Neo-Fascist Consideration of Walon Green & Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH: The Ride of the ‘Last Barbarians’(and Some Notes on Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Ingmar Bergman). PART 1.

http://ostrovletania.blogspot.com/2015/05/walon-green-sam-peckinpahs-wild-bunch.html

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

There is in Modernist Art, to be sure, a means of using form to make the form aware of its own intrinsic qualities and possibilities. It’s like what Ayn Rand said of architecture in THE FOUNTAINHEAD: materials used to build architecture must be true to their own innate qualities than represent other things. Her radical individualism extended even to inanimate objects. Just as she believed that the great individual should never compromise and yield to the conventions of others, she thought that every object had its own essence that mustn’t be repressed, denied, or bent to the ‘will’ or nature of any other object. So, if buildings were to be made of steel and glass, forms must be devised to reveal the full magnificence and expressive potential of those materials. Steel and glass shouldn’t be used to represent or ‘serve’ other forms that are natural to other materials. (But what can one say of plastic when its very nature is to easily mimic anything and everything?) Modernism’s agenda of allowing materials/forms to explore and discover their own intrinsic qualities was more amenable to something like painting and sculpture. Thus, abstract paintings dispensed with representing people & things and dwelt on the possibilities of all the various forms that could be conveyed through combinations of colors and patterns on the canvas. But this became more problematic with intrinsically narrative forms such as novels and cinema. Given the nature of paintings and sculptures, the power of interpretation/appreciation is almost completely in the hands of the audience. A painting doesn’t tell you how it should be approached. It is up to every viewer who has all the time in the world. One can stare at a painting for five minutes or five hours. The viewer has total control of time in his/her relation to the work. Thus, even if a certain painting or sculpture seems strange or opaque, the viewer has the luxury of patience to gradually arrive at his or her own interpretation of the work.
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.

THE WILD BUNCH, like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST(by Sergio Leone) demonstrated a work need not be non-modernist to be revolutionary and original just the same. But then, great artists have been illustrating that truth since the origins of human creativity. The Ancient Greeks certainly didn’t need modernism to create ground-breaking works of art. And what did Botticelli know of modernism during the Renaissance? Modernism certainly hastened the pace of change and experimentation in art by allowing, encouraging, and even pressuring the individual artist to work against tradition & convention and to come up with his own unique expressions. Though art had always been changing through the ages in every culture, the general tendency has been for the emergence of an official, sacred, and/or ideal form of expression that eventually imposes its standards on those who follow. Thus, even most of the great innovators worked within certain approved visions.

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.

In his review of Federico Felliini’s 8 ½, Dwight MacDonald rebuffed those who accused Fellini of art-for-art’s-sake by asking “for what better sake?” MacDonald was being somewhat disingenuous since the issue really depends on how one defines ‘art’. If by ‘art-for-art’s-sake’, one means indulging in fancy technique and empty brilliance, MacDonald wouldn’t have endorsed it either. But if ‘art’ is defined as the inspired use of creativity to explore & convey certain truths about life or to envision startling forms of power & beauty, then ‘art-for-art’s-sake’ is purposeful and meaningful. Generally speaking, the narrative arts tend to be humanist or human-centric whereas fine arts & architecture can range from humanism to spiritualism to formalism. A building doesn’t necessarily have to stand for something or mean anything. It could be an expression of geometry than morality or psychology. A painting can be devoid of what is recognizably human. It could be an exploration of colors, shapes, and patterns that exist nowhere in reality. But narratives tend to fixate on a story or progression of something, and just about the only interesting things on those terms are creatures such as animals and humans. We can enjoy an hour long documentary about a wolf or eagle but not so much about moss on a rock or a piece of deadwood floating in water. Theoretically, a film can have no humans and no animals. It could just cut from one landscape to another or track across a deserted area. As there could be noone or nothing to follow, we would be faced with dead time no matter how much time passes. Even after an hour, we would still have no sense of beginning, middle, and end since an image of a place in and of itself means nothing in terms of narrative. (I suppose time lapse photography could be used, as in KOYAANISQATSI and BARAKA, to convey a ‘story’ of clouds and stars — things that are virtually inanimate in real time but come to life when sped up. Another way by which film images can be made interesting without animals and humans are as accompaniment to music as music lends ‘life’ to just about anything. Even so, audiences prefer images caught on mobile cameras than still ones, and the mobility itself, even if there are no animals and humans to be seen in the film, lends a sense of human presence because any kind of camera movement implies the roaming curiosity of an ever restless human observer. Also, narration isn’t only about action but intention. Lots of action without intention is less interesting than minimum action with intense intention. Mosquitos are very active, but it wouldn’t be very interesting to watch them buzz around restlessly for hours on end. But even the near-still moment when the ape in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY stares at the bone is interesting because of a new dawning of intention.) An image becomes part of a narrative only if an animal or human enters and lends it purpose. It is only the human or animal that has a sense of time and acts & reacts through time in accordance to his or its neeeds. If a man is hungry, he goes to a food mart to get something and then returns. There is the want of food, the trek to get the food, and the trek back with the food with the idea of consuming it back home. Without people, neither the food mart nor the house has any meaning in relation to the story; indeed, there wouldn’t even be any kind of story in the first place. The significance of the existence of the food mart and the home owes to man’s uses of them. Of course, nature — rocks, lakes, and plants — came into existence prior to animals and man, but they too are without a story unless there are creatures to interact with them. Story isn’t so much about what happens as who is aware of what happens. If a star system blows up but no one knows about it, it’s not a story. If nothing happens but a woman sitting alone in a room thinks up a story in her head, it’s a story even though it only ‘happened’ in her imagination.
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.

In contrast, the character in Christopher Nolan’s MEMENTO is very active, but as he cannot form new memories, he’s forever trapped in the present that remains emotionally tied to the ever receding past when he still had the ability to store new memory. The hero of MEMENTO is really running around in circles and caught in a Narrative Trap since he is unable to link whatever he is doing with whatever had transpired(since the attack that destroyed his ability to store new memory) except through odd fragments of tattoos and mementos that, more often than not, mislead than lead. As it turns out, he’s been manipulated by a rogue cop, that is until the rogue cop himself runs out of luck and is gunned down by the hero in the mistaken conviction that the rogue cop is the murderer of the hero’s wife. In a way, one could say the rogue cop got what was coming to him, and it’s great for the hero to be finally free of the cop’s manipulations, but on the other hand, one could argue that the rogue cop had been doing the hero a favor by coordinating things so that he, the hero, could go on believing that his life has meaning by following clues to perpetually hunting down the killer of his wife. With the cop dead, who will play this game with him? Who will supply him with the ‘leads’? The cop had been to him what the company is to its employees in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS: offering ‘leads’ that gives them some semblance of purpose in life. Somewhat similar to his situation, albeit different in contour, is the hero of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s MAN WITHOUT A MAP(aka RUINED MAP) who, at the end, suffers from amnesia and forgets all that had happened to him prior to the blow to his head. He is able to form new memories, but the memory of everything that had made him what he is has become lost to him.

THE WILD BUNCH was one of those rare films that seemed both new and classic upon its release in1969. The most obvious reason for the newness was the level of violence, especially in tandem with fast-cutting and slo-motion, but there was much more. There had never been a Western that looked, sounded, and felt quite like it. Even without the violence, THE WILD BUNCH was a new kind of film. One might draw comparisons with the films of Akira Kurosawa — especially SEVEN SAMURAI, THRONE OF BLOOD, and YOJIMBO — , silent classics like THE BIRTH OF A NATION & the films of Buster Keaton, certain expressionistic works of German cinema in the 1920s and 1930s, and early Soviet cinema, especially of Sergei Eisenstein and Pudovkin. Among earlier American directors, the powerful films of Elia Kazan, especially VIVA ZAPATA, come to mind.
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.

It was like 3D before 3D. Negroes who done seen it probably felt like Negroes who done freaked out watching BLACULA where some bitten Negress done turn into a vampire and be running toward the audience. In THE BIRTH OF THE NATION, the camera not only observes and records but participates and rumbles.

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.

Most classic Hollywood action scenes can be said to be observational. Usually, a third-person observation of the action is followed by another then another. This sense is reinforced by the fact that the camera usually tends to be fixed and steadfast. Even when the camera is in movement, as in the fight with the Indians in John Ford’s STAGECOACH, it holds steady as if framed like a still photograph. Also, as the zoom was invented later, classic Hollywood movies had to rely on cutting or camera movement. As Hollywood mostly eschewed the kind of montage developed by D.W. Griffith and the early Soviet masters as extravagant, showy, arty, or intimidating, the cutting was mostly economic and/or ‘invisible’. Furthermore, the camera movement was limited by the awkward size of the camera, especially in epic productions. It required the development of lighter cameras and the zoom — as well as fresh grammar in editing — for the language of film to open up new horizons. But then, the general conservatism of aesthetics owed more to studio formulas and dictates that had come to discourage overt experimentation among film-makers. After all, even before the advance of film technology, remarkable things had been done in the silent era, indeed in many ways more remarkable than what came to prevail before the likes of Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, John Frankenheimer, and Sam Peckinpah came along to reinvigorate cinema.

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?)

Anyway, in some ways, the new styles of action brought the violence closer to the human level via personalization, and indeed, many defenders of the New Violence in Cinema put forth a moral argument, i.e. that increasingly realistic depiction of bloodletting would make people more sensitive to the true nature of violence. But there was something disingenuous in the argument since the New Violence wasn’t merely more realistic but more stylized, and style tends to mythologize and romanticize whatever it touches as something larger-than-life. The element of style turned violence into the something like the battle-of-the-gods. In this, Kurosawa may have led the way with YOJIMBO, which then inspired the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone that were both gritty and grand, indeed as if we were watching grubby gods of the West duel for mythic stakes. And THE WILD BUNCH is, at once, one of the most realistic & grubby movies about men of violence AND one of the most feverishly romantic and grandiose action films ever made. And despite the blood realism, the action scenes fiendishly challenge and defy the laws of plausibility. The realism pushes close to surrealism, as if John Ford is teetering over into Luis Bunuel territory.

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

THE WILD BUNCH is a work of genius or perhaps momentary genius as Peckinpah would never equal it or come anywhere near it again(even though he would go on to make several more remarkable films) — and ‘collective genius’, a rare miracle where the various talents of all involved mold into a singular vision beyond the scope of any single artist. Just about everything about THE WILD BUNCH is a marvel. Any shot from the film could be framed as photographic art. The choice of actors and the way they look & sound, the pungent dialogue, the wounded emotions, Jerry Fielding’s score that is both gallant and beguiling, the rhythm and pacing, the natural elements of sun/sand/river/wind, the use of folk melodies, the suspense, and all else ring true. Though partly inspired by John Huston’s depiction of fallen man in THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, Walon Green and Peckinpah’s vision is closer to the chaotic world of Luis Bunuel’s LOS OLVIDADOS. In Huston’s movie, the world is bad because humans choose to be bad, especially as they can’t resist the temptation of greed. In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH takes it as a given that people are naturally barbaric and interminably driven by their instincts, not unlike the ants and the scorpions. In such a world, ideals and codes of honor are mere illusions, and yet, they are illusions humans cannot do without because man is a conceited animal who instinctively distinguishes himself from nature. It’s like what Pike Bishop says to Tector Gorch: “When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal – you’re finished! We’re finished! All of us!” Of course, there’s an element of self-interest in what he says because he has a sentimental attachment to Old Man Sykes(whom Tector Gorch was trying to kill) and because he’s worried about his own authority being challenged by younger or rougher elements of the Bunch.

THE WILD BUNCH is a true wonderment, visionary firmament and inferno rolled into one, a triumph of film-making where everything excites us, incites us, and provokes us. It is a paradise for fetishists of just about any facet of film-making, probably accounting as to why it is one of the few Westerns with great appeal to women as well to men. It’s one hell of an action movie for those who simply want to see a good show, and it’s great study material for anyone who wants to learn all the facets of what constitutes great film-making and cinema-as-art. By studying THE WILD BUNCH, one can learn just about
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

As the story of SEVEN SAMURAI is centered around villagers trying to defend themselves from a herd of bandits, there’s dramatic unity from beginning to end. In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH was a risky undertaking because of the lack of overarching dramatic narrative or purpose. It begins with a bunch of outlaws trying to rob a bank and fleeing with only half the crew. SEVEN SAMURAI begins with a party of bandits about to descend upon a village like locusts but then deciding to ride off to plunder another village. (Amusingly enough, even though bandits are a gang of thieves, they do have a farmer’s sense of seasons & timing and decide that it is as yet too early to ‘harvest’ loot from the village before them as they’d raided it not long ago.) Instead of following the bandits whose lives tend to be haphazard and improvisatory, Kurosawa fixes on the peasants whose lives are rooted in the soil. Unlike the bandits, the farmers have a sense of long-term attachment and commitment, and the story follows their attempt to defend the village by hiring a group of masterless samurai.

SEVEN SAMURAI – Opening Scene
THE WILD BUNCH – Title

In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH follows the bandits fleeing a town they just robbed. Unlike people of a settled community, the members of the Bunch have no fixed goals or long-term plans. Their lives lack direction. They are nomads going from place to place to rob and loot or just to see what’s up. They are without a fixed theme, which is part of their dark romantic appeal as wanderers.
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

The bandits in SEVEN SAMURAI seem to be a ragtag mix of former samurai and former farmers: perhaps samurai who’d given up hope on entering a clan and farmers who’d given up on the hard life of farming. Or perhaps exiles and outcasts from both communities with no other way of sustaining themselves. (The ensuing battle, in this sense, is between samurai & farmers AND ex-samurai & ex-farmers. One could argue that the bandits are more ‘democratic’ since distinctions of caste seem to have vanished among them whereas samurai and farmers, even as they cooperate, maintain their social differences and hierarchies. Outlawry can be a great equalizer.) The sobering truth is that the peasants and samurai whom we root for could have been, under different circumstances, bandits themselves.

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

Incidentally, the reason why seven men joined the mission had less to do with the moral objective at hand than the qualities possessed by Kambei(Takashi Shimura), the elder samurai. Without him, it’s unlikely that the farmers could have recruited the others or anyone of worth. Kambei’s example illustrates the importance of leadership qualities. He has the intelligence, patience, keenness, control, foresight, wisdom, persuasiveness, and even cunning(as when he fooled the kidnaper-thief to save the child) to inspire and win the trust of others. In obtaining him, the peasants vastly improved their chance of obtaining the others. It is he, more than anything else, that convinces most of the other samurai in joining the cause.

SEVEN SAMURAI – Kambei – Takashi Shimura

Some people have leadership qualities, most don’t. A kind of twisted variation of SEVEN SAMURAI is THE WOLF OF WALL STREET in which Jordan Belfort(Leonard DiCaprio) has the requisite wit, smarts, and verbal brilliance to pull together and whip into shape a bunch of guys to become gurus at the game of financial swindling. Belfort the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing chooses the life of a bandit but under the cover of the law. He steals from the rich to give to the ‘poor’(himself and his cronies) who soon become richer than the rich folks they steal from.

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

As important as hierarchy is to the Bunch, it’s a far greater challenge for Pike to maintain his leadership than it is for an officer in the military. After all, whatever the shape the officer may be in, all soldiers are trained to salute and obey their superiors. There is no such guarantee of authority among outlaws, so when Pike appears vulnerable, he can go from alpha to zeta in a heartbeat. Among outlaws, the leader must constantly prove his superior worth. Unlike a military officer, he cannot take his position for granted or rest on his laurels. And it is because Pike proves his worth as a leader in the train robbery that the Gorch brothers feel great respect for him… and even join him in the mad plan to save Angel from Mapache later on. Mapache, as a military man, need not try nearly as hard as Pike Bishop does to be numero uno. Indeed, he seems to spend much of his time partying and acting the clown. On the other hand, there are moments when we do get a sense of why everyone revolves around him. He may be a boor and lout but he’s not without courage, charisma, and braggadocio that impress the men(and the muchachas bonitas). He’s no ordinary Mexican who’s content to be eating tacos and green chili peppers.

Mapache(Emilio Fernandez), the Big Man of Agua Verde

Anyway, because of the unstable nature of the Bunch and their plans, THE WILD BUNCH could have easily fallen apart and grown confused or weary. Indeed, this very charge was leveled at MAJOR DUNDEE, which, according to many critics, got lost and meandered all over without rhyme or reason, an assessment I can’t agree with. But that was precisely the problem with APOCALYPSE NOW that loses its focus after the great helicopter attack scene. Francis Ford Coppola’s film, up to the great air cavalry charge, is a marvel on the level of THE WILD BUNCH and SEVEN SAMURAI. Everything about it is powerful and provocative. But afterwards, there’s just the long wait for the crew to finally arrive at the summer camp of Colonel Kurtz. There are incidents along the way, some of them well-staged, but they add little to the story, don’t reveal much about the characters, and has no bearing on what happens at the end. Most of the crew members are not very interesting(with the possible exception of the black guy — Chief — who commands the boat). And Willard’s character, conceived essentially as an observer(as our eyes and ears), recedes from the narrative. So, the story goes from one freak-show or ludicrous moment to another before we finally arrive at the Kingdom of Kurtz, only to find it to be a rather silly place(and a dull one too) because Coppola couldn’t figure out how to end the film. In desperation, he finally resorted to mawkish sturm-und-drang in the hope that the audience might mistake obfuscation with profundity. (William Friedkin opted for the same trick with CRUISING, the plot and meaning of which slipped out of his hands. Perhaps, films like APOCALYPSE NOW — which recouped its cost only because it pulled in enough audiences on the strength of its helicopter battle scene — and CRUISING signaled the dead-end at which the world had arrived after all the hopes, dreams, and struggles failed to materialize in the utopia or paradise that so many had hoped for. CRUISING, though vilified at the time, turned out to be prophetic of what became of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The film’s lack of satisfying conclusion unwittingly paralleled the mood of uncertainty at which the ‘gay’ movement had arrived after so much celebratory excesses from the Stonewall riots to the disco era. As for APOCALYPSE NOW, the sheer ugliness and putridity of its ending reflected what had happened in Jonestown and what was then happening in Cambodia since the Khmer Rouge swept to power in 1975. Both Jim Jones and the Khmer Rouge had their ardent defenders and champions, especially among Western ‘progressives’ and ‘radicals’[even but even among naive liberals]. Jim Jones and Pol Pot represented social experimentation and political liberation purified of the cancerousness and toxicity of modern civilization[especially that of the West], but all they created was horror and hell on earth. A similar calamity befell the mavericks of New Hollywood bestowed with the dream of remaking the film industry/culture in the 1970s. They were hailed as ‘auteurs’ and personal film-makers reinventing American movies, but in the long run, they were about as successful as the Beatles were with their Apple Corp in the late 60s. Though Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were scapegoated as the reasons for the fall of New Hollywood, the fact is that the implosion really owed to ‘auteurs’ indulging in excesses of drugs & egomania, the sheer lack of popularity of their works, and their confusion over artistic freedom. In the early 70s, expanded freedom was sufficient to fire up the imagination. But once the excitement wore off, there remained the question of what was to be done with this freedom, and the simple truth of the matter was lost on most directors. In the case of Michael Cimino, the answer was to expend or waste[depending on whom you ask] the bulk of the resources of a film studio on a giant production of dubious appeal. At one time, destruction of the status quo and explosion of freedoms were thought to be enough, indeed as if the mere change in conditions would naturally, of their own accord, lead to the rise of something better. But freedom proved meaningless and useless without an organization and sense of direction & purpose. New Hollywood films weren’t sufficiently successful to maintain the American film industry, and by the late 70s, it was difficult to discern what the ‘auteurs’ had in mind or wanted to say. They seemed just as clueless as in the first part of the decade but without the sense of excitement that redeemed their earlier works. Their taste of freedom lost its flavor. As for social experiments and political movements that inflamed much of the world, their destructive agendas against existing orders weren’t so much to bring forth a new era of freedom & choice but to replace them with a radical plan of total transformation. Alas, some of the end results were Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia and Jonestown. And with the Boat People fiasco, even the anti-war figures who’d cheered on North Vietnam had lost heart in the romance of revolution. In a way, APOCALYPSE NOW reflected the disillusionment of both the far left and the far right. John Milius, the far right scenarist, envisioned his ideal of manhood in1969, two years after Jean-Luc Godard’s WEEKEND. Milius’ fantasy could be seen as a far-right counterpart to Godard’s far-left version. The ideas of both films are predicated on a Year Zero scenario where civilization & modernity are rejected and a new order is founded upon the basic nature of man. The difference between Godard and Milius is the disagreement on the nature of man. Godard, then a leftist ideologue, adopted the radical Rousseauean line that blamed civilization as the corrupting force upon man. So, get rid of civilization with all its entrenched hierarchies & screeching hypocrisies, and restart humanity on the basis of Maoist principles of equality. In contrast, Milius believed that the nature of man was to fight and gain dominance. So, let mankind return to nature, let the fellers fight for what is essential & true, and the let winners, whose victory have been proven by combat & charisma, take the reins of power[and enjoy most of the girls]. We know what happened to the Khmer Rouge experimentation and to communism in general. Indeed, even China came to admit Mao’s mistakes and moved away from ideological puritanism. And we know what happened to the Milius’s brand of right-wing machismo. Oddly enough, Milius-ism was practiced to full fruition not among American conservatives — who tended to be cautious and conventional — but among blacks, homos, and the new feminists. Because ideological labels in America tend to be color-coded, we often miss the right-wing tendencies in non-white and non-straight communities. For instance, black tribalism, Latino nationalism, Jewish supremacism, and homo aristocratism are often associated with white leftism and Liberalism. But in fact, much of rap culture is kind of far right version of jungle tribalism. It is a warrior culture extolling the hierarchy of who has the baddest fist, loudest guns, and biggest dicks/balls. And this culture turned many black communities into cultural wastelands and disaster zones. Though white Liberals pretended to ‘understand’ rap culture, its true ‘messages’ and tropes had nothing to do with liberal values of reason, skepticism, logic, and equality under the law. Rap culture was an urban gansta version of Law of the Jungle. Of course, some rappers cleverly packaged their expressions as a form of resistance against white ‘racism’ and oppression, but in fact, rappers were even more power-deranged than Adolf Hitler was. Indeed, imagine if rappers were given the power of Nazi Germany. Imagine what they would unleash upon the world. The ‘ideology’ of rappers has been that of Idi Amin the gangster thug who lived only to fight and fuc*. Rappers bitch about the Evil White Man, but suppose whites were to all vanish from the earth. Would rappers, freed of white ‘racism’, finally act decent and work to build up society? No, they’d only be obsessed with their fists, guns, and dicks centered around the Law of the Jungle. Indeed, the entire rap culture & community would have imploded long time ago if not for white people. A community where such a culture prevails cannot get anything done and will end up like Haiti or Detroit[which would be like Haiti if not for infusions of white folks’ tax dollars into it]. But because even black rap communities in America are funded and supported by government dollars and programs made available by white tax payers and since the music industry found means to rake in billions of dollars from marketing such trash, there are famous rappers who make lots of money and convey the impression that rap ‘values’ = success and power. But imagine what would happen to a rap-obsessed community without white tax dollars and industrial infrastructure to bail it out and monetize. Rap-obsessed blacks simply cannot generate enough tax dollars to keep themselves fed, and trashy blacks cannot maintain an industry to make black expressions and talents profitable. Indeed, black Africa is filled with would-be rappers and athletes, but unless they come and settle in the West, their savage talents go to waste because they tend to destroy the very fabric of society. [It could be that the spread of Islam in Africa is the logical result of wild-ass Africa savagery. It’s the Bitchassho-Igrayne-Taliban Syndrome. Though Taliban-ism is seen as the opposite of Bitchass-Ho-ism, they are somewhat related since the excess of the latter can lead to the rise of the former. After all, what do men fight for? Land and ‘pussy’. In a system of Rule of Law, women can show themselves off and expect men to behave. But in a world without Rule of Law where disorder comes to prevail, men will try to grab the women they want, like in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. And if women show themselves off, they will attract the attention of men who will grab her or fight amongst themselves to own her. This leads to chaos all around. Consider what happens in EXCALIBUR when the Duke of Cornwall shows off his wife to Uther. He foolishly taunts Uther and makes him sexually ravenous. Uther gets mighty horny, and it’s not long before the two sides are fighting again. As Uther’s men drive a ramrod against Cornwall’s castle, Igrayne is seen draped in veil. Suppose Cornwall had been a bit more Taliban-ish. He would have covered up his woman and hid her from Uther, and Uther would have found himself another woman. But because Cornwall acted like a rock star with his woman, he aroused the lusty envy of Uther. So, when slutty women shake their asses in a world of uncertain social order, men are more likely to compete and fight for sex, as is the case in the black community. And in time, society falls apart, and some men begin to realize that all this sluttiness doesn’t serve their interests. They sense it’s better to cover up their women than flaunt them around like Cornwall did with Igrayne before Uther. They begin to see the value of something like Islam that promotes sexual modesty among womenfolk. It’s like if you show off how much money you got, you will only make people feel envious. Consider what happens to the woman in GONE GIRL when her money bag is noticed by a ‘white trash’ couple. Of course, in a stable world of Rule of Law, most men are civilized and orderly enough not to act on their impulses when women shake their butts or when the rich walk around in fancy clothes and jewelry. Rule of Law and norms of civility remind men that they shouldn’t touch a woman no matter how slutty she looks/acts UNLESS she allows it and that they shouldn’t steal anything the rich no matter how obnoxiously the luxuries are flaunted. But when social order breaks down, people act more like barbarians and savages. Thus, if a woman shakes her ass, she attracts wild men who will grab her or fight each for the ‘right’ to grab her. Consider how Russian men acted in Germany during World War II. Consider what Japanese men did in Nanking. Rape and plunder all around. And if some guy shows off his caravan filled with riches in the No Man’s Land, there will be raiders and pirates all around to attack him. The father in SEVEN SAMURAI knows how this works and orders his daughter to cut her hair and pretend to be a boy. So, when social order breaks down, women realize that shaking their ass can be dangerous. They will likely gain the attention of men they don’t want. Also, a man with a woman or a harem finds that it is in his interest to make her/them cover herself/themselves up because if other men catch sight of her/them, they may kill him and take her/them for themselves. Men can be awful horny, just like Beavis with his Stiffy Dynamite Dick Syndrome. In RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, the young woman finds out that marrying one of the brothers doesn’t necessarily shield her from the other brothers. As a young woman, she wants to be noticed and admired for her womanliness, but she learns she can easily attract the wrong kind of attention, and it takes two older men with decency and morals to teach the young ones some manners. Peckinpah understood how sexuality works when social order either breaks down or is absent. Consider films like STRAW DOGS and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. It could be that black African men are taking to Islam because they figure it’s the best way to keep their women. Cover them up and hide them because, if the black ho’s be shaking their tits and asses, they be attracting all sorts of men who be coming to carry them away. Though African Muslims are responsible for lots of sexual violence in Africa, their adoption of Islam is also a means to protect their own womenfolk from the generally wild and savage ways of pagan Negroes who can’t help themselves.] But in the West, even their destructive tendencies of blacks can be made profitable since white folks love to enjoy black aggressiveness in sports and music from a safe distance. In this sense, rap culture is both a huge disaster and a huge success. Its ‘values’ and attitudes have ruined many black and even ‘white trash’ & brown communities, but its popularity as dance-and-sex music has made it almost the Voice of America, if not the world. But blacks were not the only ones who indulged in a kind of far right excess of power and pleasure. Far right ideas can be pro-order or pro-chaos. It can favor the soldier defending the gates of civilizations or the barbarian attacking the gates. The two sides in John Boorman’s ZARDOZ are both right-wing: Hierarchy of ultra-civilization vs hierarchy of ultra-barbarism. Homos, due to their sexual nature, are at odds with right-wing values of most people who naturally find homosexuality to be weird and gross. But homosexuals tend to be right-ish in the sense that they are mad about power and privilege. There is the kind of homos who tend to be aristocratic, control-freakish, and snotty: the Apollonian homos. But there’s the other kind of homos who love to be wild, macho, fisting-up-the-arse, wearing-Nazi-uniforms, using-leather-belts-and-whips, flexing muscles, and etc. And some homos go back and forth between the two modes. Consider Brian Epstein[manager of the Beatles] who was a dandy but also into rough trade. Consider Andrew Sullivan, the intellectual neo-conservative homo social critic, who, according to rumors, like to have black guys ram him in the ass. Consider Michel Foucault who was one of the leading intellectuals of his time but also into S&M and some other funny stuff that certain tooter-fruiters go for. The other practitioners of jungle far-rightism are the New Feminists following in the heels of madonna the pop singer. Feminism that came to the fore in the 1970s stressed equality and uniformity. It was about all women becoming Sisters. Looks and sexiness had to be de-emphasized because beauty is not equally distributed among the ladies — and ugly intellectual Jewish women especially felt resentful about this. If looks and sexiness were favored, womenkind would be very hierarchical. Also, women could not be independent as Sisters since women want to look good to attract men. Also, the pretty ‘bimbos’ might get more respect than the intelligent ‘hags’. Now, feminists of the 1970s didn’t put it in those terms because they didn’t want to seem envious and resentful of better-looking girls. Ugly Jewish hags like Andrea Dworkin, who looked like Andre the Giant in drag, didn’t want to admit they were envious of blonde shikses. They didn’t want to admit that sexiness can be ‘empowering’ to women, or at least to ‘hot’ women with the looks, the bod, the style. So, they attacked sexiness on grounds that it chained women to men. Supposedly, men created the Beauty Myth to make women obsessed with looks and spend all their time and hard-earned money on makeup, clothes, and stuff. [Never mind homo men pretty much the ran and beauty industry.] So, if women looked good and got the attention of men, they weren’t being empowered but conforming to male sexual fantasies and becoming enslaved by men who married and owned them as trophies, possessions, and slaves. Men were supposedly like the creep-husbands in THE STEPFORD WIVES. John Lennon’s song “Woman Is the Nigger of the World” reflected the feminist sentiments of the time. With the help of many ugly Jewish women in the media, this version of leftist feminism was disseminated far and wide, but it never really caught on because it went against nature and even common sense. After all, if a woman looked really good and was admired by men all over and could land a choice husband, where was slavery in that? Would it have been better for her to put a hanky on her head, wear overalls, not use makeup, never develop a sense of style, and look like a slob? Was that really empowerment? It certainly would have been more egalitarian as ugly girls and pretty girls would both have been made ‘drab’ — like women wearing same blue commie suits in Maoist China — , but it could hardly have empowered women, at least as individuals. Under 70s feminism, women could be empowered only as a collective of ‘sisterhood’, and the rules of sisterhood were to be determined by Big Sisters with Big Overalls and Big Hankies. And then came madonna and her theoretic champion Camille Paglia though, to be sure, they had the full support of the entertainment industry that always had problems with feminism bitching about ‘sexism’ as pop culture that wasn’t sexy generally didn’t sell. For a time in the 70s and early 80s, the word ‘sexist’ was tossed around as often as ‘racist’ and ‘homophobic’ are thrown around today. Everything could be construed as ‘sexist’. And the last gasp of old-style feminism was in the early 90s with all the stuff about ‘Year of the Women’, Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, and Naomi Wolf’s sham book THE BEAUTY MYTH. For awhile, there was hysteria after hysteria about ‘sexual harassment’. But the tide of New Feminism represented by madonna and Paglia couldn’t be rolled back. Also, old feminism was dealt a deathblow by the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal when the very old-style feminists who had howled about ‘sexual harassment’ suddenly defended their Billy Boy and began to howl about ‘Sexual McCarthyism’. Somehow, it was okay for Bill Clinton, the ‘first black president’, to act like a ‘bad ole good ole boy’ in the Oval Office. As feminism turned into a shtick of defending Clinton’s behavior as ‘no big deal’ and ‘nothing to get hung over about’, it lost all respect and credibility. Meanwhile, the New Feminism of madonna and Paglia emphasized the maximum pleasure women could derive from sexiness and sex. And their vision wasn’t so much about beauty and grace but about extreme lascivious desire of the pornographic kind. If old feminism of the 1970s sought to unite alpha females and beta females into a united front of common sisterhood, the new feminism sought favored the wild cunt of alpha females who were obsessed with sexual power and prowess. And this sexual mania was linked to all kinds of other forms of power as power of any kind generally attracts sexual interest. It’s like even the funny looking Rusty Trawler in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S is a player because he’s assumed to be a rich guy. And this sexual law of the jungle was linked to Jungle Fever as white women were seen as the most desirable and black men were seen as the most badass. So, madonna the biggest pop star of the world did a sexual tour with the most famous black stars of the NBA. Now, conventional political categorizations would NOT consider this ‘right-wing’ since the ‘right’ in America is associated with white power, white male interests, and ‘white privilege’. And most people on the white right and nearly everyone on the white far right oppose interracism, especially between black men and white women. But, the logic of new feminism wasn’t much different from the far-right fantasies of John Milius. According to Milius, the superior white man would use his wits and muscle to gain dominance over colored tribes; he would fight the native warriors and if he defeats them all, he would be the king of the jungle and hump all the native ladies and make them have his kids. The new feminism of madonna said a white woman should use her sexual power to become famous and rich, and she should find maximum orgasmic pleasure with the biggest & toughest he-men on the planet, which would be Negroes of West African descent. It is a kind of debased Law of the Jungle[Fever] version of Nietzsche’s Will to Power idea. If indeed the world should be dominated by the most powerful and most desirable, then the most powerful men should take the most desirable women. And if the power of men should be determined by individual skills in combat, then Negroes, the race of Jack Johnsons, will surely whup the whites, the race of Jim Jeffries. According to Milius, the truly brave man challenges the native tribe on its own terms. White man armed with technology won’t fight fair since even an old lady with a gun can bring down an elephant. For a man to truly prove himself, he has to fight with his own wits and muscle, like what Jon Voight does in DELIVERANCE. With guns and technology, the white man was able to control and keep down the Negro. But without the advantage of technology and without the protection of the law, the white man was bound to lose to the stronger and tougher Negro. In a way, jungle-fever-ism has been a natural ‘subconspiracy’ happening between whites and blacks. If a conspiracy is something a bunch of people get together to plot consciously, a ‘subconspiracy’ is when there exists certain natural feelings and tendencies that drive people to act in certain ways even if they consciously repress it or feel it may be wrong. It’s like there’s a ‘subconspiracy’ between Guinevere and Lancelot in EXCALIBUR. Consciously, both know adultery is wrong. Consciously, Guinevere wants to be a faithful wife to Arthur. And Lancelot, as the best friend of Arthur, wants to serve him loyally. The barbarian times of Uther are over and have been replaced by the Age of Chivalry. In the barbaric Age of Uther, nature ran wild. If men wanted land and women, they fought and killed without inhibition. Things were honest but brutal and destructive. In the chivalrous Age of Arthur, men control their barbarian urges in favor of law and honor. But, in the repression of animal nature, the social order becomes founded on dishonesty. Despite their conscious self-control and adherence to social morality, Lancelot is the toughest warrior who is crazy about Guinevere[almost as much as Uther for Igraine], and Guinevere, as the alpha female, wants to be with the toughest man in the kingdom who happens to be Lancelot. So, even though their conscious minds know better, the ‘subconspiracy’ between them draws them closer. Likewise, there’s been a ‘subconspiracy’ of desire between black males and white females in America, and the classic D.W. Griffith film THE BIRTH OF A NATION illustrated its dark dangers though not entirley. According to Griffith, the ghastly Negroes want to sexually conquer white women, but white women have no wish to go with some jive-ass Negro. In fact, it’s the nature of women, even if they won’t admit it, to be excited by the baddest hunk around. Fast forward to the 1970s when the movie MANDINGO came out, and you get the picture. Even so, mainstream culture still felt uneasy with that sort of thing. Most interracial relations were in Blaxploitation flicks, but the genre faded from the screens by the mid-70s. Also, early porn movies generally featured Jews who looked like Gabe Caplan humping shikses. Also, prior to the internet, access to porn was severely limited as only adults could be admitted to X-rated houses or rent ‘adult films’. Also, white kids listened to mostly white Rock with white stars. But then, the rising popularity of rap turned on many white girls onto black culture. And madonna’s behavior and the Spike Lee movie JUNGLE FEVER made interracism mainstream and hip. And then, the rise of the internet and shift to interracism in porn brought the sexual ‘subconspiracy’ between black men and white women out into the open, thereby even paving the way to the presidency of Obama, the product of a black African humping a white ‘mudshark’. And John Boehner’s daughter married some ghastly-looking Negro. In a way, this New Feminism was a form of far-rightism, that of the jungle-will-to-power. It is barbarian or savage form of rightism as opposed to the civilized form of rightism. It is the rightism of the Brutals in ZARDOZ. The rightism of civilization gains and maintains power through organization, discipline, unity, pride, and moral authority. When those elements weaken, the gates are opened to the rightism of savagery or barbarism. And so, the Roman Empire collapsed as the Germanic hordes poured in. And with the collapse of white pride, power, and unity in the West, ghastly Negroes with bigger muscles and penises are conquering white women while pathetic white boys move into ‘cuckold’ mode. As if that’s not bad enough, millions of more black Africans are leaving the Dark Continent with its explosive birthrates to conquer white women in Europe and America. And yet, white males have no pride, confidence, rage, unity, and will left to unite to fight and defend their lands, women, and culture from the race of savage Negroes who look down on white men as ‘white boy pussy-ass faggots’ and hunger for white women. Since white man cannot beat the Negro on a one-on-one individual basis, he can only retain the respect and loyalty of white women by uniting and fighting as a group. It’s like a female wolf will not respect a lone male wolf that gets mangled by a grizzly bear but she will respect a pack of male wolves who work together to bring down a bear. This is why white male unity is very important, but the idiot cult of libertarianism has atomized white males into self-centered fools, and the cult of PC has filled white males with ‘white guilt’ and ‘white shame’ over any notion of white power, pride, and unity.)

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.

Jordan Belfort was certainly a smart guy with immense talent, but what did his example ‘inspire’ in his followers? To lie, cheat, and wallow in excess of greed and vanity. Same goes for Bernie Madoff and so many other Jewish sharks in Wall Street. It goes to show that meritocracy is never enough for a good society. Talent and skills are essentially amoral, and men of immense skill and knowhow can use their abilities to gain great power and abuse it for their own aggrandizement. It’s certainly the case with US foreign policy dominated by Jews. There’s no doubt that many of the Jewish architects of US foreign policy are smart men and women, but they are people of very low moral character who lie and cheat at every turn to serve what is little more than Jewish Supremacism. They are a Vile Bunch, indeed especially vile because they hide behind the cult of Holocaustianity to shield their evil doings from potential critics who are instantly neutralized as ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘Neo-Nazis’ for the simple transgression of having noticed the Jewish Hand. If Jews are indeed morally serious, the lesson of the Holocaust shouldn’t simply be “Jews should not be abused” but also “Jews should not abuse others” and “Jews should not do things that validate the rabid and virulent accusations of the Nazis”. But the more we observe Jewish power, the more Jews seem to be vindicating the points once made by ‘discredited anti-Semites’. In other words, even though Jews keep insisting that all the old ‘antisemitic canards’ have been discredited, so many things that Jews do are accrediting many of the points once made by so-called ‘anti-Semites’. What a surreal world we live in when Jewish actions accredit the points made by ‘discredited anti-Semites’. Though no sane person could endorse much of Adolf Hitler’s insane tirades against Jews, Jewish power & influence of late has been so vile and disgusting that one would have to be insane and/or dishonest to reject all the points made by so-called ‘anti-Semites’ of the past. And even some Jews are beginning to admit that the Jew Unchained is a vile, hideous, and power-mad creature. Yossi Sarid wrote in Haaretz:

“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)

Anyway, it is a great fortune for the farmers in SEVEN SAMURAI that the first samurai they recruited was Kambei, who then attracts other men of character. Had Kambei been less good, he might have exploited the farmers and recruited a bunch of no-good samurai who might have pressed the farmers for women and favors; and they might have fled when things got tough. But Kambei wins the trust and respect of some very good men. And his example tips even the not-so-good ‘samurai’ played by Toshiro Mifune towards goodness. The problem of moral ambiguity creeps into SEVEN SAMURAI as the Mifune character could have gone either way: good or bad. He has some innate goodness in him but is also impulsive and wild. His individual sense of initiative sometimes fires up his sense of moral outrage, sometimes fuels his wild ego. He sometimes explodes with righteousness, sometimes surrenders to vanity. Sometimes, the good and the bad merge, as when he tugs looted samurai weapons & wares to the samurai and even more so when he goes solo to grab a gun from the enemy. He brought the wares to the samurai for use in battle but is oblivious to how the samurai might be offended by the sight of them(as they were taken from defeated samurai killed by the peasants) or how the peasants might be endangered by the revelation. His main priority was winning approval from the samurai for having availed the stuff to them. And even though he did take another gun from the enemy, he acted more out of self-glory than group interest. His initiative is welcome to the extent that success depends not only on following orders but on inspiration, but it is also dangerous because it is driven by infantilism than inspiration. Without someone of authority to respect and lead him, he could easily have given himself to a life of violence and crime. (It’s like the woodcutter and the commoner in the final scene of RASHOMON. The commoner steals a baby’s clothes without compunction whereas the woodcutter is outraged by the act. But then, the woodcutter is no saint either since he stole the dagger, at least in Kurosawa’s interpretation of the Akutagawa story. In good times, the commoner might not have done something to dastardly — and would likely have condemned such an act in others — , but hard times brought out his true nature. When pushed into poverty, the commoner will do whatever to serve his needs. What’s really telling, however, is the total lack of moral compass within him. He feels no shame whatever in having done what he did. The woodcutter does have an innate goodness, which is why he is shamed when the commoner points out the missing dagger. The woodcutter’s transgression — theft of the dagger from the murdered samurai — was less despicable, but he does feel shame about what he did. [Indeed, his troubled state of mind in the beginning of the film may have less to do with the human condition than the fear of being found out about the dagger — like Jon Landau’s character’s main reason for depression in CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS has less to do with the fact he had a woman killed than he might be found out about it.] In contrast, the commoner feels no shame even about having stripped an abandoned baby of his clothes. He acts like a ghastly Negro in Detroit. This is why the good often lose to the bad. The bad, being shameless, never admit to any wrong on their part and just accuse the good of every little failing. The good, even though better than the bad, take even the criticism of their minor wrongdoings with great shame and sensitivity. This is why a good Wasp will lose to a bad Jew. The bad Jew never admits to any wrong whereas the good Wasp can be sensitive about even his slightest infractions. Jews don’t apologize even for their macro-aggressions whereas wasps get all tongue-tied about their micro-aggressions. There are bad people who are truly bad, but there are good people who, by circumstances, have been made bad. In SEVEN SAMURAI, there are two grubby gamblers who mercilessly taunt the peasants and laugh at their misery. But when the young samurai comes to the peasants’ defense, a dim but sure humanity flickers on in one of them who, in his own crude and gruff way, pleads for the peasants. The seemingly low-life urchin does have something of a heart after all. [In a rough world where kindness is a luxury one cannot afford — as there are too many desperate people who need help while most people are lucky just to scrape enough to get through the day — , goodness is a dirty word, and one is loathe to show any sign of softness that can be taken for weakness or may weaken one’s resolve against a cold-hearted world. In such a world, badness isn’t so much an innate quality as a shield against the badness of the world. Once one’s nature has been hardened against the world in such manner, it is difficult to thaw out one’s goodness if indeed such existed in the first place. Consider the Russian film SECOND CIRCLE by Alexander Sokurov where a young man is left without means to provide a funeral for his father, and then, a woman appears to provide the service, but then rudely and reluctantly as such acts of kindness go against the rules of her world and how she’d hardened herself against it. Something in her moved her to do the right thing but, like Sanjuro in YOJIMBO upon saving a family from gangsters, feels a certain revulsion for having given itself to softness in a world where only hardness counts.] Or consider the young girl in RED BEARD who was raised to be a prostitute and has been beaten to the point where she has little good left in her. But through the patience of the Mifune character — who plays the elder doctor — , the girl’s humanity is gradually restored. There’s something similar in Kenji Mizoguchi’s SANSHO THE BAILIFF. Just when we think the younger brother has been corrupted into a heartless enforcer of slavery, his good side reemerges from the lost depths and leads him to freedom and the resolve to find his mother and bring justice to others who’d been enslaved with him; the sad thing is the people he frees at the end seem lost as they don’t know how to be free, and his local enactment of justice goes only so far in a world where slavery is commonplace; and when he finds his mother, her heart is too broken and frayed for human emotions. [There is no happy deliverance, as with the mother and sister in BEN-HUR. SANSHO THE BALIFF has one of the most depressing ‘happy endings’ because, even though the hero triumphs over the villain and finds what he’s searching for, he still cannot defeat the future and the past. Even as he liberates the slaves, he cannot guarantee their freedom indefinitely as Japan will remain — for centuries into the future — a slave society. And even as he reconnects with his mother, what she lost of her dignity in body and soul cannot be recovered. The woman he finds is not the woman he lost in his youth. Hers is a perennially numb kind of sadness morbidly uniform before sunlight and darkness. Only those capable of happiness know the beauty of sadness. Knowing of light, they know of its opposite, darkness. But knowing only darkness, everything is lost in equal despair.] The world turns us into chameleons. In a good and orderly society, even the bad can pretend to be good and even convince themselves that they are solid respectable citizens. Indeed, the corrupt old man in BAD SLEEP WELL probably thinks of himself that way. Not as a bad person but as someone who simply doing business-as-usual. He plays the role of respectable member of society, even though he’s cunning and corrupt. But there are also good people who must ‘chameleonize’ into badness in a crazy world and, in time, they may even see themselves as bad and cold even though there is genuine goodness in them. In a wild and crazy world, you gotta be mean and tough to survive. In a world of wolves and weasels, you have to kill and steal. And when we first see the Mifune character in SEVEN SAMURAI, he moves like a bandit without a care in the world. He’d grown up rough, and he puts on a tough exterior to survive. But there is genuine goodness in him. Mifune’s character in YOJIMBO is a more extreme case of a good man hiding behind badness. He can be as ruthless and murderous as the next guy. But faced with a moral crisis, he feels compelled to what’s right even at risk to self. In a good world, even the bad pretend to be and even believe themselves to be good. In a bad world, the good play bad and even think themselves to be bad. And sometimes, one isn’t really sure if one is innately good or bad. In HIGH AND LOW, the Mifune character is both a cunning operator and a principled businessman. He believes in honest craftsmanship but isn’t above dirty tricks to gain control of the company. Also, as an entrepreneur committed to winning, he is obsessed about success and money, even above the saving the life of a child, at least initially. There is good in him, but the ruthless laws of competition have taught him to choose business interest above all else. It takes time for the good side to finally emerge from him. In contrast, the kidnapper was clearly born bad, but the moral dynamics is confused because he is poor and studying to be a doctor, a noble profession. His poverty and occupation lend moral cover to his crime as a strike against the ‘greedy’ rich. His medical apprenticeship would suggest he cares about humanity. But, he is really a heartless sociopath. If some people are born evil, can they really be blamed? Maybe not, but then, they can’t be allowed to do as they please either. And so, the ending of HIGH AND LOW isn’t a happy one even though the bad guy has been captured and will be executed. Even if he isn’t a victim of circumstances [despite his poverty], he may well be a product of the blood he inherited, and he didn’t choose that.) In any society, some people are naturally good, some are naturally bad, and some can go either way. When the good rule society, even the bad may come under pressure to act good out of fear of shunning or punishment. When the not-so-good rule society, the bad may feel the temptation to act bad. But when the bad rule society, the bad might run wild and free and act like the Negroes under Idi Amin in Uganda. To be sure, it’s also possible that, paradoxically enough, the rule of the good may encourage the bad whereas the rule of the bad can discourage the bad. If good rulers are overly lenient and generous, the bad might take advantage and act like the lowlife immigrant communities in Sweden. And the same has been the case with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Northern-European white-Americans in such states have been generous with nasty Negroes who’ve never appreciated the kindness of others and just exploited the freedom and welfare to run riot and act jive-ass. In contrast, when a society is ruled with an iron hand by the bad, the bad elements of society might be punished without mercy since evil rulers favor social order above all. This was why the ordinary criminal elements have more to fear in tyrannical communist nations than in nice liberal democratic ones. Organized crime has more chance in a democracy than in a totalitarian state ruled by the likes of Stalin.

