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Mostly brunettes. The best one is at the very end with that big smile. Open thread.

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History’s Frivolous-Heroic Cycles and “Ranczo”

On the centrally coordinated Third World invasion of Western countries. It’s World War III in every way but formally named as such in retrospect, and that’s only because “retrospect” is still in the future:

Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition,” [Viktor Orbán] said at Kötcse… “I am convinced that Hungary has the right—and every nation has the right—to say that it does not want its country to change.” France and Britain had been perfectly within their prerogatives to admit millions of immigrants from the former Third World. Germany was entitled to welcome as many Turks as it liked. “I think they had a right to make this decision,” Orbán said. “We have a duty to look at where this has taken them.” He did not care to repeat the experiment. (Link)

Culture moves in Frivolous-Heroic cycles, you can also call them Comedy-Tragedy cycles. People immersed in the spirit of one such era will not understand the feelings and motivations of those who lived under the opposite spirit of its time.

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Heroic state of mind

Fifteen or even ten years ago, frivolity was the the state of mind in east-central Europe, specifically in Poland. Popular culture from that time reflects the enthusiasm for the newly-joined European Union. It was a materialistic period. With that thought in mind, I recently re-watched the first five seasons of the popular comedy series Ranczo (The Ranch), which premiered in 2006. It’s a well made, engaging show set in a fictional village in rural eastern Poland.

The main character is a young American woman who unexpectedly inherits a dilapidated country manor in that remote Polish village. Newly divorced and jobless at that point in her life, she travels there with the intention of selling the manor to a ready buyer, who happens to be the town’s strongman Mayor. But she sees the property in its bucolic setting and her plans change. She becomes enamored of the house and to the Mayor’s chagrin, decides to keep it, renovate it with the money made from the sale of her Manhattan apartment, and live there on that manor. That’s the shows premise, established in the first episode.

Cynically, I can say that Ranczo was a vehicle for feminism that intensified as the series went on, as well as a little bit of multicultural propaganda. Generously, however, I will qualify that judgment by adding that its politically-correct messages were more of a reflection of Poland’s upbeat attitude about the West and “progress” during that decade.

This fan-made video in (American) English nicely introduces the series:

Here is a behind-the-scenes video about the series. No subtitles unfortunately, but you can see the actors/characters on the set in high definition. Good commentary by the creative team, if you understand the language. The actor who plays the lead male character Kusy says:

It’s a great joy for an artist, the feeling that, at that one moment in your life, you took part in something that gave so many people pleasure. We did it nobly, thoughtfully, from the heart, always respecting our viewers as thinking, feeling, sensitive beings.

And in the words of the actress who plays the coquette waitress Wioletka:

I started acting in Raczo after my first year of college. I remember when my mom asked me after the first day of filming the first season: “What kind of a show is it?” I told her that it’s a strange show, there is nothing like it on Polish television because up until then, everything was kind of an imitation of what’s in Europe but nothing that really spoke of Poland. So I told her: “Mom, it’s such an odd show that it will flop after the first season. Nobody is going to watch it.” Well, I think my intuition was off. I had no idea that I’m taking part in something so exceptional.

The series in fact turned out to be spectacularly successful. It ran for ten seasons, from 2006 through 2016. I only saw the first five seasons, which my in-laws gave me as a gift DVD set.

National survival strategies

European nations are not easily absorbed into larger empires because the differences in language form a barrier that protects the integrity all of the other aspects of national identity: religion, blood, temperament, folkways. That’s unlike America’s experience of growing into its contiguous 48-state country, which was facilitated by the common English language of its settlers and assimilated European immigrants.

Where there are unique languages in proximity to one another, there is a resistance to a multi-ethnic togetherness under a singe point of political control. This is Europe’s kaleidoscope of its many different nations. On such a polyglot continent, the strong nations will jostle against one another until a continental balance of power is found, the weak ones will go along with the dominant powers as long as their distinctness is respected.

And here is modern Poland’s uncommon condition: too strong to bend to the will of its larger neighbors, too weak to be a continental power in its own right. As a result, the country has availed itself of each of these three approaches to national security:

1. The Faraway Ally. One strategy has been to ally with a more distant power, with mixed results. Nationalists’ alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte during the Partitions era did bring about a short-lived independent Duchy of Warsaw but at too great a cost of life on his Russian campaign. An alliance with France and England in 1939 failed to deliver when it mattered. And since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the non-regional ally, and not without benefits: NATO membership modernized Poland’s military, including combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the alliance also makes Poland subject to US cultural hegemony with its homosexual and anti-racist agenda.

