Category Archives: Historical

founder

The Founder – an Analysis

This movie is “based on a true story.” The way it played out certainly seems plausible–probably even likely–but I don’t know much about the history of MacDonalds, so I can’t vouch for its accuracy. Whatever connection to reality it has, what I find remarkable is a metaphorical aspect that is shocking, in a Hollywood movie.

To summarize:

Ray Kroc is a traveling salesman in the 1954 Midwest who discovers an incredible success story in the food service industry. (Keep in mind that there was no such thing as “fast food” prior to the events depicted in this movie.) He discovers a truly revolutionary food-serving system at a little restaurant run by two brothers in southern California.

After being kicked around by the Great Depression and other hard knocks, the MacDonald Brothers harnessed their ingenuity, discipline, and shrewd business savvy to develop a business model that is successful beyond the scope of any similar venture. Through hard work, they fine-tune their system to nigh-perfection. They’re making good money; their customers love them, and they’re content with what they have.

MDs1

Ray Kroc sees dollar signs and tells the brothers they need to franchise. But the brothers have already tried that–and found that restaurant managers deviated from the business model while letting the quality fall. But, as Kroc has been taught, persistence can elevate a talentless hack into a a tycoon and he badgers them relentlessly. Against their better judgment, the MacDonald brothers  make a franchise deal with him. But they take precautions and insist that he signs off on a legal contract that ensures he uphold their standards, and that the lion’s share of the profits are retained by the franchises.

It’s a struggle from the beginning, and Kroc begins taking credit for their ideas and system. In fact, he doesn’t come up with a single idea of his own, but merely hijacks the ideas of others, twisting them to his own purposes. The brothers’ chief concern is their customers, and the quality of their product. Ray Croc’s primary concern is his own success, as he defines it. He willingly sacrifices anything to pursue it. He opens restaurants all over the country, and finally connects with  a shady character who teaches him how to screw over his partners.

MDs2

Long story short: he cheats them out of everything, and eventually they even lose their own personal restaurant (where they developed the system that revolutionized the food service industry). Incredibly, they agreed to a “handshake deal” on their cut of future profits, which, predictably, they never received a penny of. The standout dialog of the film is when Kroc admits that the law is completely on their side, due to the contract, but that he’ll win anyway because he can hire better lawyers and they can’t sustain the court battle it would take to retain their rights.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in modus opperandi between Ray Kroc, Bill Gates, and the devil himself.

There was another chord this movie struck which I couldn’t help noticing. More than once in the film, MacDonalds is equated with America itself. The parallels are hard to ignore.

  • The founders of the American republic designed a system which led to the greatest levels of both liberty, and prosperity, in recorded history.
  • Against the better judgment of our forebears, enemies of our republic were allowed  to infiltrate, and invited into positions of power.
  • Those domestic enemies  gradually attained a monopoly on the amazing wealth generated by our free market economy, and of course  put that wealth to use toward the destruction of the very system that gave them the opportunity to accumulate that wealth.
  • Simultaneously, they took over government at all levels: the banks; academia; the press; the entertainment industry; the tech industry; giant corporations…and turned them all into weapons against the revolutionary system of government they benefited from–against our liberty; against our prosperity; against our culture; and even against institutions that predated the republic–like the family itself. Rarely did they contribute anything worthwhile to their respective industries, but nonetheless profited from the innovation and hard work of those who did.
  • What the usurpers have done, are doing, and intend to do, is illegal. The law of our land is against them, but they don’t care about that; and they believe we are too ignorant and/or apathetic to ever challenge them on it. Besides, they now have all the money, control over the police and the courts, and legions of useful idiots spread throughout the population who will defend their machinations fanatically.
  • They have stripped our republic of its remarkable wealth (assigning it to themselves and their proxies) and replaced it with staggering debt that can never be repaid even if taxes were raised to 100% for the next century. Replacing our real money with fiat currency was basically a handshake deal in which the only financial backing to the “US Dollar” (Federal Reserve Note) they left in place was the confidence in the dollar from the consumer.
  • Just as Ray Croc used some bizarre reasoning that included churches and flags to convince the MacDonald brothers to franchise “for their country,” our domestic enemies have repeatedly appealed to patriotism and Christian morals (both of which they despise) to convince US Citizens to fight and/or support foreign wars that don’t serve the interests of the American people at all. (Quite the opposite, usually.) Furthermore…”The Patriot Act.” ‘Nuff said.
  • Just as Ray Croc attained ownership of the real property the MacDonalds Empire was built upon, our enemies have seized the natural resources and “public lands” of the USA for themselves, and use our tax $$ to fund alphabet-soup pseudo-armies quartered among us to deny citizens access to our “public lands” by force of arms.
  • Our enemies intend to leave us completely destitute and dependent on them for sustenance after they have gobbled up every last iota of wealth for themselves, and provided for their own survival of the catastrophe they are developing.

