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Tony Grist

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Thinking About John Wayne [May. 12th, 2007|11:56 am]
Tony Grist
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.

[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2007-05-12 01:01 pm (UTC)
You're right. I'm almost certain it's never occured to Bush to feel anything negative about his "service" in the National Guard during Vietnam.

I heard from NPR once that there are more Democrats with combat experience in the US Congress than Republicans. If that's true, it really puts the label "chickenhawk" into sharp focus.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-12 01:19 pm (UTC)
I can believe that.

I've got nothing against people who dodge military service. It seems to me like the sane thing to do. It's only when they start sending other people off to war that I feel a surge of contempt coming on.
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From: bodhibird
2007-05-12 01:25 pm (UTC)
I've always been impressed by the number of Hollywood actors who did drop their careers and go serve in WWII. I can't imagine most of the people in Hollywood today stepping in to help with a crisis in *any* way, let alone serving in the armed forces.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-12 08:50 pm (UTC)
Did Ronald Reagan serve during WWII?

*goes away and consults Wikipedia*

Yes, he did- but poor eyesight kept him from going overseas. He spent the War in Hollywood- where he contributed to the war effort by making educational and training films.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2007-05-12 06:04 pm (UTC)
Dubya never went to war anywhere... he just sends people off to war.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-12 08:41 pm (UTC)
And dresses up in flying leathers and struts about on aircraft carriers a long way away from where the fighting is.
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