Friday, August 02, 2013

Men Behaving Badly Part III

Have we had enough yet of political correctness, “sensitivity training” and the like?

A major goal of America’s media and culture the past forty years has been to attack, discredit, and maybe destroy that most deadly of all animals: the white male. Blamed for all ills. The thought being that this society would be better without his existence. Ignoring, of course, that this civilization is almost entirely the product of the vision and ambition of said creature.

I address this question  in my new ebook, ABOUT WESTERN MOVIES, in my essay on the Sam Peckinpah classic, The Wild Bunch, starring William Holden. A couple excerpts:

“The last outlaw. Also the last man, if what has defined men for millennia is now outlawed. Namely, his macho ethos and his uncompromising violence. His need to impose his will upon the world. In Holden's performance is the heritage of the West, and of the white male, long since deemed by academics and experts to be the walking embodiment of cruelty and oppression. With this film, director Sam Peckinpah defiantly embraces that cruel and glorious legacy.”


"The Wild Bunch is the end of the Western. Peckinpah's characters, in their presence, carry the myth; as their actions display the genre's psychotic violence. The aging heroes immolate themselves in an orgy of movie violence. Take away the West, take away their freedom, and no other path for them is left. No place remains for their kind of male.

“The West, in this scenario, equates with freedom-- absolute freedom.”

It’s as if Peckinpah saw what was coming and reacted to it. Surely at one point in this culture, a dose of p.c. liberalism was the right medicine. I celebrate it in my ebook’s essay on the 1960 masterpiece, The Magnificent Seven. In 1960, liberalism reached the peak of its relevance. Today it’s a very different animal.

Now political correctness has become a double standard used merely as a power lever, a way for some classes of people to bully another class of people; no fairness about it; no equal application anywhere. Please don’t tell me what I can or can’t say unless you put those same restrictions on yourself.

Sam Peckinpah’s message might be that restrictions, brainwashings, and controls can be pushed too far. In America, freedom is the ultimate value.

ABOUT WESTERN MOVIES contains provocative writing and is available at Nook and Kindle.

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