No typical film director in Homowood, Commiefornia, would ever intentionally encode a message like this into a movie, as it works against The Narrative they push onto us with every other cinematic effort. Perhaps this is another instance of a Dunning-Kruger victim outsmarting himself.

dunkirk_beach2

The Mystery of Dunkirk

Why on Earth was the British Expeditionary Force allowed to escape in 1940?

That is the question everyone with a modicum of military savvy has to ask when examining the story of Dunkirk. (Well at least after coming down from your outrage due to underrepresentation in the film of Pygmy hermaphrodites, transgender unicorns, and Badass Warrior Womyn in front-line combat formations.) One positive side effect of the recent movie I’ve noticed is that some folks are indeed asking that question.

The Wermacht steamrolled over Poland and France despite the disparity of numbers, displaying a functional combined arms doctrine the world had never seen before… and yet allowed Britain’s army a second chance to fight them (when they inevitably returned with a more powerful ally), despite being poised to cut them off from the sea and destroy their ability to fight.

Not every fan of history knows the reason Dunkirk was allowed to succeed. Historians usually explain it away with one dubious claim or another. When I found out the truth, I just had to shake my head. And yet…it made sense.

A British historian spent the post war period interviewing the German high command, and its field marshals. The book he wrote clears up this and many other curiosities about WWII in the European Theater. I highly recommend it.

An added bonus is the reactions you’ll receive just toting the paperback around. On the cover is an image of a Nazi-era German flag, which happens to have a swastika on it. Rabid SJW thought police will be triggered, while public-educated FaceBorg junkies will often just run away. It’s Wolfenstein 3D all over again–but without intrusion into your gaming fun!

 

 

My Lonely Room – A Review

This book is a prequel to The Vandals. As such, it has inspired me to go back and read it again. And although classified “Y.A.,” I consider My Lonely Room a fine, worthwhile read for men or boys of any age.

The setting is Queens, New York, at the dawn of the rock & roll era. A young outcast lives in partially self-imposed exile due to selfish parents; a sadistic landlady; cliquish kids doing what kids do (only worse, in the big city); and social ineptitude deriving from arrested development.

You don’t have to be Polish, a baby-boomer, or from the Big Apple, to relate to Jimmy Yadenik. Those details merge to form a fascinating backdrop for this tale of a boy becoming a young man, and learning to play the cards he was dealt.

I should clear something up: 1950s street gangs are not to be confused with biker gangs. The latter began as clubs made up of drunken, brawling WWII vets out to have fun and abuse their newly attained civilian freedoms. Later they evolved into something uglier, but that’s another story.

Nor are 1950s street gangs to be confused with later gangs, which were more like fiefdoms in the feudal drug trade, where life is a perpetual nightmare for everyone involved–or even just in proximity.

The gang members of the 1950s were teenagers, mostly. A gang was comprised of kids from the same neighborhood, and was not envisioned as a criminal enterprise by the founders. The members often shared interests (rock & roll, for instance; girls; maybe cars), but what united them was a mutual need for protection. Protection from what? Other kids, mostly.

It’s amazing to me, but a lot of big city folks spend their entire lives in a single neighborhood. It’s been that way for a while. Kids like Jimmy Yadenik didn’t look for trouble; but when they strayed into a different ‘hood, they often found it.

Kids behave like pack animals anywhere, but stack them like sardines in tenaments, and the violence multiplies. Faced with this situation, it’s only natural kids would seek safety in numbers. Or, as the Jets sang in West Side Story:

When you’re a Jet let ‘em do what they can

You got brothers around; you’re a family man.

You’re never alone; you’re never disconnected.

You’re home with your own when company’s expected.

You’re well protected.

Sometimes a gang from the next ‘hood would invade yours. Sometimes there were two gangs in the same ‘hood. This is how turf wars got started.

Also, don’t confuse this subculture with the pampered Baby Boomer generation as a whole. Yes, midwestern James Dean wannabes dressed like thugs and tried to act tough during these years, but their “rebellion” came from petulance. No other generation in history had it so easy; had been given everything on a silver platter (except discipline); or had so little to be angry about. “Rebel without a cause” is an apt description for most of them. Or, as Marlon Brando’s character put it in The Wild One when asked what he was rebelling against: “What have ya got?”

