May 12th, 2007

Blair's Retirement

What will Blair do with his retirement? He will pound the lecture circuit in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. There are lots of people out there with more money than sense (Lots more money) who get some sort of visceral thrill from paying through the nose to be in the presence of the formerly powerful.

It's a marriage made in heaven because Tony and Cherie get a similar thrill from being in the presence of the fabulously rich.

What I don't get- what I really don't get- is how people who are as noisy about their Christianity as the Blair's are can have managed- in a lifetime of reading and hearing Scripture- to somehow overlook that text about the rich man and the camel and the eye of the needle.

William Blake put it like this...

The Vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my Vision's Greatest Enemy...
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read'st black where I read white.

Thinking About John Wayne

My friend Judy tells me about a country song she's been hearing where the guy says he's got Jesus and John Wayne on his side. First he'll turn the other cheek,  then he'll hit back.

I marvel at just how muddled some people are.

I yield to no-one in my admiration for John Wayne as an actor and even as a human being, but what can't be pointed out often enough to those who regard him as some sort of political guru is that he was a chickenhawk. He suffered from a minor injury picked up on the football field and used it to keep out of World War II. So while quieter patriots like Jimmy Stewart were putting themselves in harm's way (Stewart was a bomber pilot) Wayne was back in Hollywood taking advantage of the fact that most of the competition had been shipped overseas.

John Ford used to rib him about it.

The whole belligerent, super-patriotic act of Wayne's later years was an attempt to atone for his wartime cowardice/opportunism. (I owe this insight to Guardian writer John Patterson who got it from Wayne's widow, Pilar)

So do you think Dubya went to war in Iraq to make up for having dodged Vietnam?  Naah, I doubt it.  Dubya just isn't that deep.

Just To Demonstrate That I Really Do Love John Wayne

                                    THE DUKE

                                    Boule de Suif, the comfy whore

                                    Whose loving nature is used and spat on

                                    By upright crooks:  It bears re-telling.


                                    As, for example, in John Ford's Stagecoach

                                    Where from the burning, blowing desert

                                    Ambles at last the one true man

                                    Who knows the loving heart when he meets it

                                    And values nothing else.


                                                                              Say, Pilgrim,

                                    Now that you've travelled the century,

                                    Have you found a man more righteous than

                                    This tall galoot with his Winchester?