Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Enough Is Enough Already!:
Finally someone has said it, and said it loud and clear. Every time I hear George Bush preach to the American people that Islam is a religion of peace hijacked by terrorists I want to gag. But come to think of it, I have not heard him say that lately. Maybe he’s figured it out. We will never be victorious in this war until we in the West have clearly identified the enemy. It’s not radical Islam; that is an oxymoron, but, rather, it is Islam itself. Communism had its apologists in the West right until 1992. The apologists for Islam in this country conceal their anti-Americanism behind a facade of tolerance and free speech. It would seem the imams have taken a few pages from the playbook of the Democrat party.
— Edward Blake
As G.K. Chesterton said, a barbarian is one who would howl in rage that one would do to him what he believes it is his right to do to others. Mohammedanism is not upset that the rules are not followed, but that the rules are supposed to apply to them at all.
At the core of the issue, Mohammedanism is peaceful — just give in and submit or be killed and there will be peace. If only they could extend the land of peace over the land of war, then obviously there would be peace. They can not understand why we would not all want their peace. Just substitute “peace” with “conquest” in whatever talk of peace comes from the Mohammedans, and then one will understand what they really mean.
— D. Lewis
In response to your article “Enough is Enough Already”: I agree with your conclusion that the West should return the violence to such a degree that future terrorism may cease to exist. However, I don’t think this is realistic. The West no longer has the stomach for this kind of response over time. Look at the position Bush is in for his aggression into Afghanistan and Iraq? He is viewed as an arrogant lonestar cowboy. Today, this is bad. A hundred years ago, this was good! He would have been hailed as a hero!
Isaiah’s apocalyptic writing Chapter 51:30 — “Babylon’s warriors have ceased to fight, they remain in their strongholds; Dried up in their strength, they have become women” (my emphasis).
The truth is — I don’t think that even doing what you suggested would stop the Muslims from coming after Israel and the United States, because it goes against their religion. They are on a divine mission to destroy the infidels. Death is not what will stop them — even mass death. Are we willing to destroy all the Muslims in order to achieve peace and security? They are willing to destroy us, for Allah.
We may have the might, but they have the fight. Going into Iraq had the effect of throwing rocks at a nest of killer bees.
— Mary Grace Miller
The final paragraph of Mason and Felder’s commentary questions how long the West will wait before retaliating for Muslim acts of violence. While retaliation is considered barbaric in some quarters, a non-verbal response now to state-sanctioned terrorism and random murders of westerners may in the end save many Muslim lives. Freedom of speech, as a concept in the Western sense, may not exist among Muslims and may be completely contrary to their societal norms. And, this lack of cultural empathy and common understanding of acceptable behavior may eventually lead to a retaliation by the West far more bloody and violent than is necessary.
While it is tempting to draw too many parallels between World War II and today’s war on terror, there is one area of striking similarity. Cultural differences between Japan and America were probably greater then than between Muslims and Western societies today. Both Japan and America accused each other of insincerity, but, ironically, both societies had completely different notions of what sincerity meant. For Americans, sincerity meant an open and honestly motivated dialogue where both sides worked toward mutually satisfactory goals. Since we had broken their secret diplomatic code, Americans, in 1941, were appalled at the double dealing and lies Japan used in their negotiations with the State Department. To us, the Japanese were anything but sincere about their real intentions.
To the Japanese, sincerity meant that once a course of action was decided, the individual and the nation were unswerving in commitment, even to the point of death. America’s willingness to meekly accept provocations over our diplomatic support of China indicated lack of sincerity or what we would call lack of total commitment. Japanese leaders weren’t stupid and they completely understood that America possessed far greater material resources to make war than what Japan could amass. However, they believed America was a matriarchal society of dominant women and effeminate men who would sue for peace if Japan hurt us enough. We lacked commitment (or sincerity) in the face of violent struggle and this erroneous belief was to have terrible consequences for Japan.