It remains to be seen where the limits to the positives in this alliance are encountered. There is always the peril of insufficient cynicism about the US government among the older generation of politicians, whose Russophobia is a relic of the Communist decades.

2. Regional Coalition. The second security strategy is a central European alliance. The great statesman Józef Piłsudski (1867 – 1935) wanted to create an Intermaerum of east European countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea as bulwark against both German and Russian territorial ambitions. This alliance would include a number of small nations peeled away from Russian Empire’s (and later Soviet) control on the model of the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The Visegrád Four alliance with culturally-kin Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary today serves a similar purpose, as does the Three-Seas Initiative of twelve east-central European countries.

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Three Seas Initiative (dark blue)

3. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. A third strategy is to join the strong neighbor. The Communist era was, in effect, a forced partnership with Russia that in retrospect delivered long-term blessings. And afterwards, Poland’s joining of the European Union was a voluntary indenture to Germany, with its short-term costs and payoffs.

A balance of strategies. Poland presently plays a tripartite balance of foreign policy:

  • A relationship with the United States as leverage contra the EU and Russia.
  • Subordination to Germany as an EU member state for the sake of economic benefits.
  • And an increasingly meaningful partnership with east-central European states in reaction to western Europe’s migrant-insanity and America’s globalism.

The optimism and the wariness

A dialogue in one of the early episodes of Ranczo caught my attention. There are four Village Drunk characters whose function is part comic relief, part meta-commentary. One of them is Stan Japycz, an old man who’s seen his share of historical changes. By unspoken hierarchical order, he sits at the right end of the storefront bench (from viewer’s perspective) as the elder of the group. His drinking companions are talking about the EU’s lavish financial investment in Poland. As a witness to history, he expresses his wariness of such generosity. Paraphrasing the dialogue:

“So, what will the EU want from us in return for all that free money?”
“Maybe they are just generous”
“There is no such thing as something for nothing.”
“But what about the [post-war Communist] land reforms? That was something for nothing.”
“It’s easy to take someone’s stuff and give it away to someone else. Here, the EU is giving us their own money. Mark my words, one day they’ll come to collect.”

The EU “visited to collect” in 2015, in the form of European Commission’s directive to eastern European states, including tiny countries like Latvia, take in their massive quotas of Muslim immigrants. Thank God for Viktor Orbán, who was the first to say No and stand firm on his refusal. From what I observed in Poland, remotely from here as well as during my visit three years ago, is that the Frivolous era has passed. Ranczo’s sanguine westward longing feels anachronistic today.

The idealism of its time

Imagine a television comedy series made for three-digit IQ audiences united by a common culture. No vulgarity, no gratuitous innuendo, slow narrative pace for people with normal attention spans, camera that captures the pastoral beauty of its setting. And zero Diversity; even the foreign characters were played by Polish actors, which no doubt helped foster good chemistry on the set.

I haven’t decided if the feminism, which is laid on thick in certain episodes, is conscious subversion or if it’s that era’s faith in Progress as personified by the EU. It was a campaign of eliminating (highly exaggerated) national pathologies such as wife-beating, drunkenness, laziness, corruption… things that you could say festered in the less advanced parts of Europe. But now, knowing what we know in 2019, it’s complicated because we know that thots aren’t gonna patrol themselves. Some girls like to be choked and we need them in our social fabric too. We need men who aren’t afraid of a little prison time in our social fabric too.

People who subscribed to Ranczo ideals thought that you could create a better world by eradicating common human vices. They were wrong. Pride, as all of tradition teaches us, is the downfall of the ambitious. No, dear reader in 2006. The EU will not make Poland better. It will instead try to send inbred brown rapists to your daughter’s middle school under the full protection of the state.

In another dialogue, the four storefront drunks talk about how EU will one day exploit them as cheap foreign labor and on top of it, ban their favorite activity. Which of course is open-air drinking as long as they hide the bottle from the passing village policeman. Who in turn, in accordance with prevailing social mores, pretends to not-see them drinking illegal moonshine. One character drives his point home: “Have you ever heard about open air drinking in the EU?”

Ten years later, the EU murdered the eleven-year-old Ebba Åkerlund in a country where there is no open-air drinking of moonshine. It humiliated our entire civilization in Rotherham and ignited the Gilet Jaunes uprising. No, reader from 2006, the EU can’t fix Poland’s problems. The EU is the enemy.