But in the asphalt jungle, teenagers weren’t coddled, and didn’t enjoy lives of largesse. Jimmy Yadenik has a father who never bothered to teach him anything at all, much less how to be a man. The father is absent physically and emotionally. The only worth he recognizes in his son is the labor potential, so Jimmy can contribute to the weekly beer fund and the parties at the Polish Club. Jimmy’s mother is a little more humane, but still a lot more take than give. Case in point: they put Jimmy in a foster home so he wouldn’t be an inconvenience to them. As the story begins, Jimmy has just recently come to live with them again.

Perhaps the saddest part of Jimmy’s story is the way he latches onto some advice from a teacher. She gives him a truly underwhelming sample of generic, non-commital social worker talk, and it motivates him. It’s evidently the most encouragement he’s ever received from any adult in his life.

Not especially charismatic or athletic, how is Jimmy supposed to make friends with angry, messed-up kids from other dysfuntional families at school or in the neighborhood?

He acquires a girlfriend who does most of the heavy lifting for him in Love’s Learning Curve, for one thing. (If only all girlfriends could be so straightforward and accomodating.)

Secondly, he finds brotherhood (of sorts) via some streetwise boys who take him under their wings, and help him along in his journey. (If only all de facto orphans could find this kind of peer support.)

It’s certainly not the best path to manhood a boy could take, but it beats the azimuth set for him by his parents and teachers.

If you were born some time within the last half-century, you will probably find something in My Lonely Room that resonates with you.

Behind the Scenes at Sun Records

At great sacrifice, this transcript of a backroom creative meeting was obtained.

In a smoke-free zone in the bowels of Homowood, Commiefornia, a diverse gathering of creative consultants discusses a potential TV show.

MS BUTCHCUT: So, this series would have a lot going for it. We could provide a glimpse into the Dark Ages (the 1950s), and expose how backwards everything was. Yet at the same time, rock & roll symbolizes this enormous, unstoppable spirit of rebellion–against the borgeois; against materialism; the patriarchy…and it was rising up to challenge societal norms. Of course, it’s an opportunity to tell the story in a different way–highlighting the strong women behind the scenes who never got credit, until now. And we know white people will watch it, because it’s got Elvis.

PUFF TRIGGLY: Did you get my ideas for the series treatment? I printed them and put them on your desk, so…

MS BUTCHCUT: I did get them, and you’re right: vanilla white men have been getting the credit for everything far too long. But I don’t think this is quite the show to highlight the societal contributions of transgender necrophiliacs. We’ve got at least one Strong Female Character in the treatment, who we’ll gradually reveal as the one who  really held Sun Records together and made it work. But we’ve got to be subtle about it, because the rubes have been complaining about Strong Female Characters lately.

DUNNING: Who told them TV is not reality? Ah d-d-d-d-d-they must have hired somebody to screen our shows. Somebody who can see past the beer in their lap. (Laughs.)

KRUGER: Strictly speaking, it’s sort of not likely that they could have noticed what we were doing on their own. For sort of 50 years, they sort of never caught on before now. Most likely, this is, strictly speaking, part of the fake news epidemic that sort of mobilized the Flyover Puritans to start criticizing our effort to be inclusive.

DUNNING:  Ah why d-d-d-don’t we just solve it like we usually do: have the actress playing the secretary show some skin? I mean, she should have big boobs; nice legs–that’s a given. Presto! No complaints about her being the brains of the operation.

PUFF TRIGGLY: Sexist! How dare you!

MS BUTCHCUT: Really, people. It’s the current year. That’s just offensive on so many levels. But certainly: we’ll make her sexual. We’ll show Sam Phillips cheating on his wife with her…

NECKBEARD: But, like, later we’ll have her experiment with lesbianism, right? It’ll be perfect!

MS BUTCHCUT: No. Again, we have to be careful. So ix-nay, at least for the first season.

PUFF TRIGGLY: But that’s not inclusive. That’s not inclusive at all. So…

KRUGER: Exactly. That’s why, strictly speaking, I still say we should sort of have Elvis be gay.

DUNNING: I d-d-d-d-don’t know if we can pull that off.

MS BUTCHCUT: Elvis is a sacred cow. I’m afraid we’re stuck with a white male heterosexual character who’s not a bufoon, a rapist, a murderer, wife-beater, terrorist or criminal. Two such characters, actually–we can’t reinvent Johnny Cash, either. They’re both still too popular in Flyover Country for us to stray too far from that rigid-minded mythos. But at least we can make their fathers reprehensible. Of course their mothers will be wise, moral, and intuitive.