Anyway, unlike SEVEN SAMURAI, there is no overarching narrative in THE WILD BUNCH. After the botched robbery of the opening scene, the Bunch find themselves at a loss in terms of future prospects. They decide to play it by ear, and the first thing they do is visit Angel’s village. It turns out it had been raided, and the villagers see the Bunch as something like Robin Hoods, but even as the Bunch enjoy the hospitality of the villagers, they have no plan to take any action on behalf of the community. Indeed, the Bunch ride into a fortress ‘town’ called Agua Verde where Mapache and his soldiers — the very men who raided the village — are stationed. And almost by ‘accident’, they are offered a contract to rob the US military for rifles and ammunition: Angel’s shooting/killing of his ex-lover Teresa that made the German adviser to Mapache notice the special firearms carried by the Bunch. Thereafter, the film shows the Bunch relaxing, romping around, and/or taking a bath, then pulling off a grand heist and riding free of the bounty hunters, and then carefully planning to make sure that they get paid for the loot; but, complications arise because Mapache learned of Angel’s ‘theft’ of the rifles and ammunition. (Actually, the Bunch had agreed to hand him one case of rifles and ammo for the villagers in exchange for his participation in the robbery and forfeiture of his share of the gold. Just as Mapache had planned to pull a fast one on the Bunch, the Bunch had planned to partly renege on the deal, though, to be sure, Mapache was compensated with the gift of the machine gun.) This is when the movie grows somewhat strange. Why should it matter so much to the Bunch that Angel is a captive of Mapache? Sure, Angel is being tormented to death, but throughout the film the Bunch never seemed hung up on going out on a limb to save one of their own. So, why this special attention for Angel? Even Old Man Sykes, who only grinned upon hearing that his grandson died like a man in the first part of the movie, says the Bunch should go back to get Angel. Of course, Occam’s Razor would be that THE WILD BUNCH wanted to end with a bang, and so it concocted some excuse for the Bunch to be outraged by Mapache’s mistreatment of Angel and set them on a course that would lead to the mother of all bloodbaths in cinematic history. And yet, Walon Green and Sam Peckinpah conceived of the ‘excuse’ so artfully and compellingly that the lead-up to the mayhem rings true. Dutch(Ernest Borgnine) especially feels indebted because Angel saved him during the train robbery. Dutch also has more of an innate moral sense than the others. Also, he was there when Angel ‘played his strings right to the end’ and didn’t squeal on the Bunch. As for Pike, Angel may have reminded him of the son he never had with the Mexican woman he’d loved long ago. Also, when Pike told Angel to forget about his dead father(killed by Mapache) and when Angel complied, it was as if Pike took on the role of father figure. Ironically, just as Teresa was killed out of jealousy and righteous rage by Angel, Pike’s lover was shot to death by her enraged husband whose sense of honor was violated by the gringo Pike. Of course, Pike is also haunted by Deke Thornton, whom he abandoned to the lawmen as he made his getaway. Though Pike doesn’t know exactly why Deke Thornton is collaborating with the Railroad and bounty hunters to track him down, he can surely guess as to why, namely that Thornton was tortured into compliance. It’s a rough world, and if an outlaw falls into a hand of a railroad man like Harrigan, he can expect no mercy. The world of law-abiding folks most likely look the other way when it comes to abuse of prisoners since outlaws have plenty of blood on their hands. But it’s not a simple case of goodness aligned with the law and badness aligned with the outlaw. There’s ample space within the law that allows bad men to amass power, wealth, influence, and respectability.

THE WILD BUNCH – Mr. Harrigan(Albert Dekker)

And Harrigan is one of those bad men who work within the law. He may not necessarily be evil, but he’s manipulative and heartless. If bad men can find room in the world of the law, then the world of the outlaw could have men of some good qualities. The Bunch are clearly not good men, but they are not without some admirable qualities. And under different circumstances, they might have found success or some meaningful place in the legitimate world. If Pike is like anyone in the film, it is Harrigan, which may be why they share a mutual animus. Both are master manipulators and leaders of men. And they are hypocritical in their recourse to rules/principles and in their quickness to violate them. Harrigan represents the law that binds him to the respectable folks of the town, but he will bend the law any which way to get what he wants, especially if it’s too his personal satisfaction. Pike appears to have a somewhat more pleasant personality, but it could be because we see him in more varied situations whereas we see Harrigan only in negative relation to Deke Thornton, perhaps the most sympathetic character in the film. As for what Harrigan is like with other kinds of people, it’s anyone’s guess. Maybe he isn’t such a bad sort. Besides, even though Deke Thornton is a likable character, he got in trouble in the first place because he robbed and killed people. And he’s not above insulting the bounty hunters, seeing them as less-than-human, and manipulating their childlike lack of intelligence. He’s sort of a frontier snob.
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.”

It’s as if Pike wasn’t only interested in robbing the railroad enterprises but in demonstrating the superiority of his ways to theirs. It’s like what a business strategist might say to market his ideas. (Pike even seems to take pride in the fact that his ways forced Harrigan to change his. It’s like Pike boating that his ‘business’ skills were so good that it forced Harrigan himself to become a better ‘businessman’. Nothing like competition. As much as Pike wants to beat Harrigan, there’s a side of him that wants to push Harrigan to a higher level of gamesmanship, and to the extent that Harrigan & the railroad did become more formidable as the result of the challenge from men like Pike, Pike can’t help feeling a degree of pride. But there’s also frustration because the new Harrigan who has improved his game under pressure from Pike is now a much tougher nut to crack. It’s sort of like the ‘love/hate’ competition between the 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.

Anyway, it is Angel’s ordeal — The Passion of Angel — that turns the story around and creates yet another plot twist. Earlier in the movie, Pike, an aging outlaw, said “I’d like to make one good score and then back off”, to which Dutch says, “Back off to what?” It is over a decade into the 20th century, and the Old West is fading fast. If much of THE WILD BUNCH does look like the classic West, it’s because most of it unfolds south of the border in Mexico, a nation that lagged United States by at least half a century in development. After the first failed robbery, the main objective of the characters seems to be ‘one good score’, and it comes with the railroad heist. And had there been no complications, perhaps Pike could have gone off with his share of the gold and settled down quietly somewhere either in the US or Mexico. But Angel ends up in the hands of Mapache, and no one is sure what to do or what can be done. Dutch is most eager to do something, but how can a handful of man go up against Mapache and all his men? Perhaps, the Bunch feel a special kind of shame because Angel doesn’t break. Deke Thornton broke and joined the bounty hunters to after Pike, his old partner. And Pike Bishop never got caught because he was so good at running, sometimes leaving his comrades behind(despite his preachments about ‘sticking together’).

“Just five cents a glass. Does anyone think that’s really the price of a drink?”

The Bunch are amused by the firebrand sermon of the Temperance Union, but Pike is a kind of preacher himself when things get rough. He harangues others about how it has to be his way because he knows better than they do. He’s like the Moses of the outlaws, trying to keep the crew together through all the rancor, suspicion, and bad blood. He promises them milk-and-honey if they follow his lead. Likewise, Deke Thornton insists it has to be his way, and his pitch is even more convincing because the bounty hunters are an incompetent ragtag bunch of chicken thieves.
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.

Pike and Angel also get embroiled in bitter argument when the latter says there’s no way he’s gonna rob the guns for Mapache, the man who killed his father and stole his woman. At every turn, it’s important for Pike to win the argument, sway the others, and reassert his authority, thereby retaining the loyalty of the men who see him as the rightful leader and prophet. And yet, his role as preacher-of-the-gang isn’t easy since they are all robbers and killers. Sermons are about choosing the right over the wrong, but the Bunch are committed to wrongful acts. Pike’s sermons are about doing the right thing doing the wrong thing. (This is even more pronounced in THE GODFATHER.) Consider the scene in the Mexican village where Angel is understandably and visibly upset over the death of his father and the loss of his girl. The morally proper thing for Pike to have done is to offer succor & comfort and maybe figure out a way to help Angel avenge his father and maybe recover the girl.

Teresa the whore with her sugar daddy Mapache.

But then, unlike Debbie in THE SEARCHERS who was abducted against her will and came under social/emotional pressure to become part of the Indian tribe, Teresa, a full-grown woman, chose to go off with Mapache, the man who raided the village and killed her lover’s father. So, Angel’s honor killing of her can be said to be more justifiable than Ethan(John Wayne)’s dark obsession to kill Debbie. Teresa is a scandalous figure because she violates the image of the woman as a virtuous victim. In THE BIRTH OF THE NATION, the white women resist the Negroes to the end. One woman even jumps to her death. Thus, the ideal image of the woman as loyal or victimized is preserved. Men naturally prefer the ideal of the loyal woman as the damsel in distress than as the bitchass-ho-temptress. Angel would have been less upset if he’d heard Teresa had been taken by force — like the wife abducted by the bandits in SEVEN SAMURAI. At least, he could believe in her loyalty to the last. He’d feel she’d been taken against her will by lecherous men. If men prefer the ideal of loyalty, women prefer the ideal of victim-hood. They like to see women as helpless creatures forced against their will by beastly male chauvinists who treat women as property. (And yet, this sense of victim-hood usually involves ‘inferior’ males than ‘superior’ males. For example, consider all those novels where the wife is married to some decent bourgeois guy who, however, isn’t the biggest stud in town. He may be nice, but his wife feels ‘oppressed’ because he’s not man enough for her. She wants liberation via the man-of-power who can arouse her and satisfy her. So, she feels more victimized by the man-of-weakness than by the man-of-power. Paradoxically, her liberation of romantic/sexual liberation comes via happy submission to the man-of-power. Feminist politics ideologically targets and challenges the Men of Power, but female ‘biolotics’ seeks fulfilment through surrender to the men-of-power. If sexual pleasure is liberation, women will feel more of it by allowing herself to be conquered by the men-of-power, but then, what kind of liberation is it that comes with total submission? ‘Sexology’ is strange that way. So, when the husband is weak, no matter how nice and decent he may be, the woman may feel ‘oppressed’ by being tied down to him, and she may seek and find liberation via the Man of Power, like Heathcliff of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, the movie as I haven’t read the book. On the other hand, if the woman is abducted by ‘inferior’ man or men, she may feel ‘oppressed’ by him/them and dream of liberation by her husband or lover if indeed he is the ‘superior’ man. Suppose a woman is happily married to a great warrior but is abducted by a gentle race of dwarfs. Now belonging to men who are smaller, weaker, and gentler than her husband and his brawny kinfolk, one might think she would feel less oppressed in the new setting. But as she despises their manhood as unworthy for her surrender, she will likely feel more oppressed and hope that her husband and kinfolk will come rescue her so that she could go back to happily surrendering to superior men. If a woman belonged to Mickey Rooney and was abducted by Clint Eastwood, she would have felt enslaved with Rooney and liberated through Eastwood. But if a woman belonged to Eastwood and was abducted by Rooney, she would have felt liberated with Eastwood and enslaved through Rooney; and she’d dream of being liberated by Eastwood.) Both traditional/proper Christian women and feminists hate the idea of women giving themselves freely to beastly and loutish men. But THE WILD BUNCH features a Mexican woman who freely went off with the oppressors and threw her body at them. And in Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS, a woman is shown to actually enjoy the act of rape by a man who is bigger and manlier than her husband. Pauline Kael called this ‘fascist’, but then, every romance novel must be ‘fascist’ too. In Teresa, there is no fixed loyalty, no ideal of victim-hood. “She went with them because she wished to”, says the village elder.

Teresa(Sonia Amelio) tells Angel(Jaime Sanchez) to get lost.

(Paradoxically, the fact that Teresa was not molested and taken by force is all the more galling to Angel. Had she been physically raped or dragged away by force, Angel would at least know that, even as she was forced to surrender her body, her heart had remained true to Angel. And as long as her heart is with Angel, there’s the hope of getting her back. But if she went with the enemy willingly, it’s a total kind of betrayal. There is no hope. In the past, much of the black-white sexual dynamics was seen in terms of black-beasts-rape-white-women-against-their-will, and even today, there is the problem of black-on-white rape. But what is truly upsetting to white males is that most of the black-white sexual dynamics is really about white women freely abandoning white males in favor of black males. Indeed, even when black males act bad and white males act good, many white women are more turned on by black males since women simply like tougher and more commanding men. While most women like good tough men over bad tough men, they are still more excited by bad tough men than good weak men. Even as they morally excoriate bad tough men, they may still feel sexually excited by them for the same reason that men may be aroused by the temptress nature of the femme fatale even though their moral sense tells them to avoid the hussy ho.) The sexual dynamics/violence between Angel and Teresa was something almost new in American cinema, but Americans may have missed its full impact/implication because the ‘whore’ in question was a Mexican woman, thus somewhat exotic. Maybe STRAW DOGS seemed more disturbing because a regular white woman was seen surrendering herself to the dominant male beast… and enjoying it to the point that she forgets her victim-hood and even forgets about her husband. It is only because the second marauder penetrates her too that she is traumatized and feels victimized. If she’d only been raped by her old flame, she might not have thought badly of it. It’s interesting that Pauline Kael found the scene so very appalling because, in a panel discussion in the early 60s with John Simon and Dwight MacDonald, she didn’t find anything wrong about the attempted rape of the Patricia Neal character by the Paul Newman in HUD. Maybe what bothered her about STRAW DOGS is that the woman is a brainless bimbo who is treated as an object instead of a full-blooded woman like the Patricia Neal character who is a thinking/feeling human being. She is a subject than just an object. But then, why did Kael love LAST TANGO IN PARIS when it also has something of rape scene involving a bimbo? Perhaps, despite being female, Kael intensely identified with Marlon Brando’s character who was then, like her, going through a middle age crisis. Furthermore, LAST TANGO IN PARIS presented the sex and other forms of excess as the agonies and ecstasies, whereas STRAW DOGS presented sex and violence as lecture and experiment. It may have been this didactic quality of STRAW DOGS that put her off to that film. Indeed, what Kael liked least about SEVEN SAMURAI was Kurosawa’s thematic attempt to sum up the film with Kambei’s reflection that the farmers, not the samurai, have won. Kael liked to be shown things, not told things.

Susan George in STRAW DOGS: She likes it! She likes it!

The idea of the beautiful woman rejecting both virtue/loyalty and victim-hood to go with the ‘nihilism’ of power or beauty(of a handsome man like Paris) to fulfill her sexual/romantic desire is a ageless theme. It’s there in the story of the Helen of Troy. Even so, there was something brazenly sado-masochistic about the way Peckinpah presented it in THE WILD BUNCH that wasn’t merely a slap in the face but a kick in the balls. In this sense, films like TAXI DRIVER and HARDCORE owe as much to THE WILD BUNCH as to THE SEARCHERS. John Ford’s movie, like D.W. Griffith’s classic, would have us believe that women, especially white women, do their utmost to resist sexual violation/domination outside the norms of virtue, purity, and/or loyalty; they can only be taken by force. After all, Debbie was abducted as a girl, and she had no choice in the matter. And when Martin comes to rescue her at the end, she wants to be saved even after all those years of upbringing by the Comanches. In contrast, the Jodie Foster character in TAXI DRIVER and the daughter in HARDCORE went off with pimps and pornographers because they wished to. This idea was disturbing to both the Right(due to Christian ideal of sexual purity and/or virtue) and the Left(due to feminist insistence on victim-hood, i.e. women fall into vice because of male oppression and exploitation). THE EXORCIST is especially perverse because it’s hard to tell if the girl is an innocent possessed & abducted by the Devil(as Debbie is by the Red Savages in THE SEARCHERS) or a dirty whore who invites the Devil into her body that is blooming into sexual womanhood. On the surface, she is presented as a victim of the Devil, but we can’t help feeling that the Devil was invited into her because her very nature wanted to be taken.

“Ain’t your woman no more.” Teresa goes with Big Man Mapache.

There is something about the scene between Angel and Teresa in THE WILD BUNCH that changed the very spirit of the movie culture. Though THE WILD BUNCH begins very violently — with the bloodiest gun battle ever filmed —, it was men killing men, the usual stuff of action cinema. The Bo Hopkins character, does blast his shotgun at two young men and a woman, but it happens off-screen and it’s clearly the act of a lunatic. But when Angel pulls out a gun and shoots Teresa, it was a man shooting a unarmed woman in cold fury. And Angel’s action cannot simply be ascribed to psychopathy. There had been women shot by men in movies before. Think of Rita Hayworth in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. And think of Faye Dunaway in BONNIE AND CLYDE. But them ladies were armed and dangerous, killers on the loose. In contrast, Teresa, though a ‘whore’, had no means to harm Angel except emotionally. (Good ‘progressive’ people who are offended by the sexual rage of Ethan Allen in THE SEARCHERS and the white men in THE BIRTH OF A NATION are not offended by the sexual rage of the peasant in SEVEN SAMURAI[who feels murderous rage for the loss of his wife to the bandits] or of Angel in THE WILD BUNCH. Maybe it has something to do with race. Angel is a Mexican guy angry with a Mexican woman for going with a Mexican guy. But if he were a white guy angry with a white woman going with a black guy, maybe he would have been condemned as ‘racist’ even though he would still be the wronged party of white Teresa and black Mapache. On the other hand, if he were a non-white guy fuming over the abduction of his woman by evil white folks, that might be deemed okay too. After all, when the woman in BELOVED kills her own baby to spare it the life of slavery, Liberals seem okay with that. A lot of this has to do with race. THE SEARCHERS is still more acceptable than THE BIRTH OF A NATION because Negroes matter more in the white-racial-guilt-complex hierarchy. Indeed, the success of a movie like TAKEN[with Liam Neeson’s character saving his pure white daughter from swarthy Muslims] proves that racial-sexual fantasies of heroic white men rescuing white damsels from non-white hordes are still acceptable IF they toe the PC line. As Muslim men are allowed to be vilified in the Jew-controlled media/entertainment complex, movies like TAKEN are not taboo. It’s a matter of ‘who, whom’. Would there be any controversy about THE SEARCHERS if it were about a white guy trying to take back a white woman from a bad white guy? After all, that is what RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is about, as two old men try to save a young white women from rough white men. No one bitches about that. But suppose the Hammonds were Negroes or Indians? It’s ridiculous to judge Ethan by the petty political correctness of our age. He lived in a time when white settler folks might be raided, raped, murdered, and mutilated by ‘red savages’, though, to be sure, the Indians had their tragic side of the story. Also, considering what happened to Ethan’s brother, his wife[whom Ethan dearly loved], his young son, and his older daughter, isn’t it understandable that Ethan doesn’t want Debbie’s womb to breed more killers for Scar the Comanche thief? Suppose a barbarian tribe attacked your family, raped and killed your mother, tortured and killed your father, and mutilated and killed your brothers and sisters. Suppose a sister was taken alive and is to be raised to produce babies for the gang that murdered your family. Wouldn’t you be angry at the prospect of her being forced into racial-sexual betrayal not only against her own race but against her own family that was murdered by the very people she’s come to serve? But the insipid and petty PC culture merely condemns Ethan for his ‘racism’ and ‘hatred’. This is very amusing when we consider that Liberals supported US actions against Afghanistan and Alqaeda after 9/11. It was about blood vengeance for the killing of Americans; the emotions were hardly different from Ethan’s. And most Americans looked the other way as US used drones to blow up people all across the Middle East. American ‘progressives’ even ignore what US had done to Libya, Syria, and Russia, nations that did nothing to the US. And of course, US fully supports the blood-racial war of Zionism against Palestinians. But these very same ‘progressives’ sit judgement on Ethan in THE SEARCHERS who is understandably angry because his loved ones had been rubbed out in the worst way anyone can imagine. It’s the way of human nature to care more about close ones. Consider the scene when the posse in THE SEARCHERS learn that the Comanches had stolen some cattle merely to lure the men out so they could attack the unguarded homes. Notice how Jorgensen — the guy who keeps on saying ‘by golly’ and ‘she was a school teacher, you know’ — is most worried about his wife & daughter while Ethan is most worried about his brother’s family. Even within the same race/people, there is an intra-tribalism that feels closest to one’s own kin.) Yet, Angel pulled out his gun and let Teresa have it, and passion of the moment hurls at us with the force of mack truck in a head-on collision with a bus. Even as the music score slams the brakes in full panic mode, the crash can’t be averted. Similar score is used later when the locomotive rolls and collides into a train compartment with horses and men. Some things, once set in motion, are as inevitable and inescapable as asteroids bound to impact Earth one day. (Peckinpah once said of the killing of the farmer in SHANE that it changed everything. It wasn’t a case of two gunslingers shooting it out but a man being murdered in cold blood. The killing of Teresa has a similar kind of brutality. It is like a hog killing, though to be sure, there’s real passion involved.) It says something about human nature, how it is a combination of free will and fate. It’s like what happens at the end of THE WILD BUNCH is both random/free-willed and destined/inevitable, as if there could be no other way or at least they wouldn’t have it any other way(if indeed they are to live or die as men). It’s like what Travis Bickle says in TAXI DRIVER: “Now I see if clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. I see that now. There never has been any choice for me.” We want to be free, but freedom means endless choices in a world that doesn’t offer many choices. To be free means that the world cannot tell us what to do. But then, the world doesn’t allow most of us to do most of what we want to do. If everyone could freely become what he or she wants to be, we would all be billionaires, movie stars, famous novelists, popular singers, Nobel Prize winners in medicine, and etc. We are free but also limited by our meager abilities and by the difficulty of our circumstances. So, even as we want to be free, we also want some sign or portent to lead us on the righteous path of what each of us was ‘meant to do’. It’s like the Knights go on the Quest for the Holy Grail in EXCALIBUR. Without something to seek and search, life has no direction, and without direction, life has no meaning.

TAXI DRIVER – Travis Bickle – Todd’s Lonely Man

So, Bickle’s decision to assassinate Palantine has the ring of both sad resignation and righteous fortitude. His destiny has been ‘revealed’, and it is to be a dragon-slayer(and, in the process, perhaps to be killed or imprisoned for life), but he’s finally found a sense of meaning and direction in life. The reason why some immigrants from the Middle East and Africa in the West eventually turn to the Islamic Faith is because of the sheer emptiness of modernity with so much freedoms but so few opportunities and, furthermore, absolutely no sense of purpose of life except to be hassled by petty PC and overfed on trashy pop culture. In a world where God is dead and patriotism has been buried & forgotten, in a world where people’s lives are atomized and filled with junk culture(that is increasingly pornified and debauched — with the likes of Kanye West hailed as the ‘most influential’ figure by Time magazine that also extols Laverne Cox, the black tranny with a blonde wig), what is the meaning of life? Where is one’s life headed? At least in a traditionalist society, one has a sense of ancestors(from whose line one emerged) and of descendants(who will carry on the line of one’s people), but in a decadent pop-culture-centric society, each individual is disconnected from the past and the future. There is only the globo-horizontal NOW that inundates one’s rotten soul with hedonism that creates the false illusion that one is young and hip forever; TV is the plastic surgery of the soul.
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.

In SEVEN SAMURAI, the samurai fight and risk their lives for some poor stinking village, but it provides them with meaning, with something to live and die for. And perhaps even death with meaning is better than life without meaning. For the peasants, there’s meaning in the land and the seasons for their role in life is to grow food. Also, as farming men and farming women work side by side, the men can be assured of women, and together they have children who carry on the family tradition and the name on the land of their ancestors. Also, as farmers are humble folks, they don’t need much in the way of pride. In contrast, samurai are all about pride. Sure, they have to be humble and obedient before their lords, but a samurai is nothing without his warrior honor. Thus, it is less certain for a samurai in securing meaning in life. If he’s a member of a prominent clan, he could own property and get married and raise children. But if the clan is destroyed, samurai lose their positions. Or the clan, in peacetime, might let go of some of their retainers who are then rendered virtually homeless; they’ve instantly gone from being superior to being lowlier in relation to all other castes. Of course, their status is still higher than those of all non-samurai because even a masterless samurai officially has more prestige than non-samurai. But prestige without place can actually be burdensome as one’s pride gets in the way of pragmatism of adapting to new realities. If samurai lost their status upon losing their station, they would feel free to do whatever necessary to get on with life. But their permanent status fixes their hopes on finding another clan to serve even if such prospects are few and far between.

Peasants of SEVEN SAMURAI

Even when the clans change, farmers still remain on the land and produce food for themselves and their masters. But when a clan falls, all the samurai fall with it. What is striking about the samurai in Kurosawa’s film is that they are all Men without Women. Among the peasants, even the lowly Yohei has a wife — one guy whose wife was abducted by the bandits is boiling over with rage.
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.

Unlike the samurai in SEVEN SAMURAI, the men of THE WILD BUNCH, being outlaws, don’t have much meaning and direction in life. Like animal predators, they go after one prey after another; there is no overarching meaning to their lives since they’ve abandoned the moral life, and without morality, there can be no higher meaning or purpose. At least the Corleones in THE GODFATHER had the ambition of one day becoming legitimate and respectable members of American society. The Bunch are content to ride around looking for one loot after another. They sort of live paycheck to paycheck or holdup to holdup. Old Man Sykes has been in the game for a long time, but it’s the same game. So, in a way, they are somewhat moved when the people of Angel’s village treat them not as thieves and killers but as Robin-Hood-like ‘freedom fighters’. Pike can be very cold, and even though he understands the plight of the villagers, his mind is still set on money or gold anyway he can get it. And his (anti)sermon to Angel, who is distraught over his murdered father and stolen girl, is “Either you learn to live with it or we leave you here”, whereupon Angel firms up and says, “I go with you, Jefe.”

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’.

(It is quite a remarkable scene running through the entire gamut of human emotions in all their brazenness, nuances, and contradictions. When Sykes greets the Bunch’s return, Pike shows irritation as if Sykes is just old weight he has to carry around, even an embarrassment to the Bunch. And then, the Gorches bring up the issue of ‘sharing up’, and Pike adamantly insists that it will be as always: equal shares for each member. This insistence on principle has a discordant ring because a minute ago Pike himself seemed annoyed with Sykes. The Gorches say Sykes doesn’t deserve equal shares since all he did was wait around with the horses; and Angel doesn’t deserve it because he is ‘just staring out’. In a way, the Gorches, ruffians that they are, make a legitimate point. And it appears Pike overreacts by taunting the Gorches to take all the loot if they don’t like equal shares. The Gorches were not saying they wanted it all; they just wanted the shares to reflect the risks and input. But Pike reacts angrily for reasons that are personal and ‘political’. On a personal level, he has a sentimental attachment to Sykes. Also, there’s something about the Gorches he simply doesn’t like or trust. They are too rough and stupid, even if they have a legitimate point. And a man of Pike’s intelligence has too much pride to be listening to advice from the likes of Gorches — just like Woltz in THE GODFATHER won’t be ‘made to be look ridiculous’ by the likes of Johnny Fontaine. But it’s also a matter of power. Unless Pike demonstrates that it’s his way or the highway — as with the old man in RESERVOIR DOGS — , others will get the impression that he’s a pushover. Sometimes, the leader has to choose respect over reason even if others may be right. Leadership isn’t merely a matter of being rightness but of recognition. Especially as the Gorches broached the subject in a rough manner, Pike felt no choice but to stand his ground in a test of wills. Also, he likely knows from experience that unequal shares, even if justified, can lead to envy and resentment. Especially as outlaws tend to be dangerous with hair-trigger propensity for violence, it’s best to minimize anything that might stir up dissension. Indeed, human psychology isn’t merely about properties but perceptions. Even as Jews amassed greater fortunes than the Wasps, they still seethe about how their grandfathers weren’t admitted to some Anglo-American Country Club decades ago. Consider the resentment that the Gorches feel at Mapache’s when they are seated at another table while Pike and Dutch have been invited to discuss the plan for the train heist. Anyway, the scene that began on a note of weary annoyance on Pike’s part heats up to a battle of wills between Pike and the Gorches. Gorches decide to back off before Pike’s authority, but then Angel, sitting off by himself, makes noises — ‘chick, chick, chick’ — that taunt Gorches for their cowardice. The Gorches are agitated but overlook the slight as their minds are on the loot. But, it turns out that the sacks have nothing in them but washers. So, the scene goes from suspense and intensity to letdown and exasperation. After all the bloody mayhem of the opening part of the film and after the tense standoff between Pike and the Gorches, all they have to show for is “a dollar’s worth of steel holes”. Now, the Gorches feel they are justified in tearing into Pike. He planned and set up the operation, and some of the members of the Bunch got killed in Starbuck. Gorches, along with Pike, Dutch, and Angel, barely made it out alive. So, Pike has eggs on his face as leader of the Bunch. Pike admits he and the Bunch were set up, and Lyle Gorch demands who ‘they’ are. Just then, Sykes changes the tone by romping around and ridiculing them all, sparing no one: “Oh my, what a bunch! Big tough ones. Here you are with a handful of holes, a thumb up your ass, and a big grin to pass the time of day with.” Yet, Sykes’ rant isn’t as loony as it sounds. While he seems to be putting everyone down, he is distracting the Gorches in order to spare Pike, his younger friend, from more abuse and humiliation. He wild antics imply that the fault isn’t only with Pike but with the Bunch or simply with the absurd way of the world. And once calm returns after Sykes’ tirade, Pike quietly explains that it was likely the Railroad that set them up. Then he mentions a name that has special significance for himself and Sykes. He says Deke Thornton was ‘one of them’. Thus, the setup takes a personal as well as ‘political’ character. Just then, Lyle Gorch upsets the calm once again by hollering why Pike didn’t know about Thornton working with the Railroad. Of course, Pike hasn’t a good answer and is at a disadvantage because he was fooled not only by the Railroad but by his former partner. It is then that, unexpectedly, Angel taunts the Gorches by daring them to take his ‘silver’, whereupon the Gorches try to grab their guns. But Angel’s pistol is drawn on them, and he keeps taunting them. The tension shifts from Pike vs the Gorches to the Gorches vs Angel. But Pike, Sykes, and Dutch know what this is all about. Angel, though seemingly acting like an a**hole, is trying to rein in the Gorches and reinforcing his allegiance to Pike. Pike didn’t ask for this and may not have expected such loyalty from Angel. But Angel senses Pike is the rightful leader, and that’s that; and the Gorches bitch too much. So, as Angel holds down the Gorches, the others slowly draw out their guns and surround the Gorches four to one. Gorches figure it’s best to just let things go, and the tension defuses once again. We don’t know what’s to come next. Argument flares up again but then cracks into laughter as Pike says he should have ‘running whores instead of stealing army horses’. The Gorches, childlike, can’t help laughing at the remark, and everyone joins in a merriment that is both genuine and necessary as things could have gone very wrong in that scene. The scene ends with a shot of young Mexican boy and girl smiling in incomprehension. A nice touch but ironic given that the children could as easily have witnessed bloodletting and death if the tensions had played out differently. The scene presents Walon Green and Sam Peckinpah at their masterly best in staging and executing contradictory emotions with power and poetry.) And when Dutch was nearly killed during the train robbery, Angel saved him. So, his example inspires something among the Bunch that goes beyond reason or calculation. Up until the moment Pike finally decides to go after Angel, he didn’t know he’d do it. Pike is the type who likes to plan things. The one time he got drunk and careless, Deke Thornton was arrested by the lawmen while he himself barely escaped. Another time he got careless — though not with alcohol — , the love of his life(a Mexican woman) was gunned down by her estranged husband who also injured his leg. So, Pike likes to stay one step ahead in the game of fight-or-flight. As risks are intrinsic to the ‘business’ he is in, he’s averse to anything that needlessly messes with the odds. Even when he gets emotional, as with the Gorches, there’s an air of calculation to restore order and authority. So, his final decision to go after Angel goes against character. He tried to drown his sorrow with alcohol and a whore, but he can’t get Angel out of his mind. He feels as miserable on the new day as on the day before. Maybe he wouldn’t have decided to go after Angel if it weren’t for the ruckus in the other room where the Gorches pettily bicker with a whore over payment. It sounds so stupid, the Gorches and the woman squabbling over money. In that instance, Pike’s own life may have felt petty and pointless. As an outlaw, he may be the stuff of romantic lore, riding around and living free and robbing and womanizing. But in the end, his life was all about chasing after nickels and dimes. The bickering between the Gorches and the Mexican prostitute reminds us of the Bunch’s argument over the ‘washers’ after the first robbery. Despite their years and guns, they are like kids fighting over marbles — or like the brothers fighting over a ‘toy rifle’ in Anthony Mann’s WINCHESTER 73. And even when the Bunch finally got the gold from Mapache, it was hustling and haggling over peanuts, like kids trying to get the extra cookie for themselves. Petty crooks, all of them, the Bunch and Mapache and the rest. Bunch might see themselves as free-spirited outlaws, and Mapache and his men might see themselves as Federales or soldiers, but they are chicken thieves, not much different from bounty hunters. They’re just better at it, but the nature of ‘it’ is the same for them all.

“Why not?”

So, in that inspired moment of self-loathing and glimpse of redemption, fueled by hangover and agitation, Pike feels a surge of mad courage to lead the Bunch as a man of honor. And had he not acted on the impulse at that moment, he may have never done it. And once he gets the Gorches on the same wavelength and once Dutch joins along, there is no going back. Thus, what happens at the end of THE WILD BUNCH feels both spontaneous/accidental and fateful/predestined. Pike was inspired by the emotions of a moment arrived at by a convergence of events and confluence of elements(even something as trivial as the panicked chirping of a stringed sparrow, the desperate cries of which may pierce’s Pike knotted conscience about Angel’s plight), and yet, we can’t help feeling that the Bunch’s decision was the only thing that they, as the last barbarians of the West, could have done, at least if they are go out with a bang than a whimper.

Ernest Borgnine as Dutch.

If Pike and the Gorches needed to be inspired by a rush of feeling, Dutch appears to have made up his mind earlier and was just waiting for the others to see the light too, though of heaven or hell one cannot be sure.
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

When Sykes is shot, Pike could have led the Bunch to take on the bounty hunters, but he decides to ride back to Agua Verde than risk facing Deke Thornton. Pike and Deke are like the two gladiators played by Kirk Douglas and Woody Strode in SPARTACUS. They are forced to fight, but they don’t really want to kill one another. The tortured relation between Pike and Deke was foreshadowed in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and MAJOR DUNDEE, both films where friends-turn-enemies-turn-friends, indeed where one friend redeems himself or his estranged friend through the sacrifice of death.
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.

It’s one thing to read or hear about something but something quite else to see it with one’s eyes. This is why Mel Gibson’s PASSION OF THE CHRIST had such an impact on so many people. It presented the suffering of Jesus into a real bad asswhupping that made them cry and pull their hair. And Jews got so upset that they decided to get even and morally shame the white Christian Right with 12 YEAR A SLAVE, aka Passion of the Negro. As a child, watching Kunta Kinte get whipped for refusing to answer to ‘Toby’ moved me deeply — despite the fact that some half-breed ‘Injun’ in school did the funniest impression of the scene, even making the Negroes in class LOL: “What’s yo’ name, nigga!” “Kunta!” Twack! “What’s yo’ name nigga?” “K-K-Kunta!” Twack!. It’s one thing to hear of Jews getting killed by the Nazis, but when people saw how the mayhem in SCHINDLER’S LIST, they really began to weep for and worship the Jew. In life, we tend to avert our gaze from horrible stuff. Even war journalism overlooks most of the gruesome details of war, not least because US has been involved in so many Wars for Israel in recent years; the US media, being dominated by Jews, don’t want to undermine the Zio-War-Machine. Most Americans don’t want to look at what Israeli bombs have done to the people of Gaza.

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.

There’s also the wounded man who falls off the horse and is shot by Pike. After he’s killed, the Bunch, instead of just riding off, gripe over what to do with the body. Gorches, in one of their more sentimental moments, say the body should be buried as it belonged to a ‘good man’. Pike says let the bounty hunters deal with it.

Pike’s ‘mercy killing’ or ‘hog killing’?

A movie that focuses mainly on the story has no interest in someone once he dies since dead men don’t act. Peckinpah, in contrast, was as interested in creating a fully realized universe as in telling a story. And in his world of gritty realism, characters linger as carcasses even after they’re dead. They don’t just fade away. They begin to rot and stink, especially if dug up from the ground as in the macabre BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. It is in this sense that the ending of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is significant as a kind of swan song of the classic Western. As the old hero faces death at the end, he wants others to ride away and not see him as a pile of dead flesh and bones. Falling into eternal sleep, he can leave his body behind and gracefully enter his house justified. Peckinpah’s films, more than most, remind us why death is such a dark subject for most people. If upon dying we can just fade away like Jedi Knights in STAR WARS, how nice it’d be. But even after death, our bodies linger and turn ugly and gross as they rot. It shouldn’t matter to us since they’re just lifeless mass of flesh. But we still worry over them, which is why almost everyone cares about what is done with his or her body after he or she is dead. It’s not rational but real enough. Therefore, the ritual of handling dead bodies is important. It’s why the Mexicans in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA are outraged by the idea of grave-robbing. It’s why the ending of THE COUNSELOR, where the body of the man’s wife is dumped into a pile of trash is so disconcerting. People don’t end with death. Their bodies remain in the world. One reason why the man in Abbas Kiarostami’s TASTE OF CHERRY has a difficult time facing death is he can’t take his body with him to the netherworld. In some ways, the physiology of death may be more upsetting to secular folks than to spiritual folks. Religious folks may believe their spirits will live on without the bodies. They have identities beyond the physical. In contrast, secular people fixate their identities with their bodies. And yet, when they die, their bodies remain in the world. Worse, their bodies no longer belong to them but to the elements and other people to do with them as they please. Indeed, look at the sorry sight of what happened to Mussolin’s body after he was killed. Because the dead linger as bodies, and the proper treatment of dead bodies signify what we are in terms of both physical and spiritual health.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA – the lingering dead.
Penelope Cruz in THE COUNSELOR: Soon headed for the garbage dump.

Real death is a messy business, certainly more so than in most movies. And there is a wide spectrum of hellishness between life and death, like what Deke Thornton experienced when he was being tortured close to death — or what Willem Dafoe’s Jesus goes through in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. During the agony, Thornton probably wished he were dead, but he was kept alive to feel more pain until he finally broke. Generally, we don’t want to see prolonged suffering in cinema. Quentin Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS derives its power by circumventing the rule of audience preferences/expectations. Tim Roth’s character, who is shot in the stomach and writhing in pain, simply won’t die. And his agony is felt throughout the entire film. Or consider the broken legs in DELIVERANCE and THE DEER HUNTER. Death is a passage to heaven, but pain is hell itself. Despite our fear of death, a quick death is at least merciful. It’s not death per se that bothers us most in cinema. It’s the prolonged horror before death or prolonged horror that won’t deliver death’s release. What is the most horrible scene in SEVEN SAMURAI? It’s when a captured bandit is set upon by angry farmers who torture and lynch him. The samurai are deadly but usually kill with maximum efficiency. Peasants take their time like ants swarming over scorpions in the opening of THE WILD BUNCH.

SEVEN SAMURAI – Kyuzo readying to kill with maximum efficiency.
Ants devouring a scorpion in THE WILD BUNCH.

In YOJIMBO, the lightning swordplay metes out quick death(though not so much to the guy who loses a limb), but things get ugly when Sanjuro(Mifune) is captured and brutalized by a ruffian giant. And Sergio Leone’s movies feature both ‘cool’ fast killings and prolonged torture-fests. Think of the Passion of Blondie(Clint Eastwood) at the hands of Tuco(Eli Wallach) in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. Think of the Passion of Tuco at the hands of Angel Eyes(Lee Van Cleef). Think of Chaney(Charles Bronson) beating the crap out of the fat guy in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. And think of what the gangsters do to Fat Moe in ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. I think maybe Kurosawa felt compelled to make RED BEARD partly as a countermand to many of his earlier action movies that featured death as too swift and/or exciting, thereby insufficiently disturbing. To be sure, there was RASHOMON’s second sword-fight that unraveled with tattered nerves. And death by arrows in THRONE OF BLOOD is harrowing. And when we discover what happened to the protagonist in BAD SLEEP WELL — how he was overpowered, drugged, and framed in a drunken-driving accident — , it’s about as depressing a death we can imagine. And the case of the old man in RECORD OF A LIVING BEING(aka I LIVE IN FEAR) lays bare the neurosis of fear of death that can be palpable even in a world at peace. But Kurosawa became most famous around the world for his action films with samurai thunderously riding horses and using swords to fell other men with brutal force. The one great exception could be said to be IKIRU, a ‘medical drama’ — QUIET DUEL is another one though not about death, even though I suppose a syphilitic man who cannot have a woman and children with her is living a kind of death — that wrestles with the difficulty of death that won’t come suddenly and mercifully. The convicted kidnapper faces the same dilemma in HIGH AND LOW; it’s the waiting to be put to death that eats away at his soul. Like with the convicts in Richard Brook’s IN COLD BLOOD, the worst part is not so much the dying as the waiting before the dying. Even if death were to be quick & relatively merciful, the countdown to the final moment is a torture. Of course, all of us are under a death sentence since no one lives forever. But then, we draw a therapeutic distinction between dying and being killed. Somehow, dying at the age of 35 of some disease seems less terrible than being murdered at the age of 70. The manner matters.
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

Anyway, even Pike, who prides himself on cold professionalism, cannot turn away from what’s been done to Angel. And the emotions that stir inside him are of a different nature than what he’d felt when he berated Tector Gorch about sticking together. Pike’s sticking up for Sykes was more like a business lecture: They are like a company, you see, and unless they watch out for another, they will fall apart. It wasn’t about ‘all for one’ but ‘one for all’. For the Bunch to carry on as a whole, there has to be mutual support and cooperation. Pike wasn’t saying the all the members of the Bunch should risk their lives to save one member. After all, when things got hot in Starbuck in the opening scene, every member of the Bunch scrambled to ride out with the loot as fast as possible. Pike is mainly interested in the survival of the group as a whole, and unless everyone’s into ‘equal shares’ and looking out for each other, the Bunch will fall apart. The Bunch as a whole is more important than any single member. Pike’s standing up for Sykes wasn’t just for him but for good of the Bunch. For the good of the Bunch, the survivors rode out of Starbuck while leaving the fallen behind. For the good of the Bunch, Tector mustn’t kill Sykes because it will demoralize the whole. What is good for the Bunch may change from situation to situation, but the Bunch as a whole comes first.
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.

Battered Angel

Pike is not without scruples, but he is a ‘business-minded’ person, and he’s always calculating risks, rewards, and losses. He knows he has to give a pep talk now and then about the good of the whole, but he also knows the Bunch sometimes must cut others loose. He’s like a C.E.O. who knows the importance of teamwork and group spirit but also knows certain workers have to be let go. And from a rational viewpoint, the sane and smart thing would be to leave Angel behind. They can’t really save him, and in trying to do so, they’ll just get him killed(which is inevitable anyways) and get themselves killed in the bargain. It’s the philosophy of business, something that Harrigan knows all too well too. But when Pike sees the bloodied figure of Angel before him, he finds it difficult to rationalize the situation — as with Michael when he sees his father in the hospital in THE GODFATHER. The moment is too ‘personal’ for ‘business’ considerations. It’s almost like a ‘spiritual’ crisis that can’t be resolved with thirty or even thirty thousands pieces of silver. Pike, being the business-type that he is, tries to bargain with Mapache. He offers half his share of gold to buy Angel back. But Mapache won’t be bought. As horrible as Mapache is, he isn’t simply about nickels and dimes. His own crazy sense of honor says that Angel is not for sale. Angel is the rebellious upstart who killed Mapache’s whore and stole Mapache’s guns. For Mapache to retain the respect of his men, he must mete out his brand of ‘justice’ to Angel in pure Mexican style. Mapache will not sell Angel, not for half or even all of Pike’s gold, not even for all the shares of the gold of the whole Bunch. It’s a demented kind of integrity but integrity just the same that sort of shames Pike’s tendency of seeing everything in terms of nickels and dimes, of bargaining above and under the table.
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.

Pike’s revolver

As Pike is the leader, it’s his decision to go after Angel that inspires the Gorches to do likewise. Dutch himself couldn’t have motivated the others, and he waits outside for the others. The final decision was up to Pike. Nevertheless, if not for Dutch’s prodding and sulking, things might have been otherwise. Due to shame and guilt, Pike could not confront Deke Thornton with guns or reconcile with a handshake. And it wasn’t easy for Pike to see, face to face, the bloody pulp that has become of Angel. So, it becomes important for Pike to look Dutch straight in the eye and win respect as a true man of honor. After all, the leader or the top dog is nothing without the respect of his partners and followers. Without respect, there’s only fear, bribery, and greed to keep the gang altogether. When Pike chooses the value of respect over all other considerations, the Bunch changes from a gang of thieves to an order of knights. It’s like the rebirth of chivalry, which is impossible without the cult of honor and respect.

Indeed, look what happens to the lord in THRONE OF BLOOD once he loses the respect of his men. They continue to follow him only out of fear but then finally turn on him to save themselves. One thing Adolf Hitler did have going for him was that most of his associates continued to respect him and stayed by his side to the very end. And Stalin had the respect of his underlings who stood by him even though all seemed lost with the German invasion. But no one respected Batista of Cuba, and when things got hot, everyone took off to save his own skin.
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.

Respect goes a long way, and it’s the anxiety of respect that makes the Heston character in MAJOR DUNDEE to go on a madcap venture to regain some of his. But, he falls into a quagmire where the more he grasps for respect, the more he risks losing it. Also, respect comes in many forms, and paradoxically, the man worthy of respect can lose respect and the man unworthy of respect can command respect. In RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, the former sheriff is worthy of respect. He’s upstanding and courageous, a true man of honor. But his honesty and squareness have left him poor and forgotten. If he didn’t have a stiff spine, he might go around complaining like Rodney Dangerfield. He does things by the book and usually keeps his word, but the real world is run by the wheeling-and-dealing of money, not honor. In this sense, he’s as deluded about reality as the Fundamentalist Christian father(R.G. Armstrong) of the fresh young woman played by Mariette Hartley. The Christian father guy is less likable in personality, but he has an unbending devotion to the way of God. Likewise, the ex-sheriff(Joel McCrea) will not budge, not even an inch, when it comes to his code of honor. He’s a puritan in his own way. He always tries to do the right thing, but can a man be respected without status, money, and power? If self-respect the same thing as communal 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

Perceval says in EXCALIBUR when he has nothing left but the hope of attaining the Grail: “I cannot give up hope, Lancelot. It’s all I have left.” And it is through Perceval’s gift of the Grail that Arthur regains his senses and rides off to battle and almost certain death. His kingdom isn’t what it was once was and faced with mortal threat from Mordred and his army. All that Arthur has left to is to fight and die as a noble leader. His ‘brother’ Kaye understands this as well; he says Merlin visited him and told him he would fight bravely. They understand that it will be their last battle, one they cannot back away from, one that will be the stuff of future memory.
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

John Boorman, who made EXCALIBUR, understands the power of myth, just like Joseph Campbell. Indeed, the opening scene of knights in the dark forest in EXCALIBUR owes something to the powerful imagery of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in THE BIRTH OF THE NATION. While it’s true that the KKK later came to be associated with unsavory people, it’s undeniable that it began as an organization and movement to defend white folks from the newly freed jive-ass Negroes. Also, regardless of whether an organization is good or bad, it is doing good when saving white folks from Negro thugs and savages; it’s like Soviet Communists were bad, but they did good when they fought to save the Russian Motherland from German invaders.
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

Anyway, men of action go together with men of words. Without action, there is nothing to write about. Without words, actions(no matter how grand) will not be remembered. Indeed, if no one had written anything about the Holocaust, who would know about it? An incidence of four murdered girls will be remembered with greater tragic sense than an event where thousands or even millions were killed if the former is told while the latter is not. Indeed, why was it so important for the Poles to remember what happened in Katyn? It was because the official story the USSR, the Polish communists, and even by US & UK(at least during the war and immediate aftermath) denied the truth and blamed it on the Nazi Germans when, in truth, the killings had been perpetuated by the NKVD. And why do so few Americans understand the tragic history of the Palestinians? It’s because they never heard of the story of Nakba and all the terrible things Jewish Zionists did to the Palestinians, an wholly innocent people who had no part in the dirty game of international politics. Recently, Clint Eastwood gained fame(or notoriety) with AMERICAN SNIPER, and it’s a powerful example of how a story of the man-of-action and the skills of a man-of-word/image came together to create a powerful movie(that, by the way, has been attacked in some quarters for inaccuracy or serving as warmongering propaganda). Whatever one thinks of Eastwood’s movie, it illustrates the power of what storytelling can achieve. It shapes the hearts and minds of countless people because it is the stories that inspire and bind us through the ages. When a new elites come to power, they not only tear down the old symbols but suppress or discredit all the sacred stories of the conquered subjects. For as long as a people cling to their own stories and narratives of courage, glory, and resistance, they have a chance of rising once again to ‘wield Excalibur’. This is why Henryk Sienkiewicz invested so much of his time and effort in writing the trilogy — WITH FIRE AND SWORD, THE DELUGE, and PAN MICHAEL(aks FIRE IN THE STEPPE) — in the hope that Poles, then under the Russian and German yoke, would rise once again and reclaim the lost nation of their forefathers. The story that Jews and Negroes hate most is of the Reconstruction years when Northern whites eventually came to understand the problems and fears of Southern whites, and the two sides finally came to bury the hatchet and respect one another. Though the North defeated the South and freed the Negroes, Northern whites came to favor Southern whites over the ghastly Negroes. But in time, Jews used all their dirty tricks and influence to create the bogus image of holy and innocent Negroes in the South being terrorized by evil and brutal white rednecks when, in fact, it was always the white man who lived in fear of the stronger and more aggressive Jafro-thug. And as the White South has been attacked and demeaned endlessly, white Northerners now side with Southern blacks against Southern whites. Jews love it, of course, because Jews love to divide-and-rule over gentiles. (But stupid Southern whites, who should be sympathizing with Palestinians, support Jews who go out of their way to dehumanize Southern whites. Ironically, even as Jews vilify white Southerners for their history of ‘racism’ against blacks, Jews cleverly project repressed white Southern racial ‘prejudices’ at Palestinians as the ‘new niggers’. So, white Southerners are supposed to repress their hatred & fear of real ‘niggers’ and direct their hostility at the ‘new niggers’ in Palestine, all the while praising the Zionists as the ‘new white power’.) And it is in the interest of Jewish supremacists to make one bunch of white folks hate another bunch of white folks. Indeed, there was some of this in the economic theories of Milton Friedman as well. As flawed as the New Deal was, it brought together Northern Whites, Southern Whites, and Western Whites. It also brought together rich whites, middle whites, and poor whites. It also brought together big business with big labor. It created white unity in a form of National Capitalism. But with the rise of neo-liberal or libertarian economics, the new ideal was that the super-smart & super-ambitious whites should care only about themselves, rake in all the dough, and sneer at the rest of the white population. So, rich whites should feel closer to rich Jews and rich non-whites around the world than with the rest of the white population in America. In a way, FDR’s New Deal and Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism were better templates for long-term white unity and power. But as the result of neo-liberal economic politics, what we’ve witnessed in America is the phenomenon of ‘Coming Apart’ that has been the subject of Charles Murray’s latest book.