The characters

Ranczo is an allegory for Poland itself, with the various the characters representing certain national archetypes.

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Kusy and Lucy

Lucy. The main character, who is a young, recently-divorced Polish-American woman who moves into the village and brings Progress with her. She teaches English to children and birth control to teenagers. She solves everyone’s problems with her cheery can-do attitude. She’s Poland’s westward gaze, a hope that “this half” of our identity will lift us above the eastern backwardness.

Kusy. Her eventual love interest; they get married and have a baby in a later season. An artist earlier in his life, he works as Lucy’s handyman, self-destructively haunted by his past tragedies. He represents the national spirit over the rocky course of history. Lucy soon discovers that despite being at a low point in his life, Kusy is a brilliant, educated man of high character and she inspires him to overcome his personal demons.

The Village Mayor and the Parish Priest. My favorite characters, in a way. They are twins, played by the same actor. The Mayor represents the Communist-era despotism, corruption, and atheism. The Priest represents, of course, Roman Catholicism and the compassionate but straight-and-narrow moral code. And this is important: the twin brothers despise each other, but they often find themselves in situations where they have to work together.

Other primary characters. A few of them start out as comic-relief figures and some as villains. But each develops into a fuller character who finds redemption and of course, love:

  • Wealthy owner of a construction company, adept at greasing the right palms.
  • His wife, who owns and runs the village store in front of which our four favorite philosophers spend their days drinking.
  • Speaking of, the four storefront drunks: the venerable Stan, the two middle-aged petty criminals, and the young sometimes-employed construction worker who dreams of taking control of his destiny.
  • A highly literate but easily-led journalist.
  • An airhead coquette waitress at the local watering hole.
  • An accident-prone policeman who takes his job very seriously.
  • A destitute farm family with seven children, all prodigies. The mom is a simple woman who speaks with a backwater accent. The dad is an ex-con, along with being one of the four storefront drunks.
  • The Priest’s stout housekeeper, a pious but highly opinionated woman.
  • The Mayor’s spoiled, nagging wife.
  • The Mayor’s flaky teenage daughter Klaudia.
  • The female accountant with the Mayor’s office, a hopeless-romantic spinster.
  • A talented young intern to the Mayor, with ambitions of his own.
  • An old, reclusive herbs-woman and traditional healer.
  • The doctor and his class-conscious wife, and their rocky marriage.
  • A Machiavellian schemer who almost gets away with ruining the village; when he’s run out of town, it really had the feel of one of the 109 past (((expulsions))).

A globalist Blue Pill

One of the regular characters is Klaudia, the Mayor’s teenage daughter. She adopts a different subculture in each episode, according to an always-off-screen new boyfriend. She goes through a Punk phase, Goth, morose existentialist, vegan, Hare Krishna, businesswoman, Feng Shui enthusiast, Grunger, etc. etc. In one episode, she dates a Skinhead and as expected, shows up dressed like one. She tells Lucy about this latest thing she’s into. Lucy is Klaudia’s confidant through her normal teenage stuff.

Lucy listens with a worried look on her face as Klaudia tells her: “You know, my boyfriend says things that make a lot of sense.” She then summarizes his nationalist case, nothing more extreme than what Marine LePen would say. Overhearing this, Kusy gives Klaudia an enraged earful about hate being bad.

Kusy’s heavy-handed appeal to tolerance is a product of the Frivolous era, incomprehensible to today’s audiences in the Heroic era. The upside to having had to stomach this moment of vile globalist propaganda wrapped in such a nice television show and think about all the other viewers who saw that, is the fact that the West has now seen the fruits of tolerance and those fruits are crawling over with worms.

A nationalist Red Pill

The village Priest is in a bit of a panic because the Bishop from the big city had called him, informing him of his of his plan to visit the village. He tells the Priest not to tell anyone that he’s in fact a Bishop; he wants to come off as an ordinary Priest so that people act naturally in his presence. He wishes to see the parish as it really is, and also to take a break from the trappings of rank he deals with daily.

Beside himself with anxiety, the Priest arranges things so that the village is on its best behavior. The church dignitary arrives. It’s worth noting that the he is a tall, distinguished man with an authoritative voice. He is also a sympathetic one-time character.