KRUGER: Please tell me we’re not canning my work on Jerry Lee Lewis. I mean, with all their sexual hangups, the rubes couldn’t possibly put him up there on the same sort of pedestal as Presley and Cash.

NECKBEARD: And come on. His cousin was, like, Jimmy Swaggart.

KRUGER: Strictly speaking, Swaggart is sort of the ultimate Religious Right icon. We have a moral imperitive to sort of highlight his hypocrisy. You know how outraged the rubes get over “hypocrisy.” It’s just sort of hanging right there in front of us, sort of begging for us to play that angle to the hilt.

MS BUTCHCUT: Of course Swaggart is fair game. We can never skewer him enough. But we’re going to build that case gradually. At first we’ll concentrate on Lewis’s reprehensible rape culture.

NECKBEARD: Excuse me. Sorry. I’d like to get back to our Strong Female Character. I’ve been, like, developing this scene in my mind: Her and Phillips are in the studio, and she’s fixing something he screwed up. Then this crazed gunman bursts through the door to rob the place. White male heterosexual, of course. In fact, he should make it clear he targeted them because they “play that nigger music.” But the secretary, like, performs this roundhouse kick that knocks the gun out of his hand, and then, like, proceeds to beat the living shit out of him, while Phillips cowers, hiding somewhere.

DUNNING: Ah d-d-d-d-that’s a great scene, but it belongs in, more like, an action-oriented show.

KRUGER: Strictly speaking, shouldn’t we get back to solving the sort of lack of inclusivity?

PUFF TRIGGLY: Exactly. At the very least, one of the characters should at least be gay. So…

MS BUTCHCUT: While I know where you’re coming from, it’s just not that easy. We can’t make Presley or Cash gay. Lewis is too unsympathetic a character, so it can’t be him. Same with Swaggart. Colonel Tom Parker is despicable, so he’s out. You know how the bozos in Flyover Country are fanatic about a rigid view of history where a given narrative should conform to known facts and all that reptillian-brain framing.

NECKBEARD: Maybe, like, we could bring in Little Richard for a few episodes. Show how he was victimized for his lifestyle.

KRUGER: But, sort of more importantly, show him in at least one love scene.

DUNNING: I d-d-d-d-don’t think Little Richard ever recorded for Sun Records.

MS BUTCHCUT:  He didn’t. And again, all that historical accuracy crap is an obsession for the target audience. We won’t be able to slip that into the first season.

KRUGER: So…what you’re sort of saying is…all we can do in the first season is inject one Strong Female Character; show how nuclear families was oppression of superior women by inferior men; show some vanilla adultery by Phillips; some vanilla fornication by Lewis; a little bit of racism here and there; and strictly speaking, that’s sort of it?

MS BUTCHCUT: Well, I’m afraid so, yes. I mean, aside from, you know, a bunch of dramatized biographical plot points for the rubes.

PUFF TRIGGLY: But…but…but…sympathetic gay characters!

 

lastkingdom

The Last Kingdom (Seasons 1, 2) – a Review

I almost didn’t even give this series a chance. Hollywood and television have me so gunshy, I doubted they could produce anything that won’t nauseate me. And the BBC, from what little I know, is brimming over with cultural Marxixts just like every other long-established media/entertainment organization. To trust them with anything even remotely historical? Forget it.

Then I found out it was based on Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales. I’ve read some of Cornwell’s fiction (Agincourt and a few of the Sharpe novels). He’s a competent storyteller and he doesn’t butcher historical flow or details enough for me to take exception. So, “Once more into the breach,” sez I.

I guess you could say I semi-binge-watched the first two seasons on Netflix–finishing them in about a week or so.

lastkingdom1

The Premise:

In the late 9th Century, a Saxon noble and his heir are slain by a band of Danes a’viking through Bebbanburg in Northumbria. The lone surviving son was baptized and named Uhtred before being captured by the Danes.

Earl Ragnar spares the boy’s life, respecting his courage and truculence, and raises him as a Dane along with a Saxon girl named Brita. After growing into a man, and losing his adopted family (via treachery from other Danes), he becomes a vassal of Alfred, king of Wessex…”the last kingdom.” (Vikings have run roughshod over all other kingdoms in the British isles.)