Before the American victory at Midway, Admiral Yamamoto’s plan was to occupy Midway island preparatory to invading Hawaii. With 400,000 American hostages in Hawaii, Japan believed we would sue for peace to avoid more bloodshed. Instead, the Japanese attacks at Pearl Harbor and later kindled an American rage that would eventually lead to Roosevelt’s announcement at Casablanca that the Allies would only accept the “unconditional surrender” of the Axis powers. The rest as they say is history, but my point is that America would eventually inflict approximately 1 million casualties on Japan, including untold thousands of women and children killed during the bombings. Eventually, even the Japanese capacity for self-immolation and glory in death was exceeded.
Whether all this bloodshed could have been avoided had America taken military action against Japan early on can’t be determined. But, once Americans reach a point of no return on the rage meter, our capacity for violence is almost unlimited. As Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible wrath.” Before we allow Muslims to awaken the sleeping giant, perhaps we should consider some minor demonstrations of what the giant can do.
— Pat Skurka
We have the capability to end all this Muslim bull in a month. Uninterrupted bombing of infrastructure in those countries whose governments incite violence in their streets would make the world a whole lot quieter. Those leaders who don’t get the message might profit from seeing one of their many homes become a pile of smoking ruins, as an example.
Muslims aren’t dumb. They’re just convinced we are.
— R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
Theirs is my sentiment exactly. Any attack on me will be met with a violence that will make their heads swim in blood. Muslims, for the most part, are vermin. We just don’t realize that yet, even with all of the evidence, every day….what’s wrong with us?
AT LAST! Someone has the audacity to tell the truth!
Thank you for publishing the article!
Re: Philip Klein’s America, Don’t Leave Us:
Here’s the deal folks. The only way we can lose in Iraq is if the Cutandrunocrats get control of the congress and senate in November. And if that happens, America as we know it is lost forever. There will be a terrorist behind every tree blessed by the Cutandrunocrats. Short of that, my money is on the US military.
— Jim L
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
American citizens would be very much heartened if the Iraqis would talk about sharing their oil revenue with all their people, rather than figuring out, in typical Arab fashion, how the elected representatives of the people can steal it, or parcel it out to their relatives and constituents. Then, the 60% unemployment he talks so much about in Iraq wouldn’t hurt so much, and people might not be so willing to join militias.
Additionally, the young people in Iraq should be drafted into a couple of years of national service, no exceptions. Such service could be with the police, security forces, Army, or a national corps for rebuilding Iraq.
I don’t see those elected representatives in Iraq really being serious about solving their problems. They pat the Americans on the back when it’s daylight, then bring out the guns at night, to kill Americans, or their religious foes down the street.
— R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida
LID ON COFFIN
Re: Mark Tooley’s The Coffin Legacy:
First, I “tune in” to the 9/22 edition of TAS online, when, jumpin’ Jehosaphat, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the bellowing William Sloane Coffin beckoning me from the grave to come hither, grovel before the feet of the great seer, and beg forgiveness for the sin of being alive. Then, I read Mr. Tooley’s account of this grand wizard of American Protestantism.
Perhaps, Mr. Tooley, you should be arrested for “disturbing the peace” per RET’s “Their Sound and Their Fury”! Did we really have to resurrect this phony priest of “peace,” even for educational purposes? But, since we can’t put the genie back in his bottle, we’ll just confront him.
Coffin’s myopic spiritual vision, the source of his good intentions, “Coffin was inspired to go into the ministry, with an understanding that ‘social justice is at the heart of the Gospel,'” was not only his guiding light, but his fatal flaw. He abetted the enemy of us all, by slavishly adhering to this false gospel, and one must wonder whose ministry Sloane Coffin’s inspiration ultimately led him into. He seemed not to understand or care that one doesn’t use the hammer and sickle to bring in the harvest. But then, to those who believe in “making the world a better place,” the world is all there is.
Still, I suppose we can forgive the religious left to a certain extent. How nice it would be, we are tempted to believe, if we could remake the world, only this time do it right. But, we can’t. It was never intended to be so. Coffin never learned this from his experience. He only grew more bitter. He was the great P.T. Barnum of the American left, utter hubris, responsible for suckering a generation, who along with him, are ultimately responsible for the deaths, both physical and spiritual, of millions worldwide. He fully lived up to his name.