Pike Bishop back on the horse after the fall.

Anyway, Pike’s final decision on Angel can’t be appreciated apart from Dutch’s feelings about Pike and vice versa. Pike’s self-image has come to rely on Dutch’s perception, even vision, of him. There’s a sense throughout the film that Dutch not only likes Pike but respects him and looks up to him. Consider the scene when Pike falls while mounting his horse, bears the taunting arrows of the Gorches, musters the last ounce of his strength to get on the horse, and rides off ahead of the others. Even the Gorches are rendered silent with reluctant admiration. It is, however, Dutch who watches with something like genuine sentiment, as if he’s honored to be riding with such a man. As Pike’s back was turned while riding away, he couldn’t have noticed Dutch’s reverence for him in that moment. But he couldn’t have been oblivious to all the instances when Dutch was his primary backup, like after Pike executed a ‘mercy killing’ on the fallen comrade. Though the great friendship of Pike life was with Deke Thornton, Dutch has been a most loyal partner, someone he could almost call a friend. Dutch isn’t like Sykes who is half-senile(and a wild rascal) or the Gorches(who can be childish thugs). Dutch is more thoughtful than most, especially for an outlaw, and so Pike comes to rely on him in ways he can’t on others. So, how Dutch sees him has come to influence how he sees himself. Also, Dutch had backed him every step of the way. When Gorches started a row after the first failed robbery, Dutch stood by Pike’s side. Ironically, Dutch, who has come to loathe Deke Thornton and competes with him for Pike’s affection, nudges Pike on the path that may redeem him in relation to Thornton. Dutch prodded Pike for the sake of Angel, but Angel’s troubles at the hands of Mapache parallel Thornton’s troubles at the hands of Harrigan. It’s strange how all the loose ends tie together in ways nobody intended.
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.

Doomed Soldiers
Dutch being fiendish
Pike and Angel pulling away

Why does Dutch feel so strongly about Angel? The obvious answer is Angel saved him during the train robbery. Dutch may also feel somewhat responsible for Angel’s fate since he came with the suggestion that Angel get a case of rifles and a case of ammunition for taking part in the heist. Furthermore, Dutch seems to be a bit more sympathetic to the plight of Mexican villagers than others of the Bunch are; he even speaks a bit of Spanish. When they first arrive at Agua Verde, Dutch says, “Eh, ‘Generalissimo’, hell! He’s just another bandit grabbin’ all he can for himself… Not so’s you’d know it, Mr. Bishop. We ain’t nothin’ like him! We don’t HANG nobody! I hope, someday, these people here kick him, and the rest of that scum like him, right into their graves.”
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.”

In contrast, civilization has a Theory of Justice, and justice means punishment. If done properly, it’s the essential stuff of harmony, fairness, and goodness. But if misused, it’s just a case of the powerful, corrupt, and cunning invoking ‘justice’ at every turn to pull all sorts of dirty tricks for their own interests. Indeed, look at how Jews and homos now abuse the power of ‘justice’, or ‘Jewstice’. By distorting and perverting the meaning of ‘equality’, they’ve pushed the notion of ‘marriage equality’ and ‘same sex marriage’ or ‘gay marriage’. It’s really homo-supremacist power allied with Jewish supremacist power, but they pretend it’s all about ‘justice’ and ‘equality’ by using force to ensure the ‘freedom’ of homos to swallow the lie that their ‘sexuality’ is of equal value with true sexuality. And if you don’t bend over to their glob-homo agenda, they will destroy your business, your career, your reputation, your popularity(if you’re a celebrity), and etc. They are so vicious with their control of the law that so many Americans have done what Deke Thornton did. They folded and now serve their new masters to go after their own kind. And they ride for the Jewish supremacists and homo supremacists in the PC inquisition to go after those who still have the guts to oppose the ‘gay’ agenda. Or, consider how Jews are now trying to manipulate free speech laws so that certain kinds of speech deemed as ‘group defamation’ or ‘hateful’, therefore to be silenced and forbidden. (By the way, What in the hell is ‘group defamation’? Isn’t any general statement about any group, nation, or people a case of ‘group defamation’? If one says, Germans invaded Poland in 1939, it can be construed as ‘group defamation’ since not all Germans took part in the invasion and not all Germans supported Hitler. If one says Russians raped millions of German women in WWII, it is ‘group defamation’ since for every Russian soldier who did rape, there were others who didn’t.
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!”

And yet, Peckinpah had a strange attraction to Mexicans and a certain hostility toward Northern-European-dominated America. He was born with wild genes, and even as he respected his serious and hard-working forebears — both his grandfather and father were much-respected judges — , he resented the burden of obligation. He wanted to roam wild and free, and Mexico seemed to keep alive the spirit of the 19th century of ‘anything goes’.
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

The Bunch can be ruthless, but they kill to kill, no ifs and buts about it. In contrast, the ruthless men with the Law’s arms around them capture and toy with others like the children play with ants and scorpions. If Harrigan were an outlaw himself, he might have just killed Deke Thornton. But since he has the Law’s arms around him, he can wring Thornton through the legal process of imprisonment, ‘interrogation’, and parole. And through the process under the sanction of the law, he can torture Thornton and break his will — like how the terrorists are broken in ZERO DARK THIRTY.

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. – Trapped between the law and the underworld.

(It’s sort of like what Chance does with the blonde woman in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. With the law on his side, he blackmails her and uses her — even obtains sexual favors from her — as a stool pigeon. Of course, his arch-enemy, the counterfeiter, is also a master-manipulator, indeed a much greater one. But then, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is about lawmen and gangsters; and gangsters, unlike gunmen of the West, are Organization Men. They are a part of civilization who rely on the system as much as the lawmen do. They are not roaming predators of THE WILD BUNCH who may be romanticized by some[like Peckinpah and Walon Green]as tragic nomads, the last of the breed riding wild and free as the walls of civilization closes in on the frontier from all sides. One crucial difference between the Western outlaw and the gangster is that the former is like vermin whereas the latter is like virus; ‘vermin’, such as raccoons and coyotes, can be eradicated through animal control whereas virus will always remain with us. At any rate, as the myth of the West depended on the clash of the wild and the tame, it could not exist with either the wild or the tame gaining total dominance. Purely as wilderness, it would be the land of ‘red savages’ and coyotes. Purely as civilization, it would be land of farms, asphalt pavements, and shopping malls. The problem for the Western heroes and outlaws was not change per se, because, after all, without the transformation narrative, there would have been no Western Myth in the first place. The problem wasn’t the process but the product; the transformation fundamentally rendered the Western Narrative into a past tense. There could no longer be heroes and villains. There would still be criminals and gangs, but they would be part of civilization than mavericks outside or at the fringes of civilization. As for the lawmen, they would just be bureaucrats and/or militarized mercenaries taking orders from the state than maverick individualists who were as much vigilantes as lawmen. The power of the state can be frustrating because it is both the great ‘enabler’ of power & privilege and the great equalizer of talent. The power of state can favor certain interests over others, and there was a time when the government and the railroad worked hand-in-hand to further the ‘national agenda’ favored by Eastern banks. But as the state favors the pencil-pushing bureaucratic mind, it tends to equalize the worth of alpha men and beta men — and men and women as well, as any women can shuffle paper as well as any man. In the first exchange between Deke Thornton and Harrigan, Thornton could be mistaken as Harrigan’s superior. He is a more commanding figure in height and personality. Angry over the massacre that just took place in the town square, Thornton snarls: “The next time you better plan your massacre more carefully or I’ll start with you!” We can’t help feeling that one-on-one, man-to-man, Thornton would have the edge over Harrigan. But it soon dawns on us that Harrigan has power over Thornton. Not because he is innately superior but because he has the law’s arms around him. The law makes Thornton the ‘bitch’ of Harrigan, indeed not unlike what the blonde woman is to Chance in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. But then, Chance is no pencil-pusher but the wildest man in the movie, but then he burns out quickly.) And as ordinary folks fear and loathe the outlaws, they generally look the other way when the legal system takes extra-measures to deal with robbers and bandits. It’s like our fear of terrorism made us look the other way as United States violated the Geneva Convention and resorted to various forms of torture — as shown in Kathryn Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY — to capture and/or kill the terrorist masterminds. There’s a sense in THE WILD BUNCH that torturing and prolonging the pain of others is not something the Bunch would do. They are predator-killers, not sadist-keepers. Of course, the distinction is dubious, and sadistic brutality can be found in all walks of life. Consider the psychopath played by Michael Madsen in RESERVOIR DOGS who bides his time having fun torturing a captive policeman. And the rebels who captured Gaddaffi weren’t part of any state or government. They were just a bunch of ragtag warriors — much like the rebel insurgent villagers in THE WILD BUNCH — , and they sure took their time torturing and beating Gaddaffi before finally putting him to death. (Granted, certain political conflicts tend to arouse hostile passions all around, e.g. ISIS’s horrific use of violence in dispatching enemies.) And there are many home-invaders who take their time to brutalize, maim, and kill their victims. But then, some such criminals, such as the Negroes who carried out the Knoxville Massacre, are total psychopaths who are less interested in loot than in the sheer joy of acting like debauched and deranged lunatics. The Bunch are not political or ideological; they ‘share very few sentiments’ with their government or any other system. And they don’t appear to be sexual degenerates even though one can’t be sure with the Gorches.
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.

At any rate, what really eats away at Dutch is the manner in which he left Angel behind when Mapache’s men took hold of him. It wouldn’t have been so galling if Dutch hadn’t been there to witness it. Suppose it had been Old Man Sykes who’d gone with Angel to get the gold. While the notion of Angel falling into Mapache’s claws would have sickened Dutch in any case, it’s the visceral impact of having been there as witness that makes it tougher on Dutch than on the others… that is until Pike and the Gorches see for themselves the state of Angel in Agua Verde. Dutch saw it happen, and he remembers Angel’s expression as he rode off with the gold. It is this feeling of shame and self-loathing that makes Dutch itch for some kind of redemption. His riding off alone is somewhat parallel to Pike’s escape while Thornton was captured by lawmen. In both cases, the actions were utterly understandable. As the lawmen were closing in on Pike and Deke, Pike could either save himself or be captured along with Thornton. He had no chance of saving Thornton. Likewise, there was nothing Dutch could have done about Angel. And Angel knew the game was up. There was nothing he could do to save himself. He could have ratted out the Bunch for having been in on the plot(of diverting some rifles and ammo to the villagers), but even that wouldn’t have saved him. Still, it’s the nature of man, when pushed against the wall, to squeal on his friends. Not necessarily because it might save him but no man wants to take the fall all by himself. A frightened man seeks comfort in collective/shared misery. It’s like a man hanging onto another man from a cliff. If he lets go, he will die. If he clings to the man, both will die; but at least he won’t die alone. People fear failure and death, but what they fear most is failure or death alone. This is something that is well-known in criminal justice. Oftentimes, criminals or suspects squeal if only to take others down with them. (Consider how one of the killers turn on the other in IN COLD BLOOD.) But Angel says nothing. When Dutch responds to Mapache’s accusation about Angel by calling Angel a ‘thief’ and tells Mapache to deal with him as he sees fit, it isn’t necessarily an act of betrayal. It’s just the nature of the game. And Angel understands why Dutch did what he did. Angel took the risk, and he lost. All that is left is for Dutch to save himself, and Angel understands. He doesn’t spill the beans on Pike and Dutch. Of course, it’s possible that Mapache and his cronies suspect that Dutch is lying, but they are willing to let it go. After all, they were compensated with a machine gun and boxes of grenades. Mapache and his henchmen are satisfied with Angel, and Angel knows the score. He knows he’ll have to pay the price. The question is, does he want to pay the price alone or does he want to implicate Dutch also? Though Dutch will hate him for it, there would be comfort in suffering together. But Angel decides to bear the cross alone. He says nothing and merely raises his hand weakly as Dutch rides off on his own.
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.

The Bunch stand for frontier freedom, but “it ain’t like it used to be”, and the men “are not getting any younger.”. Sykes is an old coot, and Pike is getting up in his years. Dutch and the Gorches aren’t young men either. Indeed, only Angel could be said to be young. Crazy Lee, another young man, was left behind at Starbuck. Pike has reached a point in his life where a part of him just wants to call it quits, not least because of his injuries. He wants stability, but men like him have no retirement plan. They’ve chosen the life of grasshoppers feeding on ants, and there’s no place in the ants’ world for their tired bones(and rightfully so). In this, they are sort of the like the nomadic troupes in Yasujiro Ozu’s UKIGUSA, Fellini’s LA STRADA, and Ingmar Bergman’s THE CLOWN’S EVENING.
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.)

And he can’t help thinking of the time when he did have a chance of a settling down with a woman he loved. So, there’s something about Angel’s village — dream of permanence — that strikes a chord in him. It is neither wild like the frontier nor hectic like America towns & cities(that are always changing). It’s a place where time stands still, as if it’s the same place it was a hundred or two hundred years ago. It has the feeling of the village in the final segment of 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 is kind of like Steiner in CROSS OF IRON, a leader of men whom others rely on — indeed without whom, they would be utterly lost. As the war is being lost by the Germans and chaos reigns everywhere, the only thing left is for the men to stick together and follow Steiner through thick and thin. So, it feels like betrayal when Steiner decides to go off on his own to confront Stransky. As much as Steiner feels for his comrades, he resents the fact of others depending on him as the very idea of institution/organization revolts him.
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.

At Angel’s village, Pike feels at ease, and perhaps part of him wants to settle there. But when Angel gnarls with anger about his murdered father and Teresa, it is Pike who, as leader, leans on him to forget about the village: “Either you learn to live with it, or we leave you here.” Pike tells Angel, the very son of the village, to forget about his community while he himself feels a growing attachment to it. He’s a conflicted man, torn between what he has to do and what he wants to do. But then, even what he wants to do isn’t a sure thing. He’s weary of wandering and robbing but no good at anything else. Could he really be content with settling down? Pike’s psychology is in the dual-mode of fight and flight. On the one hand, he tries to bury the past that keeps haunting him, but he also says(to Dutch) that not a single day has gone by without thoughts of getting even with the husband who killed the woman he was in love with. (It’s hard to say who was betraying whom in this equation. If the woman was married, she was betraying her husband, and Pike was messing around with another man’s wife. But if the husband was a bad character who’d left his wife, he interfered in the true love between a man and a woman.) Even between Harrigan and Pike, it’s a cat-and-mouse game. As the Railroad grows more powerful and effective in dealing with outlaws, Pike is more fearful and keeps his distance. And yet, the growing challenge whets his appetite for a big score even more. And his personal animus against Harrigan makes him want to pursue and strike at the Railroad(as his Moby Dick) over and over. Yet, Pike isn’t like Captain Ahab who really wants to kill the great whale once and for all. After all, if the Railroad were to vanish, the Bunch would have one less prey to feed on, though to be sure, the Bunch vs the Railroad is more like predators feeding on the Predator, like a pack of wolves stealing a kill from a grizzly bear. Pike’s hatred of the Railroad has no valid moral justification. Of course, the Railroad has every right to defend itself from robbers and bandits, just like Pike defends the interests of the Bunch when Mapache’s men try to grab the rifles and ammo without payment. Just as Pike takes precaution to defend his loot, why wouldn’t Harrigan and the Railroad do the same with properties of the railroad? Among outlaws, right & wrong is more about ego and self-interest than any ‘higher principle’. Pike may feel himself and the Bunch more justified because they are individual operators whereas the Railroad is a faceless industry and Mapache serves a corrupt institution. A maverick-anarchist viewpoint may revel in the romantic cult of the free-willed outlaw, and THE WILD BUNCH is a testament to the compelling power of art, but it’s still worthless as any kind of moral philosophy.

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.

It could be that Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST owed as much to the films of Sam Peckinpah(especially BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, and indeed both films seem as though made by drunkards or cokeheads) as to the original source material of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel and surely Pier Paolo Pasolini’s THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW. It is in Scorsese’s film that the subject of the sexuality and whore is much more prominent than in other film versions of Jesus. It’s the sort of film Beavis n Butthead would readily understand. Though Jesus confronts all sorts of grave problems of politics and morality, one of his biggest issues is with women and sexuality. Sexuality is one of the most powerful natural drives of humans — indeed of all life-forms that multiply through intercourse — , and it could also be said to interconnected with everything else. After all, regardless of whether the Jews are under Roman occupation or not, the problem of sex is always present. There’s the problem of women as whore-temptress, the agent of corruption of man. The Torah is filled with such archetypes who lead men astray. Think of Delilah the Philistine shikse tart. Sometimes, men desire even married women as ‘whores’ to possess and lead themselves astray. King David did this with Bathsheba. Though she’s a married woman, David arranged things so that her husband would be killed in battle and she would fall into his lap. So, whether Jews are on top or on the bottom, the problem of sex has been with them always(as with any other tribe). And this is no less true with Jesus in Scorsese’s film. While social issues come and go with the winds of politics, the sexual issue always remains in the hearts and balls of men. To be sure, sexuality intersects with politics/society. As Jewish men in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST are under Roman rule, they don’t have the full respect of their own womenfolk. Even their official leaders are whores of Roman might. And in the multi-cultural Roman Empire, it means certain Jewish women are tempted to be strumpets giving themselves to all kinds of men. In one scene in the film, Jesus watched Mary Magdalene get humped by men of all races, even by ghastly Negroes. It’s like Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER confronted with all sorts of sexual neurosis. Consider his strange relation with Iris the 12 yr old ‘strumnymphet’. A part of him wants to have her too, but another part of him wants to set itself apart from other men who just see her as a piece of meat. He wants to save her body, even her soul. If men give into their sexual drives and stick it into any woman who spreads her legs, then all men are equally animals.

TAXI DRIVER – Strumpet Iris and Travis Bickle
THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST – Whore Magdalene and Jesus.

Some might say there’s nothing wrong with that, but a moral culture, especially such as that of the Jews, had difficulty accepting the kind of ‘debauchery’ where sex wasn’t governed by strict moral laws, cultural purpose(centered around the family), and spiritual guidance. A prophet must be a prophylactic against unguided sex. Men want whores, but whores are degrading and reduce humanity into horny animals without values or self-restraint. Also, the moralists fear that unloosed sexuality will lead to sensual wantonness that leads to a cynical and contemptuous view of life. If indeed it’s okay for men and women to act with sexual abandon in public places, how are they any different from shameless apes at the zoo that hump one another in front of visitors? If white folks acted like that, how would they be any different from the savage jigger-jiverish Negroes who, for the most part, have been incapable of developing much of anything that could be called a Great Civilization? How could a race of people who act like gorillas and baboons build civilization? Just like uncontrolled eating or gluttony leads to obesity and sickness of the body, moralists believe that uncontrolled sexuality or ‘sluttony’ leads to gross and piggish impulses hardly different from those of animals. Gluttony leads to obesity, ‘sluttony’ leads to obscenity. Obviously people need to eat to go on living, and people need to have sex to produce life that will carry on, but eating and sex without self-control and restraint lead to wantonness of the body and soul. And yet, by nature, humans want to pig out and hump as much as possible because humans are hairless apes.

EYES WIDE SHUT – Alice Harford’s Gonad-Annihilating Confession.

(And yet, the strangely tragic and beautiful thing about humans is that they have a mytho-god-complex. It’s evident not only in the Jesus character of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST but in Alice[Nicole Kidman] in EYES WIDE SHUT. There’s an aspect of sexuality that goes beyond survival. If indeed evolution is all about survival and security, why was Alice willing to sacrifice everything for just one night with the naval officer? Was it just a matter of lust, the kind Uther felt when he saw Igrayne? But then, was Uther driven merely by lust or something else? After all, he was willing to risk everything for just one night with her. Would any man or woman really give up everything just for sexual pleasure? Uther could have had any bunch of pretty girls. To Alice, the naval officer wasn’t just some handsome stud. He was like the image of a pagan god, a figure above and beyond man. And it is for this reason that her confession/revelation leaves Bill[Tom Cruise] feeling like Joseph after he’s been ‘cuckolded’, possibly by a higher deity. It’s not just sexual anxiety/jealousy but spiritual anxiety/jealousy because her consciousness has been touched by the ‘divine’ if via sensuality, but then, isn’t spirituality a form of sublimated sensuality, as the virtuous woman discovers of herself and freaks out in Luis Bunuel’s NAZARIN? And consider how the sensual narcissism of the young woman in Satyajit Ray’s DEVI transforms into a spiritual narcissism. If evolution is about favoring the odds of survival and security and if all humans are the products of evolution, why do humans feel drives and emotions that undermine survival and security? Why was Alice willing to sacrifice everything — her husband, her child, her security in life — for one night with a god-man? And why is beauty is important when any woman can have sex with any man and produce children? Chimps and gorillas don’t care about such stuff. When they feel horny, they just stick it into anything. Same with warthogs and dogs. Among mammals, the only thing that matters among the males is power, and females just give into whatever has the power. Among humans, however, power isn’t everything. It’s like Vicky married Jake LaMotta in RAGING BULL because he’s a big-time boxer, but she finds Tony Janiro more handsome and couldn’t help making a remark to that effect. Jake is tough physically but feels insecure in the looks department, and Vicky’s admiration, even adulation, of Janiro’s beauty eats away at him. It’s like how wolf-boy Jacob feels about Edward Cullen in TWILIGHT. Jacob is more muscled but Edward has the beauty that takes women’s breath away. Jacob is masculinity as animal power, whereas Edward is masculinity as godlike power. Brute strength can be quantified but beauty cannot. It has an ethereal quality that is beyond understanding and control. Jacob is a good-looking guy but not beautiful. He can’t draw Bella into trance like Edward can. He can make her look at his muscles and get sort of excited, but it’s Edward has the power of trance over her. Edward does to her what Alain Delon did to lots of women in the 60s and 70s. She falls under his spell. She wants to enter the realm of the vampire gods. The psychology of time is strange that way. Though Alice Harford says she’s willing to sacrifice everything for just one day with the naval officer, there would be more eternity in that one day than in her entire lifetime. In psychological time, one day with the naval officer is a taste of eternity. It’s like David’s one day with ‘mommy’ is worth more than all of time in A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Eternity is less about time per se than a sense that dissolves all sense of time; it is about time out of time; a moment of time out of time is more eternal than all the time in the world. To Alice, the naval officer was like the stargate of infinite beauty. Bill, her husband, sort of senses this, but his limited imagination fixates on the sexual dimensions of her confession. And yet, subconsciously, he undergoes a ‘spiritual’ crisis. After all, if all he’s seeking is to ‘get even’ with his wife by looking for sex with a woman, he could have done it with the prostitute he picked up in the street. Instead, he’s drawn to an orgy not so much for its sexual content but for its ‘spiritual’ dimensions. It takes place in a Valhalla-like mansion where rich and powerful folks live like gods. It’s like sneaking into the Mt. Olympus, which is also why Jack Torrance is so drawn to the Overlook Hotel in THE SHINING and why Ryan O’Neal’s character is so impressed with the world of the rich in BARRY LYNDON. The world of wealth and privilege is inhabited by mortal men but adorned with art, beauty, magnificence, and such stuff that create the impression of divinity. In such a world, one feels as a god oneself. Bill in EYES WIDE SHUT feels especially insecure because he’s both the physical and aesthetic inferior of the naval officer. Though he doesn’t recall his presence, Alice does all too vividly and she says he was tall and handsome. [The fact that the officer’s presence hadn’t registered on him at all even though it took possession of his wife’s soul fills Bill with a sense of paranoia. If he was oblivious to something that profound that was happening between the officer and his wife — even if only ‘psychically’ — , what else is he missing about the world around him? Maybe Jake LaMotta of RAGING BULL isn’t so off the mark after all. Maybe his anxieties about Vicky are true. Art generally deals with insecurity, whereas entertainment dishes out invincibility, but then fantasies of invincibility are appealing precisely because most men feel so insecure in reality. In real life, even the toughest guy can be knifed or gunned down, but in the realm of fantasy some dork, like Peter Parker of SPIDER MAN, can gain superhero powers and kick everyone’s butt. The Rambo of fantasy is nearly invulnerable, but David Sumner of STRAW DOGS has to watch his every step to remain alive. M. Night Shymalan pulled an almost impossible feat in creating a super-hero story that is more about insecurity than invincibility in his masterpiece UNBREAKABLE.] Bill is a good-looking guy — he is, after all, played by Tom Cruise — , but he can’t hold a candle to the naval officer. Also, he isn’t tall. Jacob at least knew he had muscle power over Edward, and Edward knew he has beauty power over Jacob, but the naval officer is advantaged in both departments over Bill. Alice’s swooning over the naval officer seems to be at odds with her needs of survival and security. But then, human nature developed under conditions different from the cultures and civilizations that came later in the story of man. Culture and civilization stress that men and women should choose commitment and obligation, but most of human existence through pre-history was about the toughest guy getting the best/most girls. Also, as tribes often defeated other tribes, the women of one tribe could end up as the women of another tribe; it’s like Debbie becomes the sexual property of the Comanches in THE SEARCHERS. Since evolution for most of human history depended so much on the raw power of masculine strength, women naturally came to be most turned on by men of power. So, in that sense, Alice’s hots for the naval officer is understandable. But she seems to have been as turned on by his beauty as by his manliness. And the role of beauty is more difficult to assess in terms of evolution, especially as pertaining to men. Men prefer pretty women, and women prefer strong men. So, why should looks matter in men? But looks do matter, and lots of women prefer men of beauty over men of brutishness. Bella prefers beautiful Edward over brawny Jacob. If women were given a choice between Paul Newman and the ‘Jaws’ villain in 007 movies, most would go with Newman. Of course, women want beauty and power combined, and Edward is lucky to have both because his vampirism makes him fast and strong. Anyway, mystery is, in and of itself, a kind of power because what we don’t understand fascinates us. Beauty is a mystery. It’s why a piece of poem holds greater power than a telephone book. Telephone book has more words and its bulk can hurt someone if dropped on his head, but there’s no mystery to its ‘power’. But what is about a few lines of poetry that can completely transfix the reader? Same with a song. A hundred people with all sorts of instruments can make a lot of noise, and there’s a certain ‘power’ in loud noise, but there’s more mystery in a beautiful melody — a mystery that can’t be quantified in terms of volume. It’s like the power of a good joke. There’s more mystery to sly wit than in the spectacle of a thousand people slipping on bananas and throwing pies at one another.
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

Dutch’s feelings about Angel are as much a visceral as an ethical issue. Sure, there is the matter of honor-among-thieves about sticking together. But even more powerful is the visceral impact of having been privy to the farewell when Angel was abandoned to the wolves. Dutch simply cannot heal the scar of the moment, just like Pike could never rid himself of the memory of his lover’s death. Issues you mull in your head, but images are seared into your soul. Dutch was there when he rode away from Angel; he was mugged by ‘viscerality’.
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.

Dutch could rankled also because he’d felt so powerless before Mapache and his men. There was no way he could bargain or do anything. All he could do was tuck his tail between his legs, profess ignorance, castigate Angel, and ride off like a chicken on a horse. In that instance, he must have more ineffectual than even the lowliest soldier or whore of Agua Verde. Pike shares that sense of powerlessness when he sees the Angel battered, bloodied, and dragged on a rope by Mapache riding around in his car. It’s especially humiliating because, after Mapache rebuffs Pike’s offer to buy Angel back, Herrera(one of Mapache’s henchman) says: “El General said, he was happy with the guns. Why don’t you go and get a drink? Enjoy yourself. There are women everywhere. Muchas bonitas. Don’t be foolish and change his mood. At that moment, Pike is overcome with fearful silence. Mapache may be drunk and childish(along with other Mexicans), but he has all the power, whereas Pike and Dutch must just take it and slink away impotently. America is many times more powerful than Mexico, but the Bunch, who ‘share very little sentiment with their government’, are just a pack of powerless gringos wilting before Mapache who, at least in Agua Verde, has the power of a god. Even the illusion of independent will is denied them. Earlier in the film, upon agreeing on the train heist, Pike tried to take Angel with him, but Mapache offered him someone else in exchange for Angel, who was then being held captive by Mapache’s men. But Pike stood his ground, and Mapache, though El General, backed down with the words, “All right. It’s not important to me. You take him.” At that moment, Pike felt a sense of pride, especially as the Bunch stuck together and backed him up, if only through body signals. It was if his will was stronger than even that of Mapache and all his henchmen. But now, as Mapache glares at Pike threateningly and then drives off with half-dead Angel in tow, Pike’s powerlessness is palpable. Even though Angel is the prisoner while he himself is free, Pike also feels trapped and roped up.

Troubled Pike

One the prominent themes of Peckinpah is the nature of powerlessness. Because of the high levels of violence and bloodshed, one might think Peckinpah’s films are all about machismo and power. In fact, as in the films of Stanley Kubrick, the lasting impression revolves around the sense of powerlessness. (With Kubrick, it tends to be more cerebral than emotional. And more unpredictable. Kubrick, who was obsessed with chess, well understood that there was always someone who plays better. And in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, man is no match for the Hal computer, the master-commander-servant of logic. Still, one constant in chess is the rules of chess. No matter how good or how bad, all players must stick with the strict rules of the game. But the real world doesn’t work so elegantly. Sure, there are laws, rules, regulations, contracts, and agreements among the various parties and players. But the game is as often played outside as within the rules. Even in a social order committed to Rule of Law, there are so many ways rules can be bent or sidestepped. Reality is like a game of chess where the rules apply 50% of the time. If rules are totally neglected, there’s only madness and chaos. But if rules are followed always by everyone, the ambitious and cunning can’t get everything they want. So, they get creative with the rules. But even then, there are ‘dumb’ things that no one can predict or control, like the horseshoe that flatten’s an assassin’s tire in THE KILLING. Or Lee Harvey Oswald with his crazy idea of killing JFK.) Indeed, one reason for the constant bickering among the characters is the nagging sense of powerlessness and desperation. When the world closes in and puts the squeeze on a bunch of men, they turn on each other, just like scared rats inside a cage. So, whenever something goes wrong, members of the Bunch take out their frustrations on each other. And Thornton and the bounty hunters do much the same. Among the bounty hunters, T.C. and Coffer alternate between amity and enmity.

L.Q. Jones as T.C.
Strother Martin as Coffer

“It’s covered, you two-bit redneck peckerwood!” The main conflicts in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and MAJOR DUNDEE are mostly between ‘friends’. THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE begins with two men turning on a friend who then spends years waiting to get revenge. In STRAW DOGS, distrust builds between David Sumner(Dustin Hoffman) and his wife Amy(Susan George) who’s lost respect for her weakling husband; indeed the violence has aroused such a primal submission to raw power that she can’t warm up to her husband even after he has triumphed over all the invaders. In the heat of the fight, Amy’s heart and pooter have emotionally crossed over to her old flame. And among the town thugs, there’s rivalry for alpha dog position between the two toughest guys.
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.)

Also, the use of slo-motion not only magnifies the violence but adds viscosity, as if to suggest the paralyzing impact of being hit that neutralizes one’s control of mind and muscle. Ultra-violence has been used, especially in the 1980s action movies of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to heighten the sense of power, mastery, and tremendousness. In some of these films, the heroes are almost infallible, indeed like 007 on steroids and PCP. But there are no super-tough or infallible characters in Peckinpah’s films. It’s no wonder Peckinpah declined the offer to make SUPERMAN. He wasn’t interested in invincibility or comic violence. Even as Peckinpah intensified violence in his films, his (anti)heroes were, if anything, even more human and vulnerable than than the heroes of classic Westerns and action films. If anything, the violence often highlighted the prospect that the leading characters could die as bloodily as the other fellers felled earlier. The violence has a way of making the viewers more nervously aware of the violence of the world. It’s difficult to watch STRAW DOGS without pondering its relevance to the reality we inhabit. The first DEATH WISH movie was just cheap and sensationalistic. STRAW DOGS is truly bruising.

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

The hellishness of violence also came through in BONNIE AND CLYDE when Gene Hackman’s character got wounded & died in the most gruesome manner and when his wife got shot in the eye; the film lingered with the horror later replicated in George Romero’s THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD — the grueling cruelty of death that won’t come right away. (The reverberation of death is felt when Teresa’s body is carried in a funeral procession through the halls occupied by Mapache and his men. The dead ‘whore’ is given a saint’s funeral, but then, Mapache and his men are exasperated by the whole thing. Usually, when people get killed in movies, they fade from view. Peckinpah, more than most, lingered on the agony before death and the inconvenience of death, if only for the simple but powerful reason the dead don’t disappear by themselves. It’s like what Pat Garrett says of Ollinger’s body lying on the street: “Won’t some of you people get him up off the ground and into it?” There’s something of ANTIGONE in the anxiety about the proper treatment of the dead. For the bounty hunters, the dead bodies of the Bunch are mere trophies. But Sykes and friends stop them and presumably gave the Bunch a proper burial, something denied to the guy with the bloody face who rode out of Starbuck. After the final gun battle, the camera lingers over all the dead soldiers that attract vultures, scavengers, and the aggrieved alike. BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA’s central theme revolves around the issue of treating a dead body — with respect or as a piece of trophy.) Generally, action movies prefer quick deaths. When someone gets shot, they disappear like hit targets in a video game. The reason for this is obvious. Killing is cool and death is ideally clean & convenient. It is when the injured or wounded doesn’t die that we become burdened with the crisis of agony. This is why John Boorman’s DELIVERANCE is so grueling to watch. It’s not so much the live-or-die duel between the protagonists and hillbilly sodomites but the fact that the Burt Reynolds character, the alpha male leader, has a busted leg, has been rendered helpless & at the mercy of others, cannot be abandoned, and has to be taken to safety. When Pike shoots the wounded man who falls off the horse, we are relieved despite the chilling brutality of the act because we don’t want to be burdened with a man disfigured, incapacitated, and in unendurable pain. But after he is shot, the Bunch don’t just ride away but remain for a moment and ‘discuss’ what should be done about the body. Pike, who later postures as the principled leader, argues the dead man should just be left behind. And Dutch, the other more conscientious member of the Bunch, backs up Pike. Uncharacteristically, it’s the Gorches who say the dead man deserves to be buried. Uncharacteristic perhaps but believable in the context of how right-and-wrong is often a matter of personal attachments and anxieties. Maybe, the Gorches knew the man a bit better. Or perhaps the sight of Pike, the leader of the Bunch, ruthlessly dispensing with a member of the gang makes the Gorches wonder about what Pike would have done to them had one of them been badly wounded. Also, as the Gorches are brothers, the matter would have been more complicated if one of them had been injured and had to be mercy-killed by Pike. Would one of the Gorches allow Pike to kill the other?

Pike’s chronic pain from his leg injury also reiterate the hard business of living before dying. There’s a sense of all the wear-and-tear between life and death. Though he seems to move normally most of the time, he has a slight limp, and we can feel his pain every time he has to sit or stand. And when Pike rubs his thigh over hot steam in the Mexican bath at Agua Verde, we can’t help but be reminded of our aches and pains. Most movie characters hardly seem to suffer from backaches, toothaches, migraines, and etc. This is also why a Western like THE SHOOTIST(with John Wayne and directed by Don Siegel) stands out. It’s the rare Western that had a gunslinger dying of anal cancer. And there’s an added element of unease in HIGH NOON because Gary Cooper was suffering from serious back pain during the shooting. That palpable sense of pain became part of his performance.

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.

Anyway, nothing is more horrible than horror itself, nothing is sadder than even the biggest horror being just a ripple in a pond that fades except as memory, but then, memory is fragile and live only as long as those who bother to remember. There is official/collective memory, but it has to be maintained through a vast and complicated network of powerful institutions. Once the machinery of officialdom grinds to a halt, collective memory is bound to fade and be forgotten forever. Because some civilizations grow so powerful and because their official memories are passed down for so long, people may come under the illusion that their sacred memories are self-sustaining regardless of effort of the people. It’s like a society can have a lot of people, thus creating the illusions that it will carry on even if people don’t have kids since there seems to be people and children all around. People get to thinking, “I don’t need to have children since someone else will have them.” So, even though they produce no kids and their line ends with them, they live with the impression that society will continue with the children of other people. But of course, if everyone thought that way, society will come to an end with the last living generation growing old and dying. (Why are so many people averse to thinking that women are meant to be mothers — and men fathers? If women have vaginas and wombs, those organs must exist for a reason. People have eyes to see with. People have ears to hear with. People have noses to smell with. People have anuses to take a dump with. People have mouths to eat with and communicate with. People have legs to walk with. So, the meaning of life is ‘function follows form’. Our various organs have been formed to serve certain functions. So, if we have eyes, we are meant to see. If men have penises, they are meant to pee with and ejaculate semen with. If women have vaginas and wombs, they are for childbearing. If having lungs means that men and women are meant to breathe, then having penises/testicles and vaginas/wombs must mean that men are meant to be fathers and women are meant to be mothers. After all, every man and every women were created through the bodily functions of their parents and were born as sons and daughters. To be a son or a daughter is to be a creation of a mother and a father and eventually to procreate as a mother or father to create new life. No one created himself or herself or leapt out of a book or a TV set. He or she was created through his or her parents. Also, even though society tells us to see ourselves as ‘individuals’, every individual is a part of a continuum: his or her being is a genetic extension of his/her parents, and his/her children will be a continuum of himself/herself after he/she dies. This sense of continuum has been undermined in our culture that stresses the ‘individuum’ that cares only for hedonistic pleasures hooked to electronica. Of course, individuals can choose not to use their sex organs, but then they will die-for-good upon their death. It is only through having children that one lives on through one’s children, just as oneself is a continuation of one’s parents and grandparents. It is the self-centered individual who thinks he or she is entirely an independent entity, as if he or she created himself or herself and as if he or she is gone forever with his or her death. But those with more generous understanding acknowledge that every individual is a continuation of his parents and that he or she lives on through his or her children. Understanding that truth, individuals can choose to die-for-good or live on via the creation of children. People lack a proper appreciation of sex organs because we live in the Age of Individualism whereby the meaning of life is measured in terms of self-actualization within the lifetime. To live within a lifetime, sex organs are not necessary. All other organs are necessary of course. If people refuse to use their lungs, livers, hearts, pancreases, bladders, and etc. they will surely die very soon, even instantly. Indeed, people don’t even have control over those organs; no one can stop one’s heart from beating or order one’s liver to stop working. To be sure, men and women don’t have control over their sex organs either. Regardless of what men want, their balls will continue to produce sperm. And regardless of what women want, eggs will be released and there will be menstrual cycles. Also, even if sex organs are not used, men and women’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior are always driven and influenced by sexual drives. But people can choose not to use sex organs, just like people can choose not to eat or drink. But if people don’t eat or drink, they won’t live long. But people can live out their lives even if they don’t use their sex organs to produce kids. And it doesn’t bother a lot of people that they won’t have kids since they only conceptualize life in individual terms. There was a time when people thought of life as a continuum, and therefore, the failure to have kids was seen as a death sentence because the meaning of one’s life was complete only as part of being a continuum. It was through one’s children that one lived on even after death. Instead of regarding one’s children as merely separate individuals, one appreciated them as continuation of the self even after one’s departure from the Earth. [Such feelings were more powerful in the past since children learned most from their parents, often carried on with the same occupations & properties, and lived in a world that was hardly different from that of their parents and ancestors. But today, every generation is so different from others in fast changing world. In the New World, there is so much race and ethnic mixing that it’s hard to keep up one’s sense of ancestry. Also, as children are shaped so much by public education and popular culture, they come to identify more with pop stars, celebrities, and intellectuals than with their own parents who leave it up to institutions and industries to mold the hearts and minds of their children. And their sense of history is shaped less by family history and ethnic memory but by official history disseminated by schools and education that, in the West, are dominated by hideous Jews and vile homos.] Also, as there was less entertainment back then, it was through the family that people found fun and meaning through conversation and social gatherings. But as so many individuals can find ‘meaning’ and pleasure through mass entertainment, they don’t need the company of others anymore. But this is really a Culture of Death as all the fun razzle-dazzle that looks and feels like life are just an illusion — it’s like artificial light that attracts moths that mistake it for the light of day. It is because of the prevailing sense of ‘individuum’ that so many people fail to appreciate the functions of sex organs. They are just seen as ‘sex toys’ that came for free. As mere pleasure organs, they’ve been divorced from their true meaning, which is why even a homocule’s anus is considered an equivalent to a true sex organ. Furthermore, ours is a narcissistic age and even a post- or even anti-humanist one, and therefore, many people don’t want to have kids because they think childbearing will harm their looks or because they believe they aren’t attractive enough to pass down their genes. Sexual organs are not something people buy as ‘sex toys’. People are born equipped with them because their very existence owes to such organs of their parents. So, it says something about the craziness of our society where people, especially women, get upset when they are told women are meant to be mothers. To an extent, it’s understandable since traditionally women were denied many roles and positions apart from her bio-cultural role. Even so, the radicalism of feminism has done greater harm by negating the very truth and basis of life. Furthermore, feminists exaggerate like the lunatics they are. After all, no society ever forced women to only have babies. After all, women can only have kids every nine months, so even a woman who wants to do nothing but have babies cannot have babies day in and day out. She has to fill her time by doing lots of stuff during her pregnancy. Thus, women’s lives were never so simple as those feminists have made out.)
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.)

On some level, THE WILD BUNCH owes a good deal to the tradition of the classic Hollywood Western. But it is also a wholesale rejection, a clearing away of all the furniture, tossing out the rug and carpet, removal of floorboards, and excavation into the ground below for the authentic archaeology of Western legends. Consider how the stark b/w stills(like crude photos in old newspapers) alternate with color images in motion. It has the effect somewhat like the use of b/w stills in Chris Marker’s LA JETEE. There’s a hint of time travel, as if we’re being slipped into an actual time and place of the Western past. And the cinematography is so acutely aware of varying tones of light and shadow — consider the interplay of sunlight and shades under the canopy(upon which shadows of tree branches sway)where members of the Temperance Union are gathered or the blue sky and frosty clouds that silhouette Pike riding away alone — that it feels as we are actually there. It doesn’t look like a movie.