Relevance:

With all the current brouhaha by the “alt-right” about race, immigration/invasion and “Magic Dirt” vs. “Magic DNA,” this series couldn’t be more timely. Genetically, Uhtred is a Saxon; yet his attitude, disposition, customs, etc. are decidedly Danish. This duality makes him an outsider in both worlds (not because everyone on both sides reject him out-of-hand, but because his ambition to rule Beddanburg causes him to side against the invaders; while his Danish weltanshuang motivates a contemptuous disdain for the Saxons and their ways.) Though he wields completely different weapons for a completely different type of warfare, Uhtred during the viking expeditions is not unlike Thomas Sowell during the USA’s present Cold Civil War, in that they are both slogging through similar conundrums–their demographic profile contradicting their deeply-rooted belief system.

The Religious Aspect:

Although Islam and other religions get a pass, Christianity is universally hated by the string-pullers with the monopoly on resources in the entertainment industry. It would be foolish to assume Christianity would get a fair shake in this series–especially given the behavior of the Roman Catholic Church through history. And, the historical backdrop for Last Kingdom smacks of religious conflict. The peoples of present-day Great Britain were Catholic during the period depicted, while the Northmen were still unmitigated pagans. How could you tell a story in this setting that ignored the religious aspect?

So of course the series takes cheap shots at Christianity, through the nominally Christian characters. But it is usually understated enough to ignore.

Historical Accuracy:

Alfred of Wessex and some other characters are real historical figures, while Uhtred and many others are fictional. Historians know a lot about Alfred because his life is very well-documented for the time. But as for the rest…well, it was the Dark Ages, folks. We are familiar with some generalities of the period…that the Vikings were raising hell in western Europe, for instance (and allegedly are the culprits who made London Bridge fall down); that the Catholic Church was growing in power; that the traditions of Roman civilization had given way to the early stages of feudalism…but there are just too many big, gaping holes in the historical record to ascertain specifics about much of what went on.

It wasn’t a question of if, but when the creative team would unleash their arsenal of ludicrous Grrrl Power tropes in the series. Surprisingly, the obligatory butt-kicking Womyn Warriors didn’t rear their preposterous heads until late in the First Season. Even more surprising: this revisionist hogwash was dialed down quickly enough to prevent me from giving up on the series. I truly am curious what caused the correction, but relieved nonetheless.

The series creators brought a technique to the screen I consider ingenious: When revealing geographic locations via subtitles, the ancient name is displayed first, then it transforms into the name it is known by today. As someone fascinated by the evolution of language, I really appreciate this gimmick.

lastkingdom2

Other Stuff:

I’m not an expert on Dark Ages melee techniques, but it seems to me when you have a shield and your enemy is swinging a sword or axe at you, you would use the shield to block or deflect the blow. Evidently, though, the shield is just an ornament, and you block a swinging sword with your own sword. Nevermind that banging two metal blades together repeatedly converts both of them to crude, dull saws–this is what BBC fight correographers have decided is the logical tactic.

It’s easy to identify the important characters on this show, because they don’t wear helmets, even in combat. I’ve remarked before about the wisdom of refusing to protect your head when weapons will be streaking toward it, so I won’t completely rehash it here.

Suffice it to say that Uhtred’s brain usually operates like somebody’s who has fought in many a melee without a helmet. Watching him navigate the ethno-political waters of 9th Century Britain is like watching the Johnson Administration navigate through the Vietnam conflict…in slow motion. For the entire first season, it’s a safe bet that in any given situation, Uhtred will choose the most  idiotic course of action possible, then follow-up with a rash decision to make matters even worse. In the second season he seems to have learned a little self-discipline, thankfully, and dramatic conflict is generated in other ways.

I almost titled this post Mascara Kingdom because, for a few episodes, several of the male actors were painted with black eye shadow. It stuck out like a mosh pit at a royal ball. Seems like one character in Game of Thrones was made up that way too, if I remember correctly. Don’t know what the purpose is, but I’m glad they seem to have given up on that effort–it looked pretty stupid.

I might watch a third season of Daredevil if it comes to Netflix, but no other TV show has proven worth my time in several years. This show I plan to watch more of–and might even read the books it was based on, if that tells you anything.

 

slaughtercity

Slaughter City: The Sergeant #6 – a Review

When we last left Master Sergeant Mahoney and Corporal Cranepool, Patton had tried to force Eisenhower’s hand to get the war blazing along the Moselle River, so he could drive on to Berlin. But Ike called his bluff and the 33rd “Hammerhead” Division was left caught between Perdition and the deep blue sea.

Well, a deep river, anyway, and more brown than blue. With no artillery support or air cover and little in the way of supplies, the Hammerheads were thrown back across the river even though the defenders are hardly Germany’s finest.