Your last comments, Mr. Tooley, “May he rest in peace, and may his errors be forgiven,” almost belie a certain fondness for Coffin, a warm cockle in your heart. Noble thoughts, but you cannot save him now. Prayers and grief are wasted on him who chose his own destiny. Just as he was unreachable in life, so he is in death, overpowered by the trademark of the liberal mind, all consuming guilt, which he so proudly nurtured, and which in the end, defeated the truth that would have set him free. We may all, at some time in our life, face the temptation to become a William Sloane Coffin, but thankfully, most of us outgrow it.
— Mike Showalter
Your article on Coffin omits much. For the wife-beating (yes, really!), etc.…
— Eric Rasmusen
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Home Cooking:
Rachael Ray is fine but for a real treat, watch Sandra Lee — her 30 minute show not only has the recipes but she dresses and redoes her home to match the menu. Plus, she’s thin, blonde, doesn’t constantly giggle, and indulges in adult beverages to make the whole show not only satisfying to the taste buds but intellectually and visually stimulating as well.
Fie on TAS for publishing your entirely too long and absorbing selection of letters on Sean Higgins essay, “The Searchers at 50,” each reflecting a unique and different point of view evoked by a single film of a single script. There is no place in conservative thinking for the relativist notion that author, actor, text and reader can interact to give rise to different constructions of cultural reality. Are you sure you have not been infiltrated by minions of the MSM striving to sap the nation’s resolve to stay awake while reading Ann Coulter’s next book?
It’s only been a month since someone planted a book by that cheese eating surrender monkey Camus on the Presidential bedside table, and we’re already seeing some Caudillo from Venemala, or wherever, waving a copy of Chomsky and doing the Macacarena at a UNICEF Halloween party in Turtle Bay. Unless the Editor can put an end to this monkey business. It will end badly, possibly with Tom Cruise starring in a remake of The Green Berets.
— Russell Seitz
Great works of art, all great stories, are capable of infinite readings, some more valid than others. Sometimes the author of a work starts out to make one point, but actually ends up making one opposite to his intention. Staying within the genre of Western movies, it is instructive to remember that “High Noon” was written as an allegory of the McCarthy era, but almost from its release, the overwhelming majority of viewers have seen it as an anti-communist film.
The Searchers is another Western capable of multiple readings. I admit to having seen it many times and number it not only among my own favorites, but one of the greatest films of all times, I never for a minute saw it as a “liberal” film, but rather one which extols traditional virtues as loyalty to friends and family, fidelity and love in adversity, courage and persistence. It is also a story of one man coming to terms with the tragedies in his own life, and of redeeming that life through not only the constancy of the search, but of his ability, at the end, to overcome his own prejudice to accomplish the mission on which he set out. I don’t see anything liberal at all in that.
— Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
A great western, beautifully filmed, with a complicated storyline simply told. I’m not sure that the movie is racist, rather it displays the prevalent bigotry of the time.
I’ve read all the letters to the editor on this film and noted the important point about the Debby character is has not been expressed: Debby was contaminated by having had sex with an Indian, being unwillingly or willingly. Women violated by Indians were despised by Whites on the frontier. We know she came to accept her life among the tribe. Her feelings for Teepee mate Scar are not addressed. I believe Ethan’s response to Debby was based solely on this idea of contamination. His sudden change of heart is not a moment of redemption. It is, I believe it is his only connection with the women he had loved and not possessed.
On the other hand, perhaps Ethan’s murderous rage at Debby for being violated by an Indian is no different than Muslim honor killings of raped female family members. With only a deep seated Christian belief reasserting itself at the last moment to reclaim Debby to this life.
