Reader Mail

Heroes and Hellraisers

Kiefer Sutherland's achievement. Assassins along our borders. Raiders in the Philippines. Plus much more.

8.18.05

Send to Kindle

BY JINGO
Re: Paul Beston's Getting Dirty in Real Time:

I very much enjoyed Paul Beston's excellent article on the Fox T.V. show 24. I thought his analysis of the nature of leading man Jack Bauer was especially interesting. However, I would disagree that Mr. Bauer resembles a comic book character. Rather, he has much more in common with two other mythic American heroes: Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.

Both Boone and Crockett were popular, charismatic men whose charm and good humor masked an almost unfathomable violence that lurked just below the surface. Boone especially proved to be as single-minded as Jack as he pursued his goal of hacking a settlement out of the Kentucky wilderness. Crockett's well known hard headedness led to both problems in his personal life as well as his ultimate defeat for re-election to Congress in 1836. Both men mirror Jack's patriotic devotion as well as a willingness to do what ever it takes to succeed.

The myth of the hunter/hero gave way to the lone hero motif popularized by Hollywood. This hero, usually played by a small town sheriff (Gary Cooper in High Noon) or the gunfighter with a heart of gold (Alan Ladd in Shane), used violence to defeat greater violence. This concept was turned on its head in the 1960s and 1970s as the great " anti-heroes" of Clint Eastwood blurred the distinction between good and evil. Dirty Harry got the job done (as did the Man with No-Name) but at what cost?

Enter Jack Bauer who's not quite the Clint anti-hero but not the pure, small town Gary Cooperish protagonist either. He is, in fact, the perfect hero in a post-9/11 world. Torn as America is between getting the job done at all costs while upholding American ideals, Jack simply can't help himself. He necessarily sees the world in stark relief, a black and white universe populated by some really nasty thugs who don't even blink at the idea of murdering hundreds of thousands of people. We recoil at some of Jack's tactics. But we recognize that Jack is the guy doing what needs to be done to keep us safe.
-- Rick Moran
Algonquin, Illinois

Paul Beston gives an excellent review of 24. He is right on the money. This past season,Entertainment Weekly magazine had a review of the previous night's episode, and every time Jack Bauer did something "wrong" the reviewer whined about it. Course, this past season Bauer was trying to prevent a nuclear bomb from going off in the U.S. But the EW reviewer, perhaps without realizing it, displayed what is wrong with the Left. The Left is more concerned about the torture of a terrorist to get information in order to save hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions, than the lives of the innocent.

24 does have some unusual aspects. Kiefer Sutherland is the son of Donald Sutherland, a noted Hollywood left-winger. Yet, Sullivan plays a hero, seemingly the of the right. In addition, it was another noted Hollywood lefty in William Devane playing the Secretary of Defense this past season, and he played the Secretary much like a real Donald Rumsfeld, and with honor. Devane gave honor to the Secretary of Defense position.

But because 24 is nearly jingoistic is why it'll never win any awards in Hollywood.
-- John Dyslin
Streamwood, Illinois

I love this show and always set my DVR so I can watch it without having to wait thru a commercial. The President in last seasons show sure reminded me of Al Gore, was glad to see Palmer back trying to give him some backbone. LOL
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

BORDERS ON HIGH ALERT
Re: Megan Basham's Cartel Assassins:

As the moral fiber continues to weaken in America, this activity will naturally increase. The corruption exists on both sides of the border when it comes to the drug trade, it's just more obvious south of the border given it's an integral part of their economy. America's insatiable thirst for illegal drugs raises all kinds of questions regarding as to why we as a people have allowed ourselves to be slaves to this addiction. But make no mistake, this has become a war, and unless we take more intense local and federal action, it can only become worse. The border needs to be truly secured if we want to take control of the drug problem, the illegal immigration problem, and the potential for terrorist infiltration problem. I don't expect the Mexican government to do anything given the Mexican economy dysfunctions on two products that America desires greatly, oil and dope, and indirectly through the supply of cheap illegal labor which in turn sends billions of U.S. dollars back to Mexico.

As long as we need the oil and want the dope, this isn't going to change. Let's face it, the border has always been a hotbed for illegal activity since it was established. Too much money is being made and laundered once again, on both sides of the border. The drug tragedy will not be eradicated in our free society until people return to an alternative source of consolation of dealing with problems, and last time I checked the statistics for church attendance, they are still way down.
-- David P. Bennett
Chicago, Illinois

During Prohibition, Detroit autoworkers missed fewer work days and beat their wives less than when alcohol was legal. Smugglers shot up the town and bought politicians and cops. It eventually become clear that the cost to society of financing and empowering sociopaths was greater than the cost to industry and to housewives, and Prohibition was repealed.

Your article contributes to the recognition that the greater good of society is no longer served by illegalizing drugs of abuse. The policy keeps them from no one who wants them and provides vicious criminals with the means to tear us apart. The lesser evil has become the legalization, taxation and supervision of mind altering substances. Perhaps this time we will get it right and tax them enough to put them out of reach of the majority of kids (this works with booze) and to provide the funding necessary to run rehab programs that stand a chance.

