So much of the ‘stuff’ is within us, and it’s only waiting to be fertilized. It’s like, even though much of ancient pagan barbarian culture was lost, its magic was re-imagined by 19th century Romantics while venturing through the forests and mountains of Germany. Even if a lost culture and expression cannot be recovered in exactitude in its originality and form, their essence can be rediscovered within the creative wells of those who dowse with the very stuff that had inspired by ancients. Though art is partly a representation/reflection of external reality, it is also the expression of internal creativity. The surrounding reality may change drastically over time, but our souls remain more or less the same. Thus, even though the ancient Greek and barbarian Germanic worlds are no more, it still holds that merely by examining a handful of artifacts and pondering the nature & landscape of those times, we might find within ourselves the images and words that fired up inspiration then. Many historical films failed because they simply tried to replicate the past with emphasis on external details without delving into the soul of the times. So, while much of the details in Carroll Reed’s AGONY AND THE ECSTASY may be accurate, the film doesn’t feel true. In contrast, Andrei Tarkovsky tapped into the soul of Medieval Russia by finding it within himself. ANDREI RUBLEV convinces not only with its rich details but its moody depths, something Tarkovsky could only discover through his own sensibility. Tarkovsky was able to use the camera as the soulful eye of Lost Russia because he imagined and found the spiritualist world-view of those times within himself. Likewise, Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH isn’t merely an awesome feat of physical revivification the West but a plunge into an authentically imagined world-view of the people there and then. Romanticism taught people to ease themselves from consciousness & transcendence and fall into the organic depths of passion and creativity, a zone where the modern is united with the primal.)
It’s like what the voice-over narrator says of time travelers in LA JETEE: "This was the aim of the experiments: to send emissaries into Time, to summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present. But the human mind balked at the idea. To wake up in another age meant to be born again as an adult. The shock would be too great."
|Chris Marker's LA JETEE: the shock of time travel|
THE WILD BUNCH struck viewers as a work of both revisionism/‘radicalism’ and restoration/recovery. In one way, it was the product of new freedoms in American film-making. Just like Negroes rioted in the 1960s to vent their rage in celebration, it was as if THE WILD BUNCH reveled in the triumph of artistic freedom over censorship. Instead of incrementally turning up the heat, Peckinpah poured on the gasoline and lit the flames. He went so far as to combine sex and violence by having several women shot throughout the film. THE WILD BUNCH was naturally compared with BONNIE AND CLYDE and other films of post-censorship Hollywood, such as EASY RIDER and MIDNIGHT COWBOY — and even BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID that was plenty violent in its own way. Peckinpah, as the ‘bad boy’ of cinema, reveled in the controversy. And yet, there was also an element of indifference, as if Peckinpah couldn’t be bothered with fashionable debates then raging among the chattering classes because the main driving factor behind his vision had been to resurrect the Wild West as powerfully as possible. His work was in equal parts an act of reverence and an act of desecration. Peckinpah faithfully displayed all the treasures and artifacts he could recover and reconstruct of Western legend and memory, but he also dug up the graves of those who shouldn’t have been left undisturbed. It’s like the opening of THE EXORCIST where archaeologists dig up stuff that should have been left buried. It’s like Benny violates Alfredo Garcia’s resting place for the price of his head. With most Westerns, we would never mistake the larger-than-life or archetypal characterizations as the actual people of the West; they come across as BASED ON the legends of the West. In contrast, Peckinpah’s characters come across as REANIMATIONS of men and women from whom the legends were drawn. (And yet, THE WILD BUNCH is too stylized and intense for anything like realism. It is more like authentic aestheticism.) Unlike BONNIE AND CLYDE, LITTLE BIG MAN, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, and M*A*S*H, Peckinpah’s film doesn’t use the past as mere backdrop or allegory for the issues-of-the-day. LITTLE BIG MAN is shot through with subtexts on ‘racism’ and imperialism. And M*A*S*H merely used the Korean War to revel in the anti-war sentiments associated with the Vietnam War. BONNIE AND CLYDE’s period details seem accurate enough, but Beatty and Dunaway play at radical chic, which explains its popularity among the would-be-revolutionary types for whom it was like an American version of THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. If THE GRADUATE gave the middle finger to the system, BONNIE AND CLYDE was seen as a call to arms.
|BONNIE AND CLYDE: Generation of Guevara and Beatles.|
Sam Peckinpah was condemned in some quarters for peddling machismo and misogyny, but the criticism was as often as not based on misinterpretation of Peckinpah’s vision. Not that his films aren’t dark and disturbing on matters of manhood and womanhood, but we need to take into account the various shades of machismo and ‘misogyny’. In the shallowest and stupidest sense, machismo is just empty male chauvinism centered around beastly display of power: muscles, attitude, glitter, and/or weapons & firearms. Sylvester Stallone in RAMBO(the second installment) is a good example of this kind of dumb machismo that would have us rooting for some guy who can whup anyone, even entire armies. Rap music is mostly about bragging rights about how badass some Negro is tops in guns, muscles, dick, bling, glitter, and etc. It’s just trash talk and fight-n-fuc* rhythm and beat about how one side is so badass and crazy that it’s gonna totally mess up the other side. (There’s a good deal of trashy machismo around Mapache and his henchmen who hog all the guns, gold, women, wine, and etc. In a way, we are living in an Agua-Verde World despite all the ‘progressive’ yammering about ‘social justice’, ‘equality’, ‘diversity’, and etc. Just look at our capitalist-consumerist-hedonist-driven popular culture. It tends to favor ‘artists’, personalities, and stars who are most exhibitionistic, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, shameless, self-indulgent, excessive, and/or wanton-ous. In some ways, such types are most exciting because they are most adventurous, bold, daring, wild, and expressive. They are willing to step forward and take the lead in new kinds of behavior regarded with suspicion and shame by the more conventional members of society. In the past, when societies/communities were much more conservative, those who tended to be daring and bold had to be mindful of modicum of decency and purposefulness, i.e. their innovations and rebellions had to be justified with meaning; shamelessness for shamelessness’s sake was disapproved; trashiness for trashiness’s sake wasn’t good enough. But today, when the very culture of shame has been abandoned with the rise of Negromania and Jew-Homo-mania — and New Feminism that celebrates Slut Culture — , the brazen shamelessness serves no purpose except to be piggish, trashy, and/or whore-like. Also, as it’s become part of the mainstream, it’s no longer even daring. Consider the lack of shock when Miley Cyrus put on her slut act. Consider how there’s no controversy about young girls now growing up with internet porn streaming into their bedrooms. So, much of our culture is very like Agua Verde where Mapache and his whores act with wild abandon. Today, women often act crazier than Mapache himself. Look at Lena Dunham who would make Mapache blush. In a way, her overweight-ness is perfectly analogous to her sexual appetites. Just like her piggish mouth has to gorge on all manner of junk food — even in a washroom stall — , her swinish pooter must gorge on endless puds regardless of their quality. SEX AND THE CITY has made way for Sex and Miss Piggy. What happens to a culture when it becomes dominated by shameless exhibitionism for exhibitionism’s sake? Of course, most artists and actors through the ages were more exhibitionist than most people because the very nature of art is to express more of oneself than most people are willing of themselves. Some artists are physically exhibitionist, like actors and musical performers. Others are psychologically exhibitionistic by baring their souls through novels, musical composition, paintings, and etc. But the Culture of Shame was still operative, society frowned down on brazenly self-regarding exhibitionism. Thus, artists felt their expressions had to convey meaning, beauty, depth, or sublimity. But today, one can be exhibitionistic just to be exhibitionistic — in the 90s, it was all about Paris Hilton, now it’s all about Kim Kartrashian — , and so the culture, especially pop culture, has turned into a trash pile of wanton narcissistic-exhibitionism on a scale unimaginable in years past. It’s the Age of Chris Crocker, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West. Tim Cook is now out of the closet and telling the world he is blessed by god because he uses his anus as a ‘sex organ’, whereas true Christians have been shamed into hiding their values and convictions under the barrage of SJW — social justice warriors who should really be called slavish Jew-worshiping whores — ire funded by CEO-cracy of Jewish-run Wall Street, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and etc. And idiot millennials raised on this mindless culture of Judeo-Homo-Negro exhibitionism are so mindless that a great majority of them think ‘gay marriage’ is a wonderful idea. Worse, they think people who hold onto the true meaning of marriage are ‘evil’ and must be destroyed. Of course, the Jewish-Homo elites are cracking up and loving every minute of this. Exhibitionism used to be sublimated into the higher creativity of genuine art and meaningful entertainment. Now, exhibitionism is the main feature of what goes by the name of ‘art’. So, we have the likes of Lena Dunham, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, worthless rappers, porn stars, and etc. hogging the spotlight as the main cultural icons of the age. And Jews like Sheldon Adelson can openly and shamelessly call for the nuking of Iran. The likes of Sabrina Rubin Erderly can openly spread lies in the media. Brian Williams can tell lies and brag about his daughter starring in a TV show in which she gets a ‘rimjob’ onscreen. We live in a world where Obama has been anointed with sainthood by the Jew-run media and government because he bends over to the shameless neo-aristocratic cabal of fruiters. It’s a sick world. At least, people like Peckinpah and Norman Mailer paid a price and were struggling for meaning with their greater adventerousness. None such is to be found among disgusting rappers, dumb porn performers, the likes of Lena Dunham and Miley Cyrus, and etc. They dominate the entertainment industry with their exhibitionism, but it no longer takes any daring since our culture is filled with shameless turds all over the internet with their own youtube vlogs making total fools of themselves. Also, shamelessness + exhibitionism has led to the democratization of maniacal self-regard, even among the ugly and chubby like Lena Dunham. It’s understandable that good-looking wanted to show themselves off in the past. Why wouldn’t Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn, Patricia Neal, and Cary Grant not show off their beauty? But in our shameless age, even someone as gross as Lena Dunham expects to be taken seriously as a ‘sex symbol’ because her shameless piggishness or ‘piggerousness’ has been favored by Jews and ugly feminists who dominate the media.) As for ‘misogyny’, I suppose there are men with some nasty hang-ups about women. In some cases, it’s a really a clinical matter of men like Norman Bates with some serious issues related to sexuality. But apart from psychopaths, certain kinds of men might be construed as ‘misogynistic’ in seeing/treating women mainly as objects of sexual pleasure and entertainment. Bill Clinton could be that kind of ‘misogynist’.
|Bill Clinton - Boing!|
|BROADCAST NEWS - Insecurities all around|
|MULHOLLAND DR. - Insecurities all around.|
|BLUE VALENTINE - An icky movie about an Alpha Personality who can't keep his woman for the long haul.|
In the films of Peckinpah, machismo is often a fearful facade. And though men talk tough, we hear a quiver in their voices. And men stare others in the eye but often meet their match and avert their gazes from superior will or force. When Thornton first confronts Harrigan about the ‘massacre’, he glares straight at the shorter man. But when Harrigan asks, "Why didn’t you kill Pike when you had the chance?", Thornton casts his eyes low and falls silent. When Sykes is shot by the bounty hunters and Dutch curses Deke Thornton, Pike sullenly looks away and feebly defends his old friend, "What would you do in his place? He gave his word." When Dutch shoots back with, "Gave his word to a railroad", Pike glares at Dutch and shouts, "It’s his word", but then, Dutch won’t back down and stares right back into Pike’s eyes, and it is Pike who falls silent and looks away. Dutch didn’t so much win the game of machimo as of righteousness, and Pike’s tough leader act falls short. Later in Agua Verde when Pike looks into Mapache’s eyes and insists on buying Angel back, Mapache stares right back as his henchman Herrera warns the Bunch not to upset El General. And Pike has no choice but to look away. The eye is the most fragile of organs, indeed physically no sturdier in men than in women, but power of the gaze matters so much in manhood and machismo as men often measure their status and power in relation to others in terms of who out-stares whom. Looking straight at someone poses a challenge to him. (The challenge can be aggressive and threatening. But it can also be morally judgmental. Or it can be imploring, which is also a challenge. When a big guy looks straight at a little guy, the challenge is obvious. It means, "Look away because I can kick your butt." But then, an old woman can belittle a big man with her stare of judgement. It means, "I am ashamed of you." And even a lowly man or animal can challenge the self-confidence and self-worth of the powerful man with pleading eyes. When an animal looks into your eyes with imploring fear-and-affection, would you be able to kill it? This is one reason why oppressors don’t want the oppressed to look into their eyes. It’s not only that the eyes of the oppressed can be bitter and condemnatory but pitiful and begging-for-sympathy, thereby weakening the resolve of the oppressors. Even the big don in THE GODFATHER PART II can’t stand to keep looking into the eyes of Vito’s mother as she begs him to spare her son’s life.) It’s no wonder that eyes are a key motif in BLADE RUNNER. Replicants feel the confidence to stare directly into the eyes of humans. Their eyes were made that way, backed by superior muscles and will power. Replicants feel a need to run and hide from humans assigned to exterminate them, but they are not afraid to look straight into the eyes of humans who are weaker in will and strength to them. Consider how Leon looks straight at Deckard as he toys with his prey. Indeed, replicants seem to be offended by humans staring at them. Though Replicants were made to be slaves, they feel as masters over humans and find the stares of humans to be insolent. Leon tries to crush Deckard’s eyes, precisely the means by which Roy Batty kills his maker Tyrell. The final moment between Deckard and Batty derives its poetic power from Batty’s psychic invitation for Deckard to stare directly at him as his eyes finally close for the last time. The slave-turned-master resigns to the ultimate master that is fate, and his fate was to live for only four years.
Of course, womenfolk also are also faced with the anxiety of sexual complexity. Many of them find it difficult to be both respectable woman and sexual woman. To be respectable, they have to control their sexuality and not act like total sluts. They have to believe that most ‘cute guys’ are gentlemen who are into something other than ‘boing’. But they also want to have a good time, and in our age, it means putting out and ‘hooking up’; and girls are under peer pressure to indulge in porny talk. Also, as male sexual culture has become so rowdy and over-the-top, some girls think that the only way to be liked by guys is to act like total sluts. Some of them get boob jobs and/or butt jobs, especially as the hip-hop craze has promoted the sexiness of black women with big booties moving up and down as if in-and-out of a dong in ‘twerking’ motion. So, women have their own confusions and insecurities about sex.
|The Homo Killers of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Ride the Low Booty.|
|Cobra Jack Palance in SHANE|
|Richard Harris and Charlton Heston in MAJOR DUNDEE|
Angel is equally shocking because it’s spontaneous and probably even caught Pike off guard. Pike didn’t think it through; it was pure instinct, and it was no longer about saving Angel as he was killed ISIS-style. Pike, in a fit of fury, just pulls out his pistol and shoots Mapache. Though Pike’s gunfire is more than enough to kill Mapache, Dutch also blasts two rounds int Mapache with a shotgun. It was an act of hot rage than cold calculation or cool style. What they did wasn’t cool. It was foolhardy, crazy, indeed the first time in the film that they did something totally wild. But they did it because it felt right. (What could have happened if Pike had not shot Mapache? Would Mapache have ordered his men to attack the Bunch? Or, would he have allowed the Bunch to retreat and go their own way? There was really no way out for anyone. Mapache couldn’t surrender Angel to the Bunch because he would lose his face in front of his men. He couldn’t remain on top if people murmured that he’d backed down to a bunch of gringos and let a rifle-thieving bandit to go free. But the Bunch couldn’t retreat either even if Mapache had allowed them to go after the killing of Angel. They would never be able to live down their shame. After the warrior-march to Mapache to demand Angel, it would have been embarrassing to walk away with their tails between their legs amidst the laughter of drunken Mexicans. And Pike, as leader, would have especially suffered in pride and reputation. Like Yukio Mishima’s suicide mission, there could only be one real outcome, even if the Bunch didn’t bother to think it through. So, like the sheriff in HIGH NOON, it was do-or-die, or do-and-die as the situation was really hopeless in having their demand met.) Once Mapache is down, the Bunch are fearful and anxious; they look all around as the Mexicans seem disoriented, confused, unsure of what to do themselves. Some Mexicans obviously want to kill the Bunch, but no one is willing to go first as he will be the first one shot by the Bunch. It’s possible that some of the Mexicans are actually glad that Mapache is dead in the way that Wicked Witchs’ soldiers are in THE WIZARD OF OZ. After all, there’s little about Mapache that would command undying loyalty. A lot of the soldiers are probably little more than mercenaries or men conscripted into the military. Some of them might just want to return home.
|the final inferno|
Anyway, just as Morgana knew how to play the nature and morality card to bring down the Arthruian order, the clever Jews expertly played the nature and morality card to bring down the White Gentile Order. With the nature card, Jews have been telling whites and blacks that the rightful union is between the black male and the white female since the black male is the toughest, most muscular, and biggest donged super-dude whereas the white woman is the most beautiful and desirable women in the world. Therefore, American history is re-envisioned as a crime against nature since slow, flabby, and inferior white males used the privilege of law and force of arms to keep the white female away from the Negro male who had the natural right to whup the inferior white man and hump the white woman. Therefore, the white male’s sexual access to white female has come to seen as a crime against the True Way of Nature. Of course, Jews won’t say this openly since it goes against the Official Political Correctness that says "Race is just a social construct, and there are no real racial differences." But even as Jews use words to push forth the PC line, they use images and sounds to send the OTHER message loud and clear that black males are the superior alpha males over inferior beta white males, and therefore, black males are naturally more deserving of white females than white males are. Thus, white male pride is undermined and destroyed. At one time, white males resisted this dynamic of sexual nature whereupon the dominant males take the most desirable females. Openly and angrily in works like THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Or subtly and cleverly through stuff like the legend of Elvis that appropriated certain black styles and made the white guy, as ‘white nigger’, the appealing sex symbol to white girls. But in the 21st century, the white male in both Europe and America has completely surrendered sexually and athletically to the Negro. Much of pop music has merged with pornography and showcase white women shaking their ass against Negro men. White boys and girls now grow up from young age watching Negro men and white women have sex while white boys welcome their own humiliation via ‘cuckolding’. Obama, the icky product of a black man humping a white woman, has been made president and has been re-elected. Though blacks routinely beat, rape, rob, and murder whites all over America, the media narrative is all about ‘Black Lives Matter’. White males have fallen so low that they now bend over even to the homo agenda and haven’t the guts to stand against something as foul as ‘gay marriage’. White males welcome black men to do white women while they themselves pull down their pants to be politically boofed in the ass by homos. The likes of Jeb Bush think it proud to have a ‘gay’ advisor. It’s like every politician has show that he has a ‘gay’ or mulatto handler to prove that he’s not ‘homophobic’ or ‘racist’. Jews love this because both ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’ are code-words to instill feelings of guilt and shame in the white race, especially among white males. Indeed, Jews are keen on making the white homo male the New Face of white manhood. A freak like the Bruce-Jenner-turned-into-a-woman is what Jews want white boys to aspire to. But Jews don’t only rely on the Nature argument to denounce ‘racist’ white males as having stood between the natural attraction/pairing of white females and black males. Jews have also used selective historical narrative to make it seem as though whites and only whites have been involved in all the horrible crimes against humanity for which the entire white race must atone forever and ever and ever. Never mind that all races and all peoples had been committing genocide, waging wars, conquering others, and practicing slavery. Just like Morgana only focused on the crimes of Uther while ignoring the brutal deeds of her own father, Jews fixate mainly on the ‘historical crimes’ of whites while discouraging much discussion about the brutality of African Negroes, Medieval Jews, communist Jews, Zionist Jews, and American Jews who’ve recently used foreign policy to wreak havoc all over the world. Undeniably, any people that trusts Jews are doomed.