— Wolf Terner
Fair lawn, New Jersey
Sean Higgins sophomoric attack on The Searchers (the 1956 western starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford) is rife with unintended irony. Higgins’ main complaint seems to be that liberals have attempted (surprise, surprise!) to read into the film left wing messages. However, efforts to co-opt for one’s own ideological cause the interpretation of an artistic work is a predilection as old as the critic’s profession itself, and practiced by partisans across the political spectrum. Indeed, the likelihood of such efforts is directly proportional to the merit of the work in question — after all, who wants to find one’s self to be ideologically simpatico with a flop?
Thus, the effort by liberals to possessively clasp to their political bosom John Ford’s tour de force should be met — as should be most of their claims — with a robust skepticism and analytical eye. Unfortunately, Higgins response is more Carteresque than Reaganite as he runs up the white flag without firing a shot. Viewers should be “wary of this particular film” intones Higgins because “it is ultimately a liberal telling of the settling of the western frontier.”
And what is the basis for this dismissive characterization of the film? According to Higgins, the lead character Ethan Edwards is a “racist”. As authority for this conclusion he cites — hold the chuckles please — a gaggle of leftist critics such as Roger Ebert, Harold Myerson, Slate and The Village Voice. I hope no one informs Higgins that the left has also laid claim to Barry Goldwater, Science and Jesus. Presumably he would give them up as well and tell us to be “wary” of Conscience of a Conservative, quantum mechanics, and the Holy Bible.
Higgins offers as additional evidence of Ethan’s racism the following: (1) Ethan is an unrepentant Confederate army veteran who refuses to swear allegiance to the Union, (2) Ethan makes derogatory references to the partial Cherokee Indian ancestry of Ethan’s adopted nephew and search companion Martin Pawley, (3) Ethan shoots out the eyes of a Comanche Indian corpse to prevent him (at least by the Indian’s religious beliefs) from “entering the spirit world”, and finally (4) after the passage of five years and it has become clear Debbie is now the squaw of a Comanche brave, Ethan appears disposed to kill her rather than rescue her. Thus, according to Higgins, “… Edwards’ obsessive quest [is] motivated as much by racial hatred as it is by a desire to rescue Debbie”.
This is a squashed and unperceptive view of Ethan that ignores all of the ambiguity and complexity of the character masterfully played by John Wayne in what many regard as his greatest performance. As even the most casual viewer of the film could not miss — but Higgins does — Ethan’s primary motivation for pursuing the renegade Comanches is not racism but revenge. Almost unbelievably, Higgins fails to mention that Edwards had long been in love with his brother’s wife Martha, and she with him. (In a film made today the two undoubtedly would have opted for self-fulfillment and run off together, leaving husband and kids to fend for themselves. Instead, in Ford’s “liberal” film they each place duty and honor ahead of self gratification.)
Thus, the renegade Comanches, led by their war chief Scar (whose hatred for White people dwarfs by comparison any racial animus toward Indians indulged in by Ethan) , murdered in the cruelest and most savage fashion every thing that Edwards had ever loved. For this he will have his vengeance or die in the effort — and his determination would be no less if the objects of his rage were Norsemen or Mongols rather than Comanches.
Higgins fails to mention that — despite his often gruff tone and sharp words directed at Marty — Ethan demonstrates by his actions a strong affection for the young man. After all, it was Ethan who originally took in the orphaned Marty as a child and brought him to his brother to be adopted and raised. Later, Ethan attempts to dissuade Marty from joining him in a thankless search for Debbie which will threaten Marty’s own chance at happiness. Finally, Ethan makes out his will and names Marty as the sole beneficiary. Plainly, in spite of Marty’s Indian blood, Ethan regards him as the son denied him by fate – an emotional tie hard to imagine if Ethan was the racist monster portrayed by Higgins and the leftist reviewers he parrots.
At the film’s climax the renegade Indians receive their comeuppance from a company of Texas Rangers and a regiment of U.S. Cavalry. In the process, Ethan takes Scar’s scalp and comes upon Debbie. He grabs her by the shoulders and for an uneasy moment the viewer wonders whether Ethan will kill her or accept her. Finally, he sweeps her into his arms and tells her “let’s go home”.