Meanwhile, word gets out that the visitor is a Bishop. Oops, the priest’s housekeeper may have let that slip. So all of the townspeople prepare themselves to pretend they don’t know who he is when they meet him. The village policeman, out of uniform for the sake of being inconspicuous, trails him on his solo walks around the village to ensure his safety. The Bishop quickly notices that he’s being followed and assumes the worst: secret police surveillance.

He then runs into Kusy, whose odd words as he contemplates his next artistic project deepen the Bishop’s paranoia. Finally, Lucy approaches the Bishop in a friendly manner. Because of her foreign accent, she mentions that she’s American. But by the workings of verbal comedy, the Bishop concludes that she’s a US intelligence agent. So now his conviction that he’s under surveillance becomes more than he can stand: it’s not just domestic security organs any more, it’s now a foreign superpower that spies on an incognito clergyman visiting an obscure village. The memorable moment when the Bishop sternly lectures the bewildered Lucy:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Before, it was the KGB that persecuted us. Now, it’s the CIA. Well, let me tell you something, Missy! This here is a free, sovereign nation. We’re not some damn colony of yours. Are we clear on that?

World War III

Our civilization will get through it if we enforce the words of Victor Orbán: “Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition. Every nation has the right to say that it does not want its country to change.”

The village in Rancho represents our respective homes. This is why Lucy held on to her inheritance.

Singin’ the Blues

A conversation starter I use sometimes: if you had to listen to only one narrow genre of popular music for a road trip / year / decade — basically, for a very long time — what genre would you choose? Now, you will certainly tire of that style, so you’ll need a chaser. Pick a second genre of music to complement your first choice.

For me, it wouldn’t be Blues. My shot would be early ’90s rock; Grunge, GNR. My chaser: ’70s pop such as ABBA and various mellow US/UK acts such as Little River Band and Christopher Cross. Levity to relieve the heaviness.

Still; sometimes there’s a perfect moment for Blues. Such a moment described in an earlier contemplation on music:

I once passed through a town in northwestern Tennessee, humming Dwight Yoakam’s “Thousand Miles From Nowhere” as I drove. This was midnight, 1995. With a cigarette in my hand I searched for radio stations, hoping to get lucky and catch Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” but instead, found a vintage Blues song. I left it on because the ghost of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who still watches over his folk in that little town, listened with me and because that recording, which lasted as long as the night, was a different kind of Clair de lune.

I know nothing about music but it’s my favorite blogging subject. Blues were developed by blacks reinterpreting Scots-Irish folk ballads. White artists who did great work in the genre:

The Crowes’ song above… I linked to a live performance. You decide if it works for you. It’s very passionate. A consummate performance by the entire band. The studio version is a great obscure song of the early 1990s.

  • Izzy Stradlin “Shuffle it All” (solid rebound after getting fired from Guns N Roses; my often-played song in 1992)

And this one below. It’s by Czesław Niemen. Here is an older post with some background on him and my favorite of his songs, “The Flowers of my Land.” He’s best remembered for his Sixties’ hippie aesthetic along with signature jazz- and blues-inspired music. Most of his music is in his native language, but he also recorded three albums in English.

“Why Did You Stop Loving Me” — I discovered the song a couple of days ago. A free-flowing twelve minutes of experimental, psychedelic Blues from the late ’60s or early ’70s. It starts out conventionally for the first minute-plus, and then:

Just remember…

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I know, I know, the special people profit when we fight amongst…

Eff it. It’s Friday and I’m in a good mood. There is no fight quite like a family fight. Huwhytes, the only interesting people on the planet. Open thread.

Charlottesville and Claiming the Public Space

My earlier question about President Trump’s physiognomy: Is it “businessman, playboy, neophyte” or is it “chess-player, wolf, king”? There was a good discussion on Gab yesterday about the aftermath of the ill-fated August 2017 Unite the Right rally. It’s reasonable to add that the torchlight march on the eve of the rally was brilliant and they should have left right afterwards. But that’s hindsight. Had they done that, there’d have been second-guessing of that decision.

(As always, let me know here or on Gab if you’d rather not be quoted by name/handle and I will change that to “reader”). What follows is comments from yesterday’s conversation.


PA: In the wake of Trump’s election, there was a nascent popular movement to take the streets and it was effective. Based Stick Man, antifa getting wedgies, Huntington Beach, Nathan Damigo. Trump dropped the ball badly by ceding all street violence to the Left after Charlottesville.

Tom Kawczynski: I’ve come to believe Charlottesville was a well-laid trap.  Because it destroyed street activism.