If the lesson of Hitler teaches us anything, it’s that, even though every people need do what’s necessary to defend themselves from hideous Jews, they must also be mindful of other peoples and nations. If Hitler had respected the nationalisms of other peoples as he’d demanded respect for German nationalism, he could have done great good for mankind. But ironically, the very person who called out on Jews as alien elites subverting and exploiting Germany believed that the German ‘Aryans’ had some divine right to trample other nations and treat their peoples like slaves and subhumans. It just goes to show that some people can be right in one respect but so wrong in another. One thing that was right about National Socialism was it was proud and unapologetic in its German pride and power within the boundaries of Germany itself. True nationalism is to keep foreign nationalisms out and to keep domestic nationalism in. But, Jews would have white people believe that even the concept of self-preservation and self-determination of white gentile nations is evil and Nazi-like even though they don’t entail invasion or subjugation of other nations and peoples. If anything, Jews have been using globalism to make all the nations of the world financially, culturally, politically, militarily, and ‘morally’ subordinate to Jewish Supremacists who totally dominate the US, the most powerful nation in the world, and the EU where the secular religion is Jew Worship via Holocaustianity. Paradoxically, however, the European worship of the Holocaust — more extreme than even in the US — makes many Europeans hostile to Israel and Zionism. After all, if the favored image of Jews among Europeans is that of helpless victims of evil Nazis — the Anne Franks of the world — , it must be upsetting to see powerful Zionist imperialists ruthlessly crush Palestinians and use US foreign policy to wreak havoc all over the Middle East. During the Bush presidency, Europeans could conveniently make believe that some ‘bad Jews’ around Bush made it all possible. The idea was that the ‘good Jews’ around Obama would put an end to all that, but Israel has continued its ‘bad’ behavior under Obama, and if anything, violence in the Middle East and North Africa has spread like wildfire due to J-Street-dominated US foreign policy under Obama who is just a flunky of the Jews.
|Just another slimeball Jewish organization|
Another component of tribalism is the Politics of Sex. Traditionally, tribalism made the men regard the women of the tribe as belonging to them. Men thought in terms of ‘this land ours’ and ‘these women ours’. And the awareness that the men and women of a certain tribe have been producing children together over many generations created a sense of bond, loyalty, and unity. But, as with the issue of the land, there is no guarantee that the women of the tribe will belong to its men. After all, the tribe can be invaded, its men can be killed, and its women can be turned into slaves. That is the horrible fate of the Trojans in THE TROJAN WOMEN. Though the Soviets eventually withdrew, when they invaded the eastern part of Germany, they raped millions of women. German men were reduced to ‘pussy boy’ status while beastly drunken Russian and other Soviet louts took their turns with German women. One might say it was understandable as revenge, but it can never be morally justified. Even so, that sort of thing was all too common throughout history. It’s like the top male buck may own a flock of female deer for itself, but if another buck comes along and wins the fight, all the female deer will go to the new winner. Indeed, the only true nationalism among women is the ‘alpha male(s)’. When France was at war with Germany, all French women sided with French men and supported the nation in the war. But as soon as France was defeated and tall, sturdy, & victorious German soldiers marched into Paris beaming with pride and confidence, tons of French women threw themselves at the Teutonic champions. It’s like Delilah in SAMSON AND DELILAH — more fun than the story in the Bible — cares about nothing except being with the man who happens to have the most power, either muscular or financial/political. To be sure, at the very end, Delilah(to her own surprise) gains an understanding of a different kind of love. A deeper tragic kind. Samson has been reduced to a blind, defeated, and humiliated creature laughed at and mocked by the Philistines. He is no longer the magnificent muscled warrior who defeated a lion(with the help of some clever editing and other trickery). He is fallen and pitiable, and yet Delilah is overcome with compassion, guilt, remorse, and admiration — admiration because, even in his wretched state, Samson will not renounce his God and his people. She feels a kind of love that she hadn’t known existed before, and she would rather die with Samson that save herself. It’s a rare kind of love, this tragic love, perhaps inexplicable and inaccessible without something of the spiritual. Indeed, one of the reasons why the Bunch are so moved by Angel’s suffering is that ‘he played his string right out to the end.’ Though the Bunch are certainly not men of God, there’s a quasi-Biblical aspect to the emotions that in effect transform them into carrying out the jeremiad of blood sacrifice. They feel something like the guilt that Peter felt after having denied Jesus three times. Jesus, after all, played His strings right out to the end. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote of the torture victims in the Algerian War that their refusal to betray their brethren to the end posed a great challenge to the French torturers. By taking all that pain but refusing to yield, they had proven themselves stronger than the torturers even though torturers held the bullwhip. It’s why the ending of Roberto Rossellini’s ROME: OPEN CITY is so powerful. The communist resistance fighter will not give in no matter how horribly he is tortured by the Nazis. They use pliers, blow torch, and other instruments, but he won’t give in. He physically loses but ‘spiritually’ wins. Breaking the body is an easy way to break the spirit as the body can take only so much pain. The Japanese had an especially effective method of ‘inquisition’ for European missionaries that made every one of them renounce Jesus. I’ve heard that no terrorist suspect has been able to overcome Waterboarding. And yet, there have been rare individuals through history who’ve had the mad will, stamina, and conviction to play the strings right out to the end.
At any rate, Tragic Love is very rare as most women tend to be hussies without capacity for depth. Though Delilah of Cecil B. DeMille’s movie is indeed a hussy, she isn’t completely without a soulfulness. But then, her tragic love had less to do with pity for the weak & wretched than the sadness of watching a once-magnificent warrior brought down low. It’s the remembrance of his former glory that grows into tragic love in Delilah’s heart. It’s not compassion for a sickly sewer rat but for a fallen lion. Surely a caged lion, bear, or eagle looks more tragic than a caged hamster or pigeon. Even though Samson has fallen low, she remembers the power he once had, and even in his helplessness she can see the qualities that made her fall for him in the first place. This is why the fall of the great boxer is always a sad thing. Rocky Marciano was moved to tears after he’d knocked out Joe Louis, and Larry Holmes was sad and depressed after he TKO’d Muhammad Ali, the ‘Greatest’ who’d been his idol in his youth. Because people remember how great they’d been, their defeat and humiliation come across as especially tragic. It explains why the defeat of Jim Jeffries at the hands of Jack Johnson was so traumatic to many whites. Jeffries wasn’t just another white boxer. He’d been a great champion once. And as the ghastly Negro Johnson had defeated all the whites in all the continents, he was brought back from retirement as the last of the Great White Hope. His defeat at the hands of Jack Johnson wasn’t just a case of another white guy brought low by the Negro. It was the vanquishing of the very symbol of white male champion-hood that had been unsullied in Jeffries’ day. After the defeat, the white race should have taken Jeffries’ advice and woken up. Jeffries said Johnson was the much superior boxer and that he couldn’t have beaten him even in his younger days, indeed not in a million years. In other words, the Negro is tougher and stronger than the white man. Now, what would have been the obvious conclusion to be drawn from this? RACIAL SEPARATION. Because unless such a separation is effected, the future of America would be racial Jack-Johnson-ization. And isn’t that today’s racial reality as the most popular celebrity couple is Kanye West and Kim Kardashian? And before them, it was Seal and Heidi Klum. And Sports Illustrated issue is all about white women featured in the pages filled with black male athletes? And every big black athlete in colleges and professional sports are humping white women who line up in long lines and were sexually weaned on interracist music, movies, TV shows, and porn?
|Jim Jeffries, the pussified white man at the hands of Jack Johnson|
|White ho for the Negro in the Age of Interracism and pussification of the white boy.|
In many Land Narratives, the tribe believes that they are the first inhabitants of the land that they occupy. As far back as their history goes, their land was always theirs. Consider the Japanese mythology that says the Japanese in Japan are the descendants of the first gods who created and inhabited Japan. In contrast, the concept of the Promised Land says that there was a certain land occupied by Other peoples, but God decided to give the it to the Jews, but ONLY IF Jews stick together, remain tribal-nationalistic, and worship God. Thus, the Hebrews, upon leaving Egypt behind, eventually come to wrest the Promised Land from the Canaanites. It’s as if the Jewish Way must precede the possession of the Jewish Land. If Jews don’t uphold the Jewish Way, the Promised Land will not be theirs. If many pagan forms of tribalism began with the land, Jewish tribalism began with the mentality, and only if the mentality was strong, united, & virtuous before God was the land given to the Jews by God. Land is important to Jewish tribalism but the Way is more important. This is why Jews will never be satisfied with possessing Israel alone.
This mind-set explains why Jews have this habit of seeing all the world as their oyster, their milk and honey. Even though most modern Jews are secular, the old mental habit remains in their eyeing even non-Jewish lands as something for Jews to dominate, milk, and enjoy for themselves. Jews saw America that way and took it over. Jews see Russia that way. To them, it’s just some big dumb gentile cow for Jews to milk for themselves. No wonder the character Tevye in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is a milkman. When Jews are not being parasitic, they see gentiles as dairy cows that exist only to supply cream for the Jews. According to the Tribe, the world is made up of Jews and Moos, and we moos exist only to be mooched on by the Jews.
|Ancestor of the Jew Oligarchs who now milk Americans dry through Wall Street and Las Vegas.|
Judaism, unlike Christianity, is a blood religion or ethno-religion. Its concept of God isn’t only connected to the mind and heart but to the penis/testes and the vagina/womb. (It’s no wonder that Jews like Sigmund Freud, Norman Mailer, and Sigmund Freud were so openly obsessed with sexual matters. Judaism is a religion of sex or, more precisely, a religion of who has sex with whom. In this sense, Jewish involvement with pornography may have religious roots, albeit in a perverted way.) What Jesus and the Disciples did was to separate Faith in God from the laws of the Jewish penis and Jewish vagina. It is then ironic that Jews, the People of Blood, became in the modern world the purveyors of radical universalism that sought to discredit the Blood Ideologies and Tribalisms of other peoples. But then, in doing so, it strengthened the Blood Power of Jews as a world with weakened gentile tribalisms is bound to make it easier for Jews to exert their own tribal power, and of course, the most obvious manifestation of this is the nationalistic state of Israel, indeed so much so that some gentiles are beginning to feel that they’ve been hoodwinked by the Jews: "Nationalism for Jews but not for us?" And so, Israel comes under mounting pressures to follow the deracinated standards of the West. What Jews pushed on the West is somewhat boomeranging on the Jews themselves, especially as the Tribe seems to working underhandedly to boost Jewish power and privilege all over the world, especially in the US, EU, and Russia. But then, Jews have cleverly justified their nationalism as mere defense against ‘antisemitism’. According to this narrative, Jews are not welcomed by most nations that happen to be ‘antisemitic’, and therefore poor helpless Jews need a nation of their own as a sanctuary from the world that ‘irrationally’ hates, hates, and hates Jews. Boo hoo hoo for the goo goo Jew.
At any rate, even racial-sexual unity isn’t enough. For Jewish men and Jewish women to want to stay together and keep having Jewish kids, they must feel proud of and indebted to a great and meaningful tradition, and Jews have maintained theirs through a historical consciousness interwoven with a sense of divine destiny. Thus, Jews feel a certain historical obligation to pass the torch from one generation to the next. And in the modern world, even as many Jews intermarry with non-Jews, the children of the union tend to identify with Jewishness since it’s perceived as spiritually holier, historically deeper, culturally more significant, emotionally more tenacious, and morally more tragic/righteous(especially due to the cult of Holocaustianity) than other identities. Also, Jews marry the high-IQ members of gentiles whose genetics essentially blend with and come to serve Jewish identity and interests. All groups rely heavily on their high-IQ elites for power and success, so when many of the best of the gentile elites blend with Jews and raise their mixed-race children as Jewish, Jews will continue to gain more power over goyim. Suppose there are Jews and the Irish. Suppose smart Irish marry Jews and raise their kids as Jewish. Then Jews will own not only high IQ Jewish genes but also high IQ Irish genes that now serve Jewish power & interests than the needs of the Irish people. Meanwhile, the Irish masses will have fewer smart Irish to lead them. This is why Jewish intermarriage with non-Jews won’t necessarily weaken the Jews. If anything, it may strengthen the Jews because gentile high IQ will pass over to the Jewish identity/community whereas the gentile community will have lost more of its precious high IQ genes to the Jews.
|Shiite! ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA realized.|
There’s a different kind of insecurity among the Hammond Brothers. The brothers are very close-knit but also filled with bumptious rivalry for food, drink, women, respect, and attention. One of them has a rule of never taking a bath, and when others gang up on him and dunk him in a trough, he reacts like a cat in water. He’s ready to take on the world, and his brothers have to sweet-talk him into calming down. The best-looking Hammond brother, who is to be married, has his own insecurities as well. He wants the girl for himself but knows that his brothers want their turns with her, and there isn’t much he can do about it — especially in frontier towns where womenfolks are scarce, any female is a man-magnet; it’s like even the fat ugly woman in MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER attract men in the first part of the film.
|Boy who learns to be a Man|
For example, when Mapache and German officer in THE WILD BUNCH ask about the machine gun, Pike knows how to play it right. He doesn’t refuse, but he doesn’t give in easily. He defends his own authority by reminding Mapache that the contract called for rifles and ammos, not a machine gun. But then, he offers the machine gun as a ‘gift’. Pike knew it was the smart thing to hand over the machine gun, but he guards his own pride by presenting it as a ‘gift’ than as an offering. And Mapache admires this side of Pike who knows the art of the game. (Indeed, he isn’t angry at Pike for having rigged the wagon with dynamite so that his men could take the guns without payment. Mapache is a thug, but he respects men of will and courage.) So, Mapache says "Gringo, you fight for Mapache, mucho dinero and muchachas bonitas", to which Pike responds with, "I’ll think about it" as he rides off knowing he’d played it perfectly. Even so, consider the level of tension in that scene. A lesser man than Pike would have lacked the nerves and wits to play it so well. And indeed, there are times when even Pike feels lost for words or decisive action, like when he locks horns with Dutch over Thornton after Sykes gets shot. And Pike’s two early confrontations with the Gorches could have ended badly if others hadn’t stood by him. Peckinpah at his best could handle dramatic tension like no other director.
|DAZED AND CONFUSED - Gentile bully meets Jewish Jerk|
|APOCALYPSE NOW - Teflon Don of Bullets and Shrapnel|
|THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY - Stylized Ritual of Suspense|
|Steve McQueen as Doc McCoy in THE GETAWAY. Saved once again by luck.|
the latter reaches deeper into our psyche since death is inevitable one way or another. We can’t live beyond our luck or limit, but we can ‘live on’ as memory in the minds of people who live on and come after us. Thus, the most we can hope for is to be remembered, but then by whom? As many characters of Peckinpah films are without families — as most of them failed with women to settle down and produce their own children — , their only hope is to be remembered as legends. And this is Alamosa Bill’s last, perhaps only real, satisfaction when he says, "At least I’ll be remembered" to Billy the Kid, the man who laid him low. There is no meaningful reason to go on living but for the sentiment, "I wouldn’t have it any other way." We are what we are, creatures of delusions, but delusions are ultimately meaningless for, as the Good Book says, "Vanity of vanities, all if vanity." Life is a case of "The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away." All will be taken away from everything and everyone, and it’s the delusion on our part that anything we do matters in the long run. But the delusion keeps us L-I-V-I-N’, like the Matthew McConaughey character says in DAZED AND CONFUSED.
There’s something about Eastwood that, even in his most realistic movies, tends to be nonchalant, as if the world moves at his own chosen pace. No such complacency is allowed in the world of Peckinpah. Consider how Tanner(Rutger Hauer) in THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND feels hemmed in by the government, his friends(suspected of being traitors), and his wife(who’s suspicious of the whole setup). Though a genre movie, it feels like Sidney Lumet’s police drama THE PRINCE OF THE CITY. They all have competing egos, agendas, & anxieties, and Tanner’s like a billiard ball knocking against them all in varying ways. There’s a sense that anyone or anything might bump into anyone or anything, as in the moment in THE WILD BUNCH when Pike, disguised as a army officer, bumps into an old woman carrying packages to the post office. Or consider the scene when Sykes falls off the horse, and the momentum has an avalanching effect on others who are also pushed off their horses. And Mariette Hartley character in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY becomes the object of tug-of-war among many men: her father, the young lad, the Hammond brothers, and the two old friends who want to do the right thing by her. Individuality and independence are key components of Peckinpah’s world, but life is less about dreams pursued than thwarted. Generally, entertainment offers the fantasy of dreams pursued whereas ‘art films’ generally present a vision of dreams thwarted, as in MIDNIGHT COWBOY, the very opposite of a movie like PRETTY WOMAN. Peckinpah’s films seem odder than most because he worked mostly with entertainment genres but in the sensibility of the ‘art film’ that highlighted reality as the barrier to one’s dreams and delusions.