Not surprisingly, the obtuse Higgins finds this ending to be “contrived” and “contradict[ory] [of] everything we’ve been led to assume up to that point.” Since Higgins sees Ethan as a one-dimensional robot consumed by racial hatred, he thinks the only true ending requires Ethan to kill Debbie in a spasm of racist rage. More perceptive viewers recognize Ethan as archetypical of the wandering knight, ranger or samurai who, denied by fate the pleasures of hearth and home, is destined to wander abroad to joust with evil. That such a character’s sense of duty and honor would overcome the passion of prejudice is unexpected only to Higgins and his liberal familiars.
Perhaps the supreme irony is that Higgins himself adopts (apparently unconsciously) the trappings of the left he purports to warn us against. He dutifully evinces the obligatory horror at liberalism’s totemic evil, “Racism,” and he adopts the language of political correctness by referring to Indians as “Native Americans.” Finally, he quotes with apparent approval Roger Ebert’s condemnation of Ethan that at the film’s end “there is no indication that [Ethan] thinks any differently about Indians.” (At least Ebert didn’t call them Native Americans.)
Ebert’s observation that Ethan’s views on Indians and race relations (and presumably other matters) have not morphed into liberal pieties is undoubtedly accurate. It is his (and evidently Higgins’) sense of outrage at Ethan’s failure to undergo what liberal’s like to call “growth” (and the rest of us recognize as confusion) that is wrong-headed. I for one have no qualms about Ethan’s preference for his own kin and culture over renegade Comanches and their savagery. I take no offense at his single-minded pursuit of revenge against them for their murder and mayhem.
I only wish Ethan Edwards was on the trail of Osama Bin Laden.
— Mark Bender
Columbia, South Carolina
The only thing wrong with you article is stating The Searchers is one of the top 4 or 5 movies.
I’d put it the top one or two. Or even the best ever.
Great and long overdue article. I’m passing this site on to my John Wayne chat list.
Again thank you.
— Terry R. Rush
Must we politicize everything? Even 50-year-old movies?
I’m a political and social conservative (same as “The Duke”). The Searchers in one of my top five favorites because of superior performances by the actors, the story itself, the scenery, the humor (yes, there was plenty) and the outcome. Can’t you just believe in the power of forgiveness and redemption, and leave it at that?
Still, an interesting commentary.
— Cheri Pogeler
I watched Who Killed the Electric Car? yesterday.
As an engineer of the Air Resources Board with direct access to the electric vehicle program staff, as a Regional Chair in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and as a technical engineer who reads scientific, technical, and historical books for fun and interest, I offer the following observations:
1. The movie cherry-picked its footage of the people interviewed.
2. The movie showed a lush summer landscape of ANWR, including caribou gently grazing among the flowers (as I recall) — not the hell hole as described by Jonah Goldberg described by Jonah Goldberg.
3. The movie did not address battery limitations [cost (new), cost (replacement), reliability, disposal, necessary time to recharge, et al]. Instead, it suggests that Big Auto suppressed battery technology by purchasing controlling interest in a battery inventor’s company.
4. The movie did not address current (2006) and future gasoline and diesel engine emission standards. It is safe to say that new vehicle smog-forming emissions are approaching De minimis status. The older gasoline, but particularly the older heavy-duty diesel trucks, emit 10 to 100 times the emissions of new vehicles.
Should the scientific and technical community produce documentaries? Yes. They are a terrific medium with lasting impact. How about: “Global Warming is Caused by the Moon!” The referenced paper describes a global warming theory first postulated in the early 20th century by Otto Petersson that actually makes sense to me (it passes my credibility test).
I have not yet seen, and do not expect to see, this particular theory published in most major media publications. But perhaps I could write a story (or a movie script) for The American Spectator.
— Tom Scheffelin, P.E.
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Chavez Raving:
Raving or not, his criticisms about Bush were pretty on target. I assume he doesn’t really think that George
is the devil — he was making a point about how his country sees America’s Government. Do you really blame them?
— E. Feder
Long Beach, New York
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