PA: It did work out that way. Did it have to, though?

TK: I think so.  The first rule of battle is never fight on terrible ground. There was no way to win there, yet we keep going to the colleges, the very citadel of our transformation, instead of showing our strength and numbers in the places our people rest.

The desire to fight overwhelmed the strategic concerns, and walking into an area where the government was hostile, the police were deceitful, and the media was just waiting could, at best, only have been an event to survive. I do not say this to defame brave men who went out.  I say this because it’s not enough to just be brave.  We must be wise as serpents to win the battles we face now.

PA: Charlottesville marchers gambled on Trump backing them. He didn’t. It was a self-sacrificial move on the participants’ part that could have delivered a high reward. The MAGA political class had an opportunity to destroy antifa and amplify the message of White replacement. Instead, Trump hemmed and hawed with GWB-tier rhetoric about “alt-left.” And allowed China-tier prison sentences for self-defense to stand.

TK: If true, it was a poor gamble.  Trump was never their guy. The case against minorities had to be made on a moral basis, and they were asking the Republicans to go against thirty years of investment, foolish as it is, without having laid the ground work of why they were a danger.

What people needed to know is that the other is not bad.  They simply do not want what we want, and we will be forced ultimately to choose between democracy – their new majority imposing the socialism both native to their roots and relentless cultivated or liberty – the old understanding of limited government which has been mostly a distinctly Eurocentric phenomenon.

Haste made waste, and we see the results.  We needed a public level speaker at the Trump level who made this case, and we still do.  It’s why I am elevating myself – not in the expectation of victory although it would be a pleasant surprise – but because that forces the question of how the changing population of America will almost certainly vote very differently.

And that’s the step that must be made now in reclamation because people don’t hear that logic, don’t know the demographic cliff we are likely already sliding down, and haven’t considered the long-term consequence.

It’s also why Trump is so terrible.  Because he doesn’t seem to care.  Peak Boomerism – If today is great, why worry for tomorrow?

Heartiste: This is a fair comment, but there is value in occasional displays of public extremism. One, unpredictability keeps the enemy unbalanced. Two, precision-guided shivs of extremism leave poison capsules in the ids of the enemy and of normie fence-sitters, which affect their emotional state and decision-making. The idea is that simply dropping nuggets of crimethink into converged skullcases forever alters their self-perception and the structure of the inner tactical flowchart which guides their responses to us. These changes can have amusing and often advantageous consequences, leading the enemy to overreach and normies to privately, secretly, in the quiet of a still night, reconsider everything they thought they knew about the world.

Kelly: Extremely well stated: “[quotes Heartiste above].” This makes me think this is the cause of their hysterical attempts to shut up dissident thinkers. They unconsciously fear that poison capsule, they are anxious and afraid the truth will loosen their titanium-hardened grip on their delusions, ultimately risking losing their delusions. Unbearable. Their idea of Hell on earth

BGKB Steve: Charlottesville was organized by a jew former CNN reporter occupy wall street activist Kessler. If TRUMP gave full support for it Kessler could have dragged him down like the 2 skanks that said Assange raped them. There were people warning not to go to Charlottesville because of the jew in charge & I reposted their warnings. TRUMP knows what a poison pill clause in a contract is.

TK: I don’t blame Trump for acting rationally here

Ted Colt: If you don’t see how Charlottesville was a rerun of the Garden of Gethsemane, you’re not paying attention. At the end, they sent a man to prison for life for a car accident. They would have executed somebody, but they couldn’t find the Son of God.

A word on Social Credit

Posted on Gab:

China’s social credit system is horrifying, but something similar in U.S. probably inevitable–and already arriving if you consider deplatforming, debanking, etc. for anti-SJW speech. But consider if dissident right running that system: pro-family, health, & community choices rewarded, instead of disgusting, dysgenic acts like today.

There has always been some kind of a system of reputation-accountability. In early colonial time, stores that bartered crafted goods for tobacco IOUs had blacklist ledgers. Information on deadbeat buyers carried across the colony. Now, we have financial credit scores that largely correlate with pro-social character traits.

The SJW-values Social Credit rewards degenerate attitudes, making it unreliable as a metric of trustworthiness. Therefore, if implemented along Leftist value system, it will flip to its opposite in function, even if still controlled by the Left.