Pike has a strong individual will and so does Harrigan, but their egos and agendas become entangled not only with each other but with endless complications of a chaotic unforeseeable world. The big contradiction in the Western Myth derives from the tension between the promise of an individual’s sense of rightness and the realization that one’s rightness isn’t another’s. The allure of the West is every man can be free, but every man has his own idea of freedom, which gets testy where guns and property are involved. Western myth is about being free in a world without fences but staking claims to put up fences — and making them stick with the power of the gun. Both lead characters in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY have a powerful sense of individual rightness, but the views couldn’t differ more profoundly, all the more surprising since they’d shared the same experiences in the past. Westrum is into rightness without the righteousness, whereas Judd’s rightness would be meaningless without the righteousness. Westrum believes he’s right to be cynical about the world, and so he feels entitled to take what is ‘rightfully’ his, whereas Judd’s sense of righteousness is synonymous with his sense of rightness regardless of the way of the world. If the old friends had starkly different backgrounds, social explanations might suffice as to why they see the world and mankind so differently. But they’d been through so much together as friends and lawmen. And yet, one man still cares deeply about honor and self-respect whereas the other feels such notions are fool’s gold. "Pardner, do you know what's on the back of a poor man when he dies? The clothes of pride. And they're not a bit warmer to him than when he was alive." There are conflicts in all Westerns, but the main conflicts tend to be writ large, indeed more thematic than psychological or personal. We know that everyone in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE is an archetype representing a certain meaning about the progression of civilization, the dangers of wilderness and criminality, the power of love, the value of loyalty, and etc. Though Ford’s film asks us to look behind the official myth, it is nevertheless a Western where characters exist to represent and dramatize certain larger themes. THE WILD BUNCH is not without thematic significance, but there’s an anarchic richness to the array of peculiarities and idiosyncracies of characters, communities, and situations that defy thematic categorization or containment. It’s as if everyone is too busy with his own issues and problems to sit still be pinned with the badge of symbolism. They are like the Warren Oates character in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY who refuses to take a bath. If he wants to reek of his own odor, no one’s going to force him otherwise. It is this maverick quality about Peckinpah’s films — a willful disobedience against being molded according to standards — that set them apart from earlier Westerns that replayed established styles and larger-than-life themes. There are larger-than-life themes in THE WILD BUNCH, but life itself is bursting at the seams with so much richness that no single theme takes center-stage. And if in the end, the members of the Bunch do the right thing, it is each on his own terms than for any prevailing consensus.(An artist often projects something of himself onto all the characters, and it was no different with Peckinpah. A part of him was disobedient like the Warren Oates character in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. He had troubles growing up because he often didn’t do as told by his grandfather and father. He was a willful boy who liked to do things his own way. But Peckinpah also had some natural leadership qualities, and he admired few things more than professionalism. He developed a reputation for firing anyone who couldn’t do the job. He himself was the only maverick allowed on the set. Everyone else had to know his job and do things right. A leader of men must set standards because no group can function if everyone does as he wants. So, a part of Peckinpah forced everyone to take a bath and be baptized in Peckinpah-ism. But he also hated the idea of the leader because it meant authority; he certainly hated the idea of others telling him what to do. And he felt ambiguous about his own role as tyrant over the crew on the movie sets. So, in films like PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, CROSS OF IRON, and CONVOY, Peckinpah identified with the figure of the reluctant leader. Billy is the leader of his gang, but he’s also too much of a maverick to tell others what to do. Others hang around and wait for his orders that never materialize. In CROSS OF IRON, Steiner is the leader of his men but he’s at war with the very idea of leadership. And the guy in CONVOY prefers to believe he just happens to be in front than is leading the truck rebellion.)
|CONVOY - Kris Kristofferson in the role of reluctant leader|
Because Peckinpah’s films are keen on this aspect of manhood-as-facade, it’s misleading to say they are mindless celebrations of machismo. Peckinpah understood the insecurities of manhood because he grew up under a tough grandfather and tough father. He admired and respected them but also resented their control over his rebel/maverick streak. He felt a need to prove his own worth by the standards of the Old West(that still lived in his family) but in his own way. And even though he was egotistical and abrasive, he was not without a soft side nestled somewhere in his soul. It’s like the time he shot a deer and was overcome with emotions. And his films are as acutely sensitive and sympathetic as they are brusque and threatening. A difficult man, Peckinpah’s life and vision were rife with contradictions, hypocrisies, paranoia, resentments, and vendettas. As an artist, he felt an obligation to assess the full range of life, from the most violent to the most gentle. When his films were ‘too violent’, he felt defensive as if it required moral or philosophical justification. He came from a family of lawyers and judges after all. And when he felt he was getting too soft and gentle(in life and/or art), he felt uneasy and vulnerable for having exposed his ‘weak’ side, and then he would ramp up his machismo to prove his manhood. But almost always, there was something raw, naked, and bruised about his ‘manic machismo’ that made it much more than an empty gesture of male chauvinism. We could feel the abrasions and frayed nerves behind the leather gloves. It was like watching Jake LaMotta in RAGING BULL in the prison cell battering his fists against the concrete wall. Acting tough only to discover weakness.
Peckinpah’s best films, like any great work of art, make us acutely aware of the difference between the great event and the great telling. No matter how great an event, it may have no great tellers. No matter how un-great an event, it can be the stuff of a great telling. WORLD WAR II, for instance, was one of the greatest events in history, but it didn’t produce many great works of American literature on the subject. Generally, Norman Mailer’s THE NAKED AND THE DEAD is considered to be the greatest. Indeed, most great events in history didn’t have great tellers of tales to turn them into immortal legends or myths. How fortunate were the Greeks to have had someone like Homer. (There seems to be three main forms of storytelling. There’s the realistic that deals with people and events on the human scale. It’s about characters as mortal beings. There’s the mythic that magnifies the ideals of courage, beauty, honor, nobility, and/or ability into fantasies of what-should-be and what-we-would-like-to-be. It’s about characters as heroes and/or demigods. Then, there’s the religious that emphasizes how even the greatest aspirations of man amount to nothing on the cosmic scale. If those who love the mythic are content to hear the stories of great heroes and conquerors, those with an ear for the religious are open to the sobering reminder that no man/hero, however noble or beautiful, and no vision/dream, however inspiring and romantic, possess independent value in the grand scale of things that belongs to God alone. As such, the only road to salvation is through God.) No matter how great an event, it will be neglected and forgotten without great storytellers. On the other hand, even non-great figures and non-great events can be the subject of great storytelling. Consider the story of Abraham who, by standards of history, was hardly a great man. But the telling of his story in the Torah is great, filled with depth, meaning, and insight into God and man. And in this sense, the art of the novel owes something to the Torah for many of the greatest novels are essentially great story-tellings of non-great lives. Even if a person or event is non-great, he or it can be approached, followed, and considered from many angles. The fictional characters of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and THE WILD BUNCH are not great and even their somewhat eventful deeds are mere pin-drops in the scale of history. And yet, because they are part of a great story-telling, they have mythic resonance. Same with the story of Tom Donifan(John Wayne) in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. A novel like THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and a film like THE GRADUATE are not about great individuals or great events. But they are examples of great or very fine storytelling, and as such, their characters, themes, and meanings have come to affect and even alter the hearts and minds of millions of readers and moviegoers. Travis Bickle of TAXI DRIVER is what people would call a ‘loser’. He is about as un-great as anyone can imagine. And yet, the story-telling is so penetrating, perceptive, and powerful that his neurosis and demons become emblematic of the larger problems then afflicting urban America. And of course, the great storyteller often projects his own world-views and hangups on the characters and incidences of his tales. Thus, in a film like MULHOLLAND DR., the life of a failed pitiful actress, the very opposite of greatness, becomes the material of great storytelling that provides valuable observations/lessons about the obsessions of our society & culture and the ways of our psychology & dreams.
This is perhaps why BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is especially dispiriting. If Peckinpah labored day in and day out to see THE WILD BUNCH through from the beginning to the end — controlling his alcohol intake and maintaining a grueling schedule for the entire duration of the filming — , he approached BRING ME THE ALFREDO GARCIA as if it were an improvisational home movie about himself: his own GIMME SHELTER. Was he making a film ABOUT a desperate and paranoid alcoholic loser or IN the manner of one? THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST has the same problem as we are not sure if Scorsese made a film about a manic-depressive messiah or in the mode of one. It’s one thing for the artist to get under the skin of the characters and theme but quite another to identify with them to the point where he loses a sense of clarity and distance; distance is always necessary between an artist and his emotions, because, after all, art isn’t just what about one feels but about an mindfully organized expression of passions, prejudices, or positions. Though BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is inspired as an idea, it falters from the beginning with misfired film sense. It’s not so much that the film sense is absent as it’s not seeing straight and around the corners. The vision is so mired in muck of tawdry excess that the film expends its energies mostly on just staying on two legs. PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID also suffers, at least in part, from stifled and misdirected film sense. Though a very impressive film in many respects, it’s as though, in order to achieve a more somber‘art western’, Peckinpah went against his natural film sense. It was as if the kinetic film sense behind THE WILD BUNCH, STRAW DOGS, and THE GETAWAY had been done already, and therefore a more of a reflective approach was necessary as creative challenge and for artistic growth. It might have worked better if some of the actors weren’t so indifferent or unresponsive to the tragic arc of the film, but it was likely Peckinpah’s fault for mostly using them as backdrop. As such, the film comes across as either theater of the absurd misinterpreted as tragedy or tragic drama distilled into absurd mannerisms. The emotions are too apparent for absurdity and too absent for tragedy. James Coburn settles into the dampened mood of the film, but Kristofferson, as charismatic as he is, seems unsure what his character is supposed to be about. But then, maybe the very concept of an ‘art western’ wasn’t the best idea. While a Western can be indeed be a work of art — as THE WILD BUNCH certainly is — , it has to operate in accordance to its material. It’s like THE BASEMENT TAPES doesn’t need aspirations as ‘serious art music’ to be rich and colorful in its own right; indeed, it could only work in its own right, as music true to the spirit of authentic folk traditions. Something that ignores or forsakes its true nature and strives to be something other is like the mulatto Negress in IMITATION OF LIFE(though, to be sure, Negresses trying to be white than black would probably make for a saner society). American cooking doesn’t have to be fancy like French or Chinese cooking to be good. If anything, in straining for the pedigree of other ‘fancier’ cookings, it will likely not only fail in its highfalutin aspiration but lose its intrinsic flavor as well. Who wants to listen to Bruce Springsteen’s "Thunder Road" as an opera aria? PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID is far from a disaster and could even be said to be a near-great film, but one can’t help feeling that Peckinpah had his target set wrong. He scored a lot of hits but failed to nail the bull’s eyes that would have brought the film to full life. As Pauline Kael wrote of the film, it is missing a motor. A car with great wheels, windows, handlebars, seats, hoods, and etc. is all very good, but unless the engine starts, it’s not going anywhere. If PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID finally made it to the finish line, it was because it was pushed along the way.
|James Coburn in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID|
Though some film-makers have film sense, there’s no guarantee they’ll have it in every film. Consider Richard Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED, one of the most amazing feats of film sense, perhaps underappreciated by many critics/viewers who dismissed it as a stoner movie, teen flick, or just another variation of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. Yet, every moment hits the bull’s eye as the film grooves along. Its masterliness has evaded the notice of many viewers because of the apparently laid-back and easy-going narrative. One could be lulled into believing it was made just by following kids around with a camera. But the expressive instincts of Linklater are impeccable throughout the film, no less than in THE WILD BUNCH. If anything, the invisibility and unobtrusiveness of the style are a testament to how fine-tuned the vision is, indeed to the point where the camera doesn’t so much observe as blend with the world. It’s as if Linklater could effortlessly slip in and out of every single one of his characters. And yet, there’s an alertness to the ease, something like lucid dreaming. (Belonging to any social community is like being in a dream. It becomes so much a part of you that you don’t know that your body and soul have become submerged in a cultural bubble with its own rules of what’s ‘real’ and ‘unreal’, ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’. Thus, to be part of a social community means to surrender your critical faculties and just go with the flow. Each social community has its own grooves and aura, and every individual has his or her own unique ways of seeing the world. Thus, even waking life is a kind of a dream. Even when people are awake, they ‘dream’ or are transfixed in different social communities and different individualities. So, in a way, even though social conflicts are seen as rational contests of right and wrong, they are as much conflicts of competing dreams as each social community is trapped within its own visionary cocoon of what feels so right and wonderful. And people don’t want to wake from their ‘dream’ or social cocoon because the rawness of reality-as-reality for scrutiny under hard rationalism is just too traumatic. Like the character of LA JETEE, we prefer to remain in our dream-sense even in waking life. Every social community offers its dream vision of goodness and rightness. As artists are people, they too have their preferred social communal dream-worlds. But as artists have to empathize with even characters they disagree with or despise, they must make an effort to break out of their own ‘dreams’ and enter into the social communal ‘dreams’ of other peoples. The thing about Linklater is this process comes more naturally to him because of his lucid-dreaming personality. Unlike most people who are unaware of the dream-nature of their social community and mistake it as the only true reality, Linklater is aware that even his preferred social communal dream-world is one among many. So, as in WAKING LIFE, art/creativity serves as a means of becoming self-aware of one’s own dream-ness, thereby facilitating the breaking free from one’s own cocoon to enter in and out of different social-communal dreams. A conservative Evangelical Christian will find it difficut to break out of his social-communal dream and peer into that of a homo radical, and vice versa, but Linklater is able to slip in and out of all sorts of social communities. Partly, it’s because he’s acutely and self-consciously aware of his own dream-reality. Having grown up in a liberal city in conservative Texas and having had friends from all walks of life, he feels easier in the company of all sorts of people. It’s like Pink of DAZED AND CONFUSED easily gets along with jocks, intellectuals, creative types, stoners, the young kid, and etc.)
|WAKING LIFE - Lucid Dreamer|
There’s something musical about film sense, and unsurprisingly MIDNIGHT COWBOY and DAZED AND CONFUSED make wonderful use of music. I suspect Harry Nilsson’s song "Everybody’s Talkin’" hit the right combination in unlocking Schlesinger’s finest creative energies. The opening of the film is inconceivable without Nilsson’s song, and the rest of the film skips or skids on its rhythm or lack thereof. The song is the film’s heartbeat, strumming along but falling silent when Joe Buck, time and again, comes up against the reality of matter than musings. The song captures Joe Buck’s puerile innocence and naive optimism that carry him through life and feed him pies in the sky that, in the end, leave him feeling empty and lost wherever he goes.
DAZED AND CONFUSED and HIGH FIDELITY are also inconceivable without their soundtracks. Indeed, Frears’ film is about the crucial role of pop music in affecting how people, especially men of a certain age, face the vagaries of life. They are hooked on stereophonics.
Film Sense since the Rock era has been informed not only by cinema consciousness but by the music scene itself. Martin Scorsese, for example, hasn’t only been profoundly influenced by the great masters of cinema but by the Rock music that turned him on in the 60s. There are scenes in GOODFELLAS and CASINO that were probably conceived with certain songs in mind. This shouldn’t surprise since there’s a connection between sound/music and images/shapes. Sounds, after all, have geometric structures in the aural field, and tests have shown that skills with music relate to skills of visual coordination. Dance is about the synchronization of music with physical movement; it is music manifested in and through matter. Scorsese certainly can make images dance, and this probably explains his obsession with RED SHOES, a film where image and music are completely fused into one.
Phil Spector in an interview remarked how much the opening of MEAN STREETS owes to his song, "Be My Baby" performed by the Ronettes. And before them, many directors like Richard Lester and Ridley Scott learned invaluable lessons from directing TV advertisements that punched music and image into a single package. Thus, the Film Sense of the directors who came to prominence since the advent of Rock Music is different from the Film Sense of earlier directors. As just about every American film-maker since the 1960s has been immersed in Rock music, their visual sense tends to be more restless, hectic, and ‘loud’ than that of earlier directors. On the other hand, many Silent Film directors had some of the liveliest Film Sense, especially the Soviet masters like Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and Vertov. As cinema back then was unfettered to sound realism, it could wander to its dream logic irrespective of dramatic necessity. And as silent movie comedians relied on physical than oral comedy, cinema became like a visual dance performance. And because Silent Movies were meant to watched with musical accompaniment, it’s possible Silent Film directors always had music in mind when directing and editing the material.
Sam Peckinpah had possibly the most potent film sense among the directors of the 60s and early 70s, before Spielberg arrived on the scene. What Kurosawa said of Toshiro Mifune applies to Peckinpah. Kurosawa was impressed by Mifune’s manic range of emotions, a quality he was born with and couldn’t be taught. It’s like that song, "It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing." Few people have it, most people don’t. Peckinpah had an instinctive swing for cinema rare even among great directors, possibly the most dynamic since Welles and Kurosawa. Sadly, due to faults of his as well as others, he failed to utilize his talents toward making another film as magnificent as THE WILD BUNCH. He made other great films and some good ones, but THE WILD BUNCH towers above them by a mile. While inspiration goes a long way, it’s like the saying goes: "Art is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Peckinpah lived by those words in the making of THE WILD BUNCH but subsequently relapsed to his destructive habit of hitting the bottle once too often and, worse, indulging in other drugs like cocaine. In drunken stupor or cocaine high, he came to rely more and more on sensations of inspiration and failed to brace himself to ‘play his string right out to the end’ as an artist. Oddly enough, even though THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND may be the least considered of his films(including by Peckinpah himself), it was actually a partial return to form after the shapeless CROSS OF IRON and meandering CONVOY. It has a sharpness mood and tone — as well as some of the most claustrophobic action scenes — that was missing in his films since THE KILLER ELITE. The dramatic tension at the Tanner house is rife with barely concealed contempt as if everyone’s holding a knife behind his back for reasons real as unreal, personal as political. Yet, they’re all supposed to be lifelong friends. It is remarkable the way innocent people can be driven to mutual paranoia and repressed recriminations that pack the air with explosive tension. It gets so that one false move or utterance can spontaneously combust into mini-armageddon.
|Craig T. Nelson and Rutger Hauer in THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND|
It is my understanding — though I could be wrong — that Peckinpah directed THE WILD BUNCH before the music was composed. It is then all the more amazing that he could be so ‘musical’ with the images as if Fielding’s score was already in his head directing and guiding his visual conception. There is more Film Sense in the beginning of THE WILD BUNCH — even before the gunfight — than in the entirety of most movies. Of course, much of the credit must go to Lucien Ballard and the editors, without whom Peckinpah could not have developed his famous montage(or Peckinpage) style. Indeed, given the singular greatness of THE WILD BUNCH, it must be credited as a group effort beyond the scope of any single artist.