But now, Patton has scrounged up some support, and is driving his boot into the 4th points of his subordinates to make the attack work this time.

Here’s an excerpt from a scene where Patton comes to motivate the troops personally, down at company level:

 “Now listen here, men,” Patton growled, “I know what you went through last night. A lot of your buddies were killed, and all of you nearly got killed yourselves. Now we all know that it’s no fun to lose a battle because Americans aren’t losers. By nature, we are winners. Given half a chance, we will win any battle in which we are placed. That’s because we’re tough and strong and because we love to fight. Yes, by God, we love to fight.”

Patton made a fist and held it up in the air. “We love to beat the shit out of our enemies and step on his face afterwards. We love to rip open his belly and tear his guts out. We pray for the chance to kick him in the balls and split his head open. Is there any man out here who doesn’t feel that way?”
Nobody said a word, just as Patton knew they wouldn’t.
“Good,” Patton said. “I knew there weren’t any cowards or queers in this company. I knew because you’re all good, red-blooded Americans. I know you’re just itching to get across that river over there and lay your hands on those Germans. By God, I feel sorry for those Germans when I just think about it. I really do because I can imagine what you’re going to do to them.”

Patton pointed to the Moselle River. “You’re going to make that river over there run red with their blood for what they did to you last night. There’ll be so many dead Germans over there you won’t be able to put your foot down without stepping on one of their noses. I feel bad that I have to hold you back until midnight because I know you want to go over there right now. But you have to wait just a little while longer, and I want you to use that extra time to clean your weapons and cover them with a light film of oil so they won’t get rusty. If you have some extra time after that, you can sharpen your bayonets so they’ll cut deeper into those Hun bastards over there. You might want to make sure your canteens are filled with water because you’re gonna get thirsty while you’re killing all those bastards. And as we all know, tonight is going to be much different from last night because tonight you’ll have plenty of artillery preparation and support. By the time you get across that river, those g****mn kraut-eating bastards won’t know where the hell they are. Their eardrums will be bleeding, and their brains will be upside-down in their heads. The poor bastards will probably try to run away from you, but I want you to go right after them and kill them like the dogs that they are. And I don’t want you to shoot over their heads or at their legs. I want you to aim directly for the center of their backs and bring them down. We’re not going to play with them after what they did to us last night. And they probably know it. I’ll bet they’re shitting their pants over there right now because they know they’ve made us mad, and a mad American soldier is a fearsome thing.”

There’s a lot else happening in this book, including an SS death squad using a seductress to kill GIs; a panty-raid at a USO show; both Mahoney and once-innocent farmboy Cranepool wounded in action; shooting a locomotive with bazookas, and some down & dirty urban house-to-house combat.

After a relatively slow-paced departure in the last book, Len Levinson is back on the offensive in Slaughter City, and in fine blood-splattered form.

BrokenTrail1

Broken Trail – a (Red Pill) Review

This western was probably made before there even was a “manosphere,” but those of a neomasculine perspective should find it well worth watching.

The plot premise: A rancher and his nephew strike a deal to drive a herd of horses across many miles of open range in 1898, to sell to a rancher supplying the British Army. Along the way, they run into a sleazy human trafficker transporting a wagon load of beautiful Chinese girls to a whore house. (The girls had been sold to the trafficker by their own families in China.) The trafficker rustles their horses, and is dealt with the way horse thieves were actually dealt with in those times. This leaves Print Ritter (Robert Duvall) and Tom Harte (Thomas Haden Church) burdened with the care of the human cargo.

BrokenTrail3

This film was produced as a two-part series (on AMC, I think). And it was released in this millenium. But hang onto yer hats, boys, ’cause the Chinese gals don’t turn out to be invincible Kung Fu masters who beat down the bad guys bare-handed. Nor are they “strong, independent” snowflakes who wind up as successful queens of their own cattle empires. In fact, there are only a couple points in the plot where The Narrative tries to slither into this pleasant surprise of a film–and it’s subdued enough to be overlooked. Time and again, the film makers fail to inject the current year “values” into this period piece–which makes it one big macroaggressive triggerfest.

And that’s refreshing enough all by itself.

Lo and behold, not all the villains are white male heterosexuals, either. But beyond superficial details, this cinematic tale cuts against the grain in other ways, too. There are lessons about frame, hypergamy, SMV (sexual market value) and other red pill concepts that manosphere mavens will appreciate.

Our cowboy heroes are not the illiterate, bigoted raaaaaayciss stereotypes you might expect any white male heterosexual character to be (prior to the sanctifying advent of feminism) yet neither do they turn into fawning beta white knights around the high-SMV women (in a time and place where such women were few and far between). They are men, and consistently behave as such with all parties encountered. They’ve got a job to do, and do their best to stay focussed on that despite mounting distractions.