It’s in striking contrast to the kinds of color — patina of nostalgia — used in most Westerns. Things look crisp and crackling in THE WILD BUNCH. And precisely because the past has been revived with such exacting detail, the effect is all the more jarring; it’s as if ‘then’ is rudely intruding into the ‘now’; the cushion of temporal distance has been removed, thus undermining our smug complacency that the violence belongs to a world that is no more and can’t touch us.
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

And indeed there is an element of shock in the way THE WILD BUNCH begins. Because of the obvious shock of violence upon its release, the subtler shock of temporal displacement has gone underappreciated. From the very opening of the film, something doesn’t feel right because the Wild West, a period the audience had grown accustomed to in terms of Hollywood nostalgia and myth-making, flares into view like the real thing. The very first image is like one of those crude b/w sketch photos of old newspapers. It flicks into moving color, subverting the distance between ‘then’ and ‘now’. The film feels even more dislocating as it’s set in the first year of World War I, a period generally disassociated from the Wild West(essentially a 19th century phenomenon). It’s like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA feels somewhat surreal because it’s like middle-ages-meets-modernity in politics and psychology, what with the British, the most advanced people on earth, allying with medievalist tribal Arabs against the Turks who are somewhere in between. And yet, it makes sense since the pace of change and development varied region-to-region across America and even more between US and Mexico. (There is this sense of temporal dislocation too in the beginning of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Also in STRAW DOGS as the culture of a small English town seems either mired in tradition or resistant to modernity. And yet, what is most freakish is how the young townsmen come across as both archly reactionary and snidely cynical. They seem to be into both kinship loyalty and nihilistic youth sensibility. They are rebel reactionaries, a perverse blend of modernity and medievalism. But then, Dustin Hoffman’s character himself turns into a fusion of intellect and instinct. He becomes like the IDF in a Six Day War against the Arabs, and indeed, what is more modern-and-medieval than Israel, the neo-fascist state?) And of course, even today, there is no ‘temporal uniformity’ across America. NY and San Francisco seem to be in the firmly in the 21st century whereas there are still communities in America that looks and feels like it’s in the 1950s. The Bunch are essentially men of the latter half of 19th century who find themselves confronted with the forces of the early 20th century; and when they ride to some places in Mexico, it could be the 18th or even the 17th century, a place where time stands still. Just by riding from place to place, it’s like they’re traveling through different time periods. (It’s interesting how we associate time with society & culture, indeed as if a certain level of social, economic, and/or technological development should define a certain time period. So, if we say the ‘20th century’, we think of the most advanced parts of the West that came to dominate the world in that period. But what about parts of the world that remained culturally and socially pre-modern in the 20th century. They no less existed in the same time frame of the 20th Century, so why aren’t their socio-economic realities considered as integral to the meaning of ‘20th century’? If Americans drive cars and Arabs ride camels in the 20th century, why are cars symbolic of the century but camels aren’t when, in fact, camels are no less ubiquitous in Arabia than cars are in America? It’s as if the most powerful, most dynamic, and the richest peoples/nations can lay claim to the very meaning of a time period even though there are plenty of other people who live by different modes of existence. Perhaps, this mattered less when the world changed very slowly if at all. In a world where one century is hardly different the earlier one in science, technology, and economics, it makes no sense to associate social reality with time since the features of one period are much the same as those of another. But in a fast changing world, a century can be notably different from the earlier one. As the West began to outpace the rest in terms of change, defining social reality in relation to time began to make sense. It wouldn’t have made much sense to speak of 12th century China and 13th century China. Sure, there would have been different rulers and different crises, but the world of the Chinese would have been more or less the same. Since not much changed except rulers through most of human history, time was often marked dynastically than numerically. And Japanese used to speak of periods in terms of who was Emperor. And Europeans traditionally also associated time periods with who was king or queen. But in the modern era, the mere mention of the ‘1950s’ or ‘1960s’ stirs up images of profound social-economic-technological differences. Where things don’t change much, marking history by numerical time isn’t very useful. Where things change fast, numbers begin to take on meaning. Since West began to outpace the rest of the world, it came to dominate the designation of time itself. But there’s probably an element of ‘Eurocentrism’ as well. After all, there were times when the Arabs, Hindus, and Chinese had been more advanced than the West in science and technology; but when we think of the time between the Fall of Rome and the rise of the Middle Ages, we think of the Dark Ages than of the more illustrious civilization of the Orient in that time period.) For some people, a particular a time period is defined by dramatic change. For others, it is defined by stability or stasis. Indeed, compare West Germany and East Germany during the Cold War. West Germany changed and developed a lot faster than East Germany. And the contrasts were even starker between South Korea and North Korea. One of the reasons for the misunderstanding among various regions in America is that people in different regions experience different ‘historical times’. Places like New York and San Francisco seem to think that they are ahead of(or ‘more evolved’ than) everyone else in time, especially because they believe Barney Frank’s anus is as much as sex organ as their mothers’ vagina. They expect everyone else to keep up with their control of time. So, if they say the 21st century ways, ideas, and values are such-and-such, those who disagree are simply dismissed as ‘behind the times’. Amusingly enough, even though affluent Jews, homos, and Liberals in places like NY and San Francisco tell themselves that the problem with Texas it’s still mired in the 19th century, what really bothers them is that much of Texas still clings to the 1970s mode of American liberalism. Take a film like DAZED AND CONFUSED about young people in Texas. Sure, some kids fly the Rebel flag, but they are also into Rock n Roll, drugs, and etc., all the stuff other young people were using. The libertarian Rock n Roll cowboy attitudes remained in Texas whereas they were eventually replaced by Political Correctness in New York and San Francisco. Thus, NY vs Texas is less about 19th century mind-set vs 21st century outlook than about 1970s libertine liberalism vs post-boomer PC Liberalism. Why did 1970s libertine-ism stick in Texas? Perhaps because Texas, due to its conservative counter-influence, was able to temper the excesses of the Counterculture whereas New York and San Francisco went a bit over-the-top and paid a steep price, leading to drastic countermeasures to clean up NY and control excessive freedoms that only emboldened Negroes to act like baboons. It could also be that Texans, with their cult of laid-back ruggedness, eventually came to tolerate libertine looseness, whereas the pushy Jews, fussy homos, and tidy East Coast wasps, despite all their libertine posturing in the 60s and 70s, never got used to all the messiness caused by Counterculture and its seismic effects. A hippie might eventually blend in with the cowboys but not so much with the yuppies. So, New York and San Francisco have actually been rolling back the libertine spirit of the 60s and trying to institute the anal-retentive control-freakish policies of soft-Orwellianism. In contrast, a lot of people in Texas still hang with a combination of cowboy-ism and counterculture-ism still, and some of this comes through in the films of Richard Linklater and the cartoons of Mike Judge. It’s like a weird blend of counterculture-ism, cowboy-ism, conservatism, and liberalism. Alex Jones is thought of a right-wing figure, but he is quite hodgepodge in his ideological orientation, neither kneejerk ‘conservative’ nor consistently anti-establishment. David Lynch, who grew up in Montana and moved around a lot in his younger years, also developed a mind-set that is difficult to pigeonhole ideologically. And the same goes for Sam Peckinpah who was all over the map on everything. Today, films like DAZED AND CONFUSED, M*A*S*H, ANIMAL HOUSE, and BAD NEWS BEARS are bound to disturb Liberals in NY or SF more than Conservatives in Texas. Even though little ‘l’ liberals had once championed all the anti-establishment attitudes and antics, they morphed into capital ‘L’ Liberals who, with all the power they amassed in elite institutions and industries, decided to formulate and enforce all sorts of laws and regulations telling us what we can do, what we can eat/drink/smoke, how we must drive cars, what we can and can’t say, how a pizzeria has to cater to a ‘gay wedding’, and etc. Though someone like Richard Linklater is not a conservative, he can see certain commonalities between “Don’t Tread on Me” and the right to smoke & party.

It’s like how the Peter Fonda character digs what the Texan rancher is all about: the man has his own spread, his own way of doing things, and his own way of using his time. The rancher may prefer cigarettes & horses while he himself prefers weed & motorbike, but both wanna remain independent of the Man and the System, like Cool Hand Luke. Over time, Texas conservatives and Texas libertarians(and even some liberals) came to see eye-to-eye on certain things, i.e. they wanted to be left alone and not be pushed around by the Establishment. Thus, places like NY and SF have a problem not only with Texan conservatism but with its own brand of libertarianism/liberalism that is more easy-going and individualistic. Likewise, Sam Peckinpah, though no hippie freak himself, sort of saw eye-to-eye with some Counterculture types in the early 70s. They were both rebels against the System that, back then, was represented by Richard Nixon but today is represented by much more control-freakish likes of Obama, Elena Kagan, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Rahm Emanuel, and etc. whose main agenda have been to create gentrified paradises like new New York, new San Francisco, new Washington D.C., and new Chicago. (Rich Jews and rich white folks discovered during the Clinton 90s that they could more easily push forward with policies amenable to the privileged classes under the Democrats than under the Republicans. Republicans, as the ‘white party’ always accused of ‘racism’, would be grilled over whatever policy perceived to be favoring privilege over the underclass, but Democrats could get away with much more with its brand as the party of minorities and ‘diversity’. So, Clinton the ‘first black president’ could throw many more blacks in jail to make cities safer and could even reform welfare in ways no Republican president could. Powerful Jews want to create the impression that Democrats are doing all they can to serve the interests of the poor and blacks, but they do it by vilifying a suburb like Ferguson, Missouri so as to distract attention from the fact that cities like Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are ‘gentrifying’ at breakneck pace to favor the privileged classes.) Especially as NY and Chicago still have big black populations and as San Francisco has Oakland just across the bridge, the ruling elites of such cities have been more keen on keeping control because a city overrun by Negroes is a dangerous place indeed. In contrast, places with fewer Negroes or with less ambition — Jews and homos are among the most ambitious and power-mad people on Earth — tend to take things more easily, more in stride. The world of SEX AND THE CITY, with its theme of debauchery, seems wilder than the world of KING OF THE HILL, but it is nevertheless more structured, competitive, and orderly. The women are not using sex to go wild but to keep score of who’s winning the status game of who’s hot and who’s not.

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.

In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH transported the audience to another time for its own compelling value rather than to flatter the audience with its clever allegorical ramifications. (Kirk Douglas and Dalton Trumbo’s SPARTACUS is ultimately annoying because ancient history has been flattened and simplified into agit-prop for 20th century Marxism and the Civil Rights Movement. So, despite the tremendous performances of Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, and Charles Laughton — and some remarkable directing by Stanley Kubrick — , the overall vision is reduced to cheap grandstanding for the Hollywood Left. The rich complexity of the ancient world is overshadowed by black-and-white morality tale of current politics. Ancient history isn’t appreciated for its own sake and explored on its own terms but warped to serve as mere anachronistic counterparts to the issues-of-the-day. Such allegorical use of history works better in theater where verisimilitude counts for little but is usually problematic in cinema where we believe what we see. So, if we believe we are in ancient times in the ancient world, it’s jarring or ridiculous for characters to act as though our issues are theirs as well.)

SPARTACUS

Everything in THE WILD BUNCH has its integrity and intrinsic value apart from any meaning we may project onto them. It is why it has aged much better — actually, it hasn’t aged at all — than BONNIE AND CLYDE that derived part of its potency from radical projections of the boomer generation. Though THE WILD BUNCH was also interpreted through fashionable lenses in some quarters, it is powerful simply for what it has to offer. In BONNIE AND CLYDE — Sonny and Cher as outlaw radicals — , Warren Beatty flirts with the camera and mugs for attention to be adored as a radical icon, especially as the film increasingly turns into romantic propaganda for hipster mayhem. But there’s no mistaking when Pike says “If they move, kill ‘em” that he’s not mugging for any kind of sympathy. He’s a killer and he came to rob the joint. The obliviousness of the characters — consider T.C. and Coffer the bounty hunters — to our sensibilities and expectations makes THE WILD BUNCH feel more authentic and less compromised. Even the words ring with peculiarity, as if everyone blurts out what comes naturally. Lyle Gorch: “You’re crazy. He would just as soon kill us as break wind.” It is filled with people and incidents removed from any sense of etiquette. In John Ford films, for instance, even the vulgarity seems familiar, fitting like an old glove as its much rehearsed motions are repeated movie after movie like a drunken Catholic ritual. Indeed, it became a hallmark of John Ford movies to have certain kinds of bar fights. In contrast, the bounty hunters in THE WILD BUNCH really look like they’ve never taken a bath and are capable of doing something crazy at any moment — like when one of them shoots and kills a soldier. And when the German officer says, “With my permission. I think you all need a bath”, we can almost smell the sweat-and-grime on the Bunch, and when drunken Lyle Gorch yaps that he needs no bath and demands women, we are not sure what will come next. (That scene is classic Peckinpah in discordance and paranoid tension. Initially, we see Pike and Dutch at the table discussing the heist with Mapache, Herrera, and German agents. But across the room at another table are seated Sykes and the Gorch brothers who simmer with resentment of being shunted aside like ‘kitchen help’. The meeting is also disrupted by Teresa’s funeral procession. But the key moment comes when the discussion is over and Pike asks permission for a bath, only to be sneered at by the younger German officer who remarks that they all need a bath. Though specifically referring to the Bunch, he could also be slyly deriding the Mexicans who look sweaty and grimy — and perpetually drunk. Suddenly, drunken Lyle gets crude and gruffly says he wants women, not a bath. The use of editing and music — and uneasy breaks of silence in between dissonant requests and remarks spoken in varying tones of irony — create a fractured than a flowing sense of reality. It’s like reality reflected in a broken mirror. The presentation is spatially angular than whole. Instead of the sense that these men are in the same room united spatially and psychologically as they work out details of a plan, each person’s reality seems jaggedly at odds with those of others. The haughty German officer’s hint that the Bunch stink and need a bath is subtly disruptive, but when Lyle gets up and demands women in loutish breach of etiquette — ironic since everyone in the room, with the exception of the Germans, are pretty rough and rowdy men — , it underscores the contrasts in wavelengths among the characters. It takes a moment for order to be restored over the ruffling of feathers. Though the flare-ups during the meeting, the German officer’s cutting remark, and Lyle’s boorish manners don’t seem like much, they heighten tension because it’s a hair-trigger setting in a dangerous world, one where the slightest misdirected signal could lead to mayhem. A kind of jangled emotional cubism pervades the scene, made all the edgier by Peckinpah’s indulgence of eccentricities of personality in ability, intelligence, temperament, maturity, and ability. It’s kind of like what Alain Resnais realized to perfection in MURIEL. Shifting moods of various subjective viewpoints intermingle, intercept, and interrupt. The technique of editing allowed artists like Sam Peckinpah and Alain Resnais to slip through cracks and fissures among the various perspectives. In drama, we often see characters in disagreement but always sharing the same objective space as every audience member has a single fixed perspective. In contrast, because cinema, through framing and editing, constantly changes the perspectives across countless objective and countless subjective shots, it can convey new forms of tension unknown to drama and other narrative arts. In the rare cinematic artist, the tension isn’t merely visceral but takes on philosophical undertones, as in a film like MURIEL and even in parts of THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS. The novel can employ cinematic devices, but as time is controlled by the reader than the writer — unless it’s a audio book recording — , the effect is different from cinema. Instead of presenting an emotion or a concern as the overriding issue of a scene, Peckinpah was keen on subverting the secure sense of agenda. A more conventional approach may have characters disagreeing over something, but the scene would still favor a certain concern, i.e. the scene may favor the dominance of a certain character or impose a certain mood or meaning on its entirety. In BEN-HUR, we know the movie is always with Ben-Hur even when he’s faced with enemies. In TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, we know the theme of ‘greed is bad’ permeates through the entire film regardless of who does or says what. In contrast, a sense of dramatic and moral anarchy pervades through much of Peckinpah’s work as if one man’s subjectivity has no more favor in the cosmic way of things than that of any other man. After all, the title of STRAW DOGS comes from a line from Taoism: “Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs; the sage is ruthless, and treats the people as straw dogs.” Most movies offer a degree of comfort by securing the dominant subjective of certain character or characters. So, even if the character happens to be poor or powerless, he or she is nevertheless at the center of the story. Though Peckinpah’s films also have central characters like any other movie, they often find themselves faced with the Crisis of Centrality. They feel powerless, vulnerable, or neglected not only under the gaze of the powerful but by the narrative itself. Pike and Thornton are the two central characters in THE WILD BUNCH, but neither their roles as the leader-of-the-pack or as main characters ever feel secure throughout the film. Indeed, sometimes, William Holden looks like he’s struggling to hold onto not only the mantle of leader but of lead character. And who would be the main character of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY? Gil Westrum or Steve Judd? Or the girl? This tension is more charged in Peckinpah’s films because he was both maverick anarchist and maverick dictator. He identified with both the beleaguered character struggling for centrality and the cosmos that looks upon all as ‘straw dogs’. Take the opening scene of THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE where the main character Hogue is both everything and nothing, indispensable and dispensable. Thus, notions of ‘leading’ and ‘supporting’ roles among the characters is thornier in Peckinpah films. Even authority of the ‘superior’ man can be upended by a snort of a ‘lowlife’. Pike’s nod to civility in requesting a bath can be sneered at by a German officer, whose haughtiness is in turn taunted by Lyle Gorch who demands women than a bath. This ramps up the sense of frustration in life, the near-impossibility for everyone to get on the same wavelength and agree on anything. This is why the moment when the Bunch finally come together as one to go after Angel is so powerful. They finally converge, march, fight, and die as one. Though they coordinated well in the Train Robbery, that was a matter of profession than of passion. But the final march to get Angel is really a moment of united purpose. If in the film’s opening the Bunch were only masquerading as soldiers, they really march as crusading soldiers at the end, and in contrast, the Mexicans in military uniforms look like the fakers. But more often than not, the inner lives of Peckinpah’s characters are dislocated from those of others. Randolph Scott’s character tries to speak ‘reason’ to his friend in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, but nothing ever gets through. It’s not just that Joel McCrea’s character thinks differently but inhabits an entirely different mental universe. They are separated by an ocean even as they ride through the same valleys. It’s not just about right vs wrong but about a vision of life. For McCrea’s character, the meaning of all the temptations he resisted and overcame — who doesn’t feel greedy at times? — would be nullified if he rode off with the gold/money. He wouldn’t be able to ‘enter his house justified’. Therefore, conflict is necessary for the characters to come together. Conflicts often divide people and pit them against one another, and indeed the conflict of the Civil War is what divided the two main characters in MAJOR DUNDEE in the first place. They see and feel at odds on so many matters that they’ve pledged to a duel at some opportune moment to settle matters. But they remain on the same side because they are confronted by a common enemy time and time again — the Apache and then the French cavalry. Likewise, the only reason the Bunch comes together at the end is because they share in the loathing for Mapache. Conflicts can turn friends into enemies but also unite enemies into friends. Consider how Spartans and Athenians were united in the war against Persians, but once the external threat was gone, they fought one another and bled each other dry. But even among rivals or enemies, conflicts can bring them together by dynamiting the barrier between them. Often in drama, it is only through catharsis of violent emotional conflict that two people are finally able to come to terms with one another and arrive at some kind of reconciliation. Without such conflict, there may be peace between them but only as a wall and willful refusal for honest communication, as with the woman in PERSONA by Ingmar Bergman. For a difficult person like Peckinpah who felt all kinds of inner-tensions and tensions with other people, the project of film-making must have had value as uniting him with others in a shared project. And yet the clash of egos, personalities, interests[artistic vs financial], visions[writer vs director], expectations[personal vs popular], and values[controversial vs conventional] could never be resolved, and in some cases, proved either fatal or damaging, as were the cases with PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARICA, and CROSS OF IRON. Making a movie is like a war that brings all the troops together, but Peckinpah wasn’t always a good general, to say the least. THE WILD BUNCH was a notable exception because, having been effectively blacklisted for three years due to the MAJOR DUNDEE debacle, Peckinpah had to muster all his discipline, patience, and concentration to prove his professional credentials. As Pike rides off to rob the train, he says to Dutch, “This is our last go-around, Dutch. I say we do it right.” Peckinpah must have felt the same way as THE WILD BUNCH would be a make-it-or-break-it moment of his career. Remarkably, the scale of THE WILD BUNCH ranges from the epic to the microscopic, accentuated by the image of big scorpions struggling with countless tiny ants. As big as the scorpions are relative to the ants, towering over both are children who loom like gods. Then the Bunch ride past on their horses and render the children insignificant. In the classic epic film like GONE WITH THE WIND, TEN COMMANDMENTS, BEN-HUR, SPARTACUS, EL CID, WAR AND PEACE, and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, everything is writ large, grandiose, bigger-than-life. The music is fitfully lush and sweeping. In contrast, the music of THE WILD BUNCH navigates through contradictory contours. Bombastic at times, it also plays hush and hide-and-seek. It rises and falls unpredictably, tip-toes along a razor’s edge. It can be neurotic and troubled as well as heroic and romantic. And the characters, though not without iconic value, tend toward peculiarity and eccentricity. Though everyone is a certain type, he is also defined against type. At times, the distinction between Leading Actor and Character Actor weakens because even the main characters have their foibles & flaws and even the lowliest cretins have their pride & ego. No one is strictly center-stage or backstage. Indeed, Lyle’s mini-riot at the dinner table at Mapache’s is indicative of the acting style throughout the film. Everyone is insistent on his own thought or thrill. Consider the pretty young woman with the wine glass who amusingly watches as Lyle demands women. In terms of plot, she’s an utterly insignificant character, but she becomes indelibly etched in our minds with her show of ego and pride, even though she too is just another whore. She may be on screen for a mere moment, but she’s the star of her own show. When one of Mapache’s men calls on the women to service Lyle and Tector, the look on Lyle’s face is one of childish delight. As his mind had been fixed on the pretty woman through the evening, he hopes she’ll be part of the package or other women just as pretty will be offered to him. But the Gorches are presented with three stocky plain-faced women, no doubt a big letdown for Lyle. But then, consider the shuffling of multiple perspectives. We have Lyle looking back and forth between the pretty whore and the inferior whores offered to him and his brother. We see the pretty whore, who’d known what was coming, sticking out her tongue at Lyle in naughty contempt. They read each other’s minds all too well. But then, there’s Tector who’d been completely oblivious to the pretty whore and is more than pleased with the women. So, a simple situation of whores being offered to the Gorches become a multi-dimensional gamesmanship of expectations and emotions. The request itself and the outcome are humiliating to both Mexicans and Lyle Gorch[as the ‘ugly gringo’]. For Mexicans, it’s insulting that a dirty gringo would demand free sex with Mexican women. And when Lyle is given inferior women, he feels insulted for being given the ‘leftovers’. But then, Lyle salvages his pride by drowning himself in more wine and pretending he’s perfectly happy with the woman he got. Much of what happens in the scene goes unstated , but we can see it in the faces; we can detect it in the acridness of all the aromas and odors in the air. And this feeling of incongruent sensibilities and subjective viewpoints continues even through the next scene that outwardly seems festive and/or leisurely. We see the Gorch brothers frolicking with the squat Mexican women while the others of the Bunch take a steam bath. But Gorches being what they are, they shoot into barrels of wine and then take a bath in one, splashing around with the women. This is inter-cut with the easier-going atmosphere in the steam bath, but then, Angel’s bitterness sticks out like a sore thumb. Angel’s dampened moos is understandable enough, but particularly striking is how the scene meshes festive jollity with morose rage. This is the difference between good directing and great directing. Any director could have shown Angel as ‘party pooper’, but only a handful, like Peckinpah at his best, could have slipped through the cracks to capture the nuances. Thus, Angel’s sourness doesn’t come across as mere dramatic fact or moral issue but as a contradictory disputation of the very condition they are in. [Angel is clearly no intellectual and may earnestly believe in the moral righteousness of his position, and the scene finally arrives at a compromise to divert some guns to the villagers, but the overall picture remains fractured dramatically, ethically, and emotionally. Angel sounds very righteous, but how much of his rage is moral or personal? Would he have cared so much if Mapache hadn’t killed his father and taken his girl? Angel admits he feels no remorse for the dead folks of Starbuck. He’s hardly a universalist on morality. He’s a tribalist whose deep loyalty is with his people and short loyalty is to the Bunch. Also, even if he diverts one case of rifles and one case of ammunition to the villagers, the fact remains that Mapache and his men will still get the other fifteen cases of rifles and ammunition — as well as the other loot from the train. Angel asks Pike if Pike would give guns to others to kill his father, mother, brother. But as long as the bulk of the rifles and ammo will end up in Mapache’s hands, Angel is participating in the arming of the very men who go around raiding and pillaging communities very much like Angel’s. Also, the Bunch’s decision has little to do with morality. Pike trusts and needs Angel as a good hand and trigger finger. Though Dutch is somewhat more sympathetic, the decision to give some guns to Angel is purely opportunistic. As Pike says, “10,000 in gold cuts a lot of family ties.” As if to mock the very notion of ‘family ties’, drunken Lyle the bath and declares that he’s engaged to the rotund Mexican woman he’s been romping with. He introduces his ‘fiancee’, all the more ironic since Mapache asked if the murdered Teresa was Angel’s fiancee. Lyle’s protectiveness of the woman upon Sykes’ lewd comment is a further parody of the business with Teresa. Angel is dead serious about his village and the guns, but others simply don’t care, just like Angel doesn’t care about the massacre in Starbuck. Thus, their compromise settles nothing except opportunism. It’s an agreement to disagree on the matter and only an agreement to pull off the job for different motives. Angel exchanges gold for guns for villagers, and Pike goes on believing that 10,000 in gold cuts a lot of family ties, and others just look forward to the gold. There’s a sense of everything-is-settled and nothing-is-settled. The condition is not resolved but only kicked further down the road. It was in the capturing of irresolvable condition that Peckinpah excelled.] Hollywood convention has been to spell things out and, in some cases, could be spelled out beautifully, as in SHANE. But the articulation of a view/message often came across as obvious or simplistic. The story might even come to a standstill to pay heed to the significance of the moment. THE WILD BUNCH ignores this approach from the opening scene as we’re shown children playing with ants & scorpions and the Bunch riding into town in utter indifference to the sermon by a preacher at the gathering of the Temperance Union. Fitfully enough, a bank clerk speaks the words: “It’s not what you meant to do, it’s what you did that I don’t like.” There is no talk in THE WILD BUNCH with the power to part time-and-space for special attention like Moses did with the Red Sea[or Sea of Reeds]. We all like to believe in the holy power of speech, not least because the Gospels around Jesus Christ have become so central to Western Civilization. And a movie like THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL is about bringing a world to stop so that everyone will hear the necessary message that needs to be heard all around the world. And indeed, there are many classic movies, Western or otherwise, where a character finally makes his big speech that seems to command the attention of the universe itself. Consider the speechifying by Gregory Peck’s character in THE BIG COUNTRY. It’s done wonderfully, but it creates the false impression that the world is with the word. Peckinpah will have none of that in THE WILD BUNCH. In one scene, Angel is understandably enraged and derides Mapache as scum, rhapsodizes about how much he loves Mexico, and etc. but Jerry Fielding’s rollicking music just plays on, and Angel’s words fall on deaf ears. Angel may be right, but everyone has his or her own vibes that hum to a different tune. [This is why Jewish-controlled PC has to go on relentlessly and endlessly to keep reminding us of the evil of white gentile males, the holiness of Jews as the Eternal Holocaust People, the nobleness of Negroes, and saintliness of homos. Without such barrage that goes on and on, people will no more pay heed to Jews and their allies than to anyone else simply for the reason that most people naturally tend to be self-interested. Also, people will freely notice and say whatever they feel like saying unless they are constantly reminded through the power of the ‘megaphone’ that they better not say certain things because such are ‘racist’, ‘antisemitic’, ‘homophobic’ and etc. Without the Jew Taboo, we’d all be saying loudly, “Jews got the power, Jews got the power!” It is through their control of the ‘megaphone’ that Jews have the power to part normal dimensions of time-and-space like Moses did with the Red Sea and force us to a stand-still in rapt attention to their PC jeremiads. If there are a 100 different individuals from one hundred different nations and if each has his or her own tragic sob story about his or her people, most of other people won’t give a crap. Why should anyone care more about others when everyone has his or her own sob story, personal or historical? People will care about something-other-than-themselves ONLY IF the powers-that-be use special influence to effectively force everyone to shut up, sit down, and listen quietly to the what is being sermonized. When the powers-that-be say “Be Quiet”, it really means “shut up, sit still, and believe what WE say.”] Reality is what it is. No matter how strongly Angel may feel something, it is of no special concern to others of the Bunch. Sure, they can sympathize, but they have their own feelings and interests. Why should their ‘agendas’ be subordinate to Angel’s? Indeed, Angel’s big talk about right-and-wrong is especially ineffective because of the setting and circumstances. He might come across as more eloquent and dignified if he had his clothes on, but the Bunch are in the steam bath, half-naked and splashing water on each another. But then, as Angel’s fury reaches fever pitch, the festive music quiets down for just a bit as Pike, for reasons mercenary than moral, agrees to funnel some guns and ammo to Angel’s people, and immediately the music blares again and the Bunch are full of childlike laughter. Then, the Gorch brothers arrive in a state that is in equal parts drunken stupor and dead earnest. Again, it’s Peckinpah’s way of presenting a multitude of realities suggestive of competing egos and biases. Oblivious to all that had transpired in the steam bath, Lyle dreams of love while others gorge on the mango of laughter. Boisterousness splashes on the brooding of a man-without-woman with a woman for the moment. And yet, others of the Bunch also brood over sexual themes and in tragic earnest. Pike has never forgotten the murdered woman he’d once loved. Angel’s murderous hatred of Teresa cannot be understood apart from his intense love for her. And the Gorches, in their crudeness, seem destined to know only whores or leftovers. Everyone is locked within his universe of ego, memory, and prejudice. Nevertheless, everyone understands or wishes to understand some people more than others. The unease between Pike and Thornton throughout the film arises from their being almost like fraternal twins. They ‘get’ one another in ways that others don’t. It’s like Pike and Thornton are in each other’s mind every step of the way, which makes their cat-and-mouse game so unrelenting. Pike can see ahead of Thornton, and Thornton can see ahead of Pike. It’s like what Thornton says at one point to the bounty hunters: “We haven’t lost them. I could point to them right now.” Thornton knows all of Pike’s tricks, all of his moves. Earlier, Sykes said of Thornton after the bridge explosion that tossed him and the bounty hunters into the river: “Don’t expect him to stay there. He’ll be along and you know it.” The two characters who are most alike with one another are forced by circumstances to be most apart. And yet, because they can read each other’s mind like the back of one’s hand, Pike and Thornton, despite never meeting up in the film while both are alive, have the most intimate relationship in the story; it’s like a psychic connection. Pike gets along well with Dutch, but Dutch can never be a substitute for Thornton. Pike and Thornton are hounds of a breed whereas Dutch is a bulldog. Deke must deal with bounty hunters whom he disregards as stray mutts. Thornton and the bounty hunters occupy entirely different mental universes even as they ride together. Among the bounty hunters, Coffer is just slightly more curious and mindful than the others. At one point, he asks Thornton “what kind of men we are up against.” And when at the end Thornton declines to ride back with the bounty hunters, Coffer understandingly remarks, “You ain’t coming.” [Throughout the film, we were led to believe Thornton’s fear of the law — from the torture — was such that he would never dare take off, but he does precisely that at the end as he sends the bounty hunters to go off on their own. And even though the bounty hunters could just shoot Thornton and drag his body back for bounty as well, they just bid him farewell. Having ridden together all that time, they’ve arrived at some kind of understanding if not affection. What happened to Thornton’s fear of the law? Does he think Harrigan won’t send men after him since Pike and the Bunch are all dead? Does he no longer care since Pike is dead? Is he dead too in a way? Did he finally make peace with Pike and with himself? If Pike was willing to risk everything for whatever he felt was right, then it’s only right that Thornton take his chance as well.] In a way, as lowly as the bounty hunters are, they are not hateful or evil. They are what they are: Born stupid, like Beavis and Butthead. Born stupid, they live stupid, and their way is the only way they know how to keep going. Because they are stupid, we can’t really hate them or judge them. They are different from someone like Harrigan who is smart and knows what it’s all about. And Pike and Thornton are also smart enough to know the implications and repercussions of their chosen actions. In contrast, the bounty hunters are sort of ‘innocent’ in their stupidity, however crude and debauched they may be. But there is no such excuse for the likes of Harrigan, Pike, and Deke Thornton. They are smart enough to know what it’s all about and must bear full responsibility for their decisions. But Harrigan evades accountability by invoking the law for whatever goes wrong, and Pike doesn’t think much, if at all, about the innocent victims of his life as outlaw. Though THE WILD BUNCH, STRAW DOGS, THE KILLER ELITE, and THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND are set in strikingly different times and places, they are all branded with Peckinpah’s paranoid style. A notable impression from STRAW DOGS and THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND is the misalignment and disjointedness of the mental universes occupied by different characters. Peckinpah the devious chiropractor of the mind adjusted things to inflame than to relieve. It’s this fractured-mirror aspect of time and space in his films that undermine stable distinctions between objectivity and subjectivity. Films like STRAW DOGS and THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND would have been paranoid regardless of who directed them due to their subject matters, but Peckinpah had an intuitive feel for the nuances of the paranoid mind-set and could convey their subtle anxieties through sleights of editing and sound. Not only in the dramatics scenes where things come to a head but even in mundane moments when all seem well but aren’t; consider the early scenes between Dustin Hoffman and Susan George in STRAW DOGS. Peckinpah brilliance derived from a keen insight that people need not be clinically paranoid to constantly fall into ‘paranoidal’ situations. After all, even when two friends or two lovers are relaxing together, one never knows what the other is really thinking or feeling. Most times, people try not to pry and just get along, but if an itch is scratched, it turns into a rash, and then more scratching turns rash into a sore, and then the sore turns into a festering flesh wound, and so on. It’s like one off-evening in the life of a normal couple in EYES WIDE SHUT opens up a can of worms wiggling with stuff the guy doesn’t know what to do with. Consider the scene in THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND when a husband and wife are relaxing in a bath watching a TV screen up above. Suddenly, strange images flash on the screen, and there’s a rupture in the mood between the man and wife. The wife, who hasn’t a clue, is merely flustered, but the man, who’d received strange messages earlier, is panic-stricken. The tension is heightened by the splinter in the reactions the husband and wife, accentuated by abrupt edits. The man feels someone’s out to get him, but he can’t discuss matters with his wife who’s in the dark about her husband’s affairs. Or consider the scene in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE where Hogue, upon hearing a sermon, is reminded of the fishy preacher back on his claim and starts putting his clothes back on and muttering to himself about protecting his property, but Hildy the whore has no clue what he’s talking about. A minute ago, they were in the same bed mingled in mind, body, and money, but Hogue’s anxiety, stirred up by a sermon emanating from a tent meeting, creates a cleavage between Hogue and Hildy as striking as the one between Hildy’s breasts. Thus, Peckinpah creates a multi-dimensional atmosphere even though the action takes place in a single room with two people; Hogue and Hildy, who’d been of one mind, are suddenly inhabit two separate universes; and the sermon suggests yet another universe of priorities, and its reminder of the preacher at Hogue’s claim evokes yet another mental universe. It’s customary for a film/scene to have people disagree or fight, but at least they are united or agreed on the centrality of the issue or emotion. In contrast, often in Peckinpah’s films are the intersections of wholly different outlooks and agendas. This is why the ending of THE BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is so absurdly unsettling. Whatever we may think of El Jefe, he did right by Benny by presenting the money as promised[to whomever delivering the head]; he also seems to have made peace with himself by accepting the baby of his daughter and the late Alfredo Garcia. And Benny has no personal reason to hate El Jefe, and he would likely have just taken the money — the initial offer of $10,000 than the $1,000,000 — if his woman not been killed. So, the motivations are murky, and the conflicts are confused since El Jefe has no idea why Benny is so full of hatred and since Benny isn’t clear as to why El Jefe should be blamed for everything. True, El Jefe put out the contract and triggered off a series of incidents. But Benny’s woman was killed just as much by Benny’s greed as by events unleashed but then also unforeseen by El Jefe. Thus, Benny’s killing of El Jefe doesn’t seem like justice. It seems like a desperate shooting at confusion, like Warren Oates’ character frustratingly shooting at chickens in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. What the Strother Martin character says in COOL HAND LUKE applies to all of Peckinpah’s films: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” In Luke’s case, it was due to his streak of disobedience, but in the paranoid world of Sam Peckinpah, the persistence of mis-communication is the inevitable and inescapable result of the abrasions of egotistical assumptions, not least because Peckinpah projected his own personality of wounded pride and misgivings on all his characters. Sometimes, it could even become a bit batshit crazy, like with Peckinpah’s cameo appearance in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID as an old hand berating Garrett for his assumed betrayals. As Peckinpah’s character appears out of the blue and spews abuse that has no bearing on the plot, it seems like Peckinpah yammering to himself, and of course, Garrett was meant to reflect something of Peckinpah’s own betrayals. It’s as though assumptions, if strong enough, are sufficient for a hearing, but assumptions without proper articulation are intelligible to the listener — one of the central problems of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, which is like Peckipah’s home movie. The Peckinpah Dilemma was he was both egotistically bullying and keenly empathetic, whereupon he imbued a dogged sense of righteousness in all his characters. This love/hate match of intolerance and tolerance in Peckinpah’s psychological makeup fed his neurosis but also fueled an unmatched creative power when channeled and shaped constructively. Francois Truffaut, in films like JULES AND JIM and TWO ENGLISH GIRLS, also knew a thing or two about psychological disjunction, a case where characters powerfully feel drawn to one another but rarely in sync — though I can’t imagine anyone who took it further than Alain Resnais in MURIEL. Only Jules[Oskar Werner] is consistent in his devotion to Catherine[Jeanne Moreau] as his object of worship and to Jim as his best friend. But Catherine and Jim, despite their passion for one another, are perpetually ships passing in the night. Even when they are together, Catherine’s paranoia of slight always get the better of both of them, and Jim, unlike Jules, isn’t ever able to surrender himself wholly to Catherine. It is a more hectic and frenzied form of mis-communication than in the films of Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman where the concerns are more spiritual and/or philosophical. For Bergman and Antonioni, the silence or the muted-ness of the world had to do with modern man’s loss of God and faith in sacred/timeless values. With God dead and absent from the world, man was but an orphan, freed from old taboos but faced with the insurmountable task of finding his own meaning. But without the guidance of God and/or the wisdom of the ages, where does man begin and where will it all end? And if God, the greatest creation of man, is just a lie and/or a teller of lies, then maybe man has no business saying anything since his lesser creations must be lies too. THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, WINTER LIGHT, and SILENCE deal with God’s silence, and perhaps that explains why they either never caught on with the audience and/or have been neglected over the years. Most people, especially urban folks into arts & culture, have become so accustomed to the absence of God that the idea of God’s absence hardly troubles or disturbs them. So, the characters of those three films, at least to current audiences, seem rather ridiculous or irrelevant in their moping around. PERSONA, on the other hand, has remained powerful over the years because its silence is internal and psychological. It’s not about people feeling depressed in relation to ancient cosmology but in relation to their all-too-modern problems. To be sure, there are several characters in THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, WINTER LIGHT, and SILENCE who are candidates for the mentally disturbed — especially the daughter in THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY who is clearly schizophrenic — , but Bergman tied their problems to the larger issue of the ‘meaning of life’, which became passe over the years. PERSONA is more provocative because it dispenses with Big Themes and delves into psychology with the poetry of powerful imagery. It’s more about neurosis than the human condition, generally too generic a theme for modern art. With Antonioni and Bergman, much of the mis-communication was the product of introspection, boredom, and isolation/exile[often willful and self-imposed]. Their films were often about people without drama in their lives, about people faced with no physical threat to their survival. The great modern-day exception for Bergman would be SHAME. In contrast, SILENCE, though set in a city where war is looming, is about two women and a child with ‘too much time on their hands’. Antonioni’s films are set in postwar Italy among the affluent who live in their own insular worlds of privilege. Even their nomad-ism is about taking leave of the problems and inconveniences of the world. But in the cloistered world of their own, they come upon problems of vanity, desire, doubt, boredom. Though his films up to L’AVVENTURA had some strongly etched and believable characters, his subsequent films basically featured characters as pawn-like projections of Antonioni’s own hangups. Thus, the overall directorial vision mattered more in Antonioni’s films than in Bergman’s where characters generally remained at the center around which the vision was constructed; this character-centrism is one reason why certain cinephiles consider Bergman to have been less of a pure film artist than someone like Antonioni and Kubrick for whom characters were components of the overall vision than the main players. Character-centric Woody Allen felt a closer affinity to Bergman and early Fellini. Anyway, in contrast to the visions of Bergman and Antonioni, the world of Peckinpah is a very dangerous place in the most physical and visceral terms. The wrong word or move can get one shot dead on the spot in his Westerns. MAJOR DUNDEE, WILD BUNCH, and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID are especially high on the kill count. But even in a film like JUNIOR BONNER, there’s a good deal of physical wrangling and conflicts. Though there are neurotic characters in Peckinpah’s films, they have little time for introspection and little chance for isolation; the most isolated character in a Peckinpah film is perhaps the Jason Robard character in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE but even his time is filled with servicing passing stagecoach, shacking up with Hildy[Stella Stevens], and biding his time to get his revenge on two old buddies who’d crossed him and left him to die. Some of the lives are so isolated in the films of Bergman and Antonioni that one can’t help feeling that, even without neurotic dispositions, they will slowly go mad. In contrast, the world of Peckinpah is so confrontational that even the naturally crazy are too busy trying to stay alive or get ahead to go bonkers on neurosis alone. The young outlaw of PAT GARREET & BILLY THE KID could indeed be a psychopath, but in a world where everyone has to be handy with the gun to stay alive to live for another day, he’s just doing what everyone else is doing, only better, that is until his luck runs out. Indeed, for such ‘wild’ people, the only way to stay sane is to live in a crazy world. Craziness around them forces them to be sane or alert to stay alive. It’s like what Dutch says to Pike when the latter talks about ‘one good score’ before backing off. ‘Back off to what?’, Dutch asks. And the question isn’t only social or economic but psychological. These men don’t know what to do with peace and stability. They are like alcoholics who must keep drinking to stay functional. Indeed, consider what happens to the George C. Scott character in NEW CENTURIONS. He finally retires and has all the time in the world, but he doesn’t know what to do with it. He ends up lonely and depressed and blows his brains out. As a cop, he saw a lot of crazy things and lived a semi-crazy life, but his life was busily occupied with ‘events’, and they kept his mind distracted the sheer meaningless of reality, especially if one is retired and without family. This is perhaps why religion has been so popular and appealing to people. In a way, it is a form of craziness that calls for faith in some deity or deities that don’t exist. And yet, it’s a useful kind of craziness that directs one’s mind on a certain meaning, certain goal, and certain destiny. And it lends a sense of hope, indeed even in the promise of afterlife. Especially for those in dire situations, religion can be the madness that fends off more insidious and dangerous forms of craziness. It’s like vaccines introduce germy stuff into the body to fend off worse germy stuff. Suppose you’re locked up in a prison for many years for a crime you didn’t commit. If you were to reject all illusions, the overwhelming truth at every moment would be that you’d been unjustly locked in a jail cell for no good reason, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But if fixate on that fact, you might just grow angry, frustrated, depressed, and desperate, finally crazy. But if you believe in the ‘crazy’ idea of God and believe He is looking out for you and trusts you despite your most unfortunate situation, you might find inner-peace and survive the ordeal better. As you’d be believing in something unreal and untrue, it would be sort of crazy, but it would be a constructive and protective kind of craziness that fends off other forms of craziness brought upon by depression and desperation. Think of how Alexander Solzhenitsyn managed to survive the Gulag. He clung to God against Stalinism. But then, arts & culture are also forms of craziness to fend off other forms of craziness. This is why so many gravitate to cities. It’s like moths flying toward the light in nighttime. There is no meaning to reality, and it’s especially dark and depressing in the night, which is why so many Scandinavians go nuts during long dark winters when the sun doesn’t come out. But in the city, you have the carnival of lights even in nighttime, and there’s always something happening. Most of what happens in cities is meaningless, silly, and even sort of crazy, but they are something, and that bright-colorfulness distracts one from the truth that nothing really makes sense and that all our values and beliefs are conceits that don’t amount to a plate of beans.)

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!

(But then, Monica Lewinsky the disgusting Jewess was hardly an innocent victim in the matter. She led Billy Boy on. And there are plenty of women like that who strut around with little more than sex on their minds. So, if they present themselves as sexual treats to men, why wouldn’t men respond in kind? It’s like athletes and music stars treat groupies like hussies and strumpets since that’s how groupies ask for. A woman doesn’t become a groupie to discuss politics or philosophy with famous men. And even in many legit professions, women pursue sex as much as power and status, and indeed, the three are often linked. Monica was the ultimate groupie since she landed the president of the United States. Also, our culture sends mixed messages. On the one hand, it tells girls that sex is so great and fun and natural and goody; therefore, women shouldn’t be repressed at all about their sexual urges and be brazen in their desires. The fact is if natural drives are allowed to run free and loose in public, most of human behavior will be about nothing other than food, sex, fun, power, and pleasures. If you tell a man and a woman to dispense with all repressions and restraints, they won’t be much different from gorillas in a zoo or Negroes in Detroit who have little on their minds but eating, fuc*ing, and fighting. It’s no wonder that too many people shamelessly eat too much. It’s no wonder that our sexual culture is to debauched. And even though most people — except Negroes — hold back their violent tendencies, there is the celebration of violence/power all over movies, TV, video-games, rap music, and PC hysteria. Anyway, our culture tells boys and girls to drop their inhibitions and just go with nature. Girls act like Lena Dunham and Emma Sulkowicz, and boys emulate rappers and sex-crazed men in movies. But on the other hand, feminists bitch that men don’t respect them for their finer qualities like intellect, knowledge, depth, and grace. But really, why would guys who hang around the likes of Lena Dunham and Emma Sulkowicz notice anything other than sluttiness, trashiness, narcissism, and piggishness?) If the likes of Clinton developed a ‘degraded’ view of women from too much sexual confidence/conquest, it could be there’s another kind of men with problematic view of women due to matters of insecurity. And such insecurity is bound to exist in all males in vary degrees. As different men have different strengths and weaknesses, they have different confidences and insecurities. After all, some guys are very tough but lacking in brains and power. Think of Jake LaMotta in RAGING BULL. He could beat up any guy except Sugar Ray Robinson, but even Robinson had his hands full taking on LaMotta and lost once. LaMotta is very tough and strong, but he’s ugly and ain’t much for brain power. The guys who really run his neighborhood and the boxing world are members of the mob. These mobsters are old and feeble physically. LaMotta could kill them with one punch. But he has to respect them, listen to them, and be careful around them. When his wife kisses an old mafia boss, LaMotta can’t say anything, and it’s only after the mafia boss leaves that he slaps his wife. So, LaMotta is confident with his fists but very insecure when it comes to social-financial power. And even though his wife married him because he’s good at sports, he knows he’s no pretty boy. If not for his physical strength, she would never have been with him. So, when she says a certain boxer, Tony Janiro, is good-looking, he gets very jealous and enters the ring to mess up Janiro’s face.

BROADCAST NEWS – Insecurities all around

If some guys are insecure because they got the physical power but not the brain power or good looks, some guys are insecure because they got the looks but not the brain power or muscle power. Consider the William Hurt character in BROADCAST NEWS. He’s a handsome Wasp with a sunny personality who turns heads and wins, at least for awhile, the heart of an ace TV news producer wonderfully played by Holly Hunter(before she turned worthless by taking her clothes off and doing the hussy act in the putrid PIANO, the ickiness of which was topped by psycho-exhibitionist super-strumpet Juliane Moore who exposed her pubes for what seemed like forever in Robert Altman’s SHORT CUTS, though even that was nothing compared to the sheer horror of her kissing a Negro’s lips in FAR FROM HEAVEN). William Hurt’s character has the looks and the charm, but he hasn’t the brains to succeed in the business on his own. He hides his insecurity well, but he’s been coasting on his looks and personality. The Jewish guy played by Albert Brooks does have the brains, but he doesn’t have the looks; and his personality is of the annoying kind common among Jews. And if you’ve seen Albert Brooks shirtless in MODERN ROMANCE, you’d know he looks like a hairy Hebrew ape. But then, being a member of the Schlong Tribe, he might have gone for the meater option to attract Holly Hunter’s character, but he seems to have never had the opportunity. Anyway, Albert Brooks’ character has the brains and is reasonably successful in the business, but it’s not the sort of profession that’s going to make him lots of money. If you don’t have the muscles or the looks — and if you’re unsure of using the meater option — , you gotta have lots of money to get the chicks. But then, rich guys have their own insecurities because they know that women don’t really like them for anything but money, money, money. It’s like Rusty Trawler in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S is eyed by gorgeous women only because he’s presumed to be filthy rich. And if you’re old like Donald Sterling, that’s another reason to feel insecure. A big tough guy without brains/money and looks might get a girl for his macho-ness, but he’s always going to feel anxious about her running off with someone who looks prettier or can buy her lots of fancy stuff. A pretty boy without brains/money and big muscles may win the heart of some girl, but he’s gonna be insecure that he will be humiliated by someone who might kick his ass or someone who can lure his girl with expensive gifts. Then, you got the rich guy who can buy women but has to live with the insecure fact that the only reason she’s with him is because he bought her diamonds & stuff.

MULHOLLAND DR. – Insecurities all around.

I suppose there are other factors too. Some guys just have winning personalities that wins over the babes, like in BLUE VALENTINE. Though some commentators misread that film as being about a woman dumping a beta-male, it’s actually the other way around. The guy, though not the toughest stud in the world, has an alpha personality, and it was what impressed the girl when they were young. But alpha bravado without money and success gets a bit tiresome as people grow older. She wants security and therefore becomes attracted to a steady beta-male professional who has something like a real ‘life’. Those who rely on personality to win the girl tend to be in the ‘creative’ fields, which is why a lot of good-looking women fall for certain guys in arts departments in college. Young women are idealistic and romantic, and they want to believe in true love with a ‘creative’ guy with vision and talent. In the naivete of youth, these kinds of young women believe that money doesn’t matter, and it’s all about the search for meaning, beauty, originality. So, the kind of guys with ‘creative’ bravado can win over such chicks. But then, most such ‘creative’ types end up doing nothing in life, and the women grow older and begin to have second thoughts. (The ‘creative’ guy in HIGH FIDELITY is lucky that his girlfriend with a good steady job comes back to him.)Could there be a guy who is everything in one package? Very strong, intelligent/wealthy, handsome, and charming personality? But that would be like winning the genetic lottery.

BLUE VALENTINE – An icky movie about an Alpha Personality who can’t keep his woman for the long haul.