On most projects, film composers just go through the rigamarole as the average assignment is hardly inspiring. Film composers are loathe to waste their best music on bad movies, so if they come up with a good piece of music, some of them will hold it until something worthy comes along. For every great score by Ennio Morricone for a special film(especially by Sergio Leone), there were innumerable hack-works for bad movies. After all, he also did the score for RED SONJA and lots of forgettable Spaghetti Westerns by third-rate directors. And Jerry Fielding must have had his share of jobs-for-hire. But when a composer is handed a project like THE WILD BUNCH, it is a dream-come-true, something that can bolster his name and reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fielding’s score for THE WILD BUNCH is his best and the one he was most proud of. Unfortunately for so many classic Hollywood movies, the studio ordered the composers to lay it on thick, which explains why so many old Hollywood movies are overladen with bombastic music.
|Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone - Conduct You Sucker|
Jerry Fielding, like Toru Takemitsu, had a subtler approach to film scores. He rejected both the full-blown bombastic manner of Old Hollywood and the tendency of new Hollywood movies to hang their emotions on a couple of songs, as if the songs defined the meaning of the movie. It was why Fielding was disgusted with the use of Dylan’s "Knocking on Heaven’s Door" in the scene where Slim Pickens’ character is mortally wounded. In Fielding’s mind, the song didn’t bring out the emotions intrinsic to the moment but imposed its own emotions — anachronistic to boot as there was no Rock music in the 19th century — upon it. It was like using heavy sauce to overwhelm the innate flavor of the meat instead of using subtler spices to bring it out, like the Greeks do with lamb. For Fielding, Dylan’s song was ketchup poured on prime meat.
|Jerry Fielding - Composer|
I suspect Peckinpah’s natural, if contentious, rapport with Fielding had something to do with his own conflicted inner-self. Peckinpah was at war with himself with a personality consisting of polarities and opposites. Even when he was kind and gentle, a fuse was fizzing inside him that could set off an explosion at any moment. We see his personality reflected in characters such as Pike Bishop, Cable Hogue, Pat Garrett, Benny, and others. Many people, even his most ardent admirers, bore witness to how difficult Peckinpah could be in his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act. Thus, the rule of using melody or song to convey consistency & unity of mood would have been contrary to Peckinpah’s world-view and self-consciousness. This perhaps explains why the songs in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE don’t ring true, and as if to prove the point, Hogue’s monologue is interjected throughout the opening song in complaints against God’s design. It isn’t that Peckinpah reveled in nihilism. If anything, the tragic core of Peckinpah’s cinema is that the characters are tempted with ample justifications for nihilism, but something in them pulls back and says, "No", like Benny does as he shoots at the henchmen of El Jefe in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Of course, resistance against temptation is a timeless theme in storytelling. Consider how the woodcutter in RASHOMON inhabits the same heartless world as the commoner does but, unlike the latter, refuses to surrender to nihilism and saves an abandoned baby. But this familiar theme has an element of rage and desperation in the films of Peckinpah because, as often as not, the rejection of temptation leads not so much to redemption as to annihilation, as if the devil takes final retribution against those who reject his offer. Either way, whichever way one chooses, it’s soul-sacrifice into oblivion. It’s one thing to be confronted/tempted with nihilism and draw back with one’s soul intact but quite another to march into hell clinging to one’s battered & frayed soul like a Viking warrior meeting death with fingers clenching the hilt of his sword. This is what we find so striking about THE WILD BUNCH. From the moment Pike says, "If they move, kill ‘em!", we know he’s a ruthless killer. And when he’s willing to use the procession of the Temperance Union — that include women and children — as cover and a banking clerk as decoy to make the getaway, we know he’s one cold heartless son of a bitch, indeed rather like one of the corporate gangsters in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA; he is an outlaw but with an Organization Man mentality. He has signed a cold contract with the devil along with the rest of the Bunch. And yet, there is lingering ambivalence in his heart and is thus incapable of the single-minded absolutism of Harrigan or Mapache. We sense Harrigan has his sights on power and will do anything to expand the power of the Railroad, which is his life’s mission. As for Mapache, he revels in his power and has no qualms about enjoying as many muchachas, dinero, and firepower as he can sum up. He’s not only shaken hands with the devil but given him a bear hug. In contrast, deep in his heart, Pike is never quite sure of what he really wants. He’s a bad man, and law-abiding folks have every right to want to see the likes of him hanged. Yet, he’s also a man of doubts, regrets, and indecision. He’s entered the devil’s lair but still hears the faint choir of conscience. But given the life he chose, why not go all the way and be a total scoundrel? We are reminded of the final conversation between Gil(Randolph Scott) and Steve Judd(Joel McCrea) in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. Gil: "Don't worry about -- about anything. I'll take care of it just like you would have." Judd: "Hell, I know that. I always did... You just forgot it for awhile, that's all." Pike is like Gil if Gil would fully give into temptation and turn to a life of banditry.
(Paradoxically, being totally bad is more similar to being totally good, or saintly. Both total badness and total goodness require a leap of faith, an absolute dedication to the spirit of God or the Devil. This is why good people fear being totally good, and bad people fear being totally bad. Both modes are too risky for self-preservation and self-interest. If good people were to be totally good, they must be courageous, principled, unwilling to compromise, and stand firm against all pressures. A truly good Mormon would resist ‘gay marriage’ to the very end. But most Mormons are good but not totally good. They care about money and self-interest, and so they compromise with the Jewish oligarchs of Goldman Sachs in business. If Goldman Sachs says Mormons must bend over to homo power to get the goodies, most good Mormons will do so because if they decided to be totally good and resisted the radical homo agenda, the Jewish investment firm will go elsewhere. Likewise, most bad people are afraid of being totally bad since it would entail mad courage to go all the way. Tony Montana has the reckless balls to push his brand of gangsterism all the way, even if it means getting rubbed out in the end. It is why Charlie[Harvey Keitel] secretly envies Johnny Boy[Robert DeNiro] in MEAN STREETS. In a way, Charlie is trying to help his crazy friend, but in another, he’s trying to ‘corrupt’ him via compromise so that he, Johnny Boy, won’t be so pure in his badness. Johnny Boy has the balls to go all the way in breaking the rules. He’s a ‘black saint’. In contrast, most of the hoods in MEAN STREETS are bad guys who temper their badness to get some extra money and favors for themselves. They break laws and take chances but rarely at any genuine risk to themselves. In this, they are merely the darker reflection of most good people who are afraid to be totally good. After all, what happens to a truly good pastry owner who refuses to bake cakes for ‘gay weddings’? He or she will be ruined in Jew-run America. Therefore most Christian bakers will act like most of the ‘good’ but spineless people of MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER. Most good people are afraid of sainthood because they may lose everything they have, and most bad people are afraid of total gangster-hood because they too may lose it all. Total sainthood and total gangsterhood are both hazardous to one’s material well-being and even life. It’s the pure saint who is shunned, stoned, crucified, or burnt at the stake. It is the pure gangster who is shot full of holes like James Cagney’s character in PUBLIC ENEMY or Johnny Boy of MEAN STREETS. As the example of the pure saint embarrasses most good people who’ve settled for compromise, good people conspire to bring him/her down. As the pure gangster embarrasses most bad people who haven’t the balls to go all the way, they conspire to bring him down, which is why Tommy is finally ‘wacked’ in GOODFELLAS by the ‘respectable’ gangsters. He’s too much of a ‘black saint’, a ‘cowboy’. Thus, most good people are not that good, and most bad people are not that bad. Pragmatism and self-interest draw them to the middle away from total goodness and total badness. Most people are like the folks of MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER or NASHVILLE, two films by Robert Altman. And as the reality of power is confusing, depressing, and debilitating, people prefer to fixate on fantasies of religion or entertainment. At the end of MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, a gun fight ensues for control of the town between McCabe and three hired killers, but most townsfolk prefer to remain blithe to all that. But when the church catches on fire, they all rush to save the House of God. They ignore the real game of power in the town but feel happy about having saved the church that deals in illusions. As in NASHVILLE, most people are unaware of the dirty games of power politics played behind the scenes. They fail to see all the manipulations happening among politicos and businessmen who exploit the image of country music as a front for their machinations. Most people just sing along and dance along to popular culture of Nashville that pretends to be about ‘tradition’ and ‘values’. And just as people in MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER don’t care about the gunfight that kills McCabe and instead sing & dance around the saved church, the people of NASHVILLE will soon forget the bloodshed as they go back to clapping and singing along. Of course, the odd thing about NASHVILLE is that the violence is the product of a sick soul than a conspiracy of power. In this, NASHVILLE has something similar with TAXI DRIVER: a saint-sociopath who seeks to redeem a world of confusion by fire, even if only from the barrel of his gun. For most people, the reality of power is confusing and difficult, so why think about it and end up feeling powerless and ineffectual? Why not seek the illusion of power, as well as some pleasure, through the rapture of religion or entertainment? In country music, religion and recreation merge into rituals of song-and-dance. But as both religion and recreation favor illusion over reality, both are wonderful tools of social control. Indeed, consider how Jews are now using Christianity itself to spread homomania and acceptance of ‘gay marriage’. Consider how, as more country music stars endorse ‘gay marriage’, the most of the country music sheeple just follow along; they will be led to believe that ‘gay marriage’ is the ‘New Tradition’. Those who took leave of reality via religion can also, in association to that religion, embrace other illusions, such as the meaning of ‘gay marriage’ that, to any person with genuine morality and sense of reality, is an abomination of the worst kind. In reality, the way of power is torturous, and that probably explains why MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER was a complete failure at the box office. In BONNIE AND CLYDE, Warren Beatty’s character eventually meets his doom but in a spectacular way and not before he, as hipster gunslinger, shot up entire towns in badass manner. While he’s alive and even in his spectacular death, the audience shares in his power. In contrast, McCabe, Beatty’s character in Altman’s film, is overcome with fear and anxiety. And unlike Will Kane of HIGH NOON who finally stands tall and proud despite his earlier doubts, McCabe is a bumbling bundle of jitters when hired killers close in on him. Even the gunfight is pathetic by the standards of the Western, and it only by luck and craven strategy of hide-and-shoot that McCabe manages to kill the men before he too is finished off. The power dynamics in MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER is not unlike that in THE GODFATHER. Just like the Corleones make "an offer you can’t refuse", the corporate power in Altman’s film makes offers that little people like McCabe cannot refuse. But because we are made to identify with the powerful Corleones, THE GODFATHER makes us feel good even though most of us are, in reality, little people than big people. In contrast, MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER makes us identify with a man to whom ‘the offer’ is made, and therefore, we are made to share in his fear, trepidation, and powerlessness. In other words, we are made to feel like ourselves in reality, which is discomfiting to us. We prefer the fantasy of power than the reminder of powerlessness. But look all around, and most Americans are powerless. Their minds have been colonized and occupied like Palestinian territories by Zionists. Most Americans have been cut off from their roots and heritage. They are all slaves of fashion. But even those who aren’t slaves of fashion are afraid of standing up to the Power that is controlled by Jews and their mini-me homos. American conservatives and decent liberals who still reject the notion of ‘gay marriage’ mostly keep their heads bowed before the power of hideous Jews who control Wall Street, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Washington, Silicon Valley, Big Media, Elite Academia, law firms, and etc. Most Americans make themselves feel better by indulging in the fantasy of superhero movies — but then, homomania has infiltrated comic book culture too.
Most Americans are more powerless than ever before but munch on popcorn to new installments of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Ironman to make believe that they are one with badassness. Dirty Jews understand something that most goyim do not. Paradoxically, tribalism or ethnocentrism is the spine of individualism. Individualism needs something to keep it upright. It’s like a tree needs roots in the ground. If severed from the roots, the tree doesn’t run around or fly. It falls and dies. Individualism without ethnocentrism is like a tree without roots. Is it any wonder that most so-called individualists of the libertarian school are nothing more than slaves of fashion? They invoke reason all the time, but as they have no sense of racial, cultural, and historical agenda of their own, their agenda is shaped by fashions promoted by the powers-that-be. So, if the powers-that-be say that the meaning of life is all about ‘gay marriage’ and legalized drugs-gambling-prostitution, then that’s what the individualists without tribalism fixate upon. Individualism is a useful thing, but humans are primarily social, not individual creatures. Plenty of societies have survived with tribal communalism without individualism, but no society has ever survived on individualism alone without some kind of tribalism or communalism to give individualism meaning. For one thing, every individual receives his life, identity, membership, language, culture, and memory from the community that existed before him. He doesn’t create the world around him; and even if he does something remarkable to change the community, it is an extension or transformation of what already exists. Jewish individualism has been strong precisely because Jews maintained a powerful sense of tribalism of blood, culture, history, and identity. Thus, Jewish individualism had something to lean on, something to keep it rooted and standing, something to buttress them against the winds, and something to serve. If Jews were to totally abandon Jewishness and only go with individualism, they would be slaves of fashion than masters of fashion. Jews use the power of fashion to eradicate the tribalisms of all other peoples so that Jewish tribalism will be the only one left standing. We need to think of our sad state in terms of Palestinine-as-a-metaphor. We are all Palestinians of the mind, soul, and body because Jewish power occupies our souls, controls our bodies, and ETHICALLY cleanses our values while also ETHNICALLY cleansing our lands. Tribalism and individualism are like bone and flesh. Without the bone, flesh is just a pile of shapelessness. Jewish individualism is reinforced by Jewish tribalism, but gentile individualism collapses into blobs of idiocy and infantilism as it’s been deboned by the Jewish butcher. Jews tell white people that their main cultural identity should either be homosexualism or homomania, or worship of homos. How can any people who adopts such an identity survive? Do you respect a Chinese guy who is both proudly Chinese and proudly individualistic or a Chinese guy who uses his individualism to reject and degrade his own identity and culture? The kind of gentile libertarianism that prevails in the West tells white people to embrace individualism as a tool to deny and destroy their own identity, culture, and history. Meanwhile, as Jews fuse tribalism and individualism into one package, is it any surprise that Jews grow stronger and richer while white gentiles grow weaker and stupider?) And yet, there’s a difference between a man without conscience who chooses the dark side and a man with a conscience(or capable of a conscience) who chooses the dark side. The moral tragedy of Pike stems from the condition that, bad as he is — and he is very bad — , there is nevertheless a ‘forgotten’ side of him. If the good side had never existed, there would have been nothing to forget. Pike would be like Mapache or Mapache’s henchmen who are blissfully remorseless in their butchery and debauchery. But the indication that Pike momentarily feels pangs of regret and self-doubt suggests there had once been either a better side of him that he’d lost or a better side of him that never came to fruition. Either way, he wasn’t necessarily born to be evil like some men are. He ended up bad because the bad side got the better of him. RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY shows how easy anyone can slip to the dark side. The young male character(Ron Starr), if not for the examples of Steve Judd and Elsa(Mariette Hartley), through whom he learns the lesson of love and devotion, might have turned into an outlaw himself. Indeed, Judd recounts how he himself could have taken the wrong path if not for the interjection of a good man who set him straight and taught him something about genuine pride based on good deeds and honor: "I was about the age of that boy — skinny as a snake and just about as mean — ran with the Hole-in-the-wall bunch, gun-happy, looking for trouble — or a pretty ankle — Had the world by the tail so to speak... Then one night Paul Stanford picked me up. He was Sheriff of Madera County then — there had been a fight and I was drunk — sicker than a damn dog. Well sir, he dried me out in jail, then we went out back and he proceeded to kick the bitter hell right out of me... You see, he was right and I was wrong. That makes a difference. By the time I was able to walk again I found I'd learned a lesson: the value of self-respect." Pike either never had a Sheriff Stanford to kick some sense to him when he was young, or he’d ‘forgot it’ like Gil Westrum does in the movie except not only ‘for awhile’ but for life. Still, there is something about Pike that won’t surrender entirely to the way of the devil. Peckinpah likely identified with this side of Pike because he was something of an ‘outlaw’ himself in the context of his family’s lineage. His grandfather and father were lawyers and judges, and they taught him right from wrong, sometimes by rough means. But temperamentally, Peckinpah was more like his troubled mother and eventually embarked on a life of maverick boozing, whoring, bohemianism, and Babylon of Hollywood. At times, Peckinpah must have been unsure if he was escaping from something or searching for something, even though people often seek escape in pretense of search of meaning. And yet, Peckinpah could never shake off what had been instilled in him, and he must have felt some shame about his failures and excesses, and to repress this shame he lashed out with ‘manic machismo’, but no amount of fits and fury could dispel the realization that he was at war with himself. Every authority figure — every movie producer, every government official, every politician, etc. — possibly reminded Peckinpah of the troubles he had with his own old man. But then, the authority of his grandfather & father and the power of Hollywood studio executives & producers were like night and day. The former stood for righteousness and respect whereas the latter stood for vice, vanity, and venality. In this sense, Peckinpah may have indeed seen himself as the righteous heir of his grandfather & father, a creative judge-and-jury taking on the powers-that-be dominating the American movie industry. But then, to the extent that he’d immersed himself in the Babylon world of entertainment, he’d gone over to the other side, thereby having forsaken and forfeited the right to moral authority. But then, why couldn’t he just be a ‘good whore’ who just cared about money and fame? Why not just crank out more crowd-pleasers like THE GETAWAY that became a huge hit and profitably made him one of the hottest directors in the industry? Why did Peckinpah decline KING KONG and SUPERMAN later in the decade? Maybe Peckinpah didn’t know the answer himself. Like how David Sumner replies to the man he saved at the end of STRAW DOGS: The Man - "I don’t know where I live." Sumner - "That’s alright. Neither do I."
|RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY - Mariette Hartley with Randolp Scott and Joel McCrea|
|VIOLENT COP - Takeshi Kitano|
When warned of a long prison sentence after their capture by the Pinkertons at Northfield, one of the Youngers says they ‘did it for Dixie and nothing else.’ Cole Younger takes a shine to a certain woman but has no mind to marry her because, in his mind, she’s ‘a whore’, and there’s nothing more to be said. Jesse James and Cole Younger have different views of womankind. Jesse James, like Vito Corleone, believes in marriage and fidelity. Cole Younger likes to jump from bed to bed and be free of the bondage of matrimony. Each has his own view of life and sticks to it. So, when Younger makes a joking remark about how Jesse James might have spent the night with his wife, James looks him straight in the eyes and say, "You don’t talk about my wife, Cole Younger"(or something to that effect). For Walter Hill, there is only conviction, and conviction gains worth by how it is backed by ability and action. Conviction isn’t enough for a man to the extent that anyone can talk the talk but not everyone can walk the walk. Those who can talk but can’t walk are filled with complexes, but Hill never had no use for them. Hill’s vision is cold, ruthless, and brutal, much like the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell. You win or you lose, and you must accept the consequences. It is inhuman perhaps but not without its own moral code: Accept life as a game of win or lose, and if you lose, don’t be a sore loser. It is more like ‘machinismo’(machine-ismo) than machismo. Same kind of conviction defines the chieftain-hero of Walter Hill’s GERONIMO. There is a white cavalry officer who is torn between his loyalty to America and sympathy/respect for the Apaches, but he is no less determined in seeing his mission to the very end. Whatever mixed feelings he has, he generally keeps them to himself as his main occupation is with the fulfilment of what he must do.
|WILD BILL - Frontier Hamlet meets Wild Bill Hickok|
|The psychologically tormented world of THE WILD BUNCH. The past that stalks the conscience.|
We recall what the old man said: "We all dream of being a child again". (But then, despite Fielding and Green’s possibly more cerebral conception of the narrative, it’s also true THE WILD BUNCH was meant as much as a romantic pageantry as a critical reappraisal of Western legends and myths.) The grace of the farewell at the village is one that cannot last.
|Bunch leaving Angel's village|
|Mapache and his men and a girl in Agua Verde|
So, even as the Bunch know what kind of men Harrigan and Mapache are, they are attracted to them like moths to a flame or flies to shit or ants to scorpions. The Railroad and the banks are the targets to rob, and Mapache is one who might offer a job. Like the Plumbers in NIXON, the Bunch are men addicted to action.
|Mapache Employment Service for Mercenary-Outlaws|
|Sheriff Pat Garrett not content with domestic life and nice wife.|
In the beginning of the film, Garrett requests for Billy to ride off and clear out. He asks Billy, "Jesus, don't you get stale|around here, Bill? Maybe a year or so down in Mexico|will do you some good." It’s rather ironic because if Billy flees from confrontation with the powers-that-be and hides out in some dump in Mexico, it will be even staler for him. Indeed, it is precisely because Billy and his companions are such ne’er-do-wells and lowlifes that they need be near the action to keep their lives from getting stale. Billy may kill or be killed, but that’s the only thing that lends meaning to his life. Once he chooses peace in some idyllic place, he won’t do anything but eat chili peppers and grow tired. Some men can make something out of nothing. They are organizers, innovators, leaders, thinkers, or makers. Even in a world of peace and stability, they feel they must do something to make things ‘better’. And we see some of this in the preacher at the beginning of THE WILD BUNCH. Whatever one thinks of the Temperance Movement, he’s committed to gathering people together and inspiring them to lead a more decent life. In a way, one could argue that one of the advantages of religion, especially old time religion or reformist religion, is that it staves off boredom in a world of peace and stability. In a world of chaos, people are busy trying to create order and harmony. But once order is achieved, people can fall into boredom and dreariness. But old time religion and reform religion, especially of the Protestant kind, instilled people with passion, commitment, and energy — the stuff of Work Ethic — to keep their lives feeling meaningful, purposeful, and eventful. Peace and harmony among the religious didn’t lead to the kind of dissipation one sees in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID where no one feels like doing anything unless it is fun & adventurous — like stealing cows and horses — or a matter of life-and-death. So, Billy will go riding to steal cattle and he will use his guns against men who come after him. But outside those two things, he has no interest in anything... except for having sex with Rita Coolidge and Mexican whores. In contrast, the preacher in the beginning of THE WILD BUNCH is the sort of man who would be always busy with doing God’s work, such as organizing good menfolk against the devilry of drink. Though the movement to ban alcohol is now looked upon as lame and square, it caught on like a wildfire because it was intoxicating and spirited in its righteousness.
And even though Harrigan isn’t a pleasant character, he is a busybody with ‘work ethic’. He’s a railroad man and spends an inordinate amount of time serving the forces of civilization. Indeed, this is the difference between man and animals. Animals are almost entirely occupied with food, comfort, some play, and sex. If they’re hungry, they’ll go hunting. If they feel threatened on their turf, they will fight in order to regain security and comfort. If they feel a bit stiff in the joints, they’ll run around and play a little. And when they’re horny, they’ll hump the females. And Billy and his gang are like that in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID. They have no vision of life beyond the primal animal instincts. If there’s something to steal, they’ll steal. If there’s someone to kill, they kill. But they have no idea or vision of making something out of nothing. In contrast to animals and barbarian ne’er-do-wells(and especially the ghastly Negroes), civilized man(especially of the Northern European variety and Jewish-kind with a powerful sense of Work Ethic) feels a compunction to make something out of nothing. They turn wilderness into villages, villages into town, towns into cities, and cities into cities-of-the-future. They may be straight or crooked, but they don’t merely react to the world but make the world. There is certainly some of this in the hero of THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOUGE, a drifter but not without good business sense when he sees an opportunity. This enterprising side of him is depicted both positively and negatively in the film. We see his dedication and resourcefulness but also how it makes him stingy, possessive, and materialistic. (But then the preacher is no selfless saint either.)
|Cable Hogue - maverick and businessman, not always an easy mix|
|Angel's Village. Nice but dull place.|
|Billy and gang. Lazy and hazy.|
|Pat Garrett idling away, stalling his hunt for Billy.|
|GOODFELLAS - Italian-American scumminess on display. Two hoods have drunken Irish blood as well.|
Because, unlike in the days when Anglo-Americans dominated big business, much of big business has come under the control of Jews, and Jews in government and media aren’t about to use their power to attack their own ethnic power. Sure, some bogus ‘leftist’ Jews like Bernie Sanders do make some token noise about greed, but it’s really to give cover to Jewish power and to give the false impression that the Democratic Party is still about the working class and the underprivileged. By putting themselves forth as Jewish critics of Greed, they fool Americans into thinking that Jews are primarily on the ‘progressive left’ working for equality. But people like Sanders and Naomi Klein only lend the false impression that Jews are dedicated to rolling back the tide of Greed when their efforts never achieved anything. If big business were dominated by Anglo-Americans, then Jews in the media, academia, and government would work harder to push back against the power of big business, but all we’ve all witnessed since the Great Recession the likes of Paul Krugman giving high marks to Obama for bailing out the Jewish banksters on Wall Street. Because of their pushy or hissy nature, Jews and homos have been very good at pushing for more freedom and liberty when they were on the bottom looking up. But the very reasons that made them excellent freedom fighters are also making them extreme repressionists. Jews who once used their energy to push up against the powers-that-be now use their great power to push down on any critic of Jewish power, and homos who used to throw tantrums for more freedom and liberty are now throwing endless tantrums about how everyone has to be coerced to praise, glorify, and celebrate homos.
|The side of Pike that means business.|
THE WILD BUNCH is symphonic in the truest sense of the word than in the generic sense of inflated grandeur. Paul McCartney’s symphony STANDING STONE has the symphonic shell without the substance. It is just a lot of hot air, more bloviation than inspiration as the rich idiom of classical music is beyond the imagination of Paul McCartney who, in his day, was a brilliant pop-smith. There were plenty of big Westerns made, not least in the 1960s when the studios desperately threw everything into mega-productions to pull in the audience. Consider a movie like MCKENNA’S GOLD that cost a hefty $7 million, which was good deal of money at the time. Kevin Costner’s 1990 Western DANCES WITH WOLVES is like a empty visual symphony with some nice vistas and exciting moments; it’s all about the size and scale. THE WILD BUNCH has epic scope, but its inner workings are like the most intricate Swiss watch or ant colony. It’s more like Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN and Orson Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL than most other Westerns or even historical epics. It has horizontal sweep but also vertical immersion in detail. Soon after the Train Robbery, when Pike hears of the machine gun that was taken along with the rifles and ammunition, he goes to inspect it, saying, "What I don't know, I sure as hell am going to learn," words that might apply to Peckinpah’s own fascination with and mastery of cinema. Indeed, impressive as MAJOR DUNDEE is, Peckinpah’s leap to THE WILD BUNCH was like leaping from the rifle to the machine gun, a real revolution. Of course, all the technology necessary to make THE WILD BUNCH was available at the time of MAJOR DUNDEE, but the changes in censorship laws, the explosive impact of BONNIE AND CLYDE, and the down-n-dirty challenges of the Spaghetti Westerns gave Peckinpah fresh ideas about what could be done with cinema. And he was fortunate to have encountered Walon Green who presented him with an excellent script and Jerry Fielding who himself was hellbent on taking a revolutionary leap in film scoring. And Peckinpah couldn’t have found a better cinematographer than Lucien Ballard who made THE WILD BUNCH look like no film before or since.
|Lucien Ballard's cinematography is one for the record books.|
|LAWRENCE OF ARABIA - Arab kid waiting for a English bloke, not Tuco or Blondie.|
This isn’t a value judgement as to which method is superior, but THE WILD BUNCH was the more powerful and original film. Its progenitors were Kurosawa’s masterworks, Elia Kazan’s feverish VIVA ZAPATA, and perhaps some Spaghetti Westerns that Peckinpah may or may not have seen. A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL especially comes to mind.
And of course, one of Peckinpah’s most beloved films was THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE by John Huston who, along with Elia Kazan, may have been the film-maker who most anticipated the fulfilment of Peckinpah’s vision. There was a ruggedness about Huston’s vision, a willingness to rumble and tumble with life’s challenges. Besides, Huston was one tough old hide; he was ‘the youngest legendary director’ before Peckinpah, to borrow Pauline Kael’s phrase. It’s no wonder Kael was a big fan of both. They seemed to her as more real, less contained by aesthetic formula and moral conventions. If we compare Huston’s treatment of the Civil War in THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE with John Ford’s THE HORSE SOLDIERS, the difference is palpable.
|RED BADGE OF COURAGE - directed by John Huston|
|William Holder and John Wayne in HORSE SOLDIERS|
|James Coburn and Sam Peckinpah on the troubled set of PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID|
A criminal type isn’t necessarily a psychopath on the level of Tony Montana(Al Pacino), Little Caesar(Edward G. Robinson), Bennie Blanco from the Bronx(John Leguizamo in CARLITO’S WAY), or Tom Powers(James Cagney in PUBLIC ENEMY). But there’s something that tempts and drives him to seek thrills by trespassing against social norms and conventions of right and wrong. The criminal type blends in with the hustler type who happens to be sociopathic than psychopathic. David Mamet’s films are more about the hustler type than the criminal type though the borderline between robbing and hustling isn’t always clear. It’s like there is no clear line between prostitution and using money to get sex, which can be done legally in so many ways. The criminal type tends to enjoy physical violence much more than the hustler type. In CASINO, Joe Pesci’s character is the criminal type, Robert DeNiro’s character is the hustler type. One is psychopathic, the other is sociopathic, but then, as both like to play loose with rules, they form an on-and-off symbiotic partnership that is never quite stable. Of course, addiction to violence isn’t only a component of the criminal mentality. It is also the component of the radical mentality, a kind of psychopathic righteousness bitterly at odds with the world for not conforming to one’s iron vision of it. Strelnikov in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO is a classic radical type. They want to stomp with their boot than run off with the loot. Tony Montana is a gangster-criminal-type, Che Guevara was a revolutionary-radical. Though the radical type fights for rightfulness than wrongfulness, his zealous and unbending conviction in his own vision makes him willing to use any amount of violence to ‘make a better world’. He often invokes the Will of the People, but he’s less interested in what most people really want than in forcing his sense of righteousness on everyone. He is a moral and ideological bully who sees his thuggery as ‘huggery’. Even among the radical-minded individuals, there are the psychopathic types who exult in violence(especially terrorism, as among the anarchists, Irgun operatives, and Muslim bombers) and sociopathic types who delight in subversion, such as Saul Alinsky and his acolytes who bide their time as they infiltrate every institution & industry and alter their workings from the inside. They’ve even entered into the institution of Christian Churches and defiled its inner soul with the notion that Jews and homosexuals are the favorite people of Jesus and His Disciples. Of course, they’ve also taken over the Pop Cultural industries and have conflated hipness and coolness with Jew-worship, Negro/mulatto-worship, and homomania. Most young people being mindless sheeple, they’ve sucked up all this tripe like bottom-feeding carp.
In the end, neither the radical types nor the criminal types win. Radical types have the advantage when the world falls into severe crisis. Think of how Lenin, Hitler, and Mao gained power as the result of wars and social dissolution. Consider how Fidel Castro and Ayatollah Khomeni took advantage of social crisis set off by the combination of tyranny and liberty. Batista’s Cuba and Shah’s Iran were both remarkably modern & libertine and repressive & brutal. They were free but not free enough to satisfy the people, and they were repressive but not repressive to keep political order. Under such conditions, the game of power turns into ‘just enough freedom to overthrow the regime.’ They were also both political puppets of a foreign power, namely the United States, therefore lacked respect and legitimacy in the eyes of the people. So, radicals took advantage and took power. Radicals, due to their dogged conviction and ruthless determination, are able to create and enforce social order. But in the long run, after generations of social order, the radicals and especially the younger generations become bored with the same old ideas and seek the good life. It is no wonder that communism was bound to either fall or switch to market economy. And of course, the Ayatollahs who now Iran are immensely wealthy and well-connected. And when radically installed systems eventually fall, it gives the opening to the criminal class, and that explains why Russia and Ukraine were gangster paradises in the 1990s. Radical creed gave way to ravenous greed, and some criminal types made a killing. But criminal types tend to fall because they think only of short-term gain. It’s like Tommy and Nicky, both played by Joe Pesci in GOODFELLAS and CASINO, eventually fall because they are too aggressive and impulsive. In the long run, it’s the hustler types who win the big prizes, and indeed it is the hustler types who also served as the middlemen between the radical types and the criminal types when and if they must. In Ukraine today, we see an alliance of criminal types and radical types against Russia and Russian-ethnic Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country. The various factions of Ukrainian power are held together through the middleman hustlers of Jewish globalism. Jews know that radical types and criminal types can be used but will eventually fall by the wayside. In the end, it is the hustler types who will take all the prize. Just look how US is ruled by Jewish hustler types.
The main characters of THE WILD BUNCH are not the classic criminal types. There is something of the sociopathic hustler in Pike. To the extent that he gets so righteously contentious when he talks about Harrigan(with Dutch), he may have a slight radical personality as well. He feels a need to impose his sense of righteousness on others, indeed even on those he robs. He might have made a skilled executive in business and government. After all, those positions do tend to attract the sociopathic types. But Pike doesn’t come across as an extreme personality. He’s neither the ace hustler like Kleinfeld(Sean Penn in CARLITO’S WAY), hothead lunatic like Tony Montana(SCARFACE), or grimly determined fanatic like Strelnikov(DOCTOR ZHIVAGO). Neither is he a visionary poet/romantic like the hero of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. He’s somewhat like the character he played in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, someone with enough cleverness and foresight to keep on moving. Though a rascally cynic in Lean’s movie, he’s not the full-time hustler like Ace Rothstein(CASINO) or the characters of David Mamet films. He bends rules to get a little more for himself but has no big ambition. All in all, he doesn’t know what he wants, and it isn’t until the very end that he realizes he had it in him to play his strings right to the end. Pike of THE WILD BUNCH is certainly more ruthless and calculating than Holden’s character in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, but he has a sense of limits and isn’t fanatically committed to any single goal or outlook. He’s a traveling outlaw like some people are traveling entertainers. He is different from the career criminal(the highway robber) whom the hero of BARRY LYNDON meets on the road. By the man’s tone and manner, we can tell that he was born with a streak of criminality. He has a deviant personality and leads the life of a criminal even in a world of relative peace and order.
|VIKINGS - Kirk Douglas & Ernest Borgnine as barbarian lords|
|13th WARRIOR - Vladimir Kulich as Norseman Chieftain|
|13TH WARRIOR - Antonio Banderas as Arab Emissary Ibn Fadlan|
And Pike is not a natural barbarian like innately rough men like Mapache, Sykes, and the Gorch brothers. He leads a barbarian life because he’d chosen outlawry, or maybe outlawry chose him. After all, barbarians didn’t choose to be barbarians. They were born into barbarian worlds like the men in THE 13TH WARRIOR. In this barbarian world, all men are forced to be barbarian, but not all men, even in the barbarian world, are natural barbarians. Some are naturally more thoughtful and/or intelligent, just like others are naturally gentler and more amiable than others. It’s like a wolf pack will have especially ferocious wolves and the kinder wolves. It was probably the kinder wolves who tagged along humans and eventually evolved into the dog. In 13TH WARRIOR, some of the men have rough personalities. But Buliwfy is naturally more introspective than most even though he is the toughest of the bunch. Some of the men seem like they were born for little else but bashing heads, but some men possess what might be called proto-aristocratic qualities. They are better as leaders, thinkers, and/or strategists. They have the qualities that might go beyond the cycles of violence and be able to found a social order in which a semblance of stability, hierarchy, and values may prevail and develop into something like a real civilization. The men of THE 13TH WARRIOR were born into a barbarian world and they butt heads with other barbarians, of their own kind and of other tribes, like the Tartars. In their relationship with Ibn Fahdlan, an Arab of high civilization who worships an abstract deity, and in their confrontation with what looks like a Stone Age tribe that identifies with nature and animals, the Norsemen are somewhere between civilization(that worships an abstract Deity) and primitivism(that worships animal nature). Muslims worship something higher than man, and the Wendol worship something lower than man, whereas the Norsemen believe in man and manlike gods. One of the Norsemen even knows Greek. They are barbarians at the edge of civilization. They live close to nature but conceive of themselves as being apart from it. They probably both plunder and trade with civilized folks depending on what is more expedient. In time, such folks would become civilized Northern Europeans who came to inhabit parts of Russia, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland, and etc.