BrokenTrail2

The Chinese women recognize not only that the cowboys are honorable, but are effective protectors and providers. You might expect (after being innundated with current year propaganda) that after being sold into slavery, treated harshly, and witnessing the rape of one of their own, a movie womyn would be hell-bent on avoiding all men until some metrosexual current-year-sensibilitied white knight came along, recognized her for the special snowflake she is, and dedicated himself to serving her perpetually while offering heartfelt apologies for any and every misunderstanding which may or may not be his fault. Yet, when the cowboys try to hand these women off so they can get back to their job, the women freak out in protest. They know a good deal when they see one, and need good men to protect them in this “savage land.”

The wild West wasn’t quite as savage as the inner cities in the current year welfare state, but I digress.

All my use of neomasculine terms to analyze this film is not, however, meant to imply that the heroes are PUAs (“pick up artists”) who use “game” to make themselves attractive to the girls. They maintain “frame,” for sure, but naturally–not as some learned technique to artificially boost SMV. Truth is, these are cowboys living before the culture became an over-sexualized idiocracy with ubiquitous entertainment mediums. The male-to-female ratio was abysmal in the old West, and most men had resigned themselves to being lifelong bachelors, or knew they would have to acquire significant resources before they could hope to attract wife material (and the culture didn’t encourage people to sleep around as it does now, either, so alpha PUAs in those times were not well regarded by society at all). In other words, the cowboys were not sex-obsessed, and the language/cultural barrier would have given them pause in this situation, however attracted they were to these damsels-in-distress.

There’s a lot more to appreciate about this film than just the socio-sexual dynamics. You should check it out.

Doom River: The Sergeant #5 – a Review

Due mostly to my schedule, my blogged reviews of this blood’n’guts war series stopped at #4. But my negligence stops, now!

Master Sergeant Mahoney and Corporal Cranepool have just returned from their attachment to a French unit liberating Paris. It was supposed to be cushy duty, but only the end of it was cushy–in the arms of some French floozies in a fancy hotel.

doomriverpaperbackThe Sergeant and his sidekick are back just in time to meet Charlie Company’s new C.O. Captain Anderson is a young, inexperienced officer, but one of the good ones (a rare combo, in my day). They’re also just in time for one of Patton’s “recon in force” missions, to push across the Moselle and keep the pressure on the Germans.

Patton is out of gas for his tanks, and frightfully low on artillery, ammo and supplies. He assumes if he is able to stir up some action, Ike will be forced to send him what he needs, so Patton can push on to Berlin and finish the war before Christmas. But Ike isn’t having it–all the supplies will be diverted to Field Marshal Montgomery, who is tasked with taking Antwerp.

(Historical note: Yes, Patton’s 3rd Army could have reached Berlin and ended the war before Christmas of ’44 if their supplies hadn’t been cut off. Also true that all those resources were given to Monty–somewhat less than a daring or decisive general–for Operation Market Garden (of A Bridge Too Far fame), which had less chance of success and, even if successful, would have had a lesser impact on the grand strategic situation. Most likely, Patton’s onslaught was intentionally delayed in order to give the Red Army time to capture the half of Europe which had been promised to Stalin by FDR at the Yalta conferences.)

So the 33rd “Hammerhead” Division conducts a river crossing at great cost, since they didn’t have much in the way of artillery support, and their men and boats are chewed up pretty bad by the German defenders. Still, they now have a beachhead from which the Wermacht has to throw them. Mahoney’s regiment bears the brunt of this counterattack.doomriverebook

The Americans are in a bad position, but Patton doesn’t like surrendering ground once he’s taken it.

This installment in the series could launch a character study on the sort of men who populate the officer corps of an army. Whether a commander wants to make a name for himself, or simply doesn’t want a sub-par evaluation, it is their troops who are used like cannon  fodder to enhance or maintain their egos.

Mahoney himself has some moments in this book in which he demonstrates more humanity than is normal for him. (Also, in this one we are introduced to PFC Butsko. I can’t help but notice the similarities between him and the platoon sergeant of The RatBastards–also named Butsko.) Still, this is a transitional phase for Mahoney, and the real plot dynamics focus on other characters.

AmericanGraf1

Speed Week Plus: American Graffiti – a Review

This installment of Speed Week Plus is a little different. There are no chase scenes and there’s only one all-out street race (not the one in the clip at the bottom of this post, which was cut short by a red light). In fact, it’s not even action adventure, but more of a dramedy. Yet American Graffiti is such an iconic film for gearheads and speed freaks of the pre-Internet generations, it just can’t be left out.