Thirty years ago, I had two friends who smuggled pot across the New Mexico border. Both were caught by the DEA. In return for all their cash, they were allowed to go home broke but free. Not long ago in Seattle, my aging parents sold a very nice car to a cop who wouldn't give his name and paid with a tall stack of cash.

Legalizing drugs puts the crooks of all kinds out of business, allows the light of day to shine on a national problem which like a monster in the dark is eating us alive, and frees up huge sums of government money for problems with less ready solutions, like illegal immigration and the terror war.
-- Allen Hurt
New Mexico

Megan Basham's story "Cartel Assassins" is a masterpiece in reality journalism. If this does not wake up the majority of Americans that are NOT liberal illegal alien enablers, than nothing will. The fault or blame for this situation lies squarely and singularly on the desk of President George Bush.

I used to wonder and ask how many illegal aliens Bush '41' and the Bush extended family employed in their various business and personal enterprises. Now I ask if the Crawford ranch is a protected area by the Mexican drug gangs for as long as Dubya continues his unconscionable policy toward American border enforcement....
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Oh yes, you can tell it is election time for some governors also. This morning Gov. Richardson was on FoxNews after he declared a state of emergency in his state and it was not to long ago he was telling ILLEGALS to come to
his state he would protect them. To bad liberals don't speak with any sense until election time rolls around.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

RAIDERS HELD OVER
Re: James Bowman's review of The Great Raid and the "Bowing Out" letters in Reader Mail's The Greatest Shows:

James Bowman's comments on the "Great Raid" don't match what I saw in the movie and the bulk of the audience that saw it when I did, midday on a Saturday when the theaters are usually empty. When the movie was over and the lights went on I realized that most of the audience was older than I and I'm 53 years old. Maybe what the movie brings to the screen is something less then our expectations for entertainment, like the fictional piece Saving Private Ryan but I never heard an audience clap during a movie as they did during one scene in the The Great Raid's night time battle. Perhaps we expect too much from war movies today. What I saw in The Great Raid was a film version of an ordinary combat event that happened to be pretty close to the truth and accomplished something that by today's standards is pretty unheard of. Maybe we should stop expecting Saving Private Ryan screen performances from real life events. All too often, the sexy, emotion laden images portrayed on the silver screen have little or nothing to do with the real life events. Do the research on the events shown in the movie and you will find that it does an adequate job of conveying what went on. That is all I ask from such movies.
-- Thom
Newport News, Virginia

The Great Raid held my attention as no movie has for at least the last three years. As it started I was prepared to reflexively wince at any clichéd gesture of military macho. But what I got was a try at war movie making that was honest all the way through. The depiction of the raid on the camp will likely be remembered as a high adrenaline rush unsurpassed in the annals of war movies. Connie Nelsen's performance should at least get an academy award nomination; but, as to winning, I think some of the same attitudes that panned the film will rob her of what she so rightfully deserves -- much like the entire movie in the eyes of professional critics (with the notable exception of Ebert & Roper).
-- David Newland
Houston, Texas

How very sad.

I did see the minor flaws in this film as well, but, come on. Reading your review --it felt like you were forcing yourself to find something wrong.

You mean, they used contemporary American jargon when they spoke? And, and...the head ranger guy was just WAY too handsome?? WOW! Those are some serious flaws!

This was a fabulous telling of a story that very few people knew about, and it was about time someone this century saw on film what REAL torture is, not all the namby-pamby crap that supposedly goes on at Gitmo.

Gimme a break.
-- David Busby

Being a former resident of Oak Park, Illinois (hometown of Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Rice Burroughs, R. Emmett Tyrrell, and now home to a bunch of draft-dodging, pony-tailed, flag-burning creeps), I was drawn to the letter written by Michael Nevins of Oak Park.

Actually, Mr. Nevins should be somewhat encouraged. The Lake Theatre is showing The Great Raid and people are attending. When I lived in Oak Park in the 1980s, people were spell-bound by anything that had to do with Fidel Castro and/or Sister Boom-Boom. Ronald Reagan was a dirty word.

Regarding The Great Raid, I was not bothered by the "too perfect" look of Colonel Mucci. Recall that World War II had a number of real heroes who were also good-looking Hollywood actors -- Jimmy Stewart, Tyrone Power, and Glenn Ford come to mind.

It's about time our valiant military were portrayed in a truthful and positive manner!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

NARAL KAINE
Re: David Holman's Birds of a Feather:
Thank you for the information concerning Kaine and his affiliations. I would most likely not vote for a Democrat in any election; after all, there are times when local concerns do trump the political divide. However, the NARAL ads were so egregious that one would have to be seriously troubled by anyone who would choose to utilize their services. It's like watching some really slimy defense attorney get some really bad guy off the hook (think Cochran and O.J.) and being repulsed by that process and then turning around and hiring the same lawyer when you are in trouble because he's really good. Just feels too gritty and underhanded for me.
-- A. Norton

MOTHER SHEEHAN
Re: George Neumayr's The Sheehan Spectacle:

Congratulations for writing the definitive piece on poor, deluded Cindy Sheehan. You wrote with true compassion and rationality, in contrast to the soppy, sloppy reporting by other outlets.
-- Bill Ireland
Ontario, California