|Mapache's American Car|
|DIRTY DOZEN - directed by Robert Aldrich|
|Deke Thorton and the ragtag Bounty Hunters|
|THE WILD BUNCH - Coffer|
Gorch brothers aren’t the brightest bulbs in the world, but they have toughness and a measure of self-reliance. Right or wrong, they do insist on being heard and stand their own ground. And their respect has to be earned, which is why it’s a sweet moment when, out of respect, Tector offers Pike the first sip from the bottle after the successful train heist. Lyle, though childish, is not without pride, as when he gripes about how Mapache has relegated him and his brother to the back like ‘kitchen help’. It’s like how Poe is insulted by Chisum with offer of supper in PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID; Poe thinks it’s an invitation to dinner, but Chisum just tells him to go to the back kitchen for some food. That said, the Gorches are genuinely tough men who back down only when they must. In contrast, Poe is a fake tough guy who exaggerates his manliness but only manages to beat up old men and slap a woman; he hesitates and gets cold feet when he finally has the chance to kill Billy the Kid. When Billy is killed by Pat, Poe plays scavenger(like a bounty hunter in THE WILD BUNCH) and tries to cut off his trigger finger. Poe is the kind of man Peckinpah despised most. A craven bully who picks on the weak and is slavish to the powerful. Poe is full of servile admiration for Chisum, but Chisum sees right through him and sizes him up for a fool. Chisum uses his men as attack dogs but feels contempt for a servile dog. Chisum sees Poe as someone looking for special favors with his fawning attitude. Poe is the sort of man who sucks up to the powerful with toadying reverence and looks down everyone else as a loser. But he’s frustrated because the men of power he looks up to look down on him with indifference and/or derision. He has no sense of worth beyond what ‘superior’ people think of him, but he can’t get any respect from them. So, he acts big by taking out his frustrations on the weak. He’s a scavenger pretending to one of the alpha leaders of the pack. He wants something for nothing but doesn’t even have the guts to be a real outlaw and take risks. He hangs around the law not because he’s moral or civic-minded but because it’s a safer way to shave off some cream for himself. There’s a difference between those who choose civilization out of moral conviction(as with Steve Judd) and those who choose civilization because the taking is easier. It’s like Washington D.C. is filled with unscrupulous people like Poe who are really looking to milk the system for their own aggrandizement than to make government more responsive to the people and principles of a moral republic. Most politicians are Poe’s as these craven leeches will serve any interest group as long as they get ‘what is mine’. And indeed, the great danger of civilization comes from not only barbarians-at-the-gate but from the hustlers and toadies from within whose main commitment isn’t to values and principles but to serving whomever has the power who will, in turn, throw some gold pieces in their own coffers.
|Tom Cotton, Poe-like craven scumbag who sucks up to Jewish Supremacist Power and licks the boots of the likes of Sheldon Adelson.|
|DIRTY DOZEN - diverted class warfare|
|Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin disguised as German Officer Class|
ludicrous hair styles of the 1980s. Did all those girls, purely on their own, self-invent themselves as ridiculous-looking tramps with hair sticking out all over like scraps of metal at an airplane crash site? No, they watched too much MTV that was controlled by a corporate entity. This isn’t to say that something from below never gains currency and come to impact the rest of society. Rap music is certainly one such. It wasn’t created by corporate suits but rather developed in the streets of Negro communities. But whenever something has the potential of becoming ‘popular’, the corporations move in, claim ownership, and then repackage, promote ,and disseminate it all over to the point where something that had been original, eccentric, unique, and/or personal becomes the standard mode of expression for everyone else. And even though men like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg rose from relatively humble backgrounds, their imagination had been fed by popular culture dominated by a few giant industries, and if anything, their own roles in the business led to further consolidation of the movie-making business in fewer hands. Though Spielberg and Lucas played important roles in helping Americans re-invent or self-invent themselves, wasn’t it really the case that a handful of people created the New images while everyone else just sat there with their eyes glued to big screen? So, when social commentators talk about the American penchant for ‘re-invention’ or ‘self-invention’, they really need to ask WHO is really controlling the materials, means, and rules of this process? They need to admit that few Americans, as genuine individuals, reinvent themselves. They merely follow and conform to whatever is offered to them as the officially correct form of re-invention. After all, wouldn’t any honest person agree that Jewish-Americans and Negro-Americans have played a bigger role than, say, Polish-Catholic Americans or Hawaiian-Americans, in formulating the rules of what Americans want to change into?) The American Narrative of nobodies becoming somebodies or of have-nots gaining self-respect through some extraordinary deed has usually called for some kind of moral or poetic justification. In the case of THE GREAT GATSBY, our sympathy and even admiration for Gatsby is poetic than moral. In some ways, Gatsby is about the shallowest and most deluded person one can imagine, yet there’s genuine heart(ache) in his undying love for Daisy, or more precisely, his undying love for his love for Daisy. He is like an emotional narcissist in love with his own dreams of love. In a way, his real objective isn’t really to be with Daisy. If a fairy appeared before him and granted him a wish whereby Daisy and he could live as simple man and wife in some town or city, he would likely have declined. While he is in love with Daisy and would like her to love him, more important to Gatsby is for her to realize the full breadth and depth of his love for her that would go so far as to create an empire for her to be queen in. A princess is surely deserving of a palace. As it turns out, she did marry some very rich guy, but he was born into privilege and is the sort who takes everything — his riches, his wife, his mistresses, his privilege — for granted. In contrast, Gatsby had to make his own fortune, and he wants Daisy to know that it was done all just for her. Thus, there is a need for romantic justification and social validation at the center of THE GREAT GATSBY. Gatsby the social outcast wants to be acknowledged as worthy by the people who’d snubbed him and still snub him in a way. Willy Loman of DEATH OF A SALESMAN has something in common. Though filled with resentment about everyone more successful than him, he wants their respect. He wanted to be one of them; he wanted his sons to make the family proud by striking it rich. Boasting is like machismo. It conceals an insecurity, a need for one’s worth to be validated by others, and Willy Loman is all about boasting even though he hasn’t much to boast about. We feel sorry for him but also repelled by him because his real poverty isn’t about lack of money but lack of something to brag about. In a way, it’s poetic justice for a boaster to have nothing to boast about since few things are as insufferable as boasting on and on.
Iris says to Travis Bickle about "women’s lib" in TAXI DRIVER. It could be good, it could be bad, but just you be you, and the hell with everything else. To be sure, those movies don’t go so far as THE DIRTY DOZEN and ultimately serve up some kind of sermon, but it’s disaffected nihilism that really drives the narrative. Thankfully, the characters of M*A*S*H and BAD NEWS BEARS are not psychopaths and killers, but their attitude isn’t unlike what is found in THE DIRTY DOZEN. The men in THE LONGEST YARD(also directed by Robert Aldrich) are a bunch of criminals, but no one cares for moral redemption for whatever they may have done. Rather, the central conflict in the movie is about the battle of will between the prison warden/guards and the prisoners that doesn’t really amount to anything. Even the Burt Reynolds character’s final resolve to do the ‘right thing’ is more an act of nihilistic vanity than noble virtue. The element of pride in THE DIRTY DOZEN lacks moral content as the men don’t much care about the war and have no special animus against the Nazis. For them, all of humanity is their prey, enemy, or nuisance. They have no more love or respect for their own superiors than for the Nazis or Nazi superiors. They just happen to be in a situation where they have no choice but to go on a mission to kill a bunch of Nazis, and if they make it out alive, they have the pride of luck and survival. But not much else. Likewise, the only pride in THE LONGEST YARD is winning. For the Burt Reynolds character, there is at least something like the pride of principle, trust, and camaraderie since he has to give up so much to win the game. For other prisoners, there’s just the momentary thrill of having beaten prison guards for once, after which they’ll just go back to being prisoners.
|The Cast of THE LONGEST YARD by Robert Aldrich|
|THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO or The Last Gaze of a Psycho?|
|ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST - Randall McMurphy|
|You don't mess with Nurse Ratched|
The appeal of Hitler for many Germans was that he had a very strong personality that not only stood up to Jews but pushed them back and beat them down. The average German didn’t know what to do when faced with a Jew stronger in personality, intelligence, and ‘radical will’. Most Germans, being sane and normal, sought accommodation and cooperation, but that just made the Jews even more aggressively demanding in taking over the banks, the media, the schools, and etc. ‘Antisemitism’ was a reaction to the aggressive Jewish drive to gain control of just about everything in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
|The Man Who Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way. Austro-German Psychopath who took on Jewish Psychopaths and lit the world on fire.|
Though the window of barbarianism closed relatively quickly in the American West, it doesn’t take long for humans to revert to a more natural state of being. It’s like cats and dogs will quickly revert to their ‘savage’ natures if released into the wild. And look how quickly Negroes reverted to their savage state after they gained freedoms, rights, and liberties in the 1960s. Once they abandoned their inhibitions and moral restraints — and left alone by the police — , they were soon humping one another like apes and having babies out of wedlock. Their communities became overrun with gun-wielding criminals and drug trade. Of course, different races revert to savagery or barbarianism in different ways and at different paces. As Negroes are naturally the wildest race on Earth, they will bypass the stage of barbarianism and revert instantly to savagery in no time. The true nature of the Negro goes "let the good times roll, let’s hump anything with a rump, let’s rob honkeys, let’s rape and pillage, let’s run around like baboons and chimpanzees(but not like bonobos, the SWPL of apes), let’s cuss about each other’s mama’s until we done shoot one another, let’s burn down the stores, let’s trash the schools, let’s beat up teachers, let’s whup people in buses and shit, and let’s be an all-around menace to everyone we done bump into." It’s especially worse because Negroes are bigger and tougher than other races. If Negroes were only naturally more aggressive but physically weaker, they would mind themselves around other races. It’s like chihuahuas are more aggressive than Great Danes, but they behave around bigger dogs that can swallow them like tacos. But Negroes are both wildest and strongest, and so they know they can throw their weight around like nasty punkass mothafuc*as they be. Worse, because of the ‘white guilt’ thing over slavery, white folks feel they have no ‘moral authority’ to pass judgement on Negroes even when Negroes done act horribly for reasons of biology and evolution.
But then, why did ‘white guilt’ become such a religion in America? After all, if white folks were filled with so much guilt over blacks, why did racial discrimination go on for so very long? ‘White guilt’ became a religion only with the Civil Rights Movement that was led and funded by vicious Jews who sought to race-shame the whites into obeisance before the rising power of Jewish supremacism. (And it was really all about power as Jews didn’t give a shit about what they’d done to Palestinians. And MLK, though promoted as Mr. Racial Justice, gave full support to Zionism in exchange for Jewish support of the Negro Trojan Horse trick against White America.) Negro savagery gets a further boost from white male worship of Negro athletes, white female lust for Negro studs, and white male & female addiction to black music. The convulsive addiction of white males and females top blackness makes them blind, indeed willfully blind, to the grave existential threat posed by blacks on Western Civilization. So many white boys and girls don’t mind the fall of Western Civilization as long as they are guaranteed one more ecstasy from the thrills of black sports, black sex, or black music. As popular culture and political correctness have uprooted and severed white folks from any deep sense of white pride, white identity, and white preservation, the only thing that occupies the hearts, minds, and sexual organs of most white people is the compulsive need to get their next thrill or pleasure.
And as genuine morality and true values are dead, there is complete shamelessness in the way these white boys and white girls with get their pleasures. We live in an age when young people don’t find anything wrong with lifestyle depicted in Lena Dunham’s GIRLS. While Brian Williams tells lies on TV, his celebrity daughter appears in TV shows where she receives a ‘rimjob’ from one of the characters. The likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj are the faces of popular music, and there is no controversy, no complaint from Conservatives, Liberals, Leftists, and Feminists. It’s as if we’ve all come to take for granted that American Life in the 21st century is all about debauchery and putridity. Worse, there is no viable conservative voice to push back the tide. Rick Santorum, who calls himself a ‘social conservative’, now says that he believes Bruce Jenner is a woman simply because the dufus says so. Traditionally, social/cultural/moral conservatism served as the counter-force against excess, decadence, and indulgence. No longer. While there have been some token gestures in NATIONAL REVIEW taking Lena Dunham to task, most Conservatives have no means and/or interest to mount a counter-narrative in the media and culture. When a so-called ‘conservative movie’ comes along, it’s something like BLIND SIDE that advises ‘good conservative’ white families to be ‘anti-racist’ by adopting a 300 lb big-ass Negro into their homes. Or it’s like Clint Eastwood’s AMERICAN SNIPER that distracts American Conservative ire away from real enemies at home toward Arabs and Muslims abroad who pose no threat to Americans. American Conservatism is all about greed and money. It is intertwined with value-free libertarianism, takes huge donations from the vice-ridden gambling industry, is in bed with the sociopathic sharks on Wall Street, and rolls over to the likes of the Koch Brothers who care about nothing but profits. American Conservatives hire neo-aristocratic homosexuals to map out a strategy to market ‘gay marriage’ as a ‘conservative cause’. So, what moral authority do American Conservatism have against the filth of decadent influences of Pop Culture?
|Bruce Jenner - The New Face of American Christian Conservative Republicanism.|
Though America has Rule of Law, many communities are being weakened by the Respect for Norms. Why would this be a problem? There was once a time when the Respectable Norm was embodied by the mature males of society. There was a social-moral connection between the old, the adult, the young, and children. Children looked up to the young, the young looked up to adults, and adults paid respect to the old. But with the libertine, hedonistic, permissive, decadent, and shameless effect of Pop Culture, young males look to junk on TV, movies, internet, and stereo as something to emulate, copy, and aspire to. And this process has been going on since the 1950s at least. In the 1960s, many boomers had parents who still had connections to the past. But today, young people have ‘generation X’ parents and boomer grandparents who had primarily established their identities via popular culture. Their identity comes less from religious affiliation, family history, historical consciousness of their race/people, or a meaningful sense of what it means to be American. The only Americanism that is allowed by PC is worshiping MLK and Harvey Milk as the new ‘founding fathers’. So, the boomers’(who are not grandparents) sense of identity comes from having screamed to the Beatles in the 1960s, Generation Xers’(who are now parents)sense of identity comes from having grown up to MTV, and ‘millennial’ youths’ sense of identity is about watching Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus on youtube. While there’s fun to be had from pop culture as entertainment, a true sense of history, civilization, and community cannot be sustained through such fashion-centric nonsense, especially as popular culture has increasingly turned debauched, ugly, putrid, pornographic, infantile, idiotic, trashy, and moronic. With the success of HARRY POTTER, TWILIGHT, and HUNGER GAMES novels as ‘franchises’, even the literary world has turned into ‘blockbuster’ mode with less interest and investment in real literature. It used to be the case that young adults generally read books intended for adults and regarded ‘youth literature’ as beneath their sensibility. When I was young, literature was generally divided between children’s books and adult books. In between, there was the sub-genre of ‘older children literature’ and ‘young adult literature’, but they were mostly ignored or neglected as ‘too adult for kids’ and ‘too dumb for adults’. The kind of books that young adults liked, such as the novels of Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, were not necessarily ‘young adult’ literature. They were also meant to be enjoyed by adult readers. The idea was that young adults should read and appreciate books written for more mature tastes. But nowadays, ‘young adult fiction’ — as fusion of childhood and adulthood — comprise the biggest share of the industry, and many young adults seem perfectly happy plowing through these books without developing higher tastes. They continue to read books of this ilk even as they grow into full adulthood. Worse, even adults who came of age in earlier periods are reading these books. What the hell are are middle-aged women doing reading TWILIGHT? What in the hell is a ‘Twilight Mom’? Have they no shame or taste? (The TWILIGHT movies are good to look though.) Worse, even books meant for adults are inspired by or follow the model of ‘young adult fiction’. Consider the mega-success of garbage like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY where a woman gets fisted up her ass by some billionaire.
With a culture such as this, how can we have real virtues or values? Even law-abiding people who work hard, pay their taxes, and keep their neighborhoods clean have no values that rise about the hedonism of pop culture and hipster narcissism. They may be clean but have no conviction beyond idiotic conceits that say fruitkins should get married and a man with a fake vagina is a ‘woman’.
Still, at the very least, intelligent, affluent, and well-educated people have enough intuition and cultivation to make the more productive choices in life. Even in a stupid and value-free world, those with wits about themselves will generally act more responsibly. So, even intelligent and affluent white Liberals wave the banner of decadence don’t really practice what they preach. So, even though white college girls might dress up like sluts for a day and join the ‘slut pride walk’, they are not going to be trashy sluts 24/7. They are going to study for 4 yrs, get their degrees, find gainful employment, and maybe get married & settle down. So, even those without strong values will not necessarily surrender to trashiness. Even if they think there’s nothing wrong with Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, or Lena Dunham, they are not going to go down that path because something instinctively tells them that it’s not for them. So, even as they withhold their judgement on debauchery in the name of ‘tolerance’, they will not ruin their lives with excess and trashiness. But the less intelligent, less educated, and less sensible members of society not only consume the culture of trash but emulate the wantonness in practice. They act like mini-Nicki-Minajs, mini-Miley-Cyruses, mini-Lady-Gagas, mini-Lena-Dunhams, and etc. And before they know it, their lives are ruined and rendered trashy and worthless, as with so many yobs and yobettes in the UK.
|The Sad Social Phenom of British Yob Culture|
We live in a time when the 2 PCs, pop culture and political correctness, urge young people to do things that lead to social and moral degradation. Nevertheless, even though Liberals are more likely to defend the culture of decadence, the smart ones also happen to be more savvy than most people in intuitively discerning the do’s and don’ts of modern life. It’s like no Liberal will say "white people should stay out of low-income areas with too many blacks" and will condemn anyone who says as much, but they know full well which communities to avoid. It’s like no Liberal will say, "young children should not watch garbage like Miley Cyrus the perverted featherless chicken-child and Nicki Minaj the dumb ape ho with a booty like the lips of a hippo", but they will try to steer their children from such junk by providing them with alternatives like reading, ballet lessons, and worthier activities. As Liberalism frowns upon ‘judgmentalism’ — except for the PC variety of bashing ‘racists’, ‘homophobes’, and ‘anti-Semites’ — , craven Liberals generally dare not voice their distaste of the wasteland that is Jew-and-homo dominated American Popular Culture. Since negative criticism is out of the question in hip-respectable Liberal circles, the favored way of discouraging bad influence among their children is by focusing the children’s attention on something else. So, if you don’t want your daughter to spend too much time watching dumb youtube videos about black bitches with bubble butts, play the role of ‘helicopter parent’ and get her involved in soccer, ballet, violin lessons, or some such. In a way, the Liberal support of Obama was in that mode. As Liberals don’t want to sound ‘racist’ by condemning the jiggerishness of the black community, they shower the ‘good Negroes’ with profuse praise as an a roundabout means of castigating the black community. It’s an indirect way of criticizing the black community by hinting that ‘this here is the Good Negro, the kind the all you blacks should aspire to emulate’. Better a fist-bumping Negro with a degree from Harvard than a fist-punching Negro wanted for first-degree murder.