Anyway, there is glorified hype of machismo as empty showmanship — as in RAMBO movies — , and there is exploration of machismo as a crutch for male insecurity, and Peckinpah’s films are almost entirely about the latter. There’s often the sense in Peckinpah’s films that the male characters feel a need to exaggerate their manhood in order to mask their fears and suppress their anxieties to others and to themselves. No one in a Peckinpah has the recklessness of Rambo or even the confidence of John Wayne. In THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, when Tom Donifan(Wayne) says he fears no man, not even Liberty Valance, we believe him. Indeed, Valance(Lee Marvin) who acts so tough and nasty like a wild wolf with everyone else turns into a dog in the presence of Donifan. And the Negro(Woody Strode) is loyal to his master Donifan and don’t be puttin’ on no Jack-Johnson-act. (Donifan is finally undone not by lack of confidence/courage but by his decency of letting go of the woman he loves upon realizing her heart is really with another man. A she’d promised her hand to Donifan, she would have married him had he insisted, but he knows she wouldn’t be happy with him, so he does the ‘right thing’. But then, he’s as dead as Liberty Valance as he loved nothing more in the world than the woman.) In contrast, anxiety and insecurity run through the entire corpus of Peckinpah’s films. The only possible exception is RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY where the older man, incredibly enough, knocks out the younger man with a single punch. Still, there’s weariness about him, and his reiteration of principles could be a means to keep himself going. His view of life may be an illusion, maybe something that he should given up long time ago, but it’s the only thing that justifies his life of self-denial and material repression, an economic equivalent of sexual repression, the rejection of ‘sinful’ temptations. In a way, he guards with greater tenacity his ‘illusion’ than the gold/money he’s transporting. Though his ideals may be nobler than Willy Loman’s in THE DEATH OF A SALESMAN, his vision of life is in some ways no less deluded. He clings to virtues in a world of vice, indeed a world that has never been about anything but vice that is everywhere either in repressed/hidden or released/liberated form.

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.

Vincent Canby of the New York Times said of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA: “An exercise in manic machismo… so witless you can’t believe it was made by the man who directed THE WILD BUNCH.” Yet, it depends on what one means by ‘manic machismo’. If Canby meant machismo-on-steroids, his diagnosis was only half right as the male fury in the film is really an act of desperation. True, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is a very flawed and even terrible film, but it’s certainly not an empty hyperbole of machismo. Throughout the film, what really sticks out is the desperado tension between men and women and between individuals and the power. El Jefe(played by Emilio Fernandez who also played Mapache) has lots of money and power, but he feels insulted and even threatened by Alfredo Garcia’s indiscretions. He’d trusted Garcia like his ‘own son’, but the playboy boned his daughter and ran off leaving her pregnant. El Jefe isn’t offended by Garcia’s impregnation of his daughter. He might have accepted him as a son-in-law. His patriarchal honor has been demeaned by Garcia’s using her like a whore instead of asking permission for her hand and settling down with her as a good husband and son-in-law.

(El Jefe’s pride is especially wounded because both he and his daughter were taken in by the charlatan Garcia. El Jefe treated him like a son, but Garcia was merely mooching off him. Garcia even bedded his El Jefe’s daughter like a whore. El Jefe feels himself to have been ‘honor-raped’ by this brazen sweet-talking operator and cheat. Though El Jefe is presented as a heavy and we are made to sympathize with his sweet-faced pregnant daughter, we can’t help feeling that El Jefe’s rage is somewhat legitimate. And even though the Madonna-like image of the pregnant girl caressing her swollen abdomen is pure, innocent, and hopeful, we can’t help feeling she is a fool. She still seems in love with Garcia when she was just another easy lay to him. But then, why is she so naive and foolhardy? Because she’s been shielded from the real world in the arch-reactionary world of her father’s mansion. Nothing is easier to fool, connive, and corrupt than innocence, which has no built-in resistance to the germ-infested charms of the world. Garcia understood this and took advantage of her. In the bargain, he fooled her father as well, which was a bigger coup. Though El Jefe is a formidable man, he’s self-enclosure in his own domain has dulled his instincts against a poseur like Garcia.) As powerful as El Jefe is, he feels insecure in that he cannot trust a young buck(or buckez) and his daughter whom he raised to be a ‘good girl’ of the Catholic Faith and duty to patriarchy. He feels like Michael Corleone in THE GODFATHER PART II when Connie comes home with some Wasp playboy: “You fly around the world with lazy young men who don’t have any love for you, and use you like a whore.” And the ‘corporate’ men who do the hiring to get the head of Alfredo Garcia are insecure themselves. They are ‘well organized’, but they have to hide in hotel rooms and be protected by body guards at all times. They are ‘suits’ who don’t know how to handle guns themselves. As for Benny, he is a ‘loser’ who wants one lucky score, so he could ‘back off’ and settle down with his woman, though, to be sure, she seems to belong to any man who wants her. Her love for Benny seems genuine not special. One could believe her feeling the same way for some other man. But he’s hung up about her nonetheless and wants her to be his wife. But she will only remain faithful to him if they can build a life together, and $10,000 is a good way to get started. But to get it, Benny must offend the woman’s sense of integrity: She is to help him rob Alfredo Garcia’s grave, a desecration that offends her to her very soul; it sickens her so much that she pledges to leave him after taking him to the grave, thus defeating the whole purpose of Benny getting the head to get the money to get the woman; but Benny plows forward just the same like a man on a mission whereby trying-to-get-the-girl is more important than actually getting the girl as he could lose her by going for the head. In a way, his manly pride of going all the way to get the girl is more important than getting the girl. Pride of game matters more than the dame. But then, Benny doesn’t know that the real price on Garcia’s head is $1,000,000. As a nobody with nothing, he slobbers at the prospect of $10,000. A mere pittance is like his holy grail.

What is most surprising and perhaps most unconvincing as well about the film is how the woman is so offended by the idea of taking Garcia’s head as trophy for money. She’s a whore, so why should she care? She doesn’t seem to believe in the sanctity of anything. Or maybe she’s just superstitious like a lot of ignorant folks are. Or maybe her disgust at the proposed desecration is just another variation of the male fantasy of the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold. Sexual paranoia in men tends to see women in extreme terms of whore and Madonna. The human mind feels most anxious when dealing with dualities, complexities, and ambiguities. So, men often prefer to be totally depressed or totally blissful than something in between. Seeing a woman as a total whore may be depressing for a man — at least if the whore isn’t his — , but there’s at least certainty to the conviction. The guy in the Claude Chabrol film L’ENFER is manically uneasy because his mind can’t settle as to whether his young wife is faithful or slutty. If a woman is seen totally as a whore, then the guy can just hate her or reject her as a ‘no good bitch’. But of course, nothing is that simple. Especially if the guy is smitten with the ‘whore’, there remains some lingering wish she is, all said and done, a Madonna, or at least a Mary Magdalene who can be saved.

And that may be why Peckinpah made Benny’s woman out to be sanctimonious about certain things to redeem her from total whore-hood. She may have fooled around and ‘cheated’ on Benny, but at least she has her own sense of holiness. She’ll spread her legs to any man, but there’s a threshold she won’t cross. She will give head but won’t take a head. She is a virgin of the heart.
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.

Anyway, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA isn’t quite believable or plausible on any social, political, or economic level. The idea of some Mexican tycoon offering one million dollars for some guy’s head and the notion of ‘gringo’ corporate types lining up at his feet are ludicrous. But as a psycho-drama, it can be approached as something like a proto-Lynchian film. Or something like John Boorman’s POINT BLANK, most of which could be a revenge fantasy of a dying man. Benny’s journey to the source of the problem — the struggle for sexual power and control over women by men — is like the arc of John Milius’ original concept of APOCALYPSE NOW. There may be many nations, many religions, many ideologies, and etc. but when we boil all human conflicts to their basics, it’s about men’s control of ‘land and pussy’. American Conservatives are a deracinated bunch, and they aren’t allowed to stand up for white power and identity. But why do they admire Israel so much? Because it’s a democracy? If so, why aren’t they so crazy about Mexico or Philippines or Turkey, all of which are democracies? Is it because of shared religious/spiritual traditions? If so, shouldn’t American Christian Conservatives feel closer to Coptic Christians and Arab Christians in Iraq and Syria? No, the real reason is because Israel is the only ‘Western’ nation that is about ‘land and pussy’. Zionist Jewish men fight for their holy land, and they emphasize the need for Jewish dongs to fill Jewish pooters with life juice to produce more Jewish babies who will grow up to be warriors of Jewish race and land. Race is a sexual product determined by who-fuc*s-whom. Also, as children take the names of their fathers and identify more with the father as the dominant figure, fatherhood is important in the determinant of identity. After all, kids feel, “My father sexually conquered and fuc*ed my mother.” As most mulattos are the products of Negro men humping white women, the children feel more black. Their white mothers surrendered to their black fathers. Or consider the article that says most children of Jewish and Korean pairings feel Jewish than Korean. It’s because Jewish Schwarzniks with the meaters marry Korean-American hussies who gladly surrender their own identities and feel honored to bear Jewish kids in their wombs.

In the films of Sam Peckinpah, machismo is more often a crutch than a club. It’s like when a chimpanzee and a baboon face one another, they howl up a lot of noise more out of panic than confidence. As each fear the other, it tries to reassure its own power by acting tough and trying to intimidate the other with display of pandemonium. Children act like that too. But adults are generally looked down upon if they in such manner. Indeed, many people see overt displays of machismo for what it is: a mask of weakness, as well as bad manners and lack of cool. Most men are more like the sodbuster who gets gunned down by Jack Palance’s character in SHANE. Indeed, the Palance character is a stock villain, the sort who is invincible until the Good Guy comes to finally finish him off. According to formula, he can only be defeated by the Good Guy, the other mythic character. Reality is, of course, not myth. Just about every movie action star would get beat up in a bar fight. Brad Pitt was super-tough in TROY, but whole bunch of guys could kick his ass. Bruce Lee kicked and punched everyone in his movies, but any professional fighter would have knocked him flat on his back.

Cobra Jack Palance in SHANE

Sam Peckinpah’s films have their share of tough guys, but even they are closer to the sodbuster who gets shot & falls face down in SHANE than to the Palace character. There’s always a palpable sense of fear in their eyes. There’s nothing like the final gunfight of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY in the rest of Peckinpah’s films. The two old men walk tall and proud to the showdown with the Hammond brothers. They walk with grace and show no fear. They understand it’s about honor and do-or-die. But there’s are no such moments in MAJOR DUNDEE in which violence is a series of messy business. There are no rules of combat, and those who survive are simply those who were lucky enough to evade bullets and lances. And there’s no time to be ‘cool’. There’s no room where one could stand cool-and-tough like Jack Palance or the Man with No Name in the Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. There is no room for style. It’s kill or be killed as bullets don’t spare anyone for his style or ‘coolness’. Bullets will even mow down women. Nevertheless in this mad world, there is a room for recklessness, but then, the price is often steep for the brazen hero. The Richard Harris character at the end of MAJOR DUNDEE heroically charges at the French cavalry, and the men admire his guts-and-glory, but he’s soon slashed and felled by French swords and lances. The end is grim despite the reckless heroism. It’s like Gaddaffi’s end wasn’t any less grim because he chose the way of the proud warrior. In the end, it wasn’t even spectacular like the death of Tony Montana in SCARFACE. Just cruel and ugly. It’s understandable why Hitler decided to shoot himself than pick up a gun and fight to the last. He could have been injured and then paraded around and then killed in the most humiliating way. Mussolini and his mistress were shot clean dead, but then, their bodies were mutilated and mangled by the mob.

Richard Harris and Charlton Heston in MAJOR DUNDEE

One might note an element of ‘coolness’ in the last march of the Bunch to save Angel, but the mood is too bumpy and coarse for a sense of grace so essential to coolness. We sense hard determination whereas ‘coolness’ implies effortlessness. It’s a world where outcomes are determined by strength, not style. Whatever’s going to happen between Mapache and the Bunch, we know it won’t be clean or slick. It’s going to be something like a hog killing. Indeed, if the Bunch get as far as they do, it’s because most of the Mexicans are hung over the previous night’s drinking(and also because Mexicans tend to be passive until forced into action). Mapache’s sudden slashing of Angel’s throat has the same impact as Pike’s mercy-killing of the blinded man, Angel’s shooting of Teresa, and locomotive’s smashing into the train compartment(with the horses). We know it’s coming but not quite when. It’s at once inevitable and shocking, and indeed, Pike’s sudden reaction to Mapache’s hog-killing of
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.

It’s a tense moment in which everyone waits for someone to light the match. Everyone is on the edge. The Bunch know that they are trapped. There’s no way out for sure now. But no Mexican takes the initiative since the four ‘gringos’ have all angles covered and will shoot the first soldier who picks up a gun. (It’s also cultural as Mexicans are natural followers than leaders. If anything, Mexicans are used to being reprimanded for taking individual action. Angel is an exception and is duly punished. And in the scene where Mapache’s men tried to take the rifles and ammo without payment, one soldier took matters into his own hands and fired at the Bunch’s wagon upon seeing a machine gun being unveiled. He was punished with death. So, the Mexican way is to wait to be told what to do. In a way, even the soldier’s panicked shooting at the wagon was less a case of individuality than of simple fright of someone without pride or dignity. He probably shot at the wagon because he thought he was expected to. When he punished with death, he passively resigns himself to the fate.) Finally, Pike looks at Dutch, and Dutch looks back with a fiendish smile. It resolves their hostile stare-down earlier when Sykes got shot. They finally see eye-to-eye than eye-against-eye. And Dutch’s devilish smile has black magic about it. It’s a devil-may-care smile, seen earlier when Dutch tapped his rifle against wooden boxes to gain the attention of soldiers during the train robbery. The Bunch have no way out. All that’s left is a matter of who takes the initiative, a kind of measured recklessness, and Pike decides to light the fire by shooting the German officer. Why him? Perhaps he reminds Pike of Harrigan, the man who ‘hires his killings’. After all, even though Mapache was El General, he was being manipulated and maneuvered by men more intelligent and shrewd. It could also be like the scene in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID when James Coburn’s character shoots at a reflection of himself. After all, Pike has been sort of the like the German officer himself, at times acting aloof and superior to the rest of the Bunch. The ensuing gun battle is an all-out melee, and there’s nothing ‘cool’ about it. The Bunch will grab women as shields and even shoot a few. Mexicans of all age, old men and children too, take part in it. It’s like the final battle in SEVEN SAMURAI, STRAW DOGS, EXCALIBUR, and THE 13TH WARRIOR when all hell breaks loose, a kind of fight-til-you-drop melee. All sense of rhyme or reason or proportion has been tossed to the wind. There’s no time for strategy and calculation. It’s like everyone for himself even though it’s team vs team, or team vs team & its fans. Though the Bunch are a team, each has to fight solo. Lyle, Tector, Dutch, and Pike shoot at whatever and wherever that comes into sight. It’s the opposite of the Train Heist where every movement was pre-planned and coordinated to near perfection. Each member of the Bunch is so wrapped up in staying alive for just a little longer to kill more men before he himself is downed that a kind of mad desperation hangs in the air. It’s somewhat fitting that Pike, though no less desperate, enters a room with a mirror and a woman backed up against a wall. There is something instinctive about him that prefers a semblance of order to chaos and self-preservation-above-all, and he finds his momentary respite in the room, which proves to be deceptive as the woman he spares shoots him in the back, as if to snap him back awake that there’s no escaping from fate.

the final inferno

He must go out and finish it, and when Lyle, who’d been furiously manning the machine gun, is shot and being torn to shreds by gunfire, Pike makes a mad dash for the machine gun for the final round of bloodshed before he too is finally brought down. But like a Viking who clings to the hilt of his sword to the very end, Pike will not let go of his grip on the machine gun. The fury of the violence is like the final battle in EXCALIBUR when the bloodletting goes into auto-pilot. It’s no longer of a matter of fighting to kill or win but to just keeping hacking away until one can’t anymore. All order has broken down, and it’s every man for himself. In psycho-emotional terms, this may be uniforms are so important in war. Their most obvious purpose is reinforce identification of ‘us’ as opposed to ‘them’, but something happens in the heat of battle that makes one completely lose sight of who is who. One ends up fighting just to fight. This is why, when one hyena pack rumbles with another pack, the fighting can get so out-of-control that the hyenas may lose all sense of sides and attack anything, even their own members. It goes from us versus them to every beast for itself. Indeed, EXCALIBUR sort of begins with such a scenario. Two sides square off against one another, but it turns into a battle of every man for himself. The triumphant Uther doesn’t say that his side won but instead, “Merlin, I am the strongest! I am the one! The sword! You promised me the sword!” And when he is given the Excalibur to be king, his main priority isn’t doing what’s good for the kingdom but what’s most pleasing to himself, which is to sexually conquer Igraine. Uther’s barbarian soul isn’t suited to rule a kingdom, and it’s his son Arthur, who is wiser and fairer, who turns out to be the one to build Camelot and rule over a land of order and prosperity. But even Arthur’s way isn’t foolproof because it goes against nature. True, his noble example inspires the men around him, especially the Knights of the Round Table. And love and respect for him maintain the loyalty of Guinevere and Lancelot respectively as wife and friend. But despite all the shining political and moral ideals that Arthur stands for, there is the power of nature of which sexual lust/desire is a big part, and Lancelot, as the handsomest & toughest warrior, and Guinevere, as the loveliest & most charming woman, feel a powerful attraction to one another, no less than what Uther had felt for Igraine. The only thing that holds them apart is the shining higher ideals of the Arthurian-Merlin-ian civilization, but it’s difficult to hold back the power of nature that attracts the most alpha male with the most alpha female. Morgana understands this weakness in the system and deviously manipulates minds and hearts to bring forth a crisis of sexuality, morality, and loyalty. Guinevere and Lancelot deny that they have disloyal feelings toward Arthur and profess innocence. And Lancelot fights a duel to prove his honor. But we know the truth, and eventually, they betray Arthur who, in the name of honor, is bound to kill both of them, but he cannot, and he loses heart and the respect of the people of the kingdom, and the kingdom falters. Also, though Arthur has been a good king, his lineage is checkered since his father was the fearsome and cruel Uther. He is the product of deception, murder, and rape. So, even though Arthur’s achievement is remarkable, it can be morally challenged by unlocking secrets of the past, and Morgana does just that. (To be sure, Morgana’s own father, the Duke of Cornwall, was no less brutish and barbaric than Uther.)
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 othermessage 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

Though tribalism is a powerful element of human nature, it is also very unstable in how it plays out. For instance, the sacred properties of a tribalism are not guaranteed. A particular tribe may claim a certain territory as rightfully theirs. They may revere the land as the place of their ancestors since the beginning of time. But no matter how powerful their attachment may be, they can lose the land to another people. They can be invaded and occupied or, worse, they can be expelled from the land or wiped out. Or they can be raped en masse and be permanently be turned into a mongrel race. The Torah tells of how the Hebrews went to the Land of Canaan and took the land from the pagan inhabitants. Much later, the Romans expelled the Jews from Jerusalem. In recent history, Jews returned to the land and drove out the Palestinians. The Americas used to be the land of many native Indian tribes, but they lost most of the land to the white conquerors and settlers. The Greeks lost Constantinople forever to the Turks who call it Istanbul. Germany lost huge chunks of territory after World War II. And Japan has yet to regain the Kurile Islands. So, even though territory is often associated with a people’s sense of history and identity, there is no guarantee that the land will belong to any people. Consider the fate of Kosovo that had once been the ‘sacred homeland’ of the Serbs. Albanians own it now. And with massive immigration of non-whites into European lands, the sense of sacred European soil may be lost forever. (But as the West still control and dominate the intellectual and cultural values of the world, even East Asian nations are trying to emulate its suicidal tendencies. What goes by the name of ‘Western Values’ are resolutely anti-Western, anti-white, and anti-patriotic even though it must be said that these Anti-Western values originated not in non-white lands but from within the very heart of the Western thought, especially as perverted by Jews. Every civilization can turn cancerous and produce ideas and values that are harmful to itself. And a malignant mutated strains of Christianity, Marxism, and Capitalism have led to this most dangerous stage in Western history that is, in some ways, more existentially threatening that World War II. True, Hitler was evil and National Socialism would have done great damage to Western Civilization had it prevailed — and it would have been absolutely horrific for Slavs — , but Western Europe would have survived and continued to develop as a proud white civilization. But due to the ideology of Political Correctness, Holocaustianity, Multi-Culturalism, and Jungle-Fever-interracialism, much of Europe is surrendering and spreading its legs to the non-white horde. And some white women now feel disgust at the very idea of bearing ‘white male cisgender’ babies in their wombs. They feel more honored to take the seeds of non-white men — especially those of Negroes — and give birth to mulatto babies. Or, they’re only happy if their sons are born homo.) So, what will happen to the territories that had been white, European, and Western? They will be lost to invaders from Africa and the Middle East. So, the territory that had been associated tribally with the European races will become the territory of Africans, Arabs, Muslims, and mixed-race mongrels. In EXCALIBUR, Perceval retrieves and reminds the wisdom of “You and the Land are One” to Arthur. But in our times, the decadent and stupid white Europeans have lost their way. They’d rather wiggle their asses to a sick pervert like Sam Smith and offer up their daughters to ghastly Negroes whose populations are exploding all across black Africa and advancing to European lands for free welfare, free housing, and free white pussy.

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.

At any rate, neither land nor women are certain guarantees for the survival of the tribalism of a people. The land, no matter how long held by a people, can be taken by another people. Had Germans prevailed over the Russians in World War II, much of Russia would have fallen permanently into the hands of Germans and many Russians would simply have been wiped out. And women, especially in an amnesiac and hedonistic culture, feel no particular loyalty to their men and will easily & happily go off with the men of another tribe if such men are seen as more alpha, masterful, and dominant for reasons that are physical, financial, and/or aesthetic. Of course, the triumph of the men of one tribe over another tribe doesn’t necessarily secure permanent tribal power either. Even as the victorious men conquer another people, they may fall under the enchanting allurement of the other tribe’s arts, culture, music, food, and women. So, even though they take the women of the other tribe, they may neglect their own women. And they may prefer the children they have with the conquered women than the children they have with their own women. In time, the conquerors may meld in with the very people they’ve conquered. After all, what became of the Aryans who conquered India long ago? And consider the Macedonians who conquered the Greeks. They too became a kind of sort-of-Greek people. And the Mongols and Manchurians who conquered the Chinese became absorbed into the Chinese. And if the percentage of the black population was low in America, even black male mating with white women will likely lead to blacks being absorbed into the white family. It’s like the some of the Moors who invaded parts of Southern Europe just became part of the European family. They may have conquered parts of Europe and taken European women, but they came to prefer their mixed-race children over the children they had with the women of their own kind. Given all these problems of tribal instability, what is the best formula for preserving the tribe? Of all the peoples throughout history, Jews came up with the most powerful formula, indeed all the more remarkable since Jews had to survive in environments that were mostly non-Jewish. Though Jews never lost hope of returning to their Holy Land, their core tribal identity wasn’t tied to the land. If it were, they would lost their identity the minute they were exiled from their homeland. What mattered to Jews was a sense of history, or a continuous history. Jewish historiography didn’t just emphasize the great figures of Jewish history but insisted on the continuity of the Jewish lineage through the ages so that Jews would never lose sight of their being part of a continuum. Also, Jews linked their tribal greatness to God who supposedly blessed Jewish penises with holiness. Thus, Jewish women were not only impressed with Jewish meaters for their manhood but for their godhood. So, even though non-Jewish men may be better-looking or stronger — and even have bigger meaters — , only Jewish men had the spirit sticks. Jews thus sacralized sexuality. Also, Jews developed a certain disagreeableness that generally turned off other tribes, and so, the chances were that non-Jews weren’t too crazy about getting intimate with Jewish men and women. What guy would want to end up in bed with someone like Barbra Streisand or Sarah Silverman? Silverman certainly has the looks, but only an equally sharp-tongued crazy Jewish male wouldn’t be castrated by her. Anyway, Jewish culture didn’t just bless the Jewish pud but also the Jewish pooter, or vagina. While the Jewish pud was said to be blessed through the Covenant, Jewish women were made to feel mighty proud of their poons because Judaism said a true Jew should be born of a Jewish woman. Thus, Jewish women didn’t merely see themselves as properties of Jewish men but as special mothers with holy organs blessed by God to take in the seeds from Jewish wankers and squeeze out Jewish babies. Thus, the Jewish woman felt that her womb wasn’t for the seeds of just any man but only for Jewish men to produce holy Jewish kids. Nevertheless, there were temptations among Jews to go off with other races and tribes, and perhaps, this was felt more strongly among handsome Jewish men and handsome Jewish women since they would have been desired by good-looking non-Jewish men and women. So, perhaps, gradually over time, the good-looking Jewish men and women went off with others, thus leaving the most zealous and not-so-good-looking Jewish folks behind to keep having Jewish kids. This might explain why a good number of Jews look like Eugene from GREASE and Cynthia Ozick. It could be that the studs and hussies among the Jews generally ran off with the other races and simply became Greeks, Romans, Turks, Philistines, Arabs, and etc.

Anyway, the Jewish tribal sense became more internalized as it became separated from the idolization of the land. As important as the concept of territory was to Jews — the idea of the Promised Land — , Jewish sense of tribe also developed apart from it and thus became more an internalized affair of what it means to think and feel as a Jew.
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.

Anyway, because Jewish tribalism became more internalized and less dependent on the idolatry of the land, Jews were able to maintain their tribal unity even when they lost their land and were scattered around the world. In essence, a tribe cannot survive unless the sexual unity is maintained between its men and women, and Jews formulated a racial-sexual consciousness that encouraged and enforced that as well. A culture has to link the past to the present to the future. A culture is useless if it’s only about current identity as individual choice. If an Italian says, “I’m proud to be Italian, but I don’t care what my kids and their grandchildren choose to be,” then his cultural identity has been rendered useless. After all, he didn’t himself, as an individual, create Italian-ness in the present; he inherited his Italian-ness from his ancestors who’d maintained it through the ages; therefore, Italian-ness will only survive as a culture if he stresses to his children that the identity and heritage must be continued by them. A true culture is not a matter of personal choice. You don’t choose to be ‘Jewish’ or ‘Italian’. You are born Jewish or Italian, and, if you care about the culture, you are obligated to instruct your kids to carry on with the heritage and identity. Otherwise, the culture will die, and then what will be left of one’s identity? Only fashion and pop culture, which are mostly vapid and trivial.
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.

Anyway, machismo in Peckinpah’s films isn’t just some empty fantasy. It’s not the kind of machismo in RAMBO movies where male viewers are made to feel complacent in the power of the invincible male. In RAMBO, bullets bounce off the hero’s chest. In many Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, the hero is near-indestructible. And in most action films of Clint Eastwood, the (anti)hero need not worry much since he can beat most guys without batting an eye. If Eastwood’s Leone movies and the first DIRTY HARRY are somewhat more compelling, it’s because the characters meet their match on occasion. Blondie is helpless as he’s forced through the desert by Tuco. And Harry Callahan gets hurt badly by Scorpio in THE DIRTY HARRY and escapes by the skin of his teeth. There is an element of vulnerability, something missing in the subsequent Dirty Harry movies. And Stallone was at his best too in ROCKY(and ROCKY BALBOA) when he wasn’t a comic book Hercules but a human being with all his weaknesses as well as strengths. In one scene in ROCKY, he says “I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.” That’s just it. That’s what makes the movie special, the sense of incompleteness of the hero who, despite his strength and size, has his own insecurities and special needs. (Also, it’s about a man and a woman becoming lovers as partners-in-life sharing in the struggle. He is not a player, and she is not a trophy. He is a man and she is a woman, and they decide to struggle as a couple. Such a mind-set is missing in our culture where every guy is brought up to measure himself in terms of big-name celebrity rappers or athletes, and every girl is encouraged to see herself as the trophy to be awarded to the top guy. Gone is the humanist element that a man is a man and a woman is a woman and that, together as one, they have a common and shared struggle ahead of them. In the American West, men and women got married with the understanding that they needed one another to struggle together through life. It’s like the film HEARTLAND. But in our societies, a spouse is seen as the trophy to win, an award for having made it in life. Pop Culture Narcissism had molded our minds away from humanism to you-win-ism. There is also the power of the state that weakens the need for cooperation between man and woman for one’s well-being. The crazy thing about BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is the conflict between the humanist mode and you-win-ist mode. Benny and Elita[the woman] are willing to stick together and struggle through life even though they don’t have much. Yet, Benny wants her respect by being able to offer her security, and that means he needs money. And even though she loves Benny, there’s something of the whore-in-her that all-too-easily goes with whomever wields the gun, literally or figuratively. Benny is both a human and a trophy hunter, and Elita is both a woman and a trophy.) And though Peckinpah’s films are clearly edgier than ROCKY, it is this sense of gap-hood or ‘gappery’ that makes them so memorable. The men of THE WILD BUNCH try to act tough, but they got gaps; they can’t help feeling that something’s missing in their lives and that they can lose it all at any moment. There is an element of embittered doggedness in the characters of Peckinpah, as if nothing in life can be taken for granted. David Sumner(Dustin Hoffman) tries to take it nice and easy in STRAW DOGS, but the walls begin to close in on him. Others see him for the pushover that he is. Even though he is higher in status & class, the working class lads of the town feel about him as wolves with a beagle. It’s like the dramatic contradiction in Joseph Losey’s THE SERVANT where the young aristocrat is superior in status/class but comes under the thumb of his servant who is more intelligent, strong-willed, experienced, and devious. Class power and natural power are not the same thing. Class privilege can favor the physically weak over the physically stronger — as with white southern gentry over the Negroes — , and it can favor the dim-witted over the more intelligent — as with dumb members of the European aristocracy over savvy, cunning, and smarter Jews who served their financial needs. (In a way, European antisemitism was as much a leftist as well rightist phenomenon. As the old aristocrats came to be ever more dependent on and acquainted with the rising power of Jewish financiers and bourgeois elements — and some Jews even purchased aristocratic titles — , the old gentile elites and new Jewish elites began to merge into a class with shared interests, like with the super-rich folks in EYES WIDE SHUT who seem to be made up of old money Wasp and new money Jews. As the aristocratic remnants cozied up to privileged Jews, many middle class and underclass white goyim began to feel betrayed by their own elites. Their anger was fueled by populist demagogues, and this led certain gentile masses to pick up pitchforks against the elites. This is why Jews fear the white middle class and working class more than the white elite class that can be bought and won over. Just look how the GOP elites prefer to keep their wealth and privilege by collaborating with Jews than risk losing them by leading the white masses. Of course, in the US, as even the white masses-as-dumb-asses have been turned into mindless worshipers of Jews and homos, they don’t even know what their own racial and class interests are. A people who don’t know their identity and interests wouldn’t even they are being led when real leaders appear. It’s like Richard Spencer is face with hostile crowds in white Montana because your average white person is a mental-slave of media brainwashing controlled by Jews and homos.) The pervasive sense of unease in Peckinpah’s films derives from the constant(and sometimes paranoid) feeling that no one’s power, privilege, or status can be taken for granted as it’s constantly under threat or challenge by others. In RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, we have an ex-sheriff who clings to honor as the measure of self-respect in a world that has little use for such things. We have a religious patriarch farmer who leans on God to stave off sexual and material temptations that test his own soul. It’s as if he projects his owns repressed sinfulness on other men. Paradoxically, his faith seems unstable precisely because it’s so unshakeable. It could be he clings to it fervently out of fear that just a little loosening of the grip will lead him to debauchery and the sinfulness. He feels himself to be resolute and righteous, but we sense a shiver in his inner core. It’s like teetotaler who fears even a drop of liquor lest it lead him to take the whole bottle. Religion can be a self-imposed straitjacket to restrain the wild animal within.
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

It’s also the case that men are always testing one another to see who’s got the guts and who doesn’t. The Hammond brothers taunt and tease the young guy who brought the girl to the Hammond’s camp. They wanna see what he is made of. It’s a world where no man can take his status and position for granted. Every man has to prove himself on his feet or on his horse. Respect is guarded, not a given. Just being nice won’t you anywhere.
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

It is this sense of tension that makes DAZED AND CONFUSED so lively and entertaining as well. Though the high school students are not riding around on horses and shooting people with guns, they — girls as well as boys — have a pecking order decided by wits and styles of word and move. Though being ‘cool’ matters above naked machismo, boys will be boys, and niceness alone won’t save your hide. The Jewish kid who is taunted and humiliated by Clint the bully realizes this. He gets so upset that he pumps himself of put-on machismo and starts a fight with his tormentor. Being Jewish, he isn’t entirely without calculation and figures that in a social setting like that, others will break up the fight before it gets too serious and causes damage. But even apart from the physical confrontations, there are so many do’s and don’ts when it comes to the school of cool. Being ‘cool’ isn’t just a matter of being laid back and relaxed. One has to work at it and be attuned to the right signals. Slater, who thinks himself very cool, is made to feel like shit when another guy mocks his shtick of saying “check you later” all the time, especially to girls. Being successfully ‘cool’ is like comedy: only a few succeed, just like few comedians are genuinely funny. Coolness isn’t simply about taking-it-easy. If so, any fat Mexican who sits around eating chili beans and breaking wind would be ‘cool’. He sure loves to have his siesta. An elephant seal lying around fat and lazy on a beach isn’t ‘cool’. A cat is ‘cool’ because it is easy and tight. On the other hand, the cat is among the most nervous and paranoid creatures. Indeed, its strange combination of intensity and grace are the product of extreme predatory and defensive instincts. It’s designed to kill, to fight, to defend itself with absolute ruthlessness. In violent confrontations, it’s disadvantageous to flail about wildly. This is why brawlers are not the best boxers. They expend too much energy too fast, and their strikes tend to be off-the-mark & ineffective, and they leave themselves open to counterpunches. But then, a boxer cannot take it easy like it’s a summer picnic. The best kind of boxer is very intense but also has ‘grace under fire’. He’s alert and engaged throughout the barrage, all the while sidestepping the panic mode. Brawlers simply try to overpower their opponents, and they win in cases where they are much bigger and stronger than the opponent. The USSR defeated Nazi Germany because of its great size. The Russian Bear was not a better fighter than the German tiger but just too big and overbearing. If the German tiger had been able to sink its teeth into the jugular of the Russian bear, it might have won, but the Russian bear got free of the tiger’s grip and brawled its way to victory. The wrong lesson Russians learned from their victories over France and Germany was ‘size is everything’. But huge expenditures on Quantity over Quality have drained the Russian economy and kept it from innovation in finer aspects of science and technology. Size-is-everything has been the fallacy that kept Russia backward. (The French invasion of Russia is interesting in how tribalism turned the Russians elites from books-and-style to blood-and-soil. Many Russian aristocrats had disdained the Russian language and spoke French amongst themselves instead. They looked to French ideas and fashion for all that was good and sound. They preferred to dilly dally with Western European elites while treating their own kind as dirty serfs. But when Russia was invaded, the Russian aristocracy put aside their intellectual preference for all-things-French to unite with and lead the Russian masses against the invaders. To be sure, the Russian aristocracy had a vested interest in protecting their own privileges over the masses. In contrast, had Napoleon won, the Russian masses might have been liberated from serfdom and been allowed to seek power and freedom for themselves. But, the nature of foreign occupation is such that the so-called ‘liberators’ are rarely greeted as such, especially as French soldiers, despite what their cause stood for, often raped and pillaged through the lands they conquered. The Spanish didn’t welcome them either. Even so, it’s ironic that Russians resisted with patriotic passions against the French army even though it was the French Revolutionaries who stood for nationalism — an ideal where rulers and ruled were united as one people — whereas the Russian elites stood for aristocratic domination over the cowering masses. Incidentally, if the Confederacy was wrong for having resisted the Northern Invasion because its social system practiced slavery, was it wrong for Russia to have resisted the French invasion because it had serfdom? Or do all nations, regardless of their political or social system, have a right to defend itself from invading forces? Should the free world invade Israel and West Bank to liberate Palestinians from the Zionist-imperialist yoke?)

APOCALYPSE NOW – Teflon Don of Bullets and Shrapnel

But even a bigger fallacy, especially in popular culture, is that ‘coolness’-as-style can overcome everything. It’s as if bullets simply cannot touch those branded with the ‘cool’. The scene in APOCALYPSE NOW where Colonel Kilgore(Robert Duvall) struts around the beach with his shirt off. It’s ‘cool’ but total bullshit. How come bullets and shrapnel never touch him? It’s sort of like the scene in THE WILD BUNCH where Mapache stands tall and fearless as Pancho Villa’s men close in all around. His men are cowering and fleeing, or they’re getting felled by bullets. But Mapache stands as if he’s invincible. And yet, that scene doesn’t seem as bullshit as the one in APOCALYPSE NOW because we sense recklessness than invincibility. We still believe that he can be shot; he’s untouched because he’s just lucky. Indeed at the end when Pike and Dutch do shoot him, he goes down like any other men. But there’s a sense in APOCALYPSE NOW that Kilgore is the Teflon Don when it comes to bullets and shrapnel. They simply cannot touch him even as they are frightening and felling men all around him. It’s the sort of myth we want to believe about coolness that simply has no place in reality. In contrast, Pike and the Bunch duck with fear when bullets fly. Consider the Bridge scene when the wagon gets trapped midway and bullets are raining down on the wagon. It is fraught with nerve-racking suspense because every gunfire rings with lethal fury. It feels more like participatory sport than grand spectacle seen from a distance. It’s this tenseness that sets the films of Peckinpah apart from the films of Sergio Leone. Both were great directors but with contrasting visions. With Leone, it was largely a matter of styled suspense. Though realism sometimes intruded into the vision, the killings were generally of contests of style heightened with ritualistic suspense, like with the three-man shoot-out in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. Whoever demonstrates superior coolness-under-fire usually win. (To be sure, Blondie cheats in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND UGLY in Machiavellian fashion because only he knows that Tuco’s pistol is empty.) This is why it is shocking when the James Coburn character gets shot at the end of DUCK, YOU SUCKER. He’s the coolest guy in the movie, but he is felled and there’s nothing that can save him.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY – Stylized Ritual of Suspense

In Peckinpah’s films, there is no Cool Pass to Victory. Anything can happen at any moment. A woman may suddenly shoot you in the back, as happens in the final battle of THE WILD BUNCH. Even a child might shoot you in the back. You can try to be ‘cool’ and be graceful under fire, but when push comes to shove, anything goes and you have to be willing to be get down-and-dirty, like David Sumner in STRAW DOGS. And consider the final battle in MAJOR DUNDEE. It is a messy affair, like the visual equivalent of Charles Ives’ music. The formations start the battle magnificently and the first rounds are fired with some semblance of order, but once the ball gets rolling and men begin to clash in hand-to-hand combat, it’s an all-out and all-around massacre. A kind of animal frenzy takes over. Men becomes killer apes on horseback. The ‘coolest’ scene in a Peckinpah film may be the final gunfight in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY when the two old men gracefully and coolly approach the steadfast Hammonds, but the end-result is anything but cool. The Hammonds are shot down like animals. And, Steve Judd is shot three times in the abdomen, and he’s filled with agony. If he finds grace in his final moments, it has nothing to do with being ‘cool’. It’s that, in his own way, he has made peace with God and man and entered his house justified. (Furthermore, the bravery of Judd and Westrum is more chivalrous and honorable than ‘cool’, which has shades of nihilism and narcissism. The old men act out of righteousness, not self-regard, and in that their motivations are too classic and substantive to be characterized as ‘cool’, which, appealing as it is, is a shallow quality.) The coolest actor in a Peckinpah film was probably Steve McQueen who appeared in THE GETAWAY and JUNIOR BONNER. But the coolness of his character is constantly subverted and challenged in THE GETAWAY, and McQueen played a realistic character in JUNIOR BONNER than an action hero. What sticks out about THE GETAWAY is how often Doc McCoy gets it wrong and gets away due to luck than anything else. Also, he got out of prison only because his wife cut a deal with another man, one that included sex and betrayal. Near the end, McCoy is reduced to hiding in a garbage disposal truck with his wife to make it through another day.

Steve McQueen as Doc McCoy in THE GETAWAY. Saved once again by luck.

For this reason, it’s a good thing Peckinpah and Eastwood never worked together. Though Eastwood also played on his vulnerable side, there’s something monumental about him that makes us believe in he can overcome anything just by standing head-and-shoulders above everyone. Indeed, in films like HANG EM’ HIGH, DEAD PLAINS DRIFTER, and PALE RIDER, we learn that Eastwood’s (anti)heroes had been vulnerable and victimized in the past, but they ain’t no more. In the present, in which the stories take place, they are almost invulnerable ghost-gods of death that cannot be stopped by any man or any bunch of men. Perhaps, Eastwood’s most Peckinpah-like film is THE UNFORGIVEN, but then, the words, especially as monologues from Eastwood’s lips, were monumentalized in place of Eastwood’s stature. There’s some big talk in Peckinpah’s films and certain words reverberate, but there’s also ironic tension between what is said and what is done. In contrast, the Big Words of THE UNFORGIVEN loom large and heavy like the footsteps of the Man with No Name. Peckinpah was not without a didactic or sermonizing streak, but the prevailing attitude in his films is of the imperviousness of the world to the meanings we wish to ascribe onto it. In the scale of power, we are ‘straw dogs’, and even the power, in the cosmic scale of things, is just dust in the winds, to eventually blow away like the souls of the dead in Agua Verde at the end of THE WILD BUNCH. It doesn’t matter what the preacher says in the eulogy at the end of THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE. Right or wrong, true or false, Hogue is gone, his friends will scatter, and all will be forgotten. We are left with a sense of futility of life and fragility of memory, as if all is vanity. So, why should people carry on in such a world? Why should they produce more children when children — and Peckinpah loved to use children — will grow up to be foolish adults whose lives will ultimately have meant nothing to and will be forgotten by the world? Though the fear of death is more intense than fear of being forgotten,
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

There is a bluster about machismo that betrays hidden insecurities and fears. Consider the duel in SEVEN SAMURAI between a big burly man and the master swordsman. The latter, named Kyuzo, is fully confident of his abilities and has no need to act tough or superior. But the bigger man huffs and puffs as if to show Kyuzo that he’s not to mess with. But as Kambei says, “How stupid. It’s so obvioius”, we know that the calmer Kyuzo has the advantage against the bigger man who’s shouting and acting big to hide his fears. And consider the ruffians who try to intimidate Sanjuro in YOJIMBO with their grunts and gruff talk. Their manhood comes across as exaggerated. It’s not surprising that Italian men have a reputation for machismo, but they are often first to shit their pants, cry like babies, and run to mama and hide under her dress.
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.

Zionist destruction of Gaza. GOP, desperate for Jewish money, makes pretend that Jews face an ‘existential threat’ from Palestinians. Crazy world, but US is a country that believes in KKK stalking Oberlin campus and ‘Haven Monahan’ raping girls at UVA.

This is why Jews and Homos have such power over us. It’s not necessarily because their favored stories are about greater events. It’s because they control the means of storytelling and make sure that many of the most talented or skilled storytellers focus on narratives that favor the power and interests of Jews. The recent Israeli massacre in Gaza is a near-great event filled with horror and tragedy. But don’t expect anyone in American film-making or publishing to turn it into a documentary, movie, or novel. But expect endless TV shows and movies about homos who are said to be so wonderful because… they are ‘rainbow’-like. Though homo characters in entertainment are shallow and vapid, the instruments of sight and sound make their troubles and concerns seem saintly, noble, and deserving of most of our sympathies — when we are not obsessing about the holy Jews whose stories are endlessly sanctified in a new genre that might called the Holy Holocaust Cinema. Biblical Epics have been replaced with Holy Holocaust movies. And rich Jews fund European ‘art films’ that keep dishing out Holocaust this, Holocaust that. In some ways, the ‘more intelligent’ European films on the subject are more insidious in their appeal than Hollywood shlock like SCHINDLER’S LIST and JACOB THE LIAR because the more educated/sophisticated audiences — who preserve cultural memory and enforce cultural standards — tend to see through Hollywood formula as being for the hoi polloi. In contrast, European Holy Holocaust film with ‘art cinema’ trappings may be mistaken for something of great nuance and complexity when it could be little more than guilt-trip exercises to manipulate gullible goyim. It’s like SOCIAL NETWORK is all the phonier because it pretends to be a ‘serious’ film when it’s little more than apologia/propaganda for Jewish power and dirty tricks. It basically says Jews must play cunning and dirty because they are up against dimwit goyim who just want to make Jews do all the work while reaping the rewards for themselves.

As Pauline Kael noted, Peckinpah had a remarkable film sense, and this talent was evident not only in the most obvious ways but in myriad small ways. The power of film sense is impossible to miss in something like the subway chase scene in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, the gun battles in THE WILD BUNCH, and the shark scenes in JAWS. It’s like great guitar-playing is obvious when the performer is really jamming. But just as musical sense can be subtle as well as blaring, film sense can permeate every moment of film even when nothing exciting seems to be happening. And this is the wonder of films like SEVEN SAMURAI and THE WILD BUNCH. Even though categorized as ‘action films’, most of the running time doesn’t involve violence or blood-letting. And yet, every moment of both films is vivid and engaging. There’s something about how Peckinpah opens a scene, switches focus from one character to another, interjects pieces of details, follows certain objects from one hand to another. Consider the scene right after the bridge explosion. We first see a close up of wagon wheel being tended with oil by Sykes, almost as if it’s a wound being treated, which reminds us of Pike’s sore leg. The calmness of the image recalls, in contrast, with the nerve-racking close call on the bridge when the wagon keeled backwards as guns blazed and the dynamite fuses burned. Then we see Pike boast about how Thornton and the bounty hunters got dumped in the river with the collapsing bridge, and the mood turns light. But Sykes deflates the gaiety by reminding Pike that Thornton isn’t one to give up. The shifts in tone are amazing in their understated masterliness. Pike knows Sykes knows Thornton like Thornton knows Pike knows Sykes like Sykes knows Pike knows Thornton. Pike may fool the Gorches, Dutch, and Angel about Thornton, but he can’t fool Sykes about Thornton and thus he can’t fool himself about Thornton either. Pike knows their brief respite is just that. The Thornton Affair isn’t over, and it’s not just the Law after him; it’s his guilt conscience. The Bunch have to keep moving, and their business is far from over, especially as they must now deal with Mapache — and to the extent that Pike has to deal with his conscience for as long as he lives, he will always be on the run, psychologically if not physically. Pike approaches his horse and carefully slides his foot into the stirrup and mounts the horse, reminding us of his fall earlier after defending Sykes from the Gorches. Tector Gorch, who’d taunted him earlier, pays tribute to the leader who pulled off the heist by offering the first sip from the bottle.The bottle passes back to Tector and is then tossed back and forth among the others before it finally falls empty on Lyle’s hands.