Eighties Movies

I’m on a kick of re-watching 1980s films that I had not seen since I was in my teens during that decade. It’s a wild time-capsule experience due to the passing of time and my own age-related change in perspective.

Ten films are reviewed in this post, possibly in thematic order. There are spoilers, but there is a time limit on spoiler-warning courtesy.

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1. “Top Gun” – Saw it in a movie theater upon its release in 1986, never since. It’s next on my list because one of the best episodes of “Murdoch Murdoch” borrows its aesthetics.

2. “Animal House” – This 1970s comedy is a forerunner to Eighties’ sex comedies. I watched it for the first time about seven years ago. The story culminates on the collapse of the town dignitaries’ parade bleachers. The red, white and blue streamers falling with the collapsing structure is so obvious a disclosure of how they feel about America, her traditional institutions, authority figures, patriotic iconography. It was also weirdly evocative of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers 23 years later.

I was disgusted with the whole thing. All those years, having never had seen it but having cheered on to “food fight!” and “to-ga! to-ga!” with the bros… It wasn’t the humor. It was the – how to put it. Honor should always be in the backdrop of things, even in ribald comedies. Antagonists in fiction shouldn’t be humiliated and then destroyed unless they objectively deserve it the way some people deserve capital punishment. In other words, being a strict authority figure and a bit of a dick, or being tall, blond and rich aren’t good cause for total personal destruction. If you’re not a sociopath or a Gamma Personality, you will agree with me on this.

This is why Eighties teen- or sex-comedies tended to make me feel like I need a shower. Of course I loved the nudity and the dirty humor. But the question always bugged me: was it really necessary to so completely destroy the bad guy? Below my threshold of consciousness, an alternate script was writing itself, in which the enemies shake hands and say “Honest misunderstanding. I see your point of view.”

Back to “Animal House.” What’s even more special, is the movie’s coda, the end-credits notes on what everyone’s been up to since graduation. The special houseguest’s id on full display:

  • All-American Fraternity Brother No. 1: He goes to prison and gets raped! (hahahaahahah!)
  • All-American Fraternity Brother No. 2: He goes to Vietnam and gets fragged by his own men! (hahahahaah!!! – catch my breath – hahaha! hahahaaah!!!!!)

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3. “Forrest Gump” – A ’90s movie and a hurrah for civic nationalism. (I hate that term because it’s neither civic nor nationalism and it dignifies cuckservatism). To recapitulate my take on civic nationalism:

It was a moment in time, the American political order of the 1980s, which was a detente in the wake of 1960s disruptions. Official color-blindness, Whites run and own everything, minorities enjoy the benefits of White rule along with autonomy in exchange for knowing their place; Whites, in turn, keep the peace by not talking negatively about minorities.

An unstable peace because it was in essence a papered-over capitulation. They won the ’60s, so they weren’t going to be satisfied with White surrender terms of the ’80s, which weren’t all that bad for us. The flaw of that peace: it dictated that we must continue to cede ground, they get to continue encroaching.

“Forrest Gump” healed the national wounds of the Sixties by reconciling the political conflicts of that time. Doing so, it codified civic nationalism: violent radical leftism of the Sixties is condemned, drug-use and sexual promiscuity are shown as harmful. It’s okay to be pious and from a small town. That’s why the movie was called “conservative.” On the other hand:

  • Single motherhood is glorified through the characters of Forrest’s mom and then Jenny.
  • Fatherhood is personified in Jenny’s molester dad and Forrest’s involuntary absence during his son’s childhood.
  • A dirt-poor black family becomes rich and gets a White woman servant.
  • An American line of warriors ends on Lieutenant Dan’s childless interracial marriage.

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4. “Stand By Me” – One of the great boyhood coming-of-age stories. If you have a preteen son, nephew, or grandson, watch it together. The dynamic among the four boys, the freedom and exploration, and the majestic Oregon landscapes are unforgettable.

Racial diversity diminishes everything it stains, including conversation. Yet here we are, and I have to friggin’ talk about it because… that’s the war they brought to us. This is why, from today’s perspective, “Stand by Me” is so nice to see. Everything in that movie is in visual harmony with human expectations of storytelling. Taken for granted then, consciously cherished now: no diversity in that film. Not one nonwhite character.

Tokenism kills the friendship vibes in such stories today, like adding an element that knocks down the story’s chemistry back to exactly the sum of its parts, while in its racially-coherent form you get the magic of friendship and discovery. (More about that when you get to “The Breakfast Club.”)