In the long run, even the Rule of Law, the negative means of social control, is eroded if the Culture of Virtue, the positive means of social cultivation, fails in its duty. After all, Rule of Law is only as good as those who maintain the laws, write the laws, change the laws, and enforce the laws. If a society becomes slovenly, confused, demoralized, and unsure of its values and virtues, then it no longer knows what it is, what it stands for, what it must preserve, what it must defend, and what it must fight. If a degraded Culture of Virtue makes excuses for bad black behavior, Rule of Law will fail to punish blacks who cause social harm. In Ferguson, blacks messed everything up, but the Federal government not only made excuses for the black hoodlums but encouraged their vile behavior on social, moral, and historical grounds. Thus, the decay of social virtue led to the disintegration of the enforcement of the law. And the homosexual propaganda has eroded the meaning of sexual morality, moral institutions such as marriage, and the purpose of biology; therefore, communities across the country grow sick and demoralized as the law itself not only fails to defend true marriage but forces ‘gay marriage’ on every state while punishing those who stand for truth of biology and morality as the true foundation of marriage. And as the cult of ‘diversity’ has confused so many people on the meaning of what it means to be American, the Rule of Law that is supposed to defend American borders and root out illegal aliens is no longer operative. Indeed, even the terminology has been corrupted with the media referring to illegal aliens as ‘undocumented immigrants’. So, the problem that America now faces isn’t simply because Rule of Law alone is insufficient to maintain a viably moral community. It’s that the very forces within the culture that should be promoting meaning, clarity, truth, and integrity have sown the seeds of dissension, confusion, decadence, perversion, and corruption that have sprouted into weeds that are choking the life out of this country that, if not for the great talent pool in high-tech, vast natural resources, and the Fed’s ability to print endless amounts of dollars, would collapse sooner than later.
|A Part of America Gone Apeshit. No Culture of Virtue, No Rule of Law.|
And this is no less true in THE WILD BUNCH. Given the vagaries they have to face, all the members of the Bunch and the bounty hunters are, more or less, in the same situation. They ride horses, use guns, and live rough. It’s possible that Pike Bishop, Deke Thornton, and Dutch Angstrom got into outlawry because there wasn’t much else happening in the world they grew up in. Whatever law & order that existed in the Wild West couldn’t have been much. Outlawry may come naturally in frontiers between wilderness and civilization. It’s like in war, soldiers are placed in situations where their manner of survival becomes improvisational than by strict codes of conduct. The soldiers might find themselves looting villages for food. They revert to a kind of barbarism. Especially when supplies and communication break down, soldiers must live off the land, and that means taking from civilians and worse. In an uncertain world, it’s easy for anyone to turn toward outlawry as a means to stay alive. It is less a matter of choosing criminality than adapting to the prevailing reality. This is also true of political corruption. Even idealists who don’t want to take bribes or dole out favors find themselves taking part because it’s the only way to stay in the game. Consider how easy and natural it would have been for the Mifune character in SEVEN SAMURAI to have joined the bandits. A outcast born of a farmer and sneered at by the samurai, his natural home would have been among the bandits riding wild and free, and then, he would be one of the men attacking than defending the village.
|Vito Corleone and Clemenza in THE GODFATHER PART 2|
It was Vito’s good example and inspired vision that halfway reformed Clemenza and turned him into a reliable member of the Corleone family’s hierarchy. Vito probably even admonished him to pay for stuff he takes from the vendors and make friends & allies with the people of the community. Clemenza is still a killer — he blasts his shotgun into a elevator full of gang bosses like the burly hired assassin blows away the preacher in the church in MCCABE & MR. MILLER. — , but he’s a purposeful killer with a clearer sense of do’s and don’ts. (Vito’s ‘friendship’ also inspired the fearsome Luca Brasi to be a better man than he otherwise would have been.) This is why inspired leadership matters. (But the white gentile community has no such leadership that can inspire white people with a sense of meaning, pride, and power independent of what is approved by Jews, Negroes, and homos. The only thing that white conservatives have as ‘leaders’ are craven collaborator toadies of the GOP and Conservative Inc. whose tiresome message is that all Americans, especially Conservatives, must praise Israel 24/7 while forgetting all about strengthening the borders, deporting illegal aliens, protecting defenseless whites from black criminality/thuggery, calling out on Wall Street crooks, pushing back the filthy tide of the ‘gay agenda’, and inspiring white Americans to remember & preserve their European heritage. So, even as Jews work overtime to undermine and destroy white identity, unity, and power, the main objective of white conservatives is directed toward undying loyalty to the Jewish nation and people. It’d be as if the Russian collaborators during the Great Patriotic War urged all Russians to expend every last ounce of their collective energy toward waving the Nazi flag and screaming "Heil Hitler" while totally turning a blind eye to the fact that Germans are conquering the Russian motherland, killing millions of people, and razing entire cities to the ground. Whether guys like Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, John Bolton, and Lindsey Graham are craven opportunist-running dog collaborators OR retarded drinkers of the Zionist Kool Aid is anyone’s guess, but with ‘leadership’ like that, the white race has absolutely no chance of survival. Collaborators may talk about pride and nation — as the Vichy regime did during World War II — , but their main goal is to facilitate the surrender of the race and nation to alien/foreign conquerors. American Conservatism does nothing to conserve what is crucial to Western civilization or the white race. It’s just a racket run by running dogs and brainwashed lunatics who will sink to any level to facilitate the takeover of their race by another people, namely the Jews. American Conservatives, like sleazy homos, are merely servants of the Jewish supremacists who hold most of the cards.) Even natural-born sinners can be reprogrammed to act against their true nature. But such men tend to revert to their own dirty nature without good men to lead them. It’s like Tector Gorch learns the meaning of ‘honor among thieves’ through Pike Bishop, without whose leadership he would be little more than a thug with hair-trigger temper. And when Angel’s friends come to pick up the rifles and ammunition, it is Pike and Dutch who take it in stride and defuse the tension whereas Lyle and Tector react more instinctively. Whereas Dutch and Pike see the admirable side of villagers despite the inconvenience caused by them, Lyle and Tector merely express irritation. Lyle complains: "They made damn fools out of us, Mr Bishop. A man can't sleep with both eyes closed for fear of getting his throat cut." The Gorches can hardly see the value of anything except in how it directly affects them. They lack the big picture, any sense of vision. But, Pike and Dutch’s nobler sides — there is moral hierarchy even among killers — rub off somewhat on the Gorches who otherwise would be just a couple of ruffians. When Pike says, "Let’s go" to Lyle near the end, it’s almost like a conversion experience. Being around Pike, Dutch, and Angel has somewhat changed the Gorches. Gorches, who’d only thought about themselves and even came close to a shootout with Angel in the first part of the film, decide upon a course of action that’s about something bigger than themselves. It’s sort of like the ‘conversion’ of the brutish Japanese sergeant(Takeshi Kitano) in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE. It is both surprising and understandable as the childlike, in their simplemindedness and primal emotions, are both difficult to persuade and easy to arouse. Ironically, even though the spiritual is the polar opposite of the animal, it is the animal side of man that may feel a sudden surge of connection with the spiritual by overriding the rational and skeptical filters of the mind. The role of the mind is to regulate both the base instincts of animalism and the mysterious insinuations of spiritualism. Though animalism is of the flesh and spiritualism is of the soul, one thing they do have in common is the call for total surrender of rationality to their ‘truths’. The animal side of man tempts man to surrender to the ‘truth’ of gluttony, lust, aggression, and all kinds of primal emotions, and the spiritual side of man calls on man to surrender his soul to the ‘truth’ of God or gods. Both forces call on man to forsake the cautious and skeptical mind that puts the brakes on emotions, low or high. Indeed, the reason why secularists often misunderstand the issues around religion is that they assume that mankind faces two main choices: rationalism and spiritualism. But, in fact, most people are not very smart and/or interested in intellectual/scientific matters, and absent the faith in God or gods, they tend to surrender themselves to animalism instead. Thus, when a society becomes less religious, it doesn’t necessarily become more rational but becomes more animalistic and sensualistic — and in time, the body needs higher dosages of zings to obtain the same level of pleasure. Consider the ending of CARNAL KNOWLEDGE where the Jack Nicholson character has to hire a professional to give him an erection. It takes a lot of ‘doing’ for the ‘boing’. Consider how pop culture has to become raunchier and raunchier in order to keep people ‘excited’. Given that both animalism and spiritualism urge man to surrender his rationality and mental brakes, it’s not surprising that they have a tendency to merge at times. But then, in the very beginning, sensualism/animalism and spiritualism were indeed one, as mankind worshiped the fearsome power of nature and animals and beastly things. It’s like men of primitive warrior tribes wore tiger or lion claws to derive the spiritual power of the animals. But as civilization developed and advanced, man’s concept of the spiritual grew apart from his awe of the animal. Separated from nature, there was less need for mankind to fear, revere, and worship the most brutal elements of nature. Instead, mankind, safely ensconced in the walls of cities, began to become aware of his own powers as humans, and some cultures began to worship man himself as god. Egyptians had animal gods, but the greatest gods were the pharaohs who were indeed seen as god-kings. And the Greeks worshiped human-like gods. But then, the Jews separated the physical form/power of man from the mental power of man, and their concept of God increasingly became less human in form and more abstract as a spiritual force beyond identification by the eyes and hands of man.
|2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Star Gate.|
|SPARTACUS: Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons|
|SPARTACUS: Kirk Douglas the 'Jewish Messiah'|
It’s not so much about an individual being content to be himself as about aspiring to be an individual beyond one’s limits. It’s about man aspiring to be god. After all, Howard Roark could have been happy with simple things in life as most individuals are. Why did he feel this great need to be a great architect, the conqueror of skies? It was because he became intoxicated with the dream of man-as-god, but did this vision naturally arise from within him? Or was his mind inspired by or infected with ideals, myths, and dreams of arts and culture? His ambition is less about individualism — being true to oneself and one’s limits — than about Indivi-Dualism whereupon man develops the conceit of dual existence as man and god.)
If a person is naturally intelligent, charismatic, and talented, his narcissism may be understandable if not exactly pleasant. This certainly applies to Howard Roark of THE FOUNTAINHEAD. He is sure of himself, and his self-image as a god-man is his own hero. He respects other men of talent, but he sees himself as the equal or superior to all of them. He looks up to no man as his superior and listens to no one as the wiser. When Toohey asks, "What do you think of me?", Roark answers, "I don’t think of you." Though Roark is like something like a streamlined Anglo-‘Aryan’ god-man in an Art Deco novel — Lit Deco? — , he exhibits much of the Jewish personality. Indeed, one wonders to what extent Jewish arrogance is innate or contextual. Are some Jews — like Martin/Martine Rothblatt, Susan Sontag, Alan Dershowitz, and Ayn Rand herself — so arrogant and condescending because they were born with the ‘asshole’ genes, or is it because they can’t help notice that they are surrounded by gentiles who are generally dumber than them? Of course, it could be both. It’s like Negroes are indeed a wilder and more aggressive than other people by nature, but they are especially that way in America because they know they can push other races around and get away with it. Suppose smart Jews were surrounded by smarter gentiles who could run circles around them in wit. Would Jews act like such pricks? If tough Negroes were surrounded by stronger and bigger whites who could whup their ass, would they act like such jive-ass mofos? Though some people are naturally more aggressive and arrogant than others, everyone’s personality is forced to adapt and adjust to the reality around them. So, bullies in Japan will certainly not act so nasty and vicious if they were dropped in the middle of America. Bigger whites and blacks would whup their yellow arse if they acted like Takeshi Kitano.
Anyway, even in our Age of Narcissism, most people are not powerful individuals and personalities like Howard Roark with a self hard as granite. Even most people who pretend to be individualistic look up to trashy celebrities as ‘role models’ to imitate. It’s like so many young men and women get tattoos to look like their favorite athletes, singers, actors, or celebrities. Boys try to imitate the big-name rappers whom they worship. So, ‘millennials’ try to take cues from Obama who’s been promoted by the Jew-run media as the biggest thing since MLK or maybe even Jesus(though, to be sure, thanks to Jewish control of media and academia, it is considered a bigger sin to even mildly rebuke MLK than to talk shit about Jesus). Whether certain stars, celebrities, ‘heroes’, leaders, or role models are worthy or not, the fact is millions of people look up to ‘superior’ individuals and try to imitate them in look, style, manner, attitudes, and ‘values’. One reason why so many young dolts were instantly converted to ‘gay marriage’ is because their Pop Culture idols came out for it. Of course, since Jews and homokins control the Pop Culture and the Entertainment Complex, they get to decide who gets in and who remains out of the Circle of Fame. So, just about every movie star or music star has to be for ‘gay marriage’ to be allowed into the circle. As for established stars who came to prominence before the rise of the ‘gay’ agenda, they are tolerated if they remain mum on the matter, but no one is allowed to aggressively and righteously come out against it. Jews control just about everything in terms of what is and isn’t allowed as part of our cultural, political, and moral discourse.
Given the nature of mass psychology, the quality of the ‘superior’ personalities — leaders, teachers, intellectuals, famous people, pop stars, and etc. — really matter. When such ‘superior’ individuals are people like Oprah, Howard Stern, Ellen Degenerate, Rachel Maddow, John McCain, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Moore, Martin/Martine Rothblatt, madonna, Sarah Palin, Obama, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Eric Holder, Jon Stewart Lebovich, Michael Savage, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, the idiot who wrote FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, and etc., we are in big trouble. There is nothing of worth, no virtue or meaning, to gained by emulating such liars, cheats, egotists, cowards, opportunists, running dogs, perverts, deviants, and/or retards. What is especially galling about the current state of cultural affairs is the total lack of respect for maturity. In THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, the young boys admire a certain character played by Ben Johnson and why? It’s not because the man is particularly intelligent or capable. It’s because he’s a real man with the wisdom of his years. He may not be particularly special as an individual, but he is a man, and the young men, barely out of their boyhood, look up to him as person of seriousness. It’s the same reason why Vito Corleone commands our respect. He’s a man and doesn’t act like Homer Simpson or Beavis & Butthead. You wouldn’t see him going around saying ‘boing’ or imitating the gangnam style, like that dirtbag Mitt Romney did. I mean grow up already. To be sure, Romney’s favorite dance is "Go Down and Blow the Jew." Men are supposed to act like men. Sure, "we all dream of being a child again", and there are times to let loose and have some fun, but serious men have to inspire and lead, not pander and debase themselves to win popularity points. Think of how Bill Clinton sank to any level in 1992 to turn the electoral process into some kind of mindless Rock concert. It’s bad enough that the rise of TV has turned politics into a contest of looks and styles, but when political leaders go the extra mile and turn it into a MTV video, politics has become not only shallow and empty but trashy and devoid of substance. Shallow packaging has turned into shameless packaging. And since it’s all about glitz, there is no place for honor, dignity, integrity, and maturity. Not that such virtues were ever prominent in politics, but in our times even the modicum of culture of propriety and maturity has fallen by the wayside. When was the last time you met a real man like the Ben Johnson character in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW? There’s authority in his voice when he speaks, and he doesn’t care if he’s cool or hip with the kids.
He sticks to his values and stands his own ground. He’s not a perfect man and recollects some wild times when he was young. But he accepts his age and speaks with the authority that comes with it, in a way no less than Professor Kingsfield does in THE PAPER CHASE. There was a time when American culture raised young males with a balance of individuality and respect for older men who’d lived and seen something of life. It’s like the difference between Blues singers and Rapper is that the former see the world with the vintage and vantage of experience, whereas the latter is perpetually trapped in the immaturity of young teens with hormones raging and with nothing on their minds but fighting-and-fuc*ing.
But there were other reasons as to why young males beginning in the 1960s began to lose respect for older males. One was the drastic change in pop culture. The excesses of drugs and sex that became the new norm among young people simply made no sense to the earlier generation, and young people, in turn, zonked out on drugs, loud music, and dreams of unfettered sex, found the earlier generations stifling and repressive. This was especially true in the musical culture. On the other hand, certain cinephile boomers, whose main passion happened to be film-as-art than pop music, tended to be culturally if not politically more conservative than their generational peers because they developed profound admiration for film directors such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and many others whose view of life was from the pre-Rock era. It’s no wonder that Dave Kehr has a special admiration for Clint Eastwood whom he regards as the heir to the tradition of the Old Hollywood masters. And it also explains why cinephile boomers(or almost-boomers) like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Milius, and others developed a view of life that wasn’t in sync with the 60s Zeitgeist. Though many liberal critics complained about how Spielberg and Lucas turned the tide of New Hollywood of the 1970s, they failed to consider how the dynamic duo were inspired by the same kind of pre-60s movies that had been the obsession of the likes of Andrew Sarris whose impact on new film criticism was incalculable, and possibly more long-term than Pauline Kael’s. Though one of the appeals of cinephilia in the 1960s was the loosening of censorship and more sex & violence in film, the OTHER appeal, especially through the Hollywood classics, was a world of greater stability, clearer sense of right and wrong, and sexual conservatism, especially as many cinephiles, in France as in the US, tended to be the ‘socially inept’ types who weren’t good at getting the girls. They had a better chance with the opposite sex in a world where women were ladies than hussies or strumpets. TAXI DRIVER should really be called MOVIE GOER.
|MY DARLING CLEMENTINE - Key Film for Cinephile Boomers|
|BOYHOOD - Son and Father or Kid and Kid?|
In a way, there’s something to be said for the cult of youth as it’s great to be young and young-at-heart. But, the full measure of life comes through experience and knowledge, and those things are undervalued in our society. Even among those who do mature and take on adult responsibilities, they often fail to absorb and convey the full meaning of their life because ours is an ideological than cultural community. Instead of looking back on their lives/histories for lessons, many older people lean on the crutch of ideology to explain everything. But in truth, every ideology is inadequate in assessing the full measure of life. No ideology can sum up the full essence of reality that has a million facets and possibilities. It’s like no single theory of music or cinema can explain everything about it. So, if a theory, no matter how complex or grand, is inadequate in explaining art, how could any theory explain everything about life and reality? Many people rely too heavily on ideologies such as ‘anti-racism’, cult of ‘diversity’, feminism, or whatever to make sense of all of life. So, we have women who, even as they grow older, have nothing to say of life/reality but bitch about how ‘patriarchy’ is to blame for everything, and we have Negroes, even as they grow older, who have nothing to say except how ‘racism’ is to blame for everything wrong with the black community. And we have crazy libertarians who never grow out of the Ayn Rand phase. And we have the dolts of Conservatism Inc. who think all problems could be solved if we brought back Reaganism, whatever that was. Ideologies are useful but no ideology, even the best, can explain everything or even half of everything. They are to be used merely as guides, but they are not to be confused with reality and truth themselves. It’s like we should never mistake the map for the actual place, especially if the maps were made by faulty map-makers who’ve been pressured to leave out certain details.