The scene isn’t particularly meaningful or eventful. It’s just some guys playing around and laughing at Lyle’s expense. (On a darker note, it serves as a metaphor for the all the deceptions and duplicities that run through the world of THE WILD BUNCH. It’s harmless and fun as a game of pass-the-bottle but not so fun when Mapache and his henchmen play pass-the-Angel. And it wasn’t very fun for the folks of Starbuck when both Harrigan and the Bunch played their game of hide-and-seek that led to bloody massacre.) And yet, it is a truly remarkable scene. The greatness of the moment owes to Peckinpah’s film sense that could be as nimble and playful as explosive and rapturous. And there are so many moments like that in THE WILD BUNCH, scenes made especially dazzling with the Peckinpah’s intuitive sense for coordination and choreography of the minutia of objects and experience.
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

Some directors have film sense, most do not. But even directors without film sense can make interesting films with hard work, consistency, and/or intelligence. Clint Eastwood doesn’t have film sense, but he’s been hard at work and became an honest craftsman. Same goes for Woody Allen whose real forte is humor and dialogue. Michelangelo Antonioni didn’t have classic film sense(something Orson Welles noted rather painfully) but developed a powerful vision on the modern world and man’s place in it. In contrast, some directors are brimming with film sense, but it’s too often wasted on unworthy material. Consider Johnny To and David Fincher. They have film-making instincts oozing from their fingernails. Their Midas Touch can make anything look good. But most of their material have been unworthy of their talent. GONE GIRL, what a total waste of talent. On the other hand, ZODIAC was a superb work that matched skill with subject. But then, it was a total box office flop, which goes to show that the movie-going public comprise of idiots who prefer trash like GONE GIRL and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, which, though entertaining enough, is a mindless celebration of nihilism and excess, hardly different from SPRING BREAK. At least BLING RING left no doubt as to the complete emptiness of its characters. In contrast, the only point of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is, “it was great as long as the going was good.”
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

And yet, Linklater didn’t always have a good film sense, and he tended to falter in the role of experimenter than storyteller. His best experimental work is SCANNER DARKLY, but he’s usually on firmer grounds with ‘conventional storytelling’ such as DAZED AND CONFUSED and ME AND ORSON WELLES. Anyway, Linklater’s unevenness goes to show that film sense differs from artist to artist, and therefore every film-maker should be well-aware of what kind of aesthetic sense comes to him most naturally. Peckinpah’s film sense, for example, was best suited for films like THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS. Kurosawa and Kon Ichikawa both had supreme film sense, but Kurosawa’s film sense wouldn’t have suited a film like MAKIOKA SISTERS that required the sense and sensibility of someone like Ichikawa. Certain forms of film sense are more masculine and sturdy, others are subtler and more ‘feminine’. When a director’s film sense suits the material, you have something as marvelous as HIGH FIDELITY that hits just the right notes from beginning to end. Like DAZED AND CONFUSED, Stephen Frears’ film is character-centric and therefore easy for viewers to miss its sheer directorial brilliance. Just study the opening scene in terms of framing, editing, and timing to marvel at Frears’ intuitive nailing of everything detail and moment.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY

MIDNIGHT COWBOY is certainly a more dazzling film with its arty flashbacks, dream sequences, fantasy sequences, and subjective impositions(as when Joe Buck imagines himself opening the door of an older lady client). It more obviously declares itself the work of an ‘auteur’ who happened to be John Schlesinger. To its credit, it isn’t one of those 60s films where the ‘auteur’ tried to mask his lack of sense and/or talent with busybody stylistics, which was true of Richard Lester’s PETULIA. Lester did have genuine film sense with something light and breezy like A HARD DAY’S NIGHT and TV commercials, but he wasn’t cut out to be a serious artist, and PETULIA is one of those works — along with Sidney Lumet’s THE PAWNBROKER — where trickery substitutes for lack of substance. MIDNIGHT COWBOY was one of the great exceptions, a film that has passed the test of time instead of a collection of trendy ‘art film’ fetishes. Also it’s not one of those ‘maverick’ films that dispensed with mastery and professionalism in ‘personal style’, as if ‘personality’ alone is sufficient for art. By luck or fortune, the nature of the material somehow inspired a film sense that went missing in most of Schlesinger’s films. Schlesinger made other films of note, but none comes anywhere near MIDNIGHT COWBOY. His other films exhibit film skill, but it’s MIDNIGHT COWBOY that drew out his keenest creative instincts. It flows with perfect sense of pace, composition, and movement. Consider the scene where Ratso is leading Joe Buck around NY. The camera anticipates their every move and slips in details beforehand to suggest their relation to the environment and to each another. Consider how the scene cuts to a drink being served(to the sound of Ratso’ voice) and seamlessly merges with Ratso tugging Joe around the corner, and then, it cuts to the legs of a rich woman getting into a horse carriage, then pulls back to join Ratso and Joe Buck as they walk past the horsey, and then frames Joe and Ratso with a building looming behind them. Lively and seamless. That is film sense.

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.

There are elements in music that can be appreciated as aural counterparts to tracking shots, close ups, editing, pans, and cranes. It is no wonder that so many film-makers developed and fine-tuned their chops as makers of music videos that attempt to weave sound and music into a seamless fabric. 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

Peckinpah’s formative years were pre-Rock music, and his Film Sense is reflective of youth sensibility. He did collaborate with Bob Dylan on PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, but they didn’t see eye-to-eye or hear ear-to-ear, and I think the film would have done better to have, say, someone like Jerry Fielding to the score. As for THE GETAWAY, the original score was by Fielding but was replaced by a score by Quincy Jones with whom McQueen had a contract obligation. Jones’ score is punchy and snazzy but lacking in nuance and irony, the forte of Jerry Fielding, as evinced in the scores of THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS. Fielding’s work for THE WILD BUNCH, like Sergei Prokofiev’s scores for ALEXANDER NEVSKY and IVAN THE TERRIBLE, is great simply as music regardless of its associative purpose with cinema. Sergio Leone’s sensibility was also pre-Rock, and there is indeed a neo-classicism to his Italian Westerns that were scored by Ennio Morricone, though, to be sure, Morricone at times jolted classical and folkloric styles with jangles of electric guitar. The operatic use of Rock guitar in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is eerily bedeviling. Leone and Morricone worked closely together, and in some of the later works, the music was composed beforehand, and the images were molded to the music, thus making Morricone a partial ‘auteur’ to the films.
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

Beginning with THE GRADUATE, the other convention was to use lots of pop music not so much to score the movie but to define it. It was done beautifully in THE GRADUATE — and in HAROLD AND MAUDE and some moments in the TWILIGHT SAGA — but also lent the false impression of life as a song. Consider EASY RIDER and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Or even the music in ROCKY with its rock-shlock-classical-style music. MIDNIGHT COWBOY used the song in a more interactive and varied way, as if to acknowledge the discrepancy between the song’s exuberance and life’s experience; the song’s euphoria evaporates against the brush of reality. In contrast, THE GRADUATE and HAROLD AND MAUDE are immersed in the moods of their songs, indeed as if the world is in tune — or should be in tune — with the dreams of their protagonists. And there is some of this too in the films of Martin Scoresese. The songs don’t so much score the images as shape and lead them. It’s done brilliantly in GOODFELLAS and CASINO but rather mindlessly in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, which might as well just be a House Party movie. TAXI DRIVER uses Jazz than Rock music, but it is also musically overwrought, saturated with Bernard Hermann’s score that is certainly impressive but too precious as an expression of Travis Bickle’s inner turmoil; there’s nothing Jazzy about his personality.
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

THE WILD BUNCH has a powerful score that is blaring and forceful but never blatant and forced. Fielding carefully discerned the essences of a scene and devised tonal variations ranging from near-silence to crashing thunder. In between are so many layers of sounds, some ebbing and fading simultaneous to those flaring and combusting. It serves up a remarkable arrangement of polyphony in film music, with myriad strands of apprehension tangling and untying at various ends. Fielding was no doubt a key co-auteur of THE WILD BUNCH. The score in the opening scene conveys dramatic suspense but also psychological ambiguity, with Fielding as brain surgeon probing the hidden psyches of men riding into town. Instead of using music thematically, Fielding uses them more as fragmentary aural motifs. It’s as if the thematic content of the genre is being broken into sound components no longer coordinated in meaning and instead oblique in relation to each other. There’s the military drumbeats that underscore what looks like soldiers riding into the town of Starbuck. But it is merely one motif among others, some of which are in varying angles of contrast. The incessant flares of strings suggest at scars of soul and body bore by members of the Bunch, foreboding the revelation of Pike’s inflamed wounds of flesh and memory. Despite grandiose flourishes and martial solemnity now and then, the body of the score is infested with doubts gnawing away at its uncertain structure. In this sense, the image of the ants and scorpion serve not only as a metaphor for power relations but for the fear and anguish feeding on the souls of men who tread the troubled path.

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

Peckinpah must have seen himself even in Elsa in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. She grew up under a strict and morally righteous father and just about had her fill of it. She wants to know love & freedom and rides off to Coarse Gold to marry Bill Hammond, but then, she is later sickened by the prospect of a honeymoon in a brothel. (In a way, her feelings are understandable, but in another way, it is somewhat ‘rude’ and ‘judgmental’, especially since the Madame and her girls went out of their way to give her the best wedding possible under the circumstances. Her disgust, inflected with her father’s ideas of sin, implies a feeling of superiority to the disreputable women of the ‘town’ who, incidentally, appear to be in the majority in Coarse Gold, which is only good for mining, drinking, and whoring.) Elsa has entered the jaws of the beast but is about to be gobbled up by it.

VIOLENT COP – Takeshi Kitano

There’s something Peckinpah-like about the films of Takeshi Kitano who often played misfit characters who, either as lawmen or outlaws, always found themselves at odds with the world. A kind of maverick who rebels not only against straight society but against the rebellion against straight society. Straight society is a world of craven sheep, the kind of men who are afraid to be real men, but the underworld society is also conformist in its collectivism and hierarchy. Straight society is a crutch for those who are afraid to transgress and being transgressed against, and underworld society is a crutch for gutless phoneys who seek instruction from bosses because they can’t take their own risks and make their own lives. One area where Kitano differs from Peckinpah is the lack of introspection in his psycho-zen characters, at least for the most part.

Walter Hill

Likewise, if there’s one crucial difference between Sam Peckinpah and Walter Hill, it’s in their approach to psychology. Psychological uncertainty is at the dramatic/emotional core of Peckinpah’s films, whereas the heroes of Walter Hill have no need for psychology: they are hard men committed to and defined by action who lurch forward than look back. Consider Charles Bronson in HARD TIMES who accepts what he is and never loses sleep thinking about it. Same goes for the leader in THE WARRIORS. His role is to lead the men back to home turf, and nothing else matters. Jesse James(James Keach) in THE LONG RIDERS knows what he wants and never bats an eye when making sure others understand him and what it’s all about. He has no time for second thoughts or remorse. Even when he decides to ditch the Youngers after the botched robbery at Great Northfield to save himself and his brother, there is no ifs or buts about it. He expects the Youngers to understand the nature of the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and those who can’t ride get left behind, and that’s that, and mulling over what-could-have-been and what-should-have-been is no good to anyone.

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

WILD BILL with Jeff Bridges(in perhaps his finest role) presents something of a challenge to Hill’s vision of life. As Bill Hickok’s eyes are growing weak, he fears for his future. It’s like the mountain man of DERSU UZALA panics when his eyesight begins to fail. For hunters and gunslingers, nothing is more important than sight. It’s not just a matter of convenience or joy but of life and death. So, at one point, we see Bill Hickok overcome with frustration and grief, but he soon recovers and goes back to being the fearsome Bill. And yet, his days are numbered as a gunslinger, and he knows it. Into his life walks a young man who’s seeking avenge his later mother by killing Wild Bill. If Bill suppresses his own psychology, the young man, a kind of an Oedipal mama’s boy, is all about psychology, a namby-pamby kind of frontier Hamlet who can never make up his mind. Bill looms like a giant over the confused rival. Everyone has a psychology, but Hill respects the kind of man who keeps his under control. A man who lets his psychology run loose is too busy chasing after his mental dog to chase after life. So, we are made to respect Bill while despising the young man who vacillates like a confused boy. Psychology castrates one’s will to action, and nearly to the very end, the young man cannot pull the trigger on Wild Bill, just like the guy in BULLETPROOF HEART can’t. But the young man finally overcomes his psychology and puts a bullet in Bill’s head. Sad end for Bill, but given his failing eyesight, maybe it was a blessing, a legendary way for him to go.

The psychologically tormented world of THE WILD BUNCH. The past that stalks the conscience.

The world of Peckinpah is one of doubt, paranoia, and indetermination. If Hill had little use for psychology, Peckinpah’s films are nothing without it. Pauline Kael called Peckinpah a ‘ham’, but he was more like Ham-let. The psychological aspect of Peckinpah’s vision wasn’t sufficiently appreciated by some critics because of his moniker as ‘bloody sam’. In one of his reviews, Stanley Kauffmann noted the psychological violence of Claude Chabrol’s films in contrast to the more obvious physical violence of Peckinpah’s films, but Peckinpah’s films feed on wounded psychology like maggots on festering flesh. In BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, it’s like Bennie is divining the thoughts inside Garcia’s rotting head. To be sure, Peckinpah didn’t probe into psychological matters in the more ‘intellectual’ and austere manner of Ingmar Bergman or Stanley Kubrick. Peckinpah was more about the psychology of emotions than psychology of ideas or systems. And yet, the barbed nature of emotions and sentiments in his films frustrate the formation of cathartic passions, trapping the characters in the dark realm of psychology. Passion is delayed, stifled, or repressed into self-conscious frustration that turns into paranoia or other complexes. It’s like THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST stands out among films about Jesus because its vision of a self-conscious Christ-figure afflicted with doubts entangles passion with psychology that casts doubt on purity, faith, and commitment, element that are so essential to passion. Peckinpah’s films do sometimes finally lurch into passion territory, as in the final bloodbaths of THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS, but the paths leading there are torturous and accidental, strewn with psychological mines. Even when the characters seem to be taking it easy, you can feel the tremors. Consider the scene where the men are setting down for the night. Pike chats with Dutch, and, on the other side of the border, Thornton is approached by Coffer who asks about the Bunch. Yet, intermittent flashes and echoes of how Thornton came to be arrested create psychic ripples in what seems to be a quiet evening. Pike and Thornton are separated in space but haunted by the same memory, which eats away at them but can’t be shared with present company. Pike and Dutch are bedded down next to one another and chatting as friends, but Thornton’s shadow feels closer than Dutch’s company. And even as Thornton answers Coffer(in one of his gentler moments), his thoughts are really with Pike about whom he feels both affection and resentment. There’s a mutual sense of betrayal because Pike abandoned Thornton(who had to pay the price for Pike’s carelessness) and because Thornton consented to join with the Law against the Bunch. And of course, both men feel a sense of self-betrayal because neither is proud of what he did or is doing. (Though Thornton complains to Harrigan about the worthlessness of the bounty hunters, he must also be relieved because, with better men, he might have caught up with the Bunch, something Thornton doesn’t really want to do. In a way, both men want to reunite as friends, but they know there’s no going back to the way it used to be. Besides, what could Pike say? As a ‘tough guy’ and man of pride, could he apologize to Thornton over what happened? And could Thornton, reduced to serving as a running dog of the Railroad, face Pike? Such barbed anxieties and doubts make THE WILD BUNCH into a land-mind of emotions. There are some scenes in the film that seem emotionally and even logically dissonant, like dramatic paradoxes eluding interpretation — like water running upstream. For instance, consider the scene where Pike tells Crazy Lee[Bo Hopkins] to “No. Hold them here as long as you can until after the shooting starts.” Some viewers assume that Pike intended to leave the psychotic Crazy Lee behind, and it appears that way as events unfold to reveal Lee as an unreliable nutcase. And yet, Pike said, “… as long as you can until the shooting starts”, which would mean that Lee should forget about the hostages when the shooting starts and join in the firefight with the others. It appears Pike was conflicted about giving a clear and direct order for Lee to remain behind to either get caught or killed by lawmen. After all, others would have regarded such an order as a breach of trust or betrayal even if they too wanted Lee out of the Bunch. So, could it be that Pike worded it ambiguously so that it could be understood any which way with the hope that Crazy Lee, being simple-minded, would take it to mean that he should stay with the hostages while others do all the fighting and slip away. Another dramatically dissonant scene is when Harrigan harangues the bounty hunters for letting the top members of the Bunch to get away. He orders them to leave immediately and go after the Bunch and then walks outside. Thornton follows him and asks to go along with the bounty hunters, to which Harrigan asks why he should trust Thornton? So, the impression is that Thornton wants to go, but Harrigan is reluctant to let him go. But then, there’s a sudden shift in tone, and it’s Harrigan who is pushing Thornton to leave as fast as possible.We get the sense that Harrigan was toying with Thornton’s mind all along. He wanted Thornton to go after the Bunch, but he wanted Thornton to come to him and ask for permission. It’s like Harrigan is both giving into Thornton’s request and forcing him into it. Thornton really didn’t have a choice in the matter. But then, Harrigan is an expert as setting things up and manipulating people; after all, he set up the ambush on the Bunch without anyone in town knowing. Later, there’s another scene of dramatic dissonance soon after the Bunch discover to their chagrin that the bags of silver are actually filled with washers. When Lyle demands to know what the hell happened and who set them up for the ambush, Old Sykes goes into a tirade about ‘plain and simple they’ that sounds like both a defense of Pike against Lyle and a mockery of them all. When Pike says Thornton was one of the ‘they’, Lyle bursts out at him. Just then, Angel begins to taunt the Gorches, and the tension rises as the Gorches aren’t sure whether to make their move or not. What’s really strange, however, is we are not sure what the others of the Bunch will do. Will they side with Angel or the Gorches? True, Lyle is acting like a lout, but he is a gringo whereas Angel is a Mexican. Also, Angel sounds a bit devilish as he taunts the Gorches with mock ‘por favor’ and ‘you can have my silver’. Is Angel acting in defense of Pike or is he also a lunatic like Crazy Lee? It is only gradually that we learn that the Bunch are with Angel against the Gorches and that Angel isn’t merely an outsider Mexican[just tagging along] but a bona fide member of the Bunch. He is no sidekick. Another ambiguous scene is when Pike tosses a couple of gold coins on the table of what looks like a Mexican whore. She holds the coins in her hand and looks at Pike as if reproaching him. Why? As a prostitute, wouldn’t she be grateful to be paid so handsomely? [Some people say she’s the one Pike eyed earlier when he first entered Agua Verde, but I think it’s someone else. Different cheekbones.] Her response makes no sense, that is if she indeed a prostitute. Some might argue that she’s not a whore but a woman who just decided to spend a night with Pike out of love and affection. But how does a young Mexican woman fall for an aging gringo that fast? And if she’s not a whore, why does her room adjoin the room of a woman who is clearly a prostitute? She is certainly a whore, so why does she give Pike that strange look as if his payment is an affront to her dignity? Or is the expression saying something else? Does she sense that Pike is going to go after Mapache? Is it sadness and pity? Or did Pike treat her so nicely and gently through the night that she felt like something more than a cheap whore and believed a man had really fallen in love with her and might save her and take her with him, only to realize that he does see her as just a whore in the end? Or is it just the fantasy of the Madonna-behind-the-whore that Peckinpah/Pike wanted to see in the woman as the moment of apocalyptic truth drew near? Even if or especially because it is so opaque and uncertain, it makes us welcome the commitment to the moment of no return. It’s as if Pike wants something that will give him a clear indication of righteousness, but it’s not there in the girl’s face. There is no joy, there is no absolution for him. He must find it in the resolve and action to save Angel.) Given the generally unstable nature of Peckinpah’s world-view — as that of Walon Green, who would later direct HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, which is like an extended epic of the ants-and-scorpion scene in THE WILD BUNCH — , the scene of the Bunch’s departure from Angel’s village is so uncharacteristically lyrical and uplifting in sentiment. Both Walon Green and Jerry Fielding objected to the scene, and it doesn’t make much sense in terms of dramatic logic or consistency. It comes across as homily, which goes against the dissonant and deconstructive dramatic core of THE WILD BUNCH. One might even say it’s a bit too ‘picture perfect’ and belongs in another kind of movie. And yet, it works because it’s presented like a passing dream, the morning mist on the water. It is too-good-to-be-true but then also presented as too-good-to-be-true. It wants to believe in the moment but is all-too-aware of its passing. The subjective view from horseback of the villagers standing around and singing is gentle but, through the unsteady gaze of the zoom lens, also unstable and fleeting.
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

And indeed, it’s not long before we are in Agua Verde where the real power is in the region. We see the stark contrast between the lush greens & cool shades of Angel’s village and the parched grounds & forbidding ramparts of Mapache’s headquarters. And yet, the contrasts are misleading. After all, as we first entered Angel’s village, we couldn’t help noticing all the parched surrounding areas as well; there was even a half-starved dog, eliciting Tector Gorch to say: “Why the hell won’t you tell your folks to feed them dogs.” So, the part of Angel’s village that seems hospitable to us is just a small area around the pond where the trees grow. Also, Angel’s village and Agua Verde is connected through Teresa. Why, if the village is so paradisiacal, did she leave it so gladly for Mapache Town? Why does she seem to happy and alive in Agua Verde? Whatever the village may be, it’s not where the action is, and it’s traditionalism holds back any person of individuality and ambition. It’s a place for peasants, peasants’ wives, children, and old men. It’s not a place for young men and women looking for fun and adventure. Whatever one may say of Agua Verde, it’s where things are happening. (Likewise, we’d rather watch a wild and disturbing movie like THE WILD BUNCH than some quiet movie about Mexican peasants. We also prefer thrills and danger like Teresa and, of course, Angel do.) Even as we the audience may rhapsodize about Angel’s village and revile the moral hell-hole that is Agua Verde, we are glad the Bunch left the village behind to seek adventure and opportunities where the center of power is. The Bunch can hope to rob from the rich & powerful(like the Railroad) or to work for the rich & powerful(like Mapache and the Mexican government). It’s like the outlaw hero of PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID once rode for the powerful ranching interests and later rode against them. Good or bad, it is the power that counts, and a man of ego or ambition disassociated from the power, pro or con, is bound to feel empty and aimless. Removed from the circle of power, he may seek peace of mind but also boredom that slips into quiet desperation. It’s like Tricky Dick feels his life is meaningless once he abandons politics in Oliver Stone’s NIXON. He has to get back in the game to feel alive.
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

In many stories of gangsters, criminals, and outlaws, there’s the dream of making the one perfect score and backing off(and going off and starting a new life in another part of the world). Consider CARLITO’S WAY where the semi-redemptive former gangster wants to make the money, get the girl, and run off to ‘paradise’. And the couple drive away in THE GETAWAY, presumably to a life in Mexico where they can just settle into domesticity. But this ‘paradise’ is really ensconced in the realm of dreams, alluring for its vague hope for the future, as, after all, Scarlett O’Hara said in GONE WITH THE WIND: “Tomorrow is another day.” After all, once destination becomes reality, it’s just more of the banal business of life. The appeal of a vacation is to experience a place and take leave before the freshness fizzes into staleness. Thus, every vision of ‘paradise’ is bound to fail once dream turns into reality one becomes trapped in. ‘Paradise’ turns into a kind of quiet hell, like in Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni films where people live in peace, comfort, and relative affluence but feel so empty, pointless, devoid of purpose, and increasingly desperate with their own neuroses that come to the fore in the absence of vital struggle for survival or competition to win. (This is one stark difference between the world of Peckinpah and the world of Bergman. Peckinpah’s films exhibit the American competitive spirit in words, fists, and guns for control over land, women, money, honor, and pride. Democratization of America developed along with democratization of firepower. Unlike Europeans, ordinary Americans needed guns to fend off ‘hostile Indians’ and big dangerous animals. Also, as so much of the land had yet to be staked and claimed, each land-owner had to defend it against would-be competitors. The gun was the great equalizer. It made any man equal to any other man. European democracy developed among long-settled populations in long settled lands. American democracy developed with American people having to defend their properties, rights, and freedom from others, be they whites with rival claims or non-whites with different territorial visions. But just as the gun equalized everyone in power and boosted the American spirit of equality, it also undermined the democratic process by favoring trigger-happy aggressors over less wild folks. After all, even if everyone were to have a gun in a certain frontier town, most people will be unwilling to use them due to lack of nerves and fear of retribution for killing some bad character. Thus, those with guns and balls will gain power over those with guns and no balls. It’s like everyone in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE or HIGH NOON has a gun, but few are willing to use theirs. But, Frank Miller and his henchmen have on qualms about using theirs, and so, they make the move to take over the town. Thus, guns were both great equalizers and great dividers in the history of American democracy. Anyway, as there was so much land, so many guns, so many ambitions, so many competing visions, and so much diversity — racial, tribal, and/or ethnic — , American conflict revolved around being assertive and individualistic. It’s like Bennie tells the homo-gringo killer in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFRED GARCIA that they have to ‘take it’, ‘it’ being Al’s head held by a Mexican family trying to return it to the grave. In contrast, the Scandinavian world of Bergman tends to be cooperative than competitive. And as a racially and culturally homogenous community, it was easier for Swedes, despite their Viking background, to learn to work together and create a stable social order. Thus, we see less socio-economic contentiousness in the world of Bergman. With social peace all around, the conflict turns inward and becomes psychological. In a loud world, one can’t hear oneself think. So, one must speak loudly to be heard oneself. But in a quiet world, one can hear one’s own thoughts, which then gain primacy over one’s soul. But with all the social peace, people find not peace but become ever more attuned to the silent cries of neuroses, especially through long dark cold winters. This is why Swedish politics and ideologies are so wacky. Even though Swedes seem to be engaged with real issues of the world — such as ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘homophobia’, ‘xenophobia’, and etc. — all these agendas and values are not the products of actual experience with the real world but ideological-izations of their inner neuroses resulting from too much social peace and harmony. Excessive social harmony + atomized urbanism led to rise of culture of neurosis, and this neurosis led to feelings of emptiness. People want some kind of meaning and truth in life. Since there was nothing to get excited or righteous about in quiet and orderly Sweden itself, the Swedish bourgeois neurosis fixated on just about any ‘radical’ cause around the world and projected them to Sweden. As such, Swedes became especially vulnerable to Jewish media manipulations that offered quasi-spiritual salvation via the religion of Political Correctness and the Cult of Diversity. Swedes were led to feel that they felt empty inside since their nation was too homogeneous and made up of people idealized by the Nazis. Likewise, some of the nuttiest ideological neuroses in America are to be found in safe, quiet, and cloistered college campuses. They are filled with white kids who grew up in quiet affluence. Without having to struggle to survive and win, they came to indulge in their own neuroses. They seek meaning and purpose in life, but there’s no drama in their own lives since they only know social order and affluence. So, they take up ideological causes and agendas in college campuses that have no bearing on reality. Is it any wonder that colleges have become filled with so many nutty feminists, silly homos, neurotic Jews, and others of their ilk? Their ideologies are not the products of dealing with the real world filled with real problems. They are the products of their neuroses incubated in bored affluence, thereby latching onto conceits of righteousness and purposefulness in every fashionable ideology that comes down the pipeline. Chris Hedges, a product of an elite school, is just another kind of phoney. In some ways, he does say things that needs to be said. Some of his critique of capitalism and modern West are dead on. But even as he excoriates the elite class, his sneering and smarmy radical posturing is more the product of his privileged neurosis than anything to do with his reality. He is right that our popular culture is debased and that we are living in an empire of illusion, but he too is living in a world of illusion because he absurdly thinks leftist-socialism works economically, there are no racial differences in IQ or temperament, homosexuals and Muslims can make common cause, and so on. He can be simultaneously so dead right and so dead wrong that one would have to conclude his ideological foundation is more neurotic than empirical. For instance, he was right to attack FIFTY SHADES OF GREY as a typically foul example of the narcissistic and power-obsessed degeneracies of today’s popular culture, but his idea of moral sanity is represented by Andrea Dworkin’s cuckoo-bananas diatribes against men. Sorry, but I’ll take FIFTY SHADES OF GREY to FIFTY TONS OF GROSS. You can always rely on Hedges to say something true and compelling to be followed by something completely fantastical and ludicrous. As with so many radical leftists, he trades one form of illusion with another.) From the relativistic viewpoint, one could argue both Angel’s village and Agua Verde(Mapache’s headquarters) are both heaven and hell. Angel’s village is a perfect place for the Bunch to take a rest, but they’d be bored to death if they settled there. They need the excitement of a place like Agua Verde where, despite the dangers and rottenness, things are happening, and there’s hardly a dull moment. As far as Teresa was concerned, Agua Verde was the ‘city of her dreams’, her Babylon, whereas her own village was just a dump for losers who toil on the farm and grind and pat corn into tortilla; she wasn’t going to play Penelope for Angel. (Interestingly enough, Pike is a under the spell of something that might be called the Mapache-Angel Double Taco Complex, or Tacomplex. What happened between him and his late Mexican lover has parallels with both Mapache and Angel’s situations with Teresa. Like Angel, he lost his woman because of the interference of another man. But like Mapache, he lost his woman to the bullet of a jealous previous lover. And just as Mapache broods with a vendetta to get even with Angel, Pike admits he never stopped dreaming of getting even with the man who killed his woman, but then his woman was taken from another man who was none other than her husband.) Indeed, PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID feels overcast with futility and quiet desperation because of the pervasive sense of existential cul-de-sac. Pat Garrett does settle into domesticity with a dutiful Mexican wife — something like what Pike pines for as his lost dream in THE WILD BUNCH — , but he’s bored out of his skull now that he has it. The Slim Pickens character says he’s building a boat and drifting off to a new place, but he will likely arrive at just another dead-end. And Sam Peckinpah himself makes a cameo-appearance at the end and talks about putting things in order, burying everything he has, and going away, but we have no idea where. It’s as if everyone, old and young, are looking to retire and back off, but ‘back off to what’?

Sheriff Pat Garrett not content with domestic life and nice wife.

Billy the Kid is supposed to be a real scourge to the powers-that-be, but at most times he’s safely removed from the centers of power with his buddies just as unmotivated and lethargic as he is. Indeed, Billy is mostly so laid-back and resigned throughout the film that we wonder why powerful men are so eager to have him killed. He doesn’t seem to be doing anything other than stealing a few heads of cattle now and then. The powers-that-be send Pat Garrett after him, but Garrett himself is in no hurry to find him, and Billy the Kid seems in no hurry to fight back or save his own skin. Maybe, it makes good sense for Billy to lay low and avoid confrontation — and just pick off bounty hunters and deputies who cross his path — , but when the central character of the film carries on in such disaffected manner, the story fails to develop sufficient friction for dramatic spark let, alone tragic fire. It’s like Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid sleepwalked to a muted tragedy, the significance of which eludes both of them.
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

All humans have this potential of making-something-out-of-nothing, as even the most primitive societies make something out of nothing by turning a patch of wilderness into a place of human settlement, even if temporary. But for most of human existence, mankind was content to just have enough to survive and didn’t think anything more was necessary or possible. (Indeed, even as barbarians marveled at civilizations and ran off with valuable loot from the cities they ransacked, they also destroyed just to destroy because all the wealth and grandeur reminded them of the things that could be created through organization, hard work, and industry, qualities lacking in barbarians and incomprehensible to them. It’s like Negroes not only loot stores for valuables but also burn things down and wreck things just to destroy the material reminders that there are other ways that are more productive and meaningful than the ‘gangsta’ mode of existence preferred by Negroes.)

Busybody Harrigan

And then, with the rise of civilizations, the transformation kept taking place until great cities were built. But then, most civilizations, after reaching a certain high point, didn’t think they could advance any further since they were in awe of what they’d accomplished and also because the rulers came to fear further change as destabilizing forces to the status quo. So, the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Chinese, the Japanese, the Ottomans, the Russians, and etc. all reached a certain point that their rulers and peoples came to regard as the apex beyond which more could not be achieved. And then they settled into stasis or began to gradually stagnate. But then, a revolution happened in Northern Europe that arrived at a formula for constant change. Though scientific, technological, mathematical, social, political, and economic reasons have been supplied as to why, Max Weber came up with a special insight with his theory of the Protestant Work Ethic. It was that mind-set and heart-set, more than anything else, that made Northern Europeans into a bunch of busybodies who always felt that they had to be doing something, or making something out of nothing. This could be in fields of social reform, business expansion, better organization and governance, scientific research, artistic expression, and etc. People under the influence of the Protestant Work Ethic didn’t wait for things to happen to them; they themselves tried to make things happen. A people whose primary motivation is ‘reactional’ won’t be motivated to do anything unless they are challenged or tempted by external elements. So, a people might be roused to fight if their tribe or community is threatened by a hostile tribe. Or a people might be motivated by greed for loot into robbing a caravan. Consider why Anthony Quinn’s character decide to join the cause in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. He has no dreams or vision; he just loves gold and loot, which he gains by looting and pillaging OTHER peoples because his tribe has no idea of making something out of nothing; they only care about taking something from others. It’s like what Jared Diamond said of some Negroes he encountered in New Guinea. They asked him “How come white man got big cargo?”or some such. To the New Guinean Negro, the idea that people can create their own cargo is inconceivable. As a people accustomed to feeding off nature, their primitive idea of economics is externally-oriented. In other words, there’s a monkey up a tree, so let’s shoot it with an arrow and have roasted monkey for lunch. Similarly, the Mongol barbarians had a feeble idea of making something out of nothing. They couldn’t conceive of how the Chinese or Persians could have built such magnificent cities. For the Mongols, such places existed just as temptations to plunder, pillage, and destroy. The Germanic Barbarians felt likewise when they targeted Rome for looting and destruction. How the Romans could have built such a great city in a place that had once been wilderness was beyond the comprehension and imagination of the Germanic barbarians. It’s why Haiti is such a mess. The only thing the Negroes understand the idea of taking but not of making. So, if there’s a building with stuff, they know how to run around like baboons and loot the joint and run away with stuff. And once it’s been stripped of everything and there’s nothing more to take, the Negroes just be sitting around the beaches and taking a shit into the ocean waves. The idea of making something out of nothing, the idea of fitfully working together and organizing things to build and maintain something is beyond the purview of most Negroes who be acting like the crazy jigger-jivers of Ferguson and Baltimore. True, there are blacks working in government, but the entire system of government has been created, expanded, and sustained by white ideas, skills, and tax-payer dollars. If the entire US government were left up to Negroes to do as they please, it won’t be long before it will turn out like the municipal government of Detroit. Negroes claim they be filled with ‘soul’ and they be coming up with stuff like ‘bumping fists’ and ‘bumping butts’, but when it comes to making-something-out-of-nothing that has long-term value, they don’t have the internal mechanism. This is why Negroes always be be thinking in terms of external forces. If they be poor, it must be entirely due to external factors. If they want something more, it must be taken from other people in other communities external to the Negro community. If Africans want a better life, they should just migrate to Europe. And if Europe is eventually overrun by blacks and ruined, they must seek some other place to loot and ruin. It’s like slash-and-burn migration. If one community has more and Negro community has less, it never done occur to the Negro that the former community done make something out of nothing through organization, interaction, cooperation, innovation, production, preservation, and etc. It never done occur to Negroes that their own community be falling apart because too many Negroes done act like Michael Brown the not-so-gentle gorilla-look-alike-motherfuc*a. It never done occur to Negroes that too many Negroes mess up in school, beat up teachers, have sex like wild apes and raise kids to act like shit, and rob and steal anything they can get their hands on. To an extent, we can’t entirely blame the Negroes because they be born with the wild uninhibited genes that make for very low impulse control and very high egomania, which is why Negroes be so incapable of self-reflection, self-examination, and critical view of their own problems(by western standards as the Negro way is perfectly suited for the the savage world of Africa where survival is a matter of chucking spears t hippos and hyenas as shit). Most Negroes be thinking like rappers because that kind of jive-thug mentality comes naturally to them, and as America encourages shamelessness among Negroes, more and more blacks be going with whatever comes to them naturally, and that be the ‘nigga’ mentality. Unfortunately, white folks are born with the milder genes that are capable of self-criticism and self-reflection — white folks invented modern philosophy, after all — , and so, we have a social reality where blacks who cause the most harm never blame themselves but blame all their problems on others, especially on whites, AND where whites who produce most of the wealth and innovation that run and sustain the modern world do the most self-blaming and take all the rhetorical abuses from disgusting dirty Negroes like Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and Charles Blow. True, white folks did buy black slaves(from black African slavers)and used them in the New World, and white folks did colonize huge parts of Africa, but it was not because whites were more violent or aggressive but because they were better at science, technology, and business. But then, whites were able to create powerful civilizations that could conquer the world precisely because so many of them were capable of peaceful cooperation and co-existence among themselves. If all whites in the Middle Ages felt and acted like Negroes or rappers, they would sunk back into the Dark Ages or worse and stayed there. People who are too busy fighting amongst themselves will never unite to take on the world. In contrast, Negroes could never develop great civilizations because they were too violent and savage and too busy chucking spears at one another and shaking their booties. It’s like American blacks are the most criminal and out-of-control, therefore their communities tend to be the poorest and most backward. Black weakness is not the result of black peacefulness but black savagery. All that savagery in places like Detroit and Haiti leads to social breakdown and lack of unity, except when it comes to looting and burning things down. But because whites historically prevailed over blacks, the Narrative says peace-loving black Africans were enslaved and oppressed by aggressive and rapacious whites. But compare Rhodesia under white rule with Zimbabwe under black rule. The ‘externality’ of White Power was the product of ‘internality’ of White Peace & Order. But it must be remembered that peace alone usually leads to stasis, idleness, and stagnation, rather like Angel’s village that, however nice it may be, is a rather dull place where nothing happens.

Angel’s Village. Nice but dull place.

What really made the Northern Europeans is that they created an engine of Work Ethic within the White Peace so that white folks became committed to doing ‘something’ than ‘nothing’ and making something out of nothing through good work, organization, exchange of ideas, education, research, discourse, work, production, innovation, and reform. (Sadly, Northern European white folks seem to have gotten so carried away with the need to keep doing ‘something’ that they seem to have attached a tube from the exhaust pipe to the inside of their car. In the determined idea of making a ‘better world’, Northern Europeans have got this crazy idea that the world can be saved and their souls redeemed if their lands opened the gates to countless hordes of immigrants and invaders from Africa and the Middle East. It goes to show that even the healthiest and the most productive systems of thought can turn defective and attack the very host. Northern European Work Ethic both produced the most deadly kind of radical racism in Nazism and the most suicidal kind of radical anti-racism in Scandinavian brand of Multi-Culturalism. Working hard at something and taking things seriously is one thing. Taking it to such ‘logical’ extremes is something else.)

Billy and gang. Lazy and hazy.

Anyway, it is that kind of internal engine that is missing among the characters in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID. Everyone sits or stands around waiting either for something to happen to him or catch his fancy. But the idea of getting off their ass and making something out of nothing hardly occurs to any of them. But then, that is part of their appeal as their ‘laziness’ gives them the freedom to pick and choose rewards as they see fit. In contrast, we can tell a man like Chisum is someone who has worked from sunup to sundown all his life to make something out of the wilderness. And yet, to be a man like Chisum or Harrigan means one must be ruthless, a hard driver of men and even bender of rules if need be. They deserve their measure of respect, but they aren’t fun company since they are all about power, control, hierarchy, and pecking order. It’s like the John Wayne character in RED RIVER is a powerful leader but also a real mean son of a bitch; he has to be and in having-to-be, he’s become blind to his own ruthlessness. And because they are sons of bitches, their contribution to law and order is always bound to be somewhat corrupt and compromised. A truly dark version of such a man is the John Huston character in CHINATOWN. A real doer but a monster too. And in recent times, there was the robber-barons of the New Economy. Doers who did what they shouldn’t have done. Nevertheless, even the likes of Chisum and Harrigan are makers of things: ranches or railroads. Peckinpah’s real ire was reserved for financial sharks who never got their hands dirty but pulled all the strings.

Pat Garrett idling away, stalling his hunt for Billy.

Surely, taking is more fun than making. To make something takes organization, coordination, cooperation, and contribution of time and effort by everyone up and down the production/distribution ladder. To take something only requires guns and adventure. Indeed, even makers prefer to watch movies about takers. We’ve all enjoyed movies about bank robbers but how many of us want to see a movie about a bank manager or about how things are made in a factory, shipped to stores, and bought by consumers? As most of human evolution took place when humans were savages and barbarians, we still have the taker instinct even though society ideally molds us into makers. So, even as we(though not necessarily Negroes) obey laws and work diligently to make stuff and pay money to buy stuff made by others, we fantasize about taking stuff for the fun of it. Indeed, even most moralistic stories about good prevailing over evil first entice us with the id of transgression(acted out by bad guys) before the superego, in the form of good guys, defeat the bad guys and restore our sense of righteousness. The problem of modern culture, as dominated by Negro thug rappers and their ilk, is that the id is now seen as good in and of itself and promoted as the New Superego, just like ‘gay marriage’ is now said to be the New Normal. Traditionally, narratives seduced us with the transgressive evil of bad guys but then pulled us back with the moral courage/conviction of good guys; today, the animalistic id of Negroes and porn-culture are promoted as highest forms of liberation, whereas the traditional notion of good, especially as represented by the noble white hero(as in THE BIRTH OF A NATION), has been rejected and degraded. In THE WILD BUNCH at least, the outlaws have to give their lives at the end for any kind of redemption. And Peckinpah changed the ending of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA because he felt Bennie had to pay with his own life for what he’d taken part in. But there is no theme of redemption in Rap Culture; the thug is the New Saint simply because Black Mouths Holler about how Black Lives Matter, even though most blacks are killed by other blacks and blacks also rob, rape, and murder many non-blacks. And the Liberal white/Jewish/homo elites go along with this because they wanna pacify blacks while they themselves work even harder and more secretly to gentrify big cities by driving blacks out. Of course, the dirty job of handling blacks is given to working class whites and working class blacks, and if something goes wrong, the white, Jewish, and homo urban elites pay lip service about how shocked, so very shocked, they are by ‘police brutality’ and ‘racism’.

GOODFELLAS – Italian-American scumminess on display. Two hoods have drunken Irish blood as well.

Perhaps, no film captured the take-than-make side of human nature more vividly and powerfully than GOODFELLAS. Those gangster killers really love to take and take. But even more troubling is the world of CASINO where making and taking have been fused into one. It took a tremendous amount of organization, cooperation, management, foresight, and ingenuity to build the casinos and manager the operations. But the entire industry is about taking every penny from hard-working Americans dumbstruck with false dreams of money and whores. And according to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, a kind of guilt-free LA DOLCE VITA, the world of American finance isn’t all that different. In a way, the rise of gambling and the big-money influence of Jewish sharks like Sheldon Adelson spell the collapse of America as a moral civilization. Sure, America has a great talent pool and tremendous amounts of natural resources, but when the heart of American industry is clogged with the machinations of Wall Street sharks and Las Vegas crooks who are not only protected by the law but command the law and government, the end-result is the utter degeneration of Work Ethic: one bunch of people work very hard in vice industries to corrode the work ethic of most Americans; furthermore, even middle class Americans who do work hard do so only to blow all the money on hedonism and self-gratification at night clubs than to build families and preserve their cultural communities.

Sheldon Adelson. Jews love Las Vegas, Wall Street, Porn, and Hollywood because those are Vice Industries for Jewish profit. Sleazy Jewish Winners rake in trillions by turning gentiles into Sinners. Is it any surprise that the Jew-dominated world spreads trash like ‘gay marriage’? Degenerate Jews work with decadent homos to turn humanity into junkies addicted to hedonism sold by Jewish pushers. British Imperialists once tried to get Chinese addicted to opium. Jews get you addicted to Popium of Pop Culture controlled by themselves and homos as their mini-me allies.

In a way, the dangers are bigger than ever because the Power is more about Work Ethnic than Work Ethic. When Anglo-American business got too big, Anglo-American political elites expanded the power of government to curtail the power of big business. But in time, big business made a pact with big government, and through the increased power of lobbying, big business began to gain dominance over big government, and this new reality really began to take off during the Reagan-Thatcher years. Especially threatening to the power of government was the power of Wall Street. But Wall Street had one huge advantage. In presenting itself as the enemy of ‘big government’, it won the support of most American Conservative and the GOP even though Wall Street values had nothing in common with mainstream American Conservatism. (American Conservatives, in blaming big government programs such as Great Society for the moral malaise of American society, failed to consider how the degradation also came from capitalism that promoted wanton hedonism, egomania, infantilism, gluttony, shamelessness, and etc. Morally and socially, Jew-run Wall Street was never with American conservatism in morality or ethics. But too many American Conservatives thought anything that is anti-big-government must be pro-conservative. But as we witnessed in 2008 and 2009, the very Wall Street Jews who’d pushed for deregulation in the 1990s pressured Obama to bail them out so that they could not only keep their shirts but expand their wardrobes more than ever.) But as Wall Street was in the heart of a Liberal Democratic city, New York, it also had the great support of the Democratic Party. So, with the combined support of the GOP and Democrats, Wall Street was able to mold a new synergy between big business and big government based on the model of globalism. Even so, with the rapid rise of big business in Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, and the like, there was bound to be some alarm bells about the danger of big money and how it was distorting the American economy, subverting American values, and corrupting the American government. So, why hasn’t there been an effective movement to counter the power of big business and its collusion with big government?
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.

Bernie Sanders, bullshit Jew who throws bogus tantrums about the super-rich to fool people into thinking the Democrats still care about the working class. In 2016, he will make a lot of noise, Hillary will adopt his rhetoric, and Sanders will eventually endorse Hillary, who is shillary for the Jews. Thus, Democrat suckers will be fooled into believing Hillary is for the working class via endorsement from Sanders.
The side of Pike that means business.

Anyway, the interesting thing about Pike is he is a taker with some maker instincts, and that is why others look to him; he’s kind of like Charlie Venner in STRAW DOGS who is something more than a thug; he is smarter and have some code of ethics, even if of the honor-among-thieves variety. Others know how to take, but it’s Pike’s semi-maker instincts that tries to think ‘beyond our guns’. Indeed, Pike — and maybe Dutch too — might have made something of himself under different circumstances. Though an outlaw, Pike and Dutch are admiring of proper workmanlike behavior when they see it. After Angel’s village compatriots come to pick up the rifles, Dutch says admiringly, “I’d say those fellows know how to handle themselves,” to which Pike replies, “If they ever get armed, with good leaders, this whole country will go up in smoke.”

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.

Ballard gave it a contemporaneous feel as if we are right there watching clouds pass above and events unfold before our eyes but with just a shade of earthen-tone to hint at archaeological recovery of buried and forgotten past. It’s not bathed in the usual nostalgic colors in films such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and other epics. Magnificent as Lean’s film is, it’s very much in the Hollywood tradition; it just happens to be the best of its kind. In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH breaks new ground in cinematography. It is, at most, a semi-epic as Peckinpah was as immersed in the nitty-gritty as with the monumental. Lean mounted the world of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA whereas Peckinpah mined the world of THE WILD BUNCH. Though Lean’s film takes us to exotic locales and presents the desert as no one had done before, it nevertheless feels familiar because of its assured epic style(and lush music). We always know we are in the world of the Hollywood spectacle, not least because the Arab characters look like and indeed are Hollywood stars made up to look Semitic. Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn are magnificent, and I wouldn’t change a thing in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, but we never believe we are in the world of the authentic desert tribesmen. Likewise, as much as I love DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, not for a second do I feel that I’m watching anything authentically Russian. It’s a great Hollywood romance-spectacle, masterly and intelligent, but Hollywood nevertheless.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – Arab kid waiting for a English bloke, not Tuco or Blondie.

In contrast, THE WILD BUNCH does look, sound, and feel like a place never seen in a Hollywood movie. It looks like a rough world with sweaty people with real bullets. The bounty hunters look like they got stink and grime on their clothes and skins. People grunt, groan, guffaw, bellow, squawk, grumble, harangue and etc. than talk like actors. Anthony Quinn’s speech in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA about how he is a ‘river to his people’ is tremendous stuff, but we know it’s oratory written for effect. Despite the location shooting and attention to detail, there is an element of ‘performance’ throughout LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, as if every word and movement have been carefully rehearsed to perfection on the desert-turned-into-stage. Though a great deal of preparation no doubt went into THE WILD BUNCH, Peckinpah emphasized the element of urgency and spontaneity to create a constant impression of happenstance and unpredictability.
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

While both are fine movies, Ford’s is tailored and folded whereas Huston’s is ragged and frayed. Huston conveyed more of the mad randomness of war and murky dementia that the human soul is capable of. Also, even though Ford filled his movies with colorful characters, they tended to be stock characters, and the movies seemed like family reunions. Consider the Scandinavian-American fathers in THE SEARCHERS and MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. Thus, once you’ve seen a John Ford Western, watching others is to enter the same universe, more or else. In contrast, John Huston’s formalistic vision was less clearly established and more open to varying sensibilities and a wider range of possibilities. Therefore, his personal style was less easy to discern, and certain ‘auteurist’ critics such as Andrew Sarris underestimated Huston for that very reason. But then, Sarris also underestimated Peckinpah. It’s as if Sarris had made a loyalty pledge to John Ford and Howard Hawks as the classic masters of action cinema, and no one, not even Kurosawa, could be considered alongside them as equals. This is rather interesting since Sarris had high regard for D.W. Griffith, whose rip-roaring action scenes in THE BIRTH OF A NATION was closer what was later achieved by Huston, Kurosawa, Kazan, and Peckinpah than by Ford and Hawks who had more of a workmanlike approach to their movies. To be sure, Ford’s style was rougher and more compelling in his 1930s movies before he ‘perfected’ his visual grammar with STAGECOACH. And Hawks was also a riskier director in his earlier period and made one of the most daring and wild Westerns in RED RIVER, but by the 1950s his style settled into a self-satisfied formalism. Some critics dismissed the later Ford and Hawks — as well Alfred Hitchcock — as monuments unto themselves: directors who’d attained certification as masters but lost the spark of originality. Supposedly, they were no longer playing with possibilities but sticking with what had become almost second-nature to them. But from Sarris’ viewpoint, they were to be admired, even revered, as principled masters who, against the winds of fashion, remained true to their vision. To Sarris, Ford and Hawks had no less arrived at pure distillations of their visions than, say, Yasujiro Ozu or Robert Bresson had. What seemed to some critics as tired and stale conventions on display in movie after movie seemed to Sarris as the culminations of personal artistic visions honed over several decades. Pauline Kael, a more restless film critic itching for something more dynamic and explosive, much preferred John Huston who, in movie after movie, attempted something new in the spirit of wonderment and wanderlust. THE SEARCHERS takes place over several years, and we are to believe that Ethan(John Wayne) and Marty(Jeffrey Hunter) have ridden together through hell and high water, but they hardly worse for wear, not least because some of the locales were clearly studio sets. Such studio-centrism tended to make some of Hitchcock’s movies seem a bit stuffy too. But there are passages in AFRICAN QUEEN and MOBY DICK — though they too were partly shot in the studio — that have a visceral power lacking in anything by Ford or Hawks movies of the 1950s. While Ford and Hawks were winnowing down their styles, Huston was broadening and deepening his, though not always to good effect as he tended toward excess and exaggeration that sometimes got the better of him and even left his vision shipwrecked and stranded. Anyway, while Peckinpah had great respect for most of the Hollywood masters — for some reason, he hated THE SEARCHERS and thought it was one of Ford’s worst movies — , his special fondness for THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE was clear indication of the kind of vision he had in mind. He was to test than perfect his vision. It had to be taken to hell and back. Like O’Daniel’s idea was to run Joe Buck ragged in MIDNIGHT COWBOY, Peckinpah put his vision through a rodeo, if only to see how long it hang on. Perhaps, that’s why Peckinpah’s career didn’t last very long, but then, as Tyrell says in BLADE RUNNER, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns only half as long.” That he managed to finish only fourteen films — compared to so many by John Ford and Howard Hawks — is proof of his self-destructive excesses but also a testament to his willingness to test himself to the limit. Though Ford and Hawks were also heavy drinkers and rough men, they were content to stick to their formula and crank out the kind of movies expected of them. Once in a while, they could produce a work that was more original and sufficiently uncharacteristic than usual, like THE SEARCHERS or RED RIVER, but most of the time, they were comfortable with the kind of movie-making that had become second-nature to them. It’s like musical composers like Rodgers & Hammerstein and Cole Porter could reliably supply tunes for the American Songbook. In contrast, singer-performers like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Roger Waters, and Joni Mitchell were struggling for higher stakes. While they too were going for hit songs, they believed in music as a means of personal search and exploration. It wasn’t enough to be skilled and professional; one had to be true and unique. And one had to be original, expand the horizons of creativity, going where no one had gone before. Though Peckinpah wasn’t a Rock fan, he also wasn’t content to be ‘good’ in the impersonal professional way even though he had the highest regard for professionalism. There had to be something more, a struggle of the artist to take on every project as a challenge, one that would make him or break him. This grueling attitude that took on every project as a cross to bear wore him down fast, not least because he fell into drug use and other excesses. After all, it’s one thing to suffer because the task is insurmountable but quite another to suffer — and make others suffer — because one has willfully made things more difficult. THE WILD BUNCH was one of the toughest and most difficult shoots in movie history until that time — perhaps Coppola and Cimino hold the world records with APOCALYPSE NOW and HEAVEN’S GATE — , but Peckinpah manfully carried the cross to the very end and became resurrected as one of the great film-makers of his generation. But in some of his later films, one wasn’t sure if Peckinpah was carrying the cross or dragging a big barrel of whiskey.