I’ve often wondered about the title–what it was supposed to mean. The only way I could connect it with the film’s content was to imagine a yearbook of the high school class the main characters belonged to (which, I guess, would fit the Dragnet-style “where-are-they-now” overlays just before the final credits. And a yearbook is actually used in the trailer below). Then I discovered the original title was “Rock Radio is American Graffiti,” and all became clear.

The film is about “cruising culture” which was ubiquitous in postwar America, right up until the gas crunch in the early ’70s I guess. What united the entire car crazy generation was rock & roll. And regional subsections of that generation were connected usually by a single personality, in the form of a radio disk jockey. In this case it’s the mysterious and almost mystical Wolfman Jack. Not only does the original title augment this theme, but in the screenplay the very first shot was not supposed to be of Mel’s Drive-In, but of a car radio dial being tuned to XERB.

Film maker George Lucas (whose only other feature to date had been the box office flop THX1138) had grown up in that generation. This movie is essentially a cinematic reminiscence of his glory days between graduating high school and packing off to film school. Two of the main characters are loosely based on Lucas himself–Kurt the aimless intellectual and Toad the nerdy braggart). The lone rebel hero (who the TV show Happy Days caraciturized into somebody called “Fonzy”) John Milner, was partially based on Lucas’ film school buddy John Millius, who went on to become a director also, despite punching out one of his professors. Average all-American boy Steve Bollander was also caricaturized on Happy Days, into Richie Cunningham (both played by Ron Howard, who also went on to become a director). And remember that annoying actress from Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley? No, not her, the other one, with the dark hair. She plays Steve’s girlfriend and is not annoying at all in the role. Actually she did a fine bit of acting.

This movie was a first in many ways. Imitators cranked out nostalgic flicks well into the ’80s, trying to hitch a ride on its coat tails. The bed of vintage pop music, sometimes even with a DJ chattering over and between, became the norm in Hollywood soundtracks, nearly putting film score composers out of business until, Ironically, Lucas’ Star Wars revolutionized the film industry again. How about ensemble casts with parallel converging plotlines? That’s nearly obligatory in comedy/dramas to this day.

AmericanGraf2

Though left vague enough for any baby boomer to relate to, it’s pretty much agreed to that the story takes place in Modesto, California in 1962. On the last summer night–from sundown to sunup. Filmed just ten years after the period depicted, the simulation is done so well that even folks who were born after that era was lost forever can almost… almost “remember” those times while watching it.

I don’t know that I could effectively argue that this is an “important” film, but it certainly has had an impact on a lot of people. It can so immerse you in the milieu of postwar pre-Vietnam teenage cruising-to-rock-radio that you’ll feel a part of it even when watching it for the 45th time…then be saddened by the passing of a bygone era until you watch it again.

The possible next post for Speed Week Plus is also about a story that fuses cars with music–with a different approach, set in a different era, but with much homage to this very movie.

 

ChuckBerry1

A Rock & Roll Pioneer Dies

I am interrupting Speed Week Plus because I just found out that Chuck Berry died Saturday.

Elvis is still called the king of rock & roll but aside from vocal talent, Chuck had him beat in almost every way. He was a virtuoso with the guitar, wrote clever lyrics and was quite the crazy-legged entertainer on stage for both males and females. He also was the first to cross over the color line in music. Prior to Chuck Berry, white kids would only listen to “race records” on the down low.

ChuckBerry2Ironically, this is not necessarily an interruption of Speed Week, because Chuck Berry was not only a pioneer of rock & roll, but put his love of horsepower into some famous songs that still rock the house to this day. “You Can’t Catch Me” is a musical version of a fantasy many gearheads have probably entertained while wishing they could just rip down the open road at Ludicrous Speed without worrying about going to jail or having mandatory Insurance rates shoot up into the stratosphere. “Maybelline” has been a personal inspiration in many ways. For one, I named my favorite Street Machine after that song title. There is also a subplot in Fast Cars and Rock & Roll that is based on the lyrical Adventure in his invincible V-8 Ford.

The selection below is chosen because it plays on a red pill/neomasculine view of Sexual Market Value (SMV), but in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. His humorous lyrics are catchy and the guitar solo is understated but deft.

I read his autobiography and the man definitely had his flaws. But for a few golden years there in the mid-to-late 1950s, his musical genius really shined. Rest in peace, Chuck.