Your man has it right. I see Sheehan standing as a forlorn soul looking for attention because of her somewhat longer 15 minutes of fame. How about a Sept. 6th cutoff as that is when the Supremo 8 of the Judiciary start the raking of our new Supreme Court Nominee. All for the sake of our Country. A Motley Crew for sure.
-- Bill Duffy

DRUG APPROVALS
Re: Bruce Eberle's Analysis Paralysis:

My wife also has MS. In 2000 before we got together she was in a drug study in Chicago for Tysabri, then called Antegren. She had marvelous results from that study. After it was done she found out that she had been one of the people who had the largest dose. It was a double blind study. In the next year after she was unable to get any drug as she had no insurance and only her disability income she had two relapses and went from walking with a cane to a wheelchair. The company I work for is small and doesn't cover spouses so I found a local drug study for her, this time Rebif and that worked for 6 months. Then we got on the low income program for Avonex for a couple of years till Medicare decided to sort of cover Avonex. They would only cover it if it was injected in a doctor's office but no doctor wanted the hassle and expense so we had to find another low income program, this time Rebif, which she has used for 2 years now. When Tysabri was approved we rejoiced. It would be given in a doctor's office so Medicare would cover it and we would just have to pay the 20% deductible. That would run about $400 per month which would be hard but doable. Before Medicare approved its use it was pulled and once again we are waiting. I keep wondering how she would be if she had been able to continue taking Tysabri (Antegren) after the study in Chicago was done. Would she still be walking if she hadn't had to wait all this time.

BTW, the drug companies have been great. Their programs have enabled us to get the drugs she needs to keep from getting worse. Starting in January we will begin navigating the new Medicare Drug Program. It will cost us more than the drug companies programs but it should allow us more choice in her treatment. We both have hope for new treatments that may actually cure this disease not just "hold the line."
-- Geoff Bowden
Kalamazoo, Michigan

MISUNDEREDUCATED
Re: Gary Puffer's letter in Reader Mail's The Greatest Shows:

Even in cyberspace, space does not permit refuting all the nonsense in Mr. Puffer's paean to Cindy Sheehan. But I was struck by his reference to Mr. Bush's "incredibly unsuccessful career." Let's see - George Bush --

Graduated from Yale with better grades than John Kerry. Got his MBA from Harvard.

Failed in the oil "bidness" -- as have half the millionaires in Texas!

Owned the Texas Rangers Baseball Team. Governor of Texas -- beat Ann Richards ("Pore Jawrrge, he cain't hep it..").

Stayed married to one woman with no side dishes (unlike Bill Clinton).

Elected President of the United States. Re-Elected President of the United States.

Sounds successful to me.

If I were named Puffer, I think I would go easy on the puffery and buffoonery. One wonders what passes for success in his puffed-up imagination. Maybe Al Gore's recent cable television debut? I'm expecting the same success as "Air America" on that one. His hot-tub gig on SNL was one thing, but a steady diet of Gore? I don't think so.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

SURRENDERER OF THE WEEK
Re: "TAS Subscriber's" Bullish on Iraq:

At what percentage of Americans opposed to the Iraqi war will it take for you and the rest of The American Spectator to admit that we screwed up and need to get out? Right now, 58% are opposed and you writers keep writing like you're all the Wizard of Oz -- "Ignore the man behind the curtain!" Will you finally admit defeat at 60%? 65%? 70%? 90%? We've screwed up -- this ain't no war on terror, it's trying to manage and supervise over there, and we're not very good at that. How about TAS suggesting, at last, that we bring home the troops and let them defend the U.S. borders and police the cities' terror-potential sites? Parents will be happy; the troops will be happy; the American people will be happy. And we won't have more dead soldiers. The Iraqi Constitution will legitimate de jure discrimination against non-Muslims and against Muslim women. It will codify many things that we went over there to prevent. I guess the final question I have is: Will TAS be the last journal favoring our staying in Iraq? And I was one of the majority favoring our involvement over there.
-- Dan Robbins
Richmond, Virginia

MEAN MAN
Re: Yinishye Nasdijj's letter ("Sitting in Judgment") in Reader Mail's Sizzler of the Summer:

"I suggest [Doug Bandow's] son be deliberately infected with HIV so this brilliant drug company shill can study the problem close up." -- Yinishye Nasdijj

I'm speechless. And horrified. How do you even argue with that? Oh wait, that's not an argument anyway. Never mind.

Why is that when a conservative expresses an opinion, some very angry liberal wishes harm, disease, or death on his or her child? My son should be punished with death because I'm not sympathetic enough to one cause or another?

The American people pay for a lot of things they don't own. Hey, maybe since my son doesn't have HIV I shouldn't have to pay my part of the taxes that goes towards AIDS research... Using this logic, I can't support it.

Gee, that seems kinda silly, doesn't it?
-- Angela Seeley
Clarksville, Tennessee

ENCORE
Re: Lawrence Henry's Gone Country:

Really enjoyed the country music article. The guy was RIGHT ON. Keep it coming.
-- Betsy Wills
Nashville, Tennessee

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article