James Coburn and Sam Peckinpah on the troubled set of PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID

Anyway, what really stands out about THE WILD BUNCH is how uncharacteristic Pike Bishop, Deke Thornton, Dutch Angstrom, and Angel are as ‘criminal types’. In a crucial way, they are not criminal types. They are more like barbarians with guns. The difference between criminal types and barbarians has to do with a confluence of sociology and psychology. Some people are natural criminal types. Tony Montana of SCARFACE is one certainly. He was born to transgress, to take, to bully & badger, to push people aside, to exploit weaknesses in others, to seek thrills through violence and brutality. He has his softer side too, to be sure — but then, who doesn’t? — , but he’s the sort of kid-on-the-block who loves to make trouble and get in trouble even in a world of law and order.

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

The difference between barbarians and criminals is that violence is a way of life for the former whereas it’s a matter of choice for the latter. Consider the Norsemen barbarians of THE VIKINGS or THE 13TH WARRIOR. Most of them are not criminal types. Had they been born into our world, most of them would be gainfully employed in lawful professions. But they live in a brutal world, and sometimes they pillage & rob and at other times, they are pillaged and robbed. Violence is a way of life for these men, and it’s the only reality they know. They do have times of peace, but the peace is tactical than principled: more cease-fires than heartfelt truces. So, when they use violence — however horrific it may be — they are not being criminals but competing against others in a world without Rule of Law and Principle of Peace. The men of 13th WARRIOR do have a sense of loyalty based on camaraderie and kinship. When a certain king requests their service to protect his domain from fearsome attackers, they feel obliged to take on the mission as a matter of blood and obligation. It’s not a matter of universal or higher concept of right and wrong. Rather, it’s a matter of tribal honor, not unlike what Angel feels for the people of his village with whom he is directly or indirectly related. Though Angel says he cares for “my people, Mexico”, his loyalty isn’t really nationalist. After all, there never was a truly unified sense of Mexico, a nation divided along various landed interests and lines of race/caste. So, Angel isn’t really even interested in the Revolution. If he boiling with rage over Mapache, it’s because the El General killed his father and took his girl. Likewise, the barbarian men of THE 13TH WARRIOR feel honor-bound to serve a certain king with whom they have kinship ties. It is different from the more idealistic motivations of the men in SEVEN SAMURAI who offer their services to a farming community with which they have no blood connection. Even the Mifune character, who was born a farmer, has no blood ties with the village.

13TH WARRIOR
13TH WARRIOR – Antonio Banderas as Arab Emissary Ibn Fadlan

Barbarians live in an unsure world of violence, and they must be ready to use violence for defense and offense at all times. When the Arab diplomat first encounters the Norsemen, he’s not sure if they’ll tolerate him or kill him. He has to tread carefully among them who have no established laws and who can go from hot to cold in split second. When Ibn Fahdlan(Antonio Banderas) first meets Buliwyf(Vladimir Kulich), the seemingly composed tribal leader suddenly erupts into violence and hacks a rival to death. It’s a world where anything can happen out of the blue, where instinct is key because the wrong move can easily lead to violence and death. It’s sort of like what Pike says when they first go to see Mapache: “Let’s talk to the General about his automobile and our extra horses. Nice and easy.” Yes, nice and easy. Though we all have to mind ourselves in various social interactions — though not Negroes on Black Friday at Walmart — , it’s not a matter of life or death to us whether we say or do the wrong thing. But with the Bunch and Mapache in Agua Verde, the wrong signal or word can decide life or death. People measure one another in a zero sum game. It is therefore all the more shocking when Angel makes the biggest faux one can imagine by blasting his gun in Mapache’s direction. Ironically, Angel is saved by Mapache’s muy grande personality. Eager to show that he’s unafraid and unfazed, upon hearing that Angel was motivated by jealousy, Mapache bursts into hearty laughter that breaks the tension and has everyone else laugh along. (The moments anticipates the silence after the Bunch later shoot Mapache and nervously await what will come next. Do they just wait or take the initiative?) It’s Mapache’s way of showing that he isn’t in the slightest perturbed by a worm like Angel. Besides, the girl died on his lap, not Angel’s. Therefore, he, Mapache, is the bigger man whereas Angel is just a frustrated loser-lover. Of course, Mapache and his men do want to punish Angel, but in the purview of the men around him, Mapache is all fearless bluster as if bullets are afraid even to graze him. Unlike some of the Bunch, Mapache is a natural barbarian, something that can also be said of Old Man Sykes and the Gorch brothers. Sykes, even in old age, loves to revel in rowdiness. He lives life as a riot. And the Gorches couldn’t be taught manners even if they were sent to an etiquette school. Though not quite as dumb as Beavis and Butthead, they got rough edges that can’t be smoothed. This applies to most of the bounty hunters too. They are born barbarians. But some natural barbarians are bigger than others, and Mapache is one barrel-chested barbarian. He was born wild and revels in boisterous laughter. He isn’t tops in intelligence or ability, but in a world of coyotes and rabbits, the bear commands the most respect. Besides, Mexicans don’t seem to have a clear sense of merit, professionalism, or code of conduct. Though the men at Agua Verde are dressed as soldiers, they appear to be mostly illiterate men from various villages forced into uniforms and to do as told. Mapache is less a general than a warlord among men without any idea of modern civilization and higher social ideals. (Still, there is a moment, prior to the final gunfight, when Mapache looks weary of all the fiesta going around him. Is there a glimmer of self-disgust that he’d fallen to this state? Had he once been a young man of some dreams?) If even simple Americans had some sense of rule of law, government, democracy, freedom, education, and civic duties, most of the Mexicans in THE WILD BUNCH look as if they’d never seen a book in their lives, as if they’d never known anything of the world beyond their town and village where the only reality was making tortillas and repeating the same customs and traditions that go back as far back as anyone can remember. They are not a forward-looking or outside-looking people. They are not even much of a backward-looking people as they seem to lack a sense of history and nationhood, as, after all, Mexico failed to develop and unite at the pace the US did. Indeed, even the Bunch, disguised as soldiers in the opening of the film, are more like real soldiers than the Mexicans in uniforms in Agua Verde. Though the Bunch were playacting, they at least knew what the military is about. In contrast, most of the soldiers in Agua Verde look like scared farm boys who’d been conscripted into soldiering, something they know nothing about, not least because Mapache’s unit is so poorly armed(and has to hire the Bunch to steal some guns from the Americans).

It says something about the relation between US and Mexico back then. US is a nation of makers that can produce first-rate rifles, pistols, grenades, and even top-notch machine guns. Mexico, in contrast, is a nation that is still economically stuck in the medieval ages for the most part. And Mexicans have to leech off Americans to have good stuff like machine guns. Mexican peasants may work hard, but they only know how to do what they’ve always done and what they’re told to do. They lack the kind of initiative and spark that gringos have. It is then not surprising that Mapache relies on German officers and feels compels to hire gringos to pull the train heist. Germans and Gringos are simply better and more skilled at doing stuff. Mexicans are only adequate at being told what to do. Even at the end, after Pike and Dutch kill Mapache, it is the gringos who take the initiative and turn the standoff into a full-blown battle. Even Pike’s earlier praise of Mexicans is a tad condescending: “If they ever get armed, with good leaders…” So, Mexicans are a capable people but only with good leaders, i.e. unless told what to do, they don’t know what to do. In contrast, Pike is the kind of guy who can make things happen of his own volition. He may not share sentiments with his American government, but he is American to the bone. He’s a leader and pioneer — even as an outlaw — than a follower who waits for others to make things happen for him.
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

Things are more complicated in THE WILD BUNCH because America is a modern industrial power. And the Westward expansion, socio-economic development, and political federation took place at a rapid pace, certainly more than in Latin America. Indeed, the world had never witnessed a giant continent-sized nation grow so powerful so fast. And yet, huge swaths of wilderness had to be transformed into cities and towns, and it didn’t happen overnight. It took some decades for new regions to become fully incorporated with the eastern, mid-western, and southern regions of the nation. And during this stage, there was much about the West that was barbarian-like. The outlaws in such territories weren’t necessarily like the criminals in cities. Of course, parts of cities could be pretty wild and crazy too, and many poor desperate children turned to crime. Even so, breaking the law within civilization is to challenge an established and entrenched social order with its Rule of Law, no matter how imperfect it may be. It is clearly criminal and attracts those with criminal personalities. People in cities, if possessed of will and determination, can choose to come together and make things better, and such became the dominant theme of American urban life. (The notable exception was, surprise surprise, the ghastly Negroes who are even below natural barbarians. They are natural savages whose true nature makes them want to do little else but chuck spears at hippos and shake their booties all night long. At least when they was under the pressure to be a ‘credit to their race’, they done tried to be semi-respectable; but beginning with the Civil Rights Movement, armed with moral superiority and the culture of righteous rage, they began to act like baboons with torches and burned down cities and brought ruination to places like Detroit, Newark, Baltimore, and many others. Even when the Negro is wronged, it makes little sense to pass moral authority to him because his true nature is to go apeshit and act like drunken gorillas.) Though Starbuck isn’t much of a town, we see how the community comes together to push social reforms. And even though the Railroad is hardly an ideal institution of law and order, it does go after outlaws like the Bunch who rob banks in broad daylight.

It’s interesting how these outlaws resent civilization that tells people what to do, but they are always telling people what to do and not to do. As Pike commands, “If you they move, kill ‘em.” And as Crazy Lee says after shooting his victims: “They shouldn’t have run, they shouldn’t have run.” They treat people like possessions and cattle. And members of the Bunch will even use women as shields in a gun fight. To this extent, like Robert Aldrich’s THE DIRTY DOZEN, Peckinpah’s film subverted the easier moralism of standard American entertainment. In most war movies and war-themed TV shows, American soldiers adhered to certain codes of honor whereas the bad guys, usually the Germans, acted dastardly. For example, if a German soldier held an American soldier hostage, Americans would try to do their best to save the life of their comrade, but if an American soldier held a German prisoner hostage, other Germans would just shoot the fellow German and then shoot the American. The enemy fought dirty, Americans didn’t. THE DIRTY DOZEN, thematically a far more outrageous movie than even THE WILD BUNCH, gave the middle finger to such ‘our side plays fair’ notion. In the movie, Americans fight as dirty or even dirtier than the Germans. Indeed, the men chosen for the mission have serious criminal personalities, thug personalities, or downright psychopathic personalities. They are only carrying out the mission because they’ve been sentenced to death or long prison sentences and the ONLY way they can save themselves is to hopefully survive a near-suicide mission. These guys make the men of THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE look like preppies. There’s even a monstrous Negro. The movie’s not even about redemption as these men are too depraved morally for any atonement. They are the kind of men every civilization tries to be rid of, but they ironically make ideal marauders against the Nazis who think themselves the most civilized, the most advanced, and the most superior race in the world. Of course, well-disciplined Germans were trained and ordered to carry out horrific acts during the war, all in the name of civilization.

DIRTY DOZEN – directed by Robert Aldrich

So, what is right and what is wrong in the world of THE DIRTY DOZEN? We see German elites impeccably dressed and behaving refined, but these are the kind of men who are commanding a war that is causing death and destruction all over Europe. A further irony is that these well-bred German officers, some of whom have aristocratic lineage, have allowed themselves to be ordered around by a gang of socio/psychopathic deviants like Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and others. If Americans are using psychopaths on a mission to kill Nazi elites, Germany is ruled by the German version of the Dirty Dozen. Germany must therefore be more screwy as it is ruled by socio/psychopathic deviant-thug-demagogues who have persuaded its most refined elites that they are now part of the most advanced and superior civilization on the planet. And yet, we can’t feel very good about the America of the movie either because it will scrape the bottom of the barrel and unleash these lunatics to commit what is clearly a war atrocity. There’s some such ambiguity in THE WILD BUNCH as well, as the bounty hunters are half-outlaws themselves whose only options could be to chase after outlaws or be locked up themselves for whatever crimes they may have committed. To be sure, the bounty hunters seem lacking in initiative and daring to be real outlaws. Consider when T.C. asks for ‘some liquor money’ from Harrigan. They prefer rewards for doing as told than striking out on their own and gaining their own loot like the Bunch does. They are more scavengers than predators. They’d rather sit back and pick off the killings and the loot of others than boldly strike out on their own.

Deke Thorton and the ragtag Bounty Hunters
THE WILD BUNCH – Coffer

Thus, Peckinpah and Walon Green present two kinds of takers. The Bunch take from others, but they turn the takign into a kind of work and enterprise. And they aim for the bigger prize. They are like wolves trying to bring down a moose, caribou, or a bear. They don’t bother with mice or gophers, and this may be why they get along pretty well with ordinary people — as long as they’re not caught in the crossfire. The Bunch are not the type to go a Mexican village and take from the poor or just rob a blind man. (In contrast, Mapache’s men will take from everyone.) The Bunch plan for something that’s worth getting, something that comes with pride. Surely, someone who pulls off a bank heist feels more pride as an outlaw than someone who robbed an old lady. After the Bunch ride out of Starbuck, we learn that Pike had spent a lot of time and money setting up the operation. In contrast, the bounty hunters are too stupid, unimaginative, cowardly, and petty to focus on anything beyond pulling boots and trinkets off dead people. They are on the side of law not because they are good but because they don’t how to be bad. When they arrive in Agua Verde after the final gunfight, one of them even ask for a knife to take gold from someone’s teeth. They are penny-scroungers than trophy-hunters. When Sykes is hit, one of them, Jess, sticks around like a vulture. Their ‘economic philosophy’, like everything else about them, is shortsighted, and they cannot conceive of much beyond their immediate needs or concerns. And they are generally lacking in curiosity and anything beyond familiar references. When Deke Thornton asks, “What’s in Agua Verde?”, Coffer answers, “Mexicans. What else?”, to which the other bounty hunters cackle stupidly. They are so without foresight and thought that without Deke Thornton to lead them, they wouldn’t know what to do. It is when Deke Thornton says, “Let’s go” upon realizing that a train robbery has taken place that the bounty hunters make their move. They all look to Thornton like he’s their headmaster or platoon commander. At one point, Coffer plays a prank on Thornton by pretending to shoot him, but the bounty hunters know that without Thornton, they might as well be dead out in the middle of nowhere. Sometime later, Thornton threatens them with: “Sit still damn it! You think Pike and Sykes haven’t been watching us? They know what this is about. What do I have? Nothing but you chicken stealing gutter trash with not even 60 rounds between you. We’re after men. And I wish to God I was with them. The next time you make a mistake, I’ll ride off and let you die.”
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.

THE WILD BUNCH is a much greater film than THE DIRTY DOZEN but Aldrich’s movie, along with BONNIE AND CLYDE, paved the way for Peckinpah. In fact, Peckinpah’s first choice for the role of Pike was none other than Lee Marvin, who turned down the role because it reminded him of his roles in THE DIRTY DOZEN and THE PROFESSIONALS. In some ways THE DIRTY DOZEN is the ultimate Bad Boy movie because, unlike Peckinpah’s films that do wrestle with matters of ethics, it is utterly unapologetic and unhesitating as it plows to its monstrous conclusion. There’s no time for anyone to mutter stuff like, “We all dream of being a child again.” And the Lee Marvin character just has a job to do and does it. And there is nothing ‘magnificent’ about the men. They are like a plague, a kind of human-germ warfare unleashed on the Germans. They are heartless killers who just happen to be useful on a mission where the enemy must be taken out. And the targets are not merely military men but the wives of the men. It is as much an act of mass murder as an act of war. The heartless bastards of THE DIRTY DOZEN are to do an ‘Treblinka’ on the German officers and their wives who are at a social gathering. In a way, it is class warfare unleashed on the German upper crust by the American ruling military elite through the use of the worst dregs of society. The American elite commanders figure that the lowly psychopaths will take to the mission since they get to kill superior officers. It’s like the hatred that the men feel for their own superior-officers are diverted and directed at the superior-officers of the other side. Yet, this psychological trick isn’t so obvious since American superior-officers don’t put on the aristocratic airs of the German or Prussian officers. American officers mostly dress and look like a bunch of regular soldiers despite the fact that they wield a lot more power and privilege than the actual soldiers who are doing most of the killing and dying. In a way, it’s what the Jews have done to white elites in America. Just like the US military command motivates and unleashes the worst dregs of lower-class society on the German upper class in the movie, Jewish elites and radicals have stirred up the fury of the worst elements of the black community and youth culture to carry one assault after another on the Wasp power structure and conservative white America. Just like the vileness of the military convicts are overlooked because the anti-Nazi mission is thought to be crucial, the viciousness of black thugs and youth radicals is thought to be justified because it is directed at the evil ‘racist’ white power structure. Ends justify not only the means but the meanness. The kind of murderousness directed at the German officers in THE DIRTY DOZEN pulsated in the hearts of Jews who had similar fantasies about Wasp Golf Clubs.

DIRTY DOZEN – diverted class warfare

Just like American military elites channel the class rage of the vermin soldiers at the German officer elites in the movie, Jewish elites have harnessed the class/race resentments of blacks, the underclass, & the criminal elements directed them toward ‘privileged’ white society beginning in the 1960s. Consider the New York Times’ favored narrative on Ferguson, Missouri. Even though the whole fiasco was really the result of a white officer using justifiable force against a nasty giant Negro, the NYT twisted the incident into a case of Evil White Privilege killing innocent black youths and keeping blacks down in general. This is all very amusing since Jews are the most powerful and privileged group in America. But just like the American military elites in THE DIRTY DOZEN hide behind the mask of American Democracy and make the ostentatiously aristocratic German officer class out to be the snobs who deserve to be blown up and murdered, Jewish elites posed as the ‘grubby’ champions of the underdog providing moral and financial aid the angry blacks, impatient youths, frustrated underclass, and other ‘oppressed’ races/classes in their just war against Evil Privileged White America, especially symbolized by fancy neo-aristocratic Wasp Golf Clubs. The Jewish Super-Rich love to use the mob against the White Rich. Jewish War on Wasps exploded in the 60s and 70s. Eventually, the White Rich folded and sucked up the Jews and became white Liberal urbanites supporting stuff like ‘gay marriage’. So, now we have the Jewish Rich overlords and White Liberal Rich collaborators attacking middle class whites for their Culture of Privilege(in places like Ferguson!) when it is the Jewish Rich and White Liberal Rich who hog most of the wealth, power, and influence in institutions of government and academia and in the industries of gambling, finance, media, entertainment, high-tech, and etc. Wall Street, for instance, is only ‘conservative’ on issues like taxes and regulation while it is totally Liberal on issues like ‘gay marriage’, interracism, transgenderism, and transhumanism.

Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin disguised as German Officer Class

THE DIRTY DOZEN was a key work in American popular culture, in some ways even more startling than something like THE GRADUATE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, COOL HAND LUKE, IN COLD BLOOD, and BONNIE AND CLYDE, all of which were released in the same year. The crucial difference was THE DIRTY DOZEN made no apologies and offered no justifications. It didn’t feature rebellion in the name of a higher cause, higher passion, or deeper meaning. THE GRADUATE by Mike Nichols panders to anti-adult attitudes of 60s youth culture, plays on ‘bourgeois’ anxieties, embraces romance & true love(as justification for Benjamin’s mad quest in the final act), and ends on a note of alienation in vogue in European ‘art cinema’ at the time. It tries to be for something and about something. Nichols was trying to be the American equivalent of the great European ‘auteurs’ he admired so much. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was daring for its time(at least in some parts of the country) because it featured a black hero in more assertive, even aggressive, ways that hadn’t been scene on the big screen. Though Sidney Poitier played brash Negroes before, it was usually in the emblematic mode of ‘credit to his race’ or social conscience mode of frustration with an unfair society. In contrast, Mr. Tibbs of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT acts like he needs no validation from white society. He’s certain that he knows better than all the white hicks, and that’s what counts. Even so, Tibbs is far from the Blaxploitation anti-heroes of the 1970s. He does violate the social/racial etiquettes of the South, but in the end, he is really just a looser variation of the Negro as ‘credit to his race’. True, he’s smarter and better than the whites, but he doesn’t brag about it and diligently goes to work to bring justice to the community. And through his sterling example, even a redneck sheriff learns a valuable lesson about truth and justice. COOL HAND LUKE begins on a note of alienated cynicism but lurches into tragic mode, and Luke goes from loner-misfit to a beautiful soul lost in a world fenced up with rules and regulations that keep a man down. In the end, he is presented as a Christ-like figure. His aimless life is redeemed and justified through his ‘sacrificial’ death. The stark realism of IN COLD BLOOD, seen through Richard Brooks’ clinical lens and etched by Robert Blake & Scott Wilson’s shadowy performances, was chilling at the time(and has hardly dated over the years). The film isn’t preachy or moralistic, but it nevertheless a work that tries to convey truths about the psychology of crime, the problems of class, fate vs chance, and deeper reverberation of personal action. BONNIE AND CLYDE was surely the most outrageous among the aforementioned films, and there’s no doubt that its anti-heroes are romanticized killer criminals. Though denounced by some at the time as immoral and irresponsible, it isn’t exactly a heartless endorsement of violent transgression. While it is indifferent to and even dismissive of the victims of the killer duo, its passion play storytelling would have the audience believe that it was all for love, and besides, the times were tough, it being the Depression and all. It’s like GRAPES OF WRATH crossed with TRISTAN AND ISOLDE. Or, it’s like JULES AND JIM with guns, and incidentally, Francois Truffaut was initially approached to direct it. Just as we are supposed to overlook the amorality of love in JULES AND JIM because Catherine(Jeanne Moreau)’s passion is so seductive, we are to exult in the violence of Bonnie and Clyde because they do it with style and glamour. (Of course, Warren Beatty, a Hollywood leftist, also meant it to be an allegory of armed revolution of the have-nots against the haves, but it’s interesting how most of the victims of the duo are small store owners, bank tellers, working class cops, and other such folks. I wonder if Beatty would have dared to produce and star in a film that celebrates a psychopathic duo going around robbing and killing people like himself and his millionaire Hollywood pals, a whole bunch of them Jewish.)

At any rate, DIRTY DOZEN differs from the other landmark films of 1967 in offering no justification for the antics and violence of its bad men. If there is one, it is purely accidental. Because Nazis are evil and because the mission is about rubbing out Nazis, it makes the Dozen into ‘automatic heroes’. But there’s no sense that the men are motivated by anything resembling idealism, principles, or want of redemption. They are doing it because they have no choice, and besides, they’re the kind of men who will gladly kill and blow things up if given the chance. Indeed, if the men had been ordered to kill American officers, they would likely have done that instead. They are killers ordered to kill people, but they don’t mind since violence and mayhem come naturally to them. They are like dogs let loose to bring down an elk. All they need do is follow their own instincts. They are sort of like the louts in STRAW DOGS. They are ignoble and don’t care in the least about ‘heroism’ or ‘duty’ that might be tagged onto the mission. They are not sinners who stumble upon and accept the chance at redemption(like the men of John Ford’s THREE GODFATHERS) but psychopaths given sanction to do what comes most naturally to them: kill, rob, destroy, and blow things up. 99% of the time they are a danger to civilization, but in this particular instance they are useful to one civilization at war with another civilization. The concept of the lower orders proving their worth and mettle — especially in demonstration of superiority to their social betters — was hardly new in American legends and storytelling. It can be found in the very founding myth of this country: How ragtag Minutemen and guerrilla fighters with crude muskets, led by men like George Washington, took on the mighty British army and won. And Andrew Jackson was like the Lee Marvin character and the Dozen rolled into one. He was an inspired leader but could also be a brutal warrior of psychopathic proportions, but America needed such a men in the early years when America was constantly in conflict with both the British Empire and hostile Indians. Also, the notion of rags-to-riches and finding freedom in the West was part of the Horatio Alger story. And there was also the romance of the gangster who rose from the bottom to the top. Jewish writers such as Edna Ferber and Ayn Rand loved narratives of people who came out of nowhere and bested their social betters. Such stories had a long pedigree in the Old World itself, but because the ownership of power, privilege, wealth, and land had been more firmly established — and as social conventions, customs, and values had become more deeply entrenched there(like when a social inferiors in England tipped their hats to a upperclass person and said, “Aye, Guv’nor”) — , there was less room for the nobody to become the somebody. Something like THE GREAT GATSBY was more likely in the United States than in Europe. If Jews in Russia had to wage total war on traditional institutions and values to gain power for themselves in the Bolshevik Revolution, Jews in America merely needed to learn to use the American system better than most other groups in order to gain great power and wealth. (As it’s often been said, Americans are into self-invention. This is surely true more of America than any other nation, but it is also something of a myth because only a small number of Americans have ever been capable of self-invention. Most Americans merely conformed to the others’ self-inventions that were then disseminated far & wide and even pushed into everyone’s heart and mind through the pervasive power of mass education, government policies, and popular entertainment. After all, the recent homomania craze wasn’t an self-invention of most Americans. Why would most Americans take up homomania on their own when they are not homosexual and would be grossed out by thoughts of taking part in ‘gay’ behavior? Instead, it was the self-invention of the Jewish elites and homo elites who’ve formed an alliance of supremacist oligarchic power in America. And Pop Culture never was owned or controlled by the people. It was just a few corporate entities using their near-monopoly powers to promote and disseminate their fashions in ‘self-invention’. For instance, consider the prevalence of people who get tattoos on their arms. Did they, all of sudden, self-invent themselves as tattoo-freaks, or are they merely conforming to the popularized image of supposedly self-invented New American covered with ugly tattoos? Or consider the 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.

The wild men of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS challenge the townsfolk and act barbarian-life as they carry off the women, but in the end, they learn the lesson of true love and self-respect by learning to be gentlemen. They too ultimately feel a need to be validated by their social betters even as a good deal of their pride derives from their derring-do independence. In contrast, the men of THE DIRTY DOZEN are unconcerned with any kind of moral redemption or regeneration, any kind of higher honor or opportunity for a second chance to prove their worth. They are truly dirty, and the movie is at ease with the way their unruliness. They anticipate the nihilism of Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE who feels no remorse about anything and whose volunteering for a ‘reform’ experiment was entirely cynical: a convenient way to cut short his prison sentence. Once he is de-programmed of his conditioning at the end, he is the same bastard who hadn’t learned a thing from either the experiment or experience thereafter. Alex simply revels in psychopathic nihilism. (To be sure, one could argue that his passion for Beethoven makes him more than a mere thug like most others of his kind. One could rationalize his transgressions on ‘creative’ grounds as real-life performance art, but then, one would have to be a nihilist to do so. He is a Rock-Star-like thug visionary than a mere thug, and that explains why Alex, but not the cruder louts of STRAW DOGS, became cultural icons of the Counterculture.) And such ‘anarchic’ nihilism also pervaded 1970s movies like M*A*S*H, THE LONGEST YARD, and BAD NEWS BEARS where one’s moral worth need not be proven to anyone; you should just be what you are, do what you feel like, and have a good time. It’s like what 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

There’s a kind of primitivism about the whole thing, with violence as a mere struggle for pride and/or survival, a pitiless contest of wills. It’s the same way in THE EMPEROR OF THE NORTH where the battle between the Lee Marvin character and the Ernest Borgine character has no meaning beyond who gets to be king of the train. It was perhaps for this reason that films like THE DIRTY DOZEN, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, and LONGEST YARD haven’t gained the kind of cult following that even less commercially successful Peckinpah films have. There’s a crisis of psychology and ethics at the core of Peckinpah’s universe, whereas some of the later Aldrich movies tend to be non-judgmental and resigned in the view of men as irredeemable brutes who can never rise above their nature. In THE DIRTY DOZEN, the Lee Marvin character turns the fellas into proper fighting men but doesn’t bother with turning them into good men. Besides, if the men could be made good, they won’t be useful for a mission that calls for pathological behavior. If FULL METAL JACKET is about taking ordinary mostly non-psychopathic men into cold-blooded killers who will not hesitate to shoot the enemy(even civilians if need be), THE DIRTY DOZEN is about turning psychopaths into just barely reliable soldiers so that they will carry out a mission that no sane soldier would want to be a part of. Any military around the world tries to turn men into killers but not go so far as to turn them into psychopaths whose blood-thirst and/or dementia cannot be contained, like what happens with ‘Gomer Pyle’ when he guns down the drill sergeant in Kubrick’s film. In reversal, the military in THE DIRTY DOZEN molds pathologically dangerous men into roles of responsible soldiers but ever careful to not overly soften their natural psychopathy that is essential for the successful fulfilment of the mad mission. There are times when psychopathy may actually be advantageous for the attainment for certain essential goals. In extreme cases, it may be the extreme personality who has the nerves(or total lack of nerves) to do what most normal people simply couldn’t make themselves do; suppose one has to kill 100 babies with one’s bare hands and burn alive a 100 old ladies to save a million people; only a psychopath might be capable of doing it. (Most stunt men probably have some degree of psychopathy in their blood, because what kind of normal person would take such risks for fame or notoriety? Because psychopaths tend to have an extra pair of balls, something about them turns women on, and women with less impulse control may go with such men because their natural instincts are aroused by extra-virility in such men. Of course, smarter women have keener scent for ‘psychopathic’ men. They reject the obvious psychopathic types who usually end up being reckless, dangerous, & too much trouble, and instead prefer the sociopathic ‘psychopaths’ who keep their extreme nature under lid and channel it toward higher stakes. After all, it’s better to be married to a rich lawyer than to an armed robber who will surely end up behind bars sooner or later. One of the somewhat disturbing things about Whit Stillman’s THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO is we’re never quite sure if Alice[Chloe Sevigny] is attracted to Josh[Matt Keeslar] because he’s a principled moralist or a borderline ‘psycho’. Indeed, he’s an odd case because he is both the most mentally unstable person in the movie and the most morally insistent & committed. He says he would love to have one opportunity to say, “Book this clown” when arresting a criminal. Someone like him could easily have been someone like the anti-hero of AMERICAN PSYCHO, yet he is the one who preaches the deeper meaning of love and loyalty to everyone else. And yet, we are not sure if his is a case of deeply held moral convictions or of compulsive-obsessive disorder that just happened to settle on moral values — like some obsessive-personality types tend to fixate on Politically Correct issues like ‘racism’, ‘homophobia’, ‘micro-aggressions’, ‘misogyny’, and etc. Is Josh’s feelings about love grounded primarily in moral ideals, or are his moral scruples the life-jacket that keeps him afloat in a sea of confusion? Are his ideals a staff or a crutch? It’s interesting that he says the onset of his depression descended when he stood by a monument to people who drowned at sea.

THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO or The Last Gaze of a Psycho?

Certain kinds of ‘psychopaths’ need something to fixate on, and even though we usually associate psychopathy with criminality, wickedness, and evil, it can also become fixated on issues of morality, spirituality, and/or justice, which is why some of the most dangerous people have been moralists and ‘do-gooders’. Not that there’s anything wrong with morality or do-good-ing per se; the problem is psychopaths take radical possession of such issues & themes and turn them into mad crusades against misperceived sins or injustices. Extreme cases of such people in the 20th century could be seen among communist radicals, National Socialist radicals, religious cults such as that of L. Ron Hubbard and Jim Jones, Jewish radicals, feminist lunatics, black rage-holics, and Muslim terrorists. Someone like Sabrina Rubin Erderly is clearly not normal in the head as only someone with ‘psychopathic’ tendencies could have cooked up a lie as big as the UVA rape story featured in the Rolling Stone magazine. But then, even masses of sane people can come under the collective spell of mass hysteria as most people get their news, ‘facts’, information, and moral instructions from the media, academia, and government that are now controlled by sociopaths like Obama and his Jewish and Homo handlers. If sociopaths control the media, even sane people will see the World-according-to-Sociopaths. In a world where nearly everyone is under great political, social, economic, and ‘moral’ brainwashing and ass-bending to support ‘gay marriage’, there’s no guarantee that most people being sane will mean a sane world. If indeed the fact that most people are psychologically sane/normal ensures that society will be sane and normal, how could there have been socio-political orders like National Socialism, Maoism, and Jewish-Homo Supremacist Domination? If anything, the fact that most people are sane and normal[at least among non-Negroes] makes sanity and normality vulnerable to the forces of socio-psychopathy. As most sane and normal people tend to be cooperative, kindly, and considerate, they don’t want to make too much trouble or gain undue power, wealth, and/or influence at the expense of other people, especially by devious and unscrupulous means. It is the extreme personality that hungers for more power, wealth, and influence over others. So, while most sane and normal people just want to go about their business, the extreme ones work very hard to gain more power, wealth, and influence than everyone else, and then, they use their control of elite institutions and industries to push and enforce their own idea of the New Normal on everyone. It’s well-known that Jews and Homos tend to have more extreme personalities than other groups. Though sane and normal people may feel resistant to the incessant demands of the extreme personalities who seek political, financial, cultural, and ‘moral’ power over them, their sanity and normality favor ‘niceness’ than confrontation. [The real danger comes when sociopathic personalities, in the spirit of Saul Alinsky, push their radical, deviant, or perverse agenda packaged as the New Normal. Thus, craziness is marketed and sold as the New Sanity. This is true of economics too. Jordan Belfort in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET admits that he first hooked his clients with blue chip stocks, and then gradually mixed in the ‘dogshit’ with the good stuff. His clients didn’t see it coming because of the devious blend. Likewise, the housing bubble crash of 2008 was the result of Wall Street dirty tricks whereby highly questionable home loans were bundled with the good loans/assets and sold all over the world to trusting and unsuspecting buyers. In other words, the rotten meat was mixed the good meat, ground up, cut into little slices, and sold as premier ham all over the world. It was financial Alinsky-ism. Package the dubious with the sound and sell it as Grade AAA product. You can’t sell trash as trash, but if you mix it in with the treasure, people can be fooled, especially as Jews run the media and the government. The ‘gay’ agenda was sold the same way. Most Americans never warmed up to homos because they instinctively recoiled from the idea of men buggering one another in the fecal hole, women looking butch and ugly, and men & women having their perfectly healthy organs mutilated to get fake penises or fake vaginas. So, the ‘gay’ agenda was mixed with ‘family values’ and conservative values such as marriage. Thus, homos went from sexual deviants to the New Normal in moral values. And increasingly infantilized and amnesiac Americans fell for it. The damage of this degeneracy will not be as obvious in the short term as the crazy financial policy that led to the housing crash since morality cannot be crunched up in numbers, but the degradation of the most crucial moral institution will do great harm to civilization as falsehood has been made equal to truth.] Hideous Jews play dirty. Look how Jews got us into the Iraq War on the premise of WMD fears and spreading democracy. The real purpose was to serve Zionism. It was nothing more than a War for Israel. And Jews are up to the same old tricks in Ukraine. They say it’s about supporting democracy and a New Cold War, but it’s really about dirty Jews trying to undermine Russia to take over the entire country like they took over the US. This is why even a large number of conservatives can easily be outmaneuvered by much smaller number of Liberal psychopaths with extreme personalities possessed of the ‘radical will’. Whereas most sane and normal white folks seek accommodation and approval — as humans, especially those with genes favored by selective forces of civilization, are naturally social beings — , many Jews and Homos with ‘psychopathic’ tendencies are tirelessly aggressive and insistent in having things go their way, and they demand that EVERYONE not merely tolerate them as ‘minority voices’ or ‘alternative tastes’ but to praise and celebrate them as the New Normal. If Hitler didn’t have such an extremely insistent personality and if most Germans weren’t so accommodatingly sane and normal, National Socialism could never have taken hold in Germany. Likewise, if Jews and Homos didn’t possess such extreme ‘psychopathic’ personalities and if most straight white gentiles weren’t so sane and normal, US and EU would not have turned into Empires of Lies where moral values are dictated by the insanity of the New Normal.

Because Whit Stillman is a Conservative, the extreme personalities of his films tend to eschew radical politics and power-lust over others. Josh’s manic energies are focused on lionizing disco as a ‘movement’ and defending the other dog in LADY AND THE TRAMP as the paragon of true love. And the nutty woman in DAMSELS IN DISTRESS channels her ‘psycho’ energies toward running a suicide prevention center, giving dating advices, passing out soaps, and starting dance movements that fizzle. It’s all very cute and amusing, but imagine what someone like her or Josh might be capable of if they got on the bandwagon of Political Correctness. A strong personality is more captivating than an ordinary personality. Among the boors and louts, it’s the loud-mouthed braggart who commands attention. It’s like the floozies in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST go for Randall McMurphy because he’s the life of the party. But in refined & respectable society, outright brazenness would be a turn-off, proof of lack of class. And yet, even women of fine-breeding prefer men with the edge, and they sense this quality in men through subtler means. Ayn Rand’s THE FOUNTAINHEAD is like a manual for men on how to be the fantasy male with the edge. But then, Rand herself had a powerful personality that bordered on psychopathy, but it certainly cast a spell on many men even though she was hardly a looker and, as she got older, looked like a big demented toad. There is something about psychopathy that spells p-o-w-e-r, and many people cannot resist its magnetism. In a way, Nurse Ratched is magnetic in her own way in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST because she is, ironically enough, also ‘psychopathic’ in her own way. She has a commanding aura that awes her male patients into reverent obedience. Among themselves, the men feel dull and weak, but around her they feel an intensity, a zealous grip on power. Her cold form of ‘psychopathy’ is challenged by McMurphy’s hot form of psychopathy, but in a way, they are two sides of the same coin. They seek control and domination over others through the ‘radical wills’ of personality. McMurphy usually wins in the short run because he’s the life of the party, and the men are turned on by his antics. But his madness burns out quickly because it lacks purpose and direction. It’s like a fish that jumps out of the water and splashes about in the boat, only to tire and die.

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – Randall McMurphy
You don’t mess with Nurse Ratched

In contrast to scattershot McMurphy, Nurse Ratched is very focused, determined, and consistent in her power over the men, and it is she who wins out in the end, not least because organization sides with people like her than with people like McMurphy. In the end, institutions win over individuals because organization beats disorganization. Nurse Ratched is all about organization and has the full backing of the institution, whereas McMurphy the individual is seen as the troublemaker who has to be put in his place. Even as we root for McMurphy, do we want governments, institutions, and organizations to be run by people like Ratched or by people like McMurphy? Like them or not, we know Ratcheds of the world will take their work seriously and do the job, whereas McMurphies of the world will neglect their duties and let things fall apart, and that means no good and services for any of us. But then, of course, Ratcheds of the world can also be more dangerous because their iron grip over the institutions can take away our liberties and freedoms, even the non-criminal kind. In the 50s and 60s, there were Jewish and Homo icons who were rather like Randall McMurphy. They were credited with changing the culture and Zeitgeist with wild antics and wallowing in controversy. Consider figures like Lenny Bruce. But if all Jews and Homos had been such ‘psychopaths’, their power and influence would have crash-burned sooner or later. Jews and Homos gained a tremendous amount of long-term power because some of them had a less flamboyant and more iron-willed ‘psychopathy’ akin to that of Nurse Ratched. In the end, it is the Tim Cooks and the Elena Kagans of the world who are far more formidable and dangerous because they run the marathon of power than merely the sprint. Ultimately however, the Jewish/Homo McMurphies and Jewish/Homo Ratched signed a mutual aid pact beginning with the Rise of Political Correctness, which is why the likes of Sarah Silverman and Elena Kagan are really on the same page when it comes to the Jewish-Homo Supremacist Agenda. With the alliance of extreme personalities banging pots & pans and extreme personalities counting beans, the Jewish/Homo McMurphies and the Jewish/Homo Ratcheds of the world have gained near-total domination over the sane-and-normal white gentile population[with non-extreme personalities] who, again and again, meekly sign onto the New Normal in their craven preference for accommodation with the extreme Jewish and Homo personalities. Sane and normal people abhor undue confrontation, and while preference for consensus/cooperation may be advantageous among themselves, it can be fatal when faced with people of extreme personalities and extreme talents. If a minority group were also mostly sane and normal, it would meld in with larger sane and normal community on the basis of assimilation. But a group, even if small relative to the majority group, will not budge or succumb to the larger group if it is made of strong ‘psychopathic’ personalities and if the larger group is made of sane and normal personalities. The psychopathic personality always regards the sane-and-normal personality as something to dominate and/or devour. It is no wonder that Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal. He likes to devour other people’s minds psychologically and literally. With a strong personality, he feels as a predator in relation to sane-and-normal personalities that seem sheep-like, ever-so-accommodating, and so easily pliable. Of course, as he is intelligent, he is expert at camouflaging his psychopathy and stalking his preys. He acts like a harmless person himself, waiting for the moment to ambush and gain mental and/or physical domination over others. If Jews with powerful personalities had been met with white gentiles with powerful personalities, they would have felt compelled to temper their own personalities in face of counter-aggression of the gentiles. And of course, if gentiles had been equal in ability and intelligence, Jews wouldn’t have been able to gain dominance even with stronger personalities. After all, Gypsies have strong personalities but remain at the bottom and won’t be gaining dominance over the governments, banks, media, academia, and etc. anytime soon.
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.

After Germany lost World War I, many Germans lost their pride and confidence and could only hope for better times under liberal democracy. But strong-willed German Jews exploited the conditions of postwar Germany with the help of World Jewry and began to take over entire sectors of German society and economy. Most Germans, being sane and normal, felt helpless to do anything about Jewish power that seemed to make things more desperate for the Germans. Russians discovered the same thing in the 1990s when Russian Jews colluded with American Jews to fleece Russia’s vast wealth. Since an average Jew has a personality[and intelligence] of greater magnitude than that of a German or Russian, it simply wasn’t possible for the gentiles to resist the power of Jews on a one-on-one basis or even all-on-one basis. One-on-one, the Jew ran circles around the gentile. But even when gentiles got together, they couldn’t do much against Jewish power since a lot of sane-and-normal personalities still amounted to nothing more than a collective of sane-and-normal personalities. It’s like one Dan Quayle or a million Dan Quayles, it’s all just potato-heads. So, the most effective way to handle the Jew was to be led by that rare white gentile with a powerful personality who could match the Jews in passion, rage, and hatred, if not necessarily in intelligence and ability. Once such a strong personality arises and takes a firm stand against Jews and pushes back, all the gentiles — the sane and normal ones — can get behind him and push. Then the cumulative force of the sane-and-normal gentiles behind the gentile individual with powerful personality will exert pressure on Jewish power that will back off. Most people are like broomsticks. If you take a whole lot of broomsticks and bunch them together and then press their ends against someone, it will hardly do any damage since their combined ends will form a smooth surface. But suppose one of the broomsticks is fitted with spearhead. Then, if you push on the bunch of broomsticks, the full force of their mass will drive the spearhead deep into whomever is standing in the way. Indeed, the reason why Rush Limbaugh attracted so many fans in the 1990s was because he had a strong personality. He seemed like a spearhead for the Right in the Culture War, so the idea was that if everyone got behind him and pushed, they could together slay the Liberal dragon. But in fact, he turned out to be just another lying, two-faced demagogue who simply couldn’t be trusted. But then, this is the big problem of those with strong-personalities. As personality takes precedence over principles — in a way, their psychopathy often cannot distinguish between their personal will and shared principles — , they end up serving their demented egos than serving the cause within perimeters of what is reasonable. The problem with Hitler is he didn’t know when to stop pushing against the Jews, and then he pushed against nations that were not enemies of Germany. In the case of someone like Limbaugh, he never really did have a chance since, like so many other Conservatives, he was under the willful delusion that Jews could be the best friends of American Conservatism and that there is no higher priority for Conservatives than supporting Israel and the superrich class in America. What’s truly pathetic for American Conservatism is that, what with the bulk of the super-rich class having gone over to Democrats, it continues to bleat and bellow in the interests of the super-rich that now spits and laughs at them. Whatever is left of American Conservatism sings endless hosannas to Israel, Wall Street, and even ‘gay marriage’.)

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.