Given our capitalism-consumerism, it’s easy to understand why our society and culture have become so youth-centric. Kids have turned into carefree spenders. They live for the here-and-now. Also, young people are more likely to come up with new fads and trends, and pop cultural industries scour to score with what’s hip among kids so that it could be ‘appropriated’ and mass-marketed. It could well be that the people who run these industries despise these trends(and would do anything to shield their own kids from it), but they compete in a dog-eat-dog industry where money is everything. So, if some scummy-scuzzo stuff might be the next hot thing, everyone in the industry will scramble to market it before the competition does. But youth-centrism isn’t only the result of cynical pandering to the young by cynical agents in the industry but of high-tech’s favoring of young Turks over older folks. For some reason, young kids take to new technology with greater ingenuity and passion than older people do. So, the likes of Mark Zuckerberg have become overnight billionaires, and many of the faces of the super-rich are young guys. Such would have been unthinkable in the past. Even the amount of money made by Steve Jobs in the 1980s was peanuts compared to some of the dough raked in by young high-tech Turks today. In a world where winning in business is everything, older people may come to be less and less admired and respected, especially as the sort of activities, such as book reading and criticism, are now devalued. Most culture critics today tend to be idiots like Amanda Marcotte and other shrill clowns writing for sites like Salon.com, Jezebel, and Gawker. Also, the sheer pornographism of our age prizes the most horny males and females. And with the rise of Negrophilia, the butt is bigger than the brain.
|Whatever happened to mature culture critics like Stanley Kauffmann?|
This is why it’s really harder for the father in KINGS OF SUMMER than it is for the son. The son leaves home, shacks up in the wilderness, and deals with a bunch of challenges, but he’s young, the future is ahead of him, he’s having fun, and he’s finding himself. The father, on the other hand, is supposed to have found himself and be a mentor to his son. But something just didn’t work out, and they both must work harder to work it out. (It’s difficult for parents today because, as it’d been the case in their own youth, young people are expected to be raised 50% by parents and 50% by peer pressure. Indeed, even friendship is now mostly about immersion into pop culture. Every son has two pops: Pop as in Pappy and Pop as in pop culture; but then, many sons only have one Pop of pop culture as their daddies are not around. And as young people are so much into pop culture, every young kid becomes alienated from his parents pretty fast, especially as fashions change at breakneck pace. But then, as fashions are now mostly recycled than innovated — with 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s styles getting all retro-blended — , things get more confusing yet. In some ways, the kid in BOYHOOD seems to be going through is private 60s/70s even though he’s growing up in the 2000s and 2010s. He’s alienated from his peers as from his parents, but as part of the internet generation, he’s also very much part of the new. One of the endearing things about KINGS OF SUMMER and TWILIGHT is their characters seek meaning apart from pop culture in nature and/or strange kind of romance. Because most kids grow up with pop culture, they connect less with their parents. When most people were farming folks, sons worked alongside their fathers in the fields. But with the urbanization and suburbanization of America, there’s little for young ones to do when not going to school. They have idle time, and much of it is not spent with their parents. Parents watch their own TV shows while kids watch their own TV shows and do their own stuff on the internet. Are parents having kids to carry on the family line or to serve as mindless consumer-slaves to the Pop Industry? In a way, ours is the Age of New Babylon where young ones are offered as child sacrifice to the degenerate god-oligarchs of the pop culture who are soul-snatchers and soul-destroyers. The Jews and homos.) Also, it’s not easy to play the mentor role because of clash of egos and the anxieties involved. Consider the religious older man who takes the younger man under his wing in C.O.G. When the younger man does something profitable by making trinkets that sell at the art fare, the older man isn’t full of praise but overflowing with envy and resentment. Or consider the challenges of being a father or father-figure in the film JOE(starring Nicholas Cage). Many old Hollywood movies dealt with issues of older men and younger men. Some of them were fathers and sons, others were mentors and apprentices. Others were competitors, rivals, and enemies. Many Westerns were made in this mold. Consider the older man and younger man dynamics in THE SEARCHERS. Ethan Edwards(John Wayne) is both a great mentor and a terrible example to Marty. He is tough, courageous, resourceful, and has nerves of steel. A young man can learn a lot from him in the way of manliness. But he can also be spiteful, egotistical, and bloodthirsty to the point of lunacy. THE SEARCHERS is Biblical in showing how both the virtues and sins of the ‘fathers’ pass down to their ‘sons’.
|THE SEARCHERS - 1956|
This brings up an interesting question about Jews and their agenda. As we’ve seen from recent events in the Middle East and Ukraine — and in the Jewish Culture War against White people and Christianity in the West — , the Tribe is filled with vicious hatred and rage against certain peoples. Is this hostile agenda/vendetta something that younger Jews inherited from older Jews or is it the expression of the arrogance of young Jews who are disobeying or going well beyond the advice of their elders? Are the likes of Victoria Nuland and Anne Applebaum fashioning their own (relatively)youthful Jewish attacks on the goy world, or are they acting in accordance to the hatred and vendetta they inherited from their parents, Jewish mentors, and Jewish leaders? Is the nature of the current Jewish supremacist agenda/vendetta essentially old or new? Or, is it beyond old? Could it be ‘ancient’, thus ‘timeless’? According to Jordan Belfort, he inherited his rage against Wasps from his grandfather or some such who wasn’t allowed to join some Country Club — the common excuse among crooked Jews as to why they turned out the way they did, like dyslexia is the standard excuse among famous people as to why they did poorly in school. Ironically, it sounds rather like a variation of Hitler’s gripe about how he was rejected from an Art School run by Jews. If Jewish hostility against whites/gentiles is ‘old’ — inherited from grandparents’ and then parents’ generation — , there is a chance that will eventually fade, growing less hostile with each new generation. But what if the nature of Jewish hostility is deeply cultural than generational? If older Jews had some negative experiences with goyim and passed down these resentments to their children, we can expect the children to grow up with a degree of bitterness. It’s like Michael Corleone inherited certain resentments from his father. But if new generations fare well in the wider community, old hostilities and suspicions will fade. The hatred will have been generational and will fade with the passing of years. But what if the very Narrative of a certain people happen to revolve around certain ancient vendettas and revenge fantasies. After all, according to the Jewish religion, God will one day send a Messiah to protect the Jews and take ruthless vengeance on all the evil goyim who’d done the Jews wrong. Jews over the millennia found meaning, sustenance, and delight in the stories of how their greatest leader, Moses, led his people out of Egypt while God brought down horrible miseries upon the Egyptians. And this way of thinking and feeling came to shape how Jews perceive all of humanity and all of history. God would avenge the Jews even if it took forever. (Also, Jews cannot make up their minds about goyim. On the one hand, Jews want goyim to be nice and accepting of Jews. But if goyim are nice to Jews, Jews worry that they will lose their own identity and heritage by assimilating with the larger goy community. Jews want goyim to be nice but also to remain distinct as Jews. When goyim were hostile to Jews, Jews had no choice but to remain distinct. Jews hated goy hostility but appreciated the preservation of their own identity. When goyim are nice to Jews, Jews value the hospitality but fear that they will lose their Jewishness by becoming comfortable and complacent. What are Jews to do? Should they choose goy hostility and Jewish identity OR goy hospitality and loss of Jewish identity? Most Jews arrived at the third option: Goy hospitality and Jewish hostility. This way, goyim are pressured to be nice to Jews, but Jews get to keep nitpicking on everything so as to remind Jews that they must stick with their Jewishness. This is what we have in America. Jews pressure goyim to be nice, nice, and nice to Jews, but Jews remind themselves that no amount of philosemitism in America is enough since every goy is a really a closet-anti-Semite whose hateful heart can never to entirely purged of the ‘disease’ of ‘antisemitism’. So, while goyim are pressured to open all doors to Jews, Jews never stop seething about how their grandpa hadn’t been allowed into some Wasp golf club.) Most peoples understood revenge in historical terms. So, if one people had bashed another people, the latter would try to get revenge. It was tit-for-tat, and the hostilities went on until one side won and the other side lost(and accepted the loss) or until both sides finally got tired and decided to call it quits. It’s like after the dust settled after the Thirty Years War, the hatred between the Protestants and Catholics eventually abated and faded. It’s like Germans, Poles, and Russians are capable of putting aside old hatreds and start anew as good neighbors — and indeed there would no tensions in Eastern Europe today if not for Jewish intervention in places like Ukraine. Jewish concept of revenge is different. Even when Jews got totally whupped, they would pray that God would finally deliver them from defeat and bring upon total destruction on their enemy. Thuys, Jews never accepted defeat. And if the Jews won, they would make sure that the vanquished would never rise again. Just look at how Zionists have been treating Palestinians. And when the other side was willing to sue for peace and call it quits, Jews would only fake the peace and look for ways to totally wipe out the enemy. The Jewish Way was colored by their vision of God whose characteristics were really a projection of Jewish personality traits. Their God was one and only, almighty, righteous and right in every way, absolute and eternal. God’s truths and designs were for all time. So, if Jews hated a people, they felt that God Himself shared their hatred, and therefore the hatred wasn’t merely political or personal but spiritual and eternal in nature. If God is forever, then His hatred is forever too. If God loves the Jews, then surely He shares their hatred. Where in the Torah does God ever tell the Jews to forgive & forget when it came to rivalry with another people? The Torah says Jews should treat well the minorities within their communities who never did any harm to Jews, but when it comes to enemies, the Torah favors either immediate destruction of the enemy or the eventual destruction of the enemy. Michael Corleone knows the Jewish nature of Hyman Roths’ mind in THE GODFATHER PART 2. That’s why he insists that Hyman Roth has to be taken out. Roth is the sort of man who will never forgive and never forget. He has a God complex. Even though Pantengeli didn’t want to make peace with the Rosato brothers, he made a sincere go at it when Michael urged he must. In contrast, Roth is the sort of man who might pretend to make peace but will never stop with his war until he got all the prizes and wiped out all the enemies. It’s the Jewish mind-set.
|THE GODFATHER PART 2 - Hyman Roth - Jew who will not give up until the Corleones are finished.|
|Alan Dershowitz - Jew who pretends to be all about civil liberties but whose main passion is Zionist Jewish Supremacism.|
|CARLITO'S WAY - Sean Penn as David Kleinfeld, the Jewish lawyer with the soul of power-mad gangster nihilist.|
Anyway, it’s not easy for the older man to be a Man to a younger man. This is especially true today as many people work in a makeshift economy. When most men were farmers, the older man could lay claim to the land as his, and the young man, usually his son, would be taught skills to farm the land. And in times past when seniority meant something and jobs tended to be steadier, men could expect to keep climbing the ladder while younger men entered and followed behind them. But the nature of jobs keep shifting in the New Economy, and the jobs of older men are no more secure than the jobs of young men. And with the pace of technological change, it’s hard for older men to keep up with new technologies of the economy. When technological change was slow, the older men had decisive advantage over younger men. If the tools used by older men and younger men are the same, then the older men with more experience will have master craftsman status. But if technology changes rapidly, then the tools used by older men will be rendered obsolete and young men with new tools will have the decisive advantage. It will be like the old Terminator vs the T-1000 in TERMINATOR 2. So, it’s often the case that older men have more to learn from younger men in the New Economy. This undercuts the authority of older men. But one area where older men could maintain an edge over younger men today is in the area of intellectual knowledge and seriousness. This may seem counterintuitive since the internet has made it more easier and faster to access any kind of information. But it has also turned young people into an attention-deficit-disorder monkeys who won’t sit down and read a real book. It’s usually the case that most ‘millennials’ are dolts when it comes to ideas and meanings because they’re used to everything being a sound-bite or some dumb hashtag on twitter. It’s like what Susan Sontag said of young people she met in the age of the internet. They’d claim to be her fans, but when asked what they read of her they would say ‘nothing’. They were just fans of her image, her style, her look. Also, as colleges have become so dumbed down, ‘radicalized’, or deca-deviant, many ‘millennials’ are learning trash or sophistry in colleges, especially as boomer and ‘generation X’ professors care more about being hip and ‘radical’ than imparting knowledge as earlier generations of professors had done. When I began college in the mid 80s, there were still old professors who were men of maturity and integrity. As they began to retire, they were replaced by boomer jerks who kept shouting, coming to class with Clash T-shirts, acting like Al Gore, hissing like Bill Ayers, and etc. They were insufferable, especially the Jewish ones(who are like high-IQ Greeks) and Asian-Indian ones(who are like high-IQ Gypsies).
One reason for the loss of respect/authority of the ‘Greatest Generation’ in the eyes of the boomers was that the latter was so much better educated. It’s why Meathead and Gloria look down so much on Archie Bunker in ALL IN THE FAMILY. Archie barely finished high school and had to work all his life. So, he ain’t got no fancy learning and often uses wrong words. ‘Greatest Generation’ wanted their kids to go to college to climb the social ladder, but in many cases, the kids came to look down on their parents as unschooled bigots, simpletons, and chuckleheads. In the old days, when both fathers and sons never got no fancy learning, it made little sense for the son to look down on the father as unlearned. Both would have received only rudimentary learning such as reading and writing and doing some simple math. But in the 20th century, it was often the case that the children were much better educated than their parents(especially among immigrant ethnic families), especially with rising enrollments in colleges and expansion of education for women. It’s like the black daughter in RAISIN IN THE SUN is amused that her mother doesn’t know much about Africa except from Tarzan movies. Still, the old mama is full of life experience and wisdom of her own, and her daughter better not be saying nothing about there being no God in her mama’s house or she gonna get slapped upside her head.
|American High School circa 1960.|
One thing that both the ‘greatest generation’ and the boomer had in common was the sudden rush of the new that neither quite new how to handle — but then, we are no better at processing the implications of the internet and all the changes it has wrought. Throughout most of the 1930s and early 40s, America had been in the grip of the Great Depression, and times were hard. And then came the war that produced lots of jobs but also shortages and hardships. But then, soon after the war, America experienced a surge of prosperity on a scale no civilization ever did before, and many Americans of the ‘greatest generation’ found themselves with opportunities, wealth, and good times. By the standards of later years, it might not have been much, but compared to the 30s and the war years, it was like manna from heaven. Flush with all this prosperity and good times, many members of the ‘greatest generation’ didn’t quite know how to adjust to the new reality. Some became overly materialistic, some became overly status-conscious, some became overly indulgent in drinking and smoking and acting wild, like the men in John Cassavetes’ HUSBANDS and the Robert Duvall character in THE GREAT SANTINI. Like their own parents, they were traditionalist enough to prioritize settling down and raising families, but as they got more education, more leisure time, and more products like record players, TVs, and automobiles, they couldn’t settle down to domestic life with the commitment of earlier generations. It’s like Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE resents the fact that she got married young and gave her up dream of finishing art school. And the woman in THE REVOLUTIONARY ROAD lives a life of quiet desperation in the suburbs that may be nice and all but is lacking in excitement. And Betty Friedan compared her nice life as a suburban wife with conditions in death camps in the Holocaust. (Later, Naomi Wolf would compare the ‘victims’ of anorexia nervosa with Holocaust victims. Jews certainly never shy away from hyperbole.) So, even as the ‘greatest generation’ mostly performed their duties as fathers and mothers, their repressed and unfulfilled dreams passed onto their kids. Indeed, it could be that Mr. Robinson tells Benjamin to live it up a little in THE GRADUATE because he failed to get his share when he was young. He got Mrs. Robinson pregnant, and they did the honorable thing by getting married. They’ve had a good life since but their youthful freedoms were cut short. As the economy in the 1960s was better than ever and as educational opportunities and college enrollments skyrocketed — with many kids being the first to go to college in their family — , young people could finally enjoy their youth to the full. And readily available condoms and the birth control pills made sex safer and less risky. There were some bummers like the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movements, but even those could be used as advantage by the young to indulge in their excesses even more. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, any bunch of young people could get together, bitch about ‘social injustice’, and start up some radical organization/movement as an excuse to make a lot of noise, have fun, meet boys or girls, and raise a ruckus. And the anti-War movement had a galvanizing effect on the young to get together not only for a political cause for partying and having fun. HAIR the musical has anti-war message but is also a celebration of music and drugs. Woodstock Concert featured Anti-War themes of Peace and stuff, but it was essentially an opportunity for countless young people to get together and have a really good time with music, drugs, sex, and taking a crap in the woods as the port-o-sans were filled up.
|COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH at WOODSTOCK|
|The Gorch Brothers|
|CARLITO'S WAY - Pachanga the low-life friend of Carlito. If Kleinfeld is intelligence + betrayal, Pachanga is stupidity + betrayal. Either way, no escape for Carlito.|
|RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY - Gil Westrum as the Friend who should know better|
For Part 2 of this blogpost, CLICK HERE.