Anyway, even though Negroes are the first to spoil and rot when offered total freedom to act like louts, there’s no guarantee that other races will be immune from reversion to barbarism and even savagery. (It’s interesting how a great moral/social movement can paradoxically pave the way for great immorality. This was certainly true of the Civil Rights Movement. It was about ending racial discrimination based on skin color and judging people by ‘the content of their character’. It was about giving black people their due as equal citizens in a nation that had used them as slaves and then denied them full rights as fellow Americans. So, why did the movement eventually lead to great evil? There were two main reasons. One was that even a great moral-social movement can be inspired by false premises and assumptions, and this was no doubt true of Black Liberation. The assumption was that blacks are essentially whites with black skin, thereby hardly different under the skin. If this assumption were indeed true in reality, the Civil Rights Movement would not only have been a great moral-social movement but a great success because blacks, as merely whites-with-black-skin, would have been accepted as fellow Americans and made rapid progress, indeed like Asian-Indians who are dark-skinned but have done well in the US. As it turned out, blacks are not merely white people with black skin. They are really of another race, and they happen to be specially strong and aggressive and lower in intelligence. Now, one can argue that the Civil Rights Movement was still a great moral-social crusade despite its false premises because of its high hopes, big dreams, and themes of deliverance and redemption. I would agree with this assessment as a movement can be great even if driven by false assumptions. This certainly applies to Christianity and Communism that were based on false assumptions about humanity. Nevertheless, any movement that is based on false assumptions/premises is bound to lead to evil because true long-term goodness can only be founded on truths, not delusions. So, communism was bound to fall in the end. And Christianity led to all sorts of distortions and perversions of repressed and hypocritical nature, that is until Europe managed to balance its impossible spiritual ideals with more practical & rational/secular formulas for progress. Oddly enough, both the ‘racism’ of Old America and the ‘anti-racism’ of New America ended up committing great evils because they were both premised on false assumptions. Old America was under the ‘racist’ delusion that, gradually, blacks could be civilized under slavery. Also, it deluded itself that blacks were happy to accept their inferior status, ho-de-do, munch on watermelons, pick cotton, and sing ‘Ole Black Joe’. Such patronizing attitude assumed that as long as Northerners didn’t interfere with the South, magnanimous whites and grateful Negroes would get along just fine. But in fact, even the kindly ho-de-do-ing Negroes were just putting on act and were fantasizing about little else than beating up ‘honkey’ and humping white women. Old America deluded itself that Negroes were happy to accept their inferior status because they were humble and into munching watermelons. Of course, white folks, especially in the Deep South, had repressed fears about the big strong Negro who might just snap and use his muscles who kick white boys’ ass and rape white women, but they dared not articulate such fears openly because they, as noble white men, were not supposed to be afraid of the Negro. But then, the white liberal ‘anti -racism’ was no less deluded about the Negro. Indeed, it’s amazing how similar the liberal ‘anti-racist’ imagination of the Negro is with the ‘racist’ perception of the Negro. If the ‘racist’ view said Negroes are just childlike simpletons and need to be kept in their place and taken care of with a bit of white noblesse oblige, the ‘anti-racist’ view said Negroes were just innocent, childlike, and harmless folks who should be allowed total freedom since they were too much like lovable children to do much harm. Indeed, according to the liberal ‘anti-racist’ imagination, it is ridiculous to think that blacks could go around raping white women since Negroes, like the dude in TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, is too pure and childlike to even think of sex. Dang, I bet he don’t even know what that thing be between his legs. If the ‘redneck’ South said the Negro should be kept in his own place because he be so childlike and dumb, the liberal North said the Negro should be given total freedom since such simpleminded and childlike folks couldn’t possibly do any harm, like going around raping white women and beating white men. In fact, both views were based on false assumptions that denied the wild and crazy side of the Negro. Though whites in the Deep South on occasion used violence to hang Negroes from trees, the general idea was that such Negroes were the rare bad apples. As for the other Negroes, why, they be so happy acting childlike and docile and munching watermelon and singing gospels in churches. But in fact, great many Negroes posed a grave threat to white folks than white Southerners could possibly understand. As for Northern white liberals, their naive dreams came crashing down once the Negroes got the message that they is free and could do as they pleased. And then the cities began to burn, neighborhoods began to crumble, and schools began to fall apart. So, no matter how great a moral-social cause may appear, false assumptions are bound to lead to big trouble. But then, this brings up the second reason as to why great social-moral causes can lead to great evil. When things don’t work out, it’s natural for people to reassess the facts and change course based on a better understanding of the truth. Consider the long crusade against eggs and butter by American nutritional experts. They urged cutting down on many protein and fatty foods and recommended higher consumption of carbohydrates, but new studies show that such advice was close to being worthless. So, even though it had been the holy writ of nutrition over several decades, new evidence has proven otherwise and people are now changing their eating habits. Nevertheless, it was a great campaign but not a great moral campaign. Much of the old advice was assumed to be factually true but wasn’t held up as the sacred truth. No matter how factual something is assumed to be, it can be rejected if another study offers better facts. The real problem is with issues that are sacralized or sanctified. So, while new studies urge people to eat more eggs and less carbohydrates, no amount of facts can convince a faithful Muslims that he should eat pork or a faithful Hindu that he should eat beef. To a Muslim, pork is spiritually filthy, and to a Hindu, beef is an abomination because his religion reveres the cow. And this is the problem with great social-moral movements. Though they pretend to deal with facts about mankind and society, they tend to sanctify and sacralize the ideals and the narrative of the movement. As the ideals are presented as quasi-sacred, they are not to be questioned EVEN IF mounting evidence show that such ideals are founded upon falsehoods. Also, as the Narrative of Manichean struggle of Good vs Evil usually takes hold of a Moral Movement, it too becomes sacralized even though there are plenty of counter-narratives that can easily detract and discredit the favored Narrative. And this is why the Civil Rights Movement, though a great social-moral movement, has led to such evil. Not only were its premises false but they have been sacralized to the point of worship whereby no amount of mounting evidence, facts, and truth can discredit or reverse them. Too many people mindlessly worship the Narrative and Premise of the Civil Rights Movement for them to honestly reassess and rethink what it really means and what it really has done to America, especially to White America. Radicals and ‘progressives’ also fall for all sorts of cleverly vapid sophistries that pass themselves off as the cutting-edge in intellectualism, such as the mania about ‘trigger warnings’ & ‘microaggressions’ and the endless pseudo-scientific theses about how there are 20, 30, 50, or 100 ‘genders’, or how acknowledging an homosexual’s anus as a ‘sex organ’ is a ‘reform’ in sexual understanding when, in fact, it is a deform of thought. Tragically, ‘anti-racism’ will end up doing more harm to civilized humanity than communism ever did. True, communism killed millions and created repressive systems in nations like the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Poland, Hungary, and etc. But the failure of communism, in the long run, was merely the failure of an idea. When communism fell, the race/nation/culture/people still remained. Ideas can greatly help or harm mankind, but all ideas come and go. They are abstract principles that pass like the wind. What really matters to a people is the race, land, culture, and historical memory. When communism was gone from Poland, there was still Poland with Polish people, Polish land, Polish culture, and Polish historical consciousness. And when communism was gone from Russia, there was still the Russian people, Russian nation, Russian language, Russian culture, and Russian historical memory. The problem of ‘anti-racism’ and the crazy cult of ‘diversity’ is that it assumes that the West will be enhanced and improved with the arrival of countless hordes of non-whites. It is more than an idea. It is an active movement to fill up the West — US, EU, and Australia — with racial diversity with the contradictory understanding that [1] all races are the same and the idea of racial difference is just bosh and [2] races are so wonderfully different in their diversity that they need to come together to share their different attributes and skills. In the long run, this means that the West, the homeland of the white race, will be flooded with non-whites, especially from black Africa with its exploding population of savage darkies. Any honest person who knows about the truth of racial differences knows where all this will lead and now this will all end: West is headed toward disaster. If the disaster of communism could be reversed by getting rid of the idea of communism as a practice, the damage done by ‘anti-racism’ may well be irreversible because, by the time Western folks finally realize that they have a huge disaster on their hands, their nations will be teeming with black Africans running wild and crazy. Even if the idea of ‘anti-racism’ is finally rejected, the West will have to deal with the fact it’s been flooded with the tide of color, and it will be nearly impossible to get rid of all those troublemakers with anything less than massive ethnic cleansing. But would the West have the stomach for such a thing? Communism could be gotten rid of with the simple rejection of its idea and ruling system. But how do you get rid of the damage of ‘anti-racism’ once Sweden has become 40% black African?) When things were quickly going south for the black community in the 1960s as Civil Rights Movement and Great Society rolled across America, it appeared as though the white community would mostly hold onto their values, and indeed, rates of children born out of wedlock remained much lower among whites. But in recent times, even the white community is beginning to fall apart as Charles Murray highlighted in his book COMING APART. It is all the more alarming because these degradations and disintegrations are happening within civilization itself. At least the barbarism of the Wild West was understandable in the absence of laws and means to enforce them. Why are we today seeing so much social disintegration in the very heart of civilization? It’s partly because of the economics of plenty. Even as many Americans are losing middle class status and falling behind, America is so brimming with food and stuff that even people without jobs and prospects can eat and live like pigs. Indeed, that is why millions of people keep coming over here. Even if you don’t succeed in America, it’s better to be on the dole than be gainfully employed in many parts of the world. Also, the culture of shame is a thing of the past. Shame is now only associated with things denigrated by Political Correctness. So, as long as you’re not ‘racist’, ‘antisemitic’, and ‘homophobic’, you can be look or act like a total lout or a stupid shit. In US and UK, as long as you don’t crack jokes about Mandela or MLK, you can get tattoos all over, speak cuss words nonstop, dress like a strumpet, or talk like a retard(as so many ‘millennials’ do on their youtube channels). While there is Rule of Law, there is no Rule of Decency, except when it comes to vapid Politically Correct ‘values’. Ironically, PC-favored priority of combating ‘racism’, ‘antisemitism’, and ‘homophobia’ makes things even worse as the three groups with the most meretricious influence on society are Jews, homos, and Negroes. Jews own most of the Pop Culture industries that fill our homes with filth. Jews run Hollywood, Wall Street, and Las Vegas that promote vice industries and vice methods as the New Economy. And homocules in pop culture tend to among the most narcissistic, vain, excessive, and deranged movers-and-shakers in America. And blacks glorify crime, rape, thuggery, violence, lies, and apelike behavior. When PC forces a nation to keep its mouth shut about all the vile and dangerous things that pour out of the black community, homo-dominated industries, and Jewish-dominated institutions, then the nation is bound to be in big trouble. It’s like a people who are ruled by an evil dictator who forbids any critical discussion as to why so many things are wrong in society. Though Jews, Negroes, and homos are certainly NOT the only people who are harming this country, they need to come under special scrutiny because they are prominent in the areas of government and culture that have profound impact on all Americans. After all, your children are far more likely to be affected by sounds, images, and words controlled and promoted by Jews than by the Scotch-Irish or the Greek-American community. But Political Correctness offers special protection to Jews, Negroes, and Homos, indeed to the point where most people have been brainwashed to praise them endlessly to prove that they themselves are good people opposed to ‘antisemitism’, ‘homophobia’, and ‘racism’. So, even though Jews in Wall Street & Las Vegas are fleecing us and even though Jewish-controlled US government has brought so much ruination & suffering to the Middle East, Western Europe, and Ukraine, we are supposed to pledge our undying loyalty to the Jews and their great power. And even though dirty homokins pushed ‘gay marriage’ and are out to destroy anyone who won’t bend over the decadent and demented ‘gay agenda,’, we are supposed to look up to homosexuals as the paragons of New Morality. As for Negroes, we know many of them are wild & beastly and routinely cause havoc wherever they go, but we are supposed to demonstrate our moral credentials by proving how ‘anti-racist’ we are and how deeply we are committed to worshiping MLK and making things nicer for Negroes, even if it means relocating big dangerous blacks to small towns and suburbs whose white residents had left the cities long ago precisely to get away from Negro problems. So-called Liberals built massive housing in the cities for Negroes and drove out working class and middle class whites. Now, Liberals are using Section 8 to send urban Negroes into suburbs and small towns so that all white folks with any means will move back to cities. These Liberals can never make up their mind and keep playing musical chairs with demographics, but then Conservatives say nothing about this because Political Correctness has made it impossible to have an honest discussion on race. But if indeed Political Correctness is correct about the equality of races(and indeed ‘race being just a social construct’), then why must new ways constantly be sought to solve problems that never go away? Seriously, if blacks are really nothing more than white people with black skin, would we be having the kind of problems we see in America endlessly?

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

Rule of Law is never enough because laws are negative controls than positive guidance. Laws tell people what they cannot do. So, if you break the law, you will be arrested and sent to prison. Laws are like fences that say, “you can’t cross here”. Laws offer no guidance in terms of what one should do within the allowed space. A life isn’t meaningful purely in terms of being reminded of what one cannot do. Life is truly meaningful in terms of feeling and believing what one should do. And this guidance comes through churches, temples, mosques, and other spiritual institutions. It comes through philosophy and/or a sense of history. It comes through interaction with family, relatives, and close friends & associates. It comes from participation in civic life. Arts and culture can convey the meaning of life by expressing sounds, images, forms, and words that delve into issues of morality, history, spirituality, ideology, identity, and/or community. But arts and culture divorced from the larger/deeper themes of life face the danger of slipping into solipsism or nihilism, though, to be sure, any work of art can be interesting/fascinating if done with brilliance and originality. As for pop culture, it usually urges people, especially young dolts, to do things they shouldn’t be doing, like having loose sex, using dangerous drugs, cussing like Tarantino’s characters, dressing like hussies, acting infantile, telling moronic jokes, imitating crazy Negroes, and worshiping tooter-fruiters.
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.

THE WILD BUNCH illustrates the importance of personality types to humanity, community, and history. In some ways, barbarism is the great equalizer. Suppose Albert Einstein, Big Boss Man, Justin Bieber, Tom Hanks, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, and Tony Montana were stripped of all their belongings and wiped clean of all their cultural memories and placed together on a desert island. All they would have is their natural abilities and personalities. As they would all be in a rough setting, their differences wouldn’t matter much. Though Einstein has the innate ability to be a great scientist, he’d have no time for much else but catching fish and bashing gopher heads for supper. And others will be hunting and collecting with primitive weapons and tools just to make it to the next day. Despite their innate differences, they would all be savages or barbarians eking out a living from the harsh wilderness of trees, rocks, fishes, and gophers. Even so, as time passes and they set up something resembling community, the differences in the way they think, act, and plan things will become more prominent and noticeable.
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.

So, it’s possible that Pike, Deke, and Dutch might have been different people in a different world. They might not have gotten involved in criminal activities. Indeed, consider the difference between the young Vito Corleone(Robert Deniro) and Clemenza in THE GODFATHER PART 2. Though both become partners in crime, Vito isn’t a natural criminal. He was born with a good heart and tries to be law-abiding and live right. He has something like an inner compass, conscience, and sentiment. In contrast, Clemenza was born to rob and kill. We first see him requesting Vito to hide some guns for him. He returns the favor by breaking and entering and stealing a rug for Vito. Later, we see him take some food from a vendor and walk away without paying. He is a thug and bully who has no qualms about cheating, robbing, and even killing. Vito entered the world of crime because he got sick of being pushed around. And he couldn’t help but notice that crime does pay if done intelligently. Even so, it’s not enough for Vito to just be a thief and killer. He has bigger ideas and uses his earnings to expand his empire to become more legitimate. He even goes into the olive oil business. Vito walks a fine line between crime and business, but his big dream is to make the family legitimate so that his son won’t have to dirty their hands.

Vito Corleone and Clemenza in THE GODFATHER PART 2

If not for Vito, Clemenza would likely have been a petty crook and thug all his life. Vito has a philosophy of life and has a sense of community. He tries to pay for the oranges from a vendor and accepts them for free only because the man insists. Vito likely did the man a favor, and the man is grateful. So, despite Vito’s chosen life of criminality, he thinks and acts beyond crime. Something within him wants to rise above crime. Crime is a means, not the goal. He has a naturally proto-aristocratic personality. And it was likely men with such attributes that led the transition from barbarism to civilization. If the barbarian world were filled only with men like Clemenza, it would be a never-ending contest of thievery. Some men might become chieftains, but they would never envision a world other than the one that already exists, one where everyone robs and kills.
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.

Still, the connection between the animal and the spiritual was never entirely lost within the subconscious of man. And in the West, it was revived in black churches where one wasn’t sure if the crazy Negroes were possessed of animal mania or divine spirit as they danced like baboons and hollered like gorillas in the name Jeeeeee-sus! And in the 1960s, the members of the Counterculture, by indulging in psychedelic drugs, Rock music, and sex, believed themselves to be touching the divine through the fusion of the body and mind in a cosmic orgasm. It’s no wonder that so many acidheads went to see the Stargate sequence in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY over and over as a kind of space sex. (When the spaceship enters the space station in the first part of the film, that was just the mechanics of sex, like with their bombers in the opening scene of DR. STRANGELOVE. But when Bowman enters the Stargate, it’s all-out space ejaculation, orgasm, and conception into the Star Child.) On the other hand, as the mysterious extraterrestrial powers in Kubrick’s film cannot be seen, their conception may actually be closer to the Biblical tradition. After all, David Bowman is stunned into silence, not dancing and prancing like the drugged-out lunatics in WOODSTOCK or GIMME SHELTER.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Star Gate.

Personalities matter, and it is the more thoughtful personality, supported by ability and intelligence, that is capable of leading the rabble to something higher than themselves. It’s like Spartacus was able to lead the slave rebellion because he was something more than a pillaging thug. He had intelligence and vision, at least according to the Kirk Douglas movie. (One interesting thing about the Douglas movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is how it ends up being as much about biology as about ideology. The main theme of the film appears ideological as it’s about the fight for freedom against the tyrannical slave system of Rome. And as the slaves are made up of men and women from various nations and races, they are united only by the idea of freedom. Also, Romans seem to be more about the idea of power and privilege than about Romans as a race or tribe. After all, Romans conquered other peoples and didn’t merely enslave them but offered them citizenship and near-equality under the law. And yet, the true motivating force behind Spartacus’s rebellion is his love for Varinia[Jean Simmons]. Spartacus obviously didn’t like being a slave, but it is when he comes in contact with the woman that he develops a passion for rebellion and power. Even though he’s Libyan and she’s from Britain, his love for her implies sex, children, and family, and that means the beginning of their own clan and tribe. So, even though his rebellion is justified by ideology, the truly motivating factor is biology: his pride as a man, husband, father, and patriarch. He’s known none such things as he was born a slave and raised as one. But upon seeing Varinia, something is awakened within him. The Jewish Kirk Douglas may have understood this side of Spartacus because, like many of the Jews of his generation, he was ideologically leftist but passionately Zionist. And to the extent that Spartacus is fighting to lead an exodus out of Rome to some place in the Middle East, SPARTACUS is sort of like TEN COMMANDMENTS and EXODUS. Though based on a communist novel by Howard Fast and adapted by communist Dalton Trumbo, it is not without Zionist themes of blood and tribe. This is easy to miss since the rebellion is made up of diverse folks. There’s even a big Negro played by Woody Strode, surely an allusion to the Civil Rights Movement and American history of slavery. But the core spirit of Spartacus’ rebellion is sexual than ideological because he falls in mad love with Varinia. Whenever a man falls for a woman, there’s an element of tribalism, even when it happens across races. After all, a man looks upon his family as ‘my family’ apart from other families. This is why Jesus had to deny himself the temptation of family in Scorsese’s film. Once you have a family, your wife and kids come first. Even though Kubrick’s film doesn’t take the theme of sex and tribe very far — Kubrick might have if he’d been given more freedom over the project because his vision of mankind was bio-mythical than ideological — , it’s scattered throughout the film. Indeed, Spartacus’ rebellion begins when he learns that Varinia has been sold and is to be taken to Rome. In TEN COMMANDMENTS, the tribal identity is already well-established. Hebrews already exist as a race, culture, and people. And in time, Moses, though raised culturally as an Egyptian, chooses his tribal/biological identity as a Jew born of a Jewish mother. Blood is thicker than culture, and the Jewish Book was written with the ink of Jewish blood and semen. In SPARTACUS, there is no certain tribal identity since Spartacus and Varinia are of different tribes — and other slaves are yet of other tribes. But in the love between Spartaus and Varinia, there is the hope of family and the beginnings of a new tribe. It’s like the ending of ZARDOZ where Zed and Consuela become the founding patriarch and matriarch of a New Tribe. Spartacus is committed to the ideology of freedom and to the biology of family, and the two things seem to be complementary in the movie, but they often are not in the long run. After all, Jews and Palestinians have been divided by blood, and Zionism was about Jews who, despite their leftist economic ideology, fought for race-ist nationalism. Thus, there is a contradiction within the core passion of Spartacus who is both a freedom fighter and a would-be patriarch of a new tribe to arise from the loins of himself and Varinia. Zionists who set up Israel needed both biology and ideology. Though they were all Jewish by biology, they looked different because the Jewish diaspora had created varying Jewish physiognomies and Jews speaking different languages. Surely Polish Jews looked differently from Moroccan Jews. So, biology wasn’t enough since many Jews were noticeably different in physical features. Thus, the ideology about freedom and justice was limited only for Jews who would also be united in language and culture by immersion in Hebrew. Biology was still essential since a Jewish nation had to be about Jews vs the Arab/Muslim world that came to be backed by the USSR. So, despite the ‘progressive’ credentials of SPARTACUS, it is also a sexually-and/or-biologically charged film like TEN COMMANDMENTS, SAMSON AND DELILAH, THE SEARCHERS, THE BIRTH OF A NATION, SEVEN SAMURAI, and THE WILD BUNCH. It is different from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA where the hero is sort of fruity and doesn’t seem to be too interested in womenfolk; and that may be the main reason why he can ultimately walk away from the whole thing. And even though the grand villain of SPARTACUS, Crassus[Laurence Olivier] is a sexually ambiguous — he claims to like both ‘oysters’ and ‘snails’ — , his vision of Rome is that of a grand dame, a goddess, a sacred mother. It isn’t merely a polity or an idea but an organic mythology. It is the cyclical womb and tomb of Roman glory. The real crucial difference between him and Spartacus is that he already has a tribal domain to defend whereas Spartacus subconsciously dreams of one. Spartacus’ immediate goal is to fight for freedom and safe passage out of Italy, but what would his long-term dream be once he obtains freedom? Wouldn’t it be the founding of a new tribe that shall gain power and glory? After all, ideologies come and go. Freedom is meaningful in and of itself for those who don’t have it, but for those with freedom, it is only meaningful if used for power and control for one’s own people. When Jews weren’t free, they dreamt of freedom. But once they got freedom, they were all about using the freedom to expand Jewish power. If you have no freedom, choose ideology to gain freedom. If you have freedom, choose biology to use freedom for tribal power. That’s what Jews understand so well. All great peoples survive by the power of biology. And Zionism, like the Torah, was created as a fusion of biology and ideology, a biodeology. As much as Spartacus loathes Crassus, his subconscious dream is for his descendants to be a man like Crassus: leader of mighty tribe. But then, Crassus has problems of his own because his dream of Rome as an organic mother myth is being eroded by cynical politicians like Gracchus[Charles Laughton] who lives for the game of power and pleasure but lacks any higher or nobler vision of Rome. Gracchus is everything and nothing. He has no strong loyalties to anything. He will even make deals with enemies of Rome for expediency and pragmatism. Yet, he is also admirable because he’s honest and sees politics for what he is. He’s also right to see Crassus as an egotist, a power-monger, and all-around jerk. And he has his own practical sense of decency. Though very much a Roman who indulges in Roman privilege, he knows that much of Roman power/wealth was ill-gotten at the expense of others. He’s too smart to be an idealist — he knows Rome cannot do without slavery — , but he’s also empathetic as to why slaves rebelled. To be sure, his motivations are first and foremost political and personal than idealistic or principled, but there’s a softness about him that is missing in the ruthless and pompous Crassus. Also, Gracchus has a sense of limits; he’s content to deal whereas Crassus hungers to dictate. The film generally comes alive whenever Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, and Peter Ustinov appear and goes limp whenever Kirk Douglas takes over. Douglas’s Spartacus is boring because he’s too goody-goody and spouts rhetoric that is anachronistic to boot. We wonder why a figure of ancient history is talking like some 20th century progressive. The other three characters are more interesting because their motivations and actions seem more in tune with the rich complexities of the time. They are of the time than above the time. But then, the movie seems to have ‘spiritual’ overtones, as if to suggest that Spartacus, like Jesus, was a man beyond time and history because he for timeless truths. Maybe it would have worked with a better actor and better lines than Kirk Douglas and his dull speechifying. Douglas is solid in the first hour when he’s mostly a brooding and silent fighter; he has great physical presence, but as leader and lover, he’s all empty posturing and shallow charm. It’s the narcissistic mugging of a Hollywood star more conscious of his image than of the demands of his character. Anyway, if SPARTACUS does end on a note of hope, it’s biological than ideological because the final image is of Varinia riding off with Spartacus’ son. The movement failed and every warrior has been killed or crucified, but Spartacus’ lineage shall continue through Spartacus Jr. who is to be ferreted out of Rome on a chariot. Crassus killed the father but not the son. The bloodline of Spartacus lives on. Jesus was crucified but left no heir. But Spartacus does leave an heir. Though Spartacus wasn’t Jewish, the film is like a Jewishy variation of the Christ story. Consider how Jews hoped for a Messiah who would come to fight for the Jewish people. He wouldn’t be some ‘hippie’ like Jesus but a fearsome warrior who would kick some serious ass. And Spartacus is like that kind of Jewish Messiah. He kicks some serious ass. But in the end, he is defeated and dies a martyr like Jesus. But unlike Jesus, he leaves an heir and in doing so, he’s like a Jewish patriarch whose spirit lives on through his descendants.)

SPARTACUS: Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons
SPARTACUS: Kirk Douglas the ‘Jewish Messiah’

In a way, everyone is not merely himself but what he aspires to be, and the object of aspiration is someone deemed superior to oneself. If individualism were purely about the self, an individual wouldn’t aspire to anything beyond his petty self-hood. (Ayn Rand’s individualism is thus really a form of Indivi-Dualism.
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.

Blues Man

THE GRADUATE maybe gives us a hint as to where older men went wrong in the 1960s. Though Mr. Robinson is routinely seen as a ‘bad guy’, he is actually very nice to Ben and gives him supportive advice… but then about sowing his wild oats. He’s being nice to Ben, but could it be that Ben respects him less because he is trying to be ‘understanding’ than authoritative. Though a part of young male psyche resents the authority of the older male, there’s another side that respects the tough male over the pushover. Mr. Robinson has no idea that his friendly advice could easily boomerang on his own household. He’s more than happy to see Ben take Elaine out on a date — and would have been more than happy to see Elaine married to him — , but he has no idea that his advice for Ben to fool around could lead to Ben humping his own wife.
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

Anyway, apart from the drastic split in cultural taste between the boomers and the earlier generation, the new historiography and its Narrative undermined the moral authority of the older generations in the eyes of the self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, and narcissistic ‘Children of Marx and Coca-Cola’, as Jean-Luc Godard called them. So, it didn’t matter if older men offered much that young fellas could learn from. The only thing on young ones’ minds was stuff like, “you were racist against blacks or Indians.” It’s like ‘millennials’ today are so wrapped up in their own moral vanity and narcissism that they cannot understand how ‘gay marriage’ — something drummed into them as an absolute good since childhood — could not have existed since the beginning of time. They cannot conceive of a world that doesn’t see the wonderfulness of ‘gay marriage’ which is ‘rainbow’ in their eyes. So, when some of these ‘millennials’ discuss things with older people, their main interest is stuff like, “do you believe in ‘gay marriage’?” and their argument is shallowest kind of PC pseudo-intellectual jargon-laden sophistry drummed into their silly minds by ‘radical’ professors. Because of the moral narcissism of every generation since the boomers, there’s bound to be less respect among the young for their elders — and every new generation seems to think it owns eternal youth, indeed as if they’re gonna be young forever. And because our society is so youth-centric, even older folks who really don’t believe in ‘gay marriage’ persuade themselves to swallow the nonsense to show that they too are no longer ‘less evolved’. (Indeed, what is most dispiriting is how nearly all Democratic politicians, even old ones, are now for ‘gay marriage’, and nearly all Republican politicians, even the old ones, are either for it or choose to remain mum and voice no support for those who still stand for true marriage. The fact that old folks are so cowardly says something about the kind of culture we live in. We are so obsessed with the Cult of the New that we’ve fallen into the fallacy that anything ‘new’ or anything that ‘reinvents’ us must be good. But then, most old people today are boomers who came of age when the Cult of Youth was everything.) Prior to the 1960s, young people thought there was much to learn from older folks who’d seen more of life. So, maturity was associated with morality. But with the rise of youth culture and the Civil Rights Movement, young people hooked to Rock n Roll culture came to regard everything prior to the 60s as dull and boring. For many of them, there was no musical history prior to the late 50s. And as ‘racism’ became the greatest evil in their minds, there was nothing to respect about or learn from older people — older white people — since they were tainted with ‘racism’. Never mind that older white folks may have had realistic and practical reasons for denying racial equality to blacks. (In many ways, older white folks proved to be right as the explosion of black violence and thuggery resulting from enforcement of legal racial equality. Some cities like Detroit failed almost entirely while other cities were destroyed by half, third, or quarter by crazy blacks no longer restrained by social controls. And of course, many white and Jewish Liberals fled to the suburbs or got awful scared of black crime, but the sacred Narrative of the Civil Rights Movement has become so central to boomer moral narcissism — though, to be sure, most of the Civil Rights work was achieved by the earlier generation in all their well-meaning naivete — that, even as they practice a kind of mini-Jim-Crow via ‘white flight’ and/or gentrification, they carry on with the myth that Old ‘Racist’ America had been entirely wrong and the New ‘Progressive’ America has been entirely correct. As for racial problems that still linger — and even get worse in some areas — , the blame never goes to the delusions of the 60s but the bigotries of earlier eras. Liberal Jews bitch about ‘old white racist bigots’ but live in areas that look more like where the ‘old white bigots’ used to live than in the mixed-race and mixed-income areas of Newark or Baltimore.) Anyway, if generations of young people prior to the boomers had a more balanced view of morality defined in terms of both progressive reform(favoring youthful idealism) and conservative preservation(favoring the wisdom of age and experience), generations since the boomers have come to see morality purely in terms of what is currently most fashionable in terms of popularity, politically correct fervor, and ‘radical’ credentials(that are, more often not, decided by the powers-that-be, usually Jewish and/or Homo, with near-total control of media, entertainment, academia, government, law firms, courts, and etc.) So, if in earlier times, younger folks respected older folks on their own terms, the ONLY reason young people today will respect older folks is if older folks cave to all the current PC hot button issues. So, never mind that an old person has seen, experienced, and thought much of life. He or she is to be dismissed and condemned if he or she may not be properly ‘evolved’ on ‘gay marriage’ or ‘transgenderism’. He or she is to be denounced as a ‘racist’ if he or she isn’t completely enthused about the cult of ‘diversity’ as the panacea of all our problems. ‘Millennials’ are so stupid that their logic goes like this: “Because we have problems of diversity, we need more diversity to fix the problem of diversity”, which is like saying because we have a problem with obesity, we need to make ourselves even more obese to fix the problem of obesity.

BOYHOOD – Son and Father or Kid and Kid?

Since the 1960s, many men have stop maturing at the age of 18-22 — ‘millennials’ seem to stop maturing at the age of 15 — , and so young people don’t have mature people to look up to even if they wanted. Even older men think, talk, and act like teenagers. We now live in an age when even little children call adults by their first name. Many boomer and ‘generation X’ parents prefer to be ‘friends’ to their kids than real parents. Consider Richard Linklaters’s BOYHOOD where the father and mother are like teenagers who just grew older. It’s like they are afraid to be adult because it might seem unhip to their kids and, of course, to themselves. Also, even as they turn middle-aged, their main cultural interest remains youth-centric pop music. They don’t want to be like Vito Corleone or Michael Corleone. Or even like Mr. Robinson who gave the wrong kind of advice but was a mature adult just the same. Too many young men today are like the crazy main character in THE WORLD’S END. Or consider Bella’s ditzy mother in TWILIGHT. Sure, she’s likable, but she talks to her daughter like they’re friends than mother and daughter. Good thing Charlie, Bella’s father, makes an effort to be a real adult. And Carlisle, who came to adulthood in a different age, acts more like a real man. Of course, a man can be adult-like and still be a lowlife son of a bitch — like the stepfather in BOYHOOD who turns bullying and nasty — , and a man can fail to mature and still be likable and decent, like the Ethan Hawke character and Richard Linklater himself. But comes a time when young males should put away childish things and be like Pat Buchanan’s father who was a faithful husband and raised nine children on an accountant’s income. That’s real manhood, not the kind of fluffy-duff crap we see in so many movies and TV shows where men don’t know how to act grownup anymore. It’s like the character Roy in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is immensely likable(although annoying in a Jewish way), but that’s no way to be no man or father. It’s like the Jedi Knights in STAR WARS act like real men and insist on Luke learning to be a real man too, though ironically STAR WARS, with all its gimcrackery, probably did more to infantilize young malehood than any other movie franchise ever did. Every man goes through several crisis in life, and the two most crucial perhaps happens during young manhood and then later adulthood. As a young man, one is likely to feel resentful of older men who think they know better and seek authority over him. (It may become more sensitive across races. A young white male may feel wronged by an older white male for reasons of age, whereas a young black or non-white male may feel the reasons are age + race.) Young males are full of hormones and may well be tougher and stronger than older males. As our age puts the premium on raw strength and thug power, older men are less valued for their experience and knowledge. What matters more is who is wilder and noisier, and this is especially true in black communities where young toughs dominate much of everything. Though white hipsters aren’t violent and nasty in that way, their obsession with trends and fads makes them sneer at anything that came before. They oh-so-proud to have the latest in style, gadgets, hipness, progressiveness, and attitude, and therefore anything not on the same wavelength is bullshit.
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?

In some ways, the second crisis of maledom is more problematic than the first. When a young male is coming to manhood, he is often confused and stupid, but he knows the adventure of life is ahead of him and that he will have to find his own way. This is why the ending of BOYHOOD is hopeful. Not because the guy has much brains or sense but because he’s a young man who knows he has to make something of his life. He has his own truth to discover, explore, and figure out. In contrast, a man who is fully grown and has seen something of life — having reached the age of thirty — is expected to know something of life. He no longer has the excuse that the meaning of life is ahead of him. Even if thirty is too young and he has yet to go before finding meaning, he should still know more about life than some young punk does. Though the Matthew MacConaughey character in DAZED AND CONFUSED is lots of fun and likable, that is NO WAY to be an adult. If he weren’t so tall, handsome, and cool, he would be totally pathetic. It’s like the Jeff Daniels character in SOMETHING WILD has some serious growing up to do. But, it’s not easy to absorb the lessons of life, and it’s even harder to put them into practice. In our world, it is both easier and harder for older males to deal with younger males. It’s easier in the sense that there’s less social expectation for older males to play the role of mentors. Society doesn’t expect them to be like John Wayne’s character to Montgomery Clift’s character in RED RIVER. On the other hand, because the hierarchy is less well-established today than in the past, the older male must try harder if he is to be respected as an elder male. He cant’ rest on the laurels of older age. Also, because our society no longer asks men to put away childish things — there are full-grown men and even women watching super-hero movies and discussing them at length while dismissing something worthier like the TWILIGHT movies — , there are fewer cultural markers between older males and younger males. They may both be into punk music and grunge.
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

(The meaning of ‘Searchers’ is, of course, twofold. It’s like ‘Jihad’ has a double-meaning in Islam. It means a physical commitment to fight, venture, and conquer for Allah, but it can also means an internal struggle within the soul between forces of light and darkness. Likewise, Ethan physically searches for Debbie, but he also searches for deeper truth within his soul — the eternal battle between the forces of light and dark — , and neither he nor we know what meaning he will find until he finally comes face-to-face with Debbie. Such truth cannot arrived at by the mind or forethought but can only be revealed to the heart when the moment comes. It’s like in Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH, the patriarch logically arrives at the conclusion that God seeks to destroy all of mankind. And he is certain he will act on this moral logic to the end, but when the times comes to kill his grand-kid, he cannot plunge the knife. He feels a deeper truth he hadn’t expected in thought.) And who can forget the three-way relationship among the father, son, and the gunslinger in SHANE? Things are more troubled in HIGH NOON and THE BIG COUNTRY. In the Fred Zinnemann movie, the Lloyd Bridges character looks up to Will Kane(Gary Cooper) but is overly cocky & impatient and thinks he should have authority over the town. He figures he learned everything there is to learn, and Kane should just go away and leave it all up to him. But Kane knows better. The kid has the shoulders but not the character to be leader. In THE BIG COUNTRY, there are two tough old men with admirable qualities — they are natural leaders of men — but also the rigid dogmatism of age that has hardened their arteries of empathy. They are tough old dogs but dogs that cannot learn new tricks. Instead of patching things up for the future of their children and young people, both expect everyone under their wing, from oldest cowhand to the youngest, to carry on with the vendetta against the other side. When old rivalries turn so rigid, it is up to the young ones to bury the hatchet.
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.

Jewish hostility is deeply cultural, psychological, and ‘spiritual’. It’s not just a matter of ‘old’ hatreds inherited by younger Jews. Even to this day, young Jews are not only angry that their grandfathers weren’t allowed into Wasp golf clubs but that their ancient forefathers weren’t allowed into Pharaohs’ fig gardens. It’s a meta-hatred that transcends generational differences. Even if Jews were to be treated nicely for many generations and would have no reason to hate anyone as far back as they could remember, they will continue to feel hostile and bitter because their very cultural and spiritual world-view is so arrogant, hostile, totalistic, and timeless in all its visions and vindictiveness. To be sure, a lot of this has to do with genetics as many Jews have personalities like Alan Dershowitz and Victoria Nuland. But if Jews were just nasty without their cultural identity and world-view, they would just be hostile individuals and, in time, would just meld with everyone else. But because of the Jewish identity, Jewish spirituality, Jewish world-view, and Jewish prophecy, the various hostile Jewish individuals come together and work as a team. A single nasty Jew who thinks and acts as an individual could not do much harm. But if a whole bunch of nasty Jews combine their hostilities, they become dangerous. (Jews do compete with one another, but there’s an understanding that whoever the winners are, they should favor loser Jews over goyim, and they, winner Jews and loser Jews, should work together against gentile society. So, even Jewish losers get something from Jewish winners. In contrast, gentile winners are urged to work only with Jewish winners and forget about gentile losers.) Suppose there’s a hundred Alan Dershowitzes and each Dershowitz doesn’t know or care he’s Jewish and just acts as an individual. He may be unpleasant but only to those who know him personally. But suppose all these Dershowitzes feel a profound sense of Jewishness. Even if gentiles treated them nice, their sense of identity would be profoundly shaped by their sense of history that never lets them forget that they’d been wronged, mistreated, and oppressed by all sorts of goyim. And feeling as a special people who are favored of God or History or Higher Intelligence, they will look to the future with the ambition that their kind should rule not only the US and EU but Russia and then the rest of the world. And suppose all these Dershowitzes pool their resources, time, and effort to push an agenda that is not only about ‘Is it good for the Jews’ but about ‘Is it super-great for the Jews?’ at the expense of all other groups, as indeed Germans found out during the Weimar Period and Russians found out during the Yeltsin years when Russian Jews and American Jews worked hand-in-hand to loot all of Russia. It is all the more reason for us to be wary of the vile and hideous ways of Jews. We need to be like Michael Corleone was with Hyman Roth in THE GODFATHER PART 2. Instead, just about every goy politician or businessman is to Jews what Johnny Ola is to Roth.

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.

Anyway, even though there was a great expansion of education following World War II, it eventually came to a point where more educational materials, facilities, and opportunities didn’t necessarily mean better education. Even though boomers waged a culture war on the state of education — as did their counterparts in Europe at around the same time in the name of greater egalitarianism — , they may have been the last great beneficiaries of the culture of seriousness in education before all the grade inflation, ‘affirmative action’, PC drivel, and other nonsense set in. It’s like what Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane said of the kind of education that she received when she was in school. That level of seriousness may be gone for good, as the dichotomy of high culture and low culture has been undermined and as the rise of ‘diversity’ has necessitated dumbing down of the curriculum so that Negroes and other minority groups could also graduate from highschool and enter college. I mean how else could someone like Michelle Obama have made it to Princeton and Harvard?

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

Anyway, both the ‘greatest generation’ and the boomers were overloaded with good times and good fortunes beyond anything that had come before. They had difficult time absorbing and digesting this too-much-too-fast amount of advantages and opportunities that had simply been unknown to earlier generation in America or anywhere else. Still, there was one crucial difference in their attitudes. The ‘greatest generation’, with memories of the Great Depression and World War II, knew their lives were much better in the post-war era than had been before. In contrast, the boomers who spent much of their childhood in the 1950s grew up accustomed to plenty, peace, and social betterment. Many of them followed their families to better parts of the city or to the green suburbs, and they grew expecting their own live to just get better and better. Also, as they grew up with TV, their ideal of a good life came to be affected by advertising and endless images of famous stars and celebrities. So, if the ‘greatest generation’ accepted their great fortune with some degree of relief and gratitude, the boomers grew up taking things for granted and then expected everything as they came of age in the 60s. This also had something to do with Rock music. There had never been music as pleasurable and ‘orgasmic’ as the music that exploded on the scene in the 60s, especially with the Beach Boys and the British Invasion led by the Beatles. Not even Elvis in the 1950s created the kind of craze that the Beatles unleashed all around the world. Having felt such pleasure from head to toe, the boomers expected life to offer great thrills and pleasures in everything. (Just like people addicted to nicotine become fidgety and grouchy if they can’t get their smokes, people addicted to the wild pleasures of pop culture develop an outlook on life that happens to be impatient, petulant, and demanding, indeed as if the world exists to stoke one’s ego of self-righteousness and feel-good-ness.) And yet, ironically, the boomers were also the generation that received the best education in school. It was in the 1950s that the funds and faculties were fully available to provide first-rate education to most young people all across America, and this bounty extended into the 1960s. Furthermore, there was relative class discipline and serious treatment of curriculum in the schools as youth rebellion and radical pedagogy hadn’t yet made their way into educational system and culture. Also, as most families — even among Negroes — were intact, students attended school with a greater sense of respect and discipline than would soon be the case with single mothers, high divorce rates, and other social ills would come to tear apart the American moral fabric.

Pike Bishop
The Gorch Brothers 

Anyway, even though barbarism is the great equalizer where every man must be tough & rough and be able to fight, hunt, and rely on physical prowess, there are certain personalities that are capable of rising above barbarism while other kinds are likely to remain mired in barbarism unless inspired and lifted by others. And this is one of the things that stand out most about Pike Bishop and Deke Thornton. Indeed, even their names are slightly aristocratic. The Bunch clearly look up to Pike as their rightful leader, and the bounty hunters are helpless without the leadership of Thornton. And it’s not just a matter of superior skill and knowledge(which even dumb people can gain through effort)but personal magnetism, stature, intuition, intelligence, and wit. Pike and Deke have certain sense of about themselves that is missing in most other men. They sort of remind us of the two old men of RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. In contrast, with the possible exception of Billy, the Hammond brothers are natural barbarians. And we would hardly be surprised if they turned to banditry given their predilections. In contrast, Gil(Randolph Scott) is made of finer stuff, so the moral stakes are higher when he is tempted by outlawry. But it is precisely because Gil is, by nature, someone who should know better that his dying friend assures him in the final scene, “Hell, I know that. I always did… You just forgot it for awhile, that’s all.” It’s a very touching moment because Steve Judd wouldn’t have said that to just anyone. He’s known Gil long ago, and they’d been through much together. He knows Gil is a man of superior intelligence, a man above the rest who’d devoted his life to the law and protecting people from outlaws and the like. In some ways, Gil may be more intelligent than Judd. But intelligence is a double-edged sword. It naturally looks for advantages, and it naturally reminds those who have it that they should do better and achieve more than those without. But long ago, Gil chose to devote his life to the law and doing good by his fellow man. In the end, its rewards were meager, and he began to feel resentful. He’d done much for law and order in the West, but the good people have forgotten men like himself. For Judd, the pride of having done the right thing is enough even if no one knows or cares, whereas it isn’t enough for Gil. (In a way, Gil has a point because it may not be worth risking one’s life if no one cares, especially if those who don’t care are the main beneficiaries of your sacrifice and, furthermore, use the law-and-order created by people like yourselves to indulge in all kinds of foulness. Suppose you, as sheriff, give your life to make a town safe for womenfolk and children, but then, Jews and homos take over the town and turn everyone onto trashiness, hideousness, and putridness. What would it all have been for? While one shouldn’t expect material rewards for noble deeds that call for sacrifice, one should, at the very least, expect to be remembered and appreciated because, without such remembrance, the people will easily lose sight of the sacrifices made to create the very order and prosperity they enjoy. And without such appreciation, people will just become gross, decadent, & vile and easily fall under the spell of wicked groups like Jews and homos whose modus operandi is to subvert moral order of normal society. Gil is wrong to be resentful about lack of material rewards, but he has a point about the lack of recognition from the ‘good’ folks of town who’ve forgotten all about men like him and Judd. If people don’t remember, they will take things for granted, and then, they’ll grow decadent, and then society will rot. If such is the fate of a social order created through much sacrifice, what’s the point of sacrifice? In a way, Anglo/American reticence was a beautiful thing. It was about hard work and quiet dignity, about stoicism and nobility. Gregory Peck’s character in THE BIG COUNTRY doesn’t like to show off. But in the end, people notice brash loudness, not noble silence, therefore Wasps were bound to lose to Jews who never shut up, and in never shutting up, got to control the Narrative as they did all the talking. Men like Steve Judd may be noble, but they don’t like to make a big fuss about themselves and, as such, will be forgotten. It was the Buffalo Bills and P.T. Barnums of the world who were seen and heard, and American Jews were more like Buffalo Bill and P.T. Barnum whereas most American Wasps were too silent like Steve Judd. It doesn’t matter how good and noble you are. Unless you make your case, no one will know about you. In contrast, no matter how lowly and foul you are, if you make a lot of noise, you can become a folk hero. Look at Jordan Belfort. Total scumbag, but he made a lot of noise and now he’s a folk hero thanks to the movie THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Look at the vile Stephen J. Gould who made a lot of noise with THE MISMEASURE OF MAN that was based on lies falsely accusing an honest scholar of dishonesty. Or consider the vile Sabrina Rubin Erderly who spread lies about a UVA fraternity and got away with it. In contrast, the UVA fraternity was totally innocent but came under abuse and attack because it remained silent and faceless and refused to fight back. A single spoken lie has more power than a thousand silent truths. So, you gotta make the noise. You gotta grab the ‘megaphone’. You gotta blow it into the hideous Jew’s face.) Perhaps, Gil feels that a man of his intelligence and craftiness could have done other things instead of pursuing the law and could have become rich. But by the time he put down the badge, he was too old to start anew. So, he’s become a hustler, and he intends to hustle his friend out of the gold/money. And he has the intelligence to cook up a plan. But his intelligence gets the better of him because he talks a bit too much, and Judd gets a tad suspicious and catches Gil in the act. Gil’s capture by Judd is far more humiliating than the capture of the Warren Oates character in MAJOR DUNDEE. Something of a ‘white trash’, we are not surprised that he deserted the company. But when Gil is captured by Judd, the encounter is traumatic for both because Gil is the sort of man who should know better and, deep down inside, knows better. Judd lays it out to Gil(and then later to Elsa) that he takes it personally because they are friends, but there’s something more. If Gil were a friend of low intelligence and character, Judd might not have been so surprised or offended. It’s like Carlito doesn’t expect much from Pachanga in CARLITO’S WAY. Pachanga is a friend but stupid and naturally of low character.

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

Judd is especially hurt because Gil is a man of intelligence and some character. To be sure, we can tell that there’s always been a streak to his character that isn’t as solid or trustworthy as that of Judd. He’s verbally clever, alert to opportunities, and good at slipping in and out of tight spots. He has something of the snake-oil salesman about him, something of Buffalo Bill and P.T. Barnum even though he’s strictly small potatoes when it comes to his operations. This playful quality makes him charming, indeed the most likable person in the film. But this agility with the charm suggests slipperiness and hints of socipathy. His flexibility and adaptability come in handy — and probably did so alongside Judd long ago when they were partners as lawmen — but also suggest opportunism and deviousness. And because his emotional character isn’t as solid or deep as Judd’s, he’s likely to have fewer qualms about betraying his old ideals. In the past, Gil’s qualities may have been useful, even invaluable at times, because Judd was and still is the kind of man who likes to deal with trouble head on. There’s a certain rigidity and even stodginess about the way Judd does things. Even though Judd knows it would be cruel to let the Hammonds have Elsa, he believes the frontier court should decide if the marriage is valid. It is Gil who secretly overrides the law by threatening the man who officiated the wedding, and it is thus that Elsa is rescued from the paws of the Hammonds who refuse to give her up. Anyway, it’s Gil’s creative means of bypassing the law that proves to be more effective in ‘doing the right thing’, even though, to be sure, Gil’s action was less for Elsa’s benefit than for his own as his young partner vowed to stay behind in the camp if Elsa’s marriage was upheld and she was forced to remain with the Hammonds. Just like Angel refuses to come along on the Train Heist until he can take some rifles and ammo for his people, the young partner won’t come along with Gil unless Elsa comes along too. Anyway, Gil’s extralegal action illustrates the troubling truth that one sometimes has to play loose with the rules to do the right thing. You can’t always go by the book, but such thinking is a slippery slope, and Gil’s creative nature had turned to cunning and even threatens to be cretinous, even betraying an old friend for whom self-respect means more than all the gold in the world.

For Part 2 of this blogpost, CLICK HERE.

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