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5. “Lucas” – The title character is a gamma male, repellent to Maggie when he leans to kiss her. She’s a gorgeous blonde Lucas befriended over the summer, before high school hierarchy reasserted itself in line with the laws of nature. Charlie Sheen’s alpha male quarterback is a sympathetic character, even though he is Lucas’ antagonist. That’s because the conflict here isn’t man vs. man, even as the quarterback “stole” Maggie and the other football players pick on Lucas. The conflict is man vs. himself. To earn respect, Lucas has to overcome the web of lies he had woven around himself and let go of his unearned entitlement to social status.

To achieve that, he joins the football team as a wide receiver. Due to his small size and lack of physical talent, he warms the bench for an entire season. And then — clutch moment. Final seconds of the game and his team is down by only a few points. Time for one play to get the come-from-behind win. The play call: go deep. Do or die. With one of the starters hurt, the coach puts Lucas on the field. The ball is snapped, all the receivers go deep. The quarterback (Charlie Sheen) scrambles away from pressure but can’t find an open man.

Except Lucas, who is all alone in the end zone. The opposing defense either doesn’t bother to cover him or they don’t notice him because he’s so small. The quarterback also ignores Lucas, who is wildly waving “I’m open!” Finally, in desperation, he throws a deep bomb to Lucas. A perfect throw. Lucas catc– drops – the pass! He’s instantly piled-on by the defenders, seriously injured, and taken to a hospital. His team loses the game.

Lucas eventually returns to school. Everyone’s eyes are upon him as he walks toward his locker. He knows that he had let them all down. The movie ends on a wonderful scene.

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6. “Vision Quest” – My favorite ’80s movie in the teen genre. On the personal level, I related to the main character, played by Matthew Modine. Even my hair was similar to his. The story is about a high school wrestler’s quest.

An interest I indulge in on occasion is to take a decades-old image of a landscape and compare it to that same place today on Google Streetview. The older image might come from a personal photo, my recollection of being somewhere during childhood, or a scene from an older film.

Journey’s Only the Young is on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack. The video opens with Modine’s character running along a city bridge with a compelling mountain background. I learned that the movie was set and filmed in Spokane, WA. Within minutes, I located the bridge in Streetview. If anyone is curious, it’s North Monroe Street, looking west. The view hasn’t changed that much in 33 years.

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Google image capture: Sep. 2018

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7. “An Officer and a Gentleman” – This is one of three films on this list that was shot in the Pacific Northwest and features the landscape in all of its beauty. Of the big themes in this excellent film, one stands out as anachronistic: the earlier generations’ dream of upward class mobility. That’s where Boomers and those who followed them fail to communicate with each other. We’re in a much bigger game than social striving: it’s now about survival.

To be triumphantly carried out of her factory job and become a Naval officer’s wife? Here is that final scene. We don’t have factories, we don’t have working-class jobs, except for mongoloid aliens. I haven’t seen that film since 1983. That factory floor… nobody is fat. God, it stings.

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8. “The Breakfast Club” – P.J. O’Rourke wrote an article in memory of John Hughes four years ago. There is a lot going on there. I’ll just excerpt the part in which he focuses on the ethnic integrity of the five main characters, the high school students serving their Saturday detention:

Imagine, painfully, a 2015 remake of The Breakfast Club. Latino-American, African-American, […] John kept his characters alike as possible, within the spectrum of high school anthropology, in order to make them as different as possible, within the spectrum of individuals. All five members of the Breakfast Club have Anglo-Saxon last names. All are attractive.

Imperial force-mixing of nations corrupts any fruit of human aspirations. And not just art, but even a study in human nature. Any higher endeavor degenerates to exactly the sum of its dissonant parts.

The world changed more dramatically between 1990 – 2020 than it did between 1500 – 1990. For us GenX’ers, those changes hit us just as we were entering adulthood, so our young sense of survival was attuned to the coming cataclysm. We felt it in our bones the way a wild animal feels the distant, silent advance of a storm. By that same time, Boomers’ animal instincts had been dulled with age and material satisfaction.

That disparity in perception of existential danger is why generations don’t see eye-to-eye. Understanding that dynamic makes it easier to have a more charitable perspective on the Baby Boomer generation over what we see as their callousness toward their grandchildren but which they see as something that they had rightfully earned:

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9. “Witness” – The story arc involves the growing sexual chemistry between the young Amish widow and Harrison Ford’s character. She has a nine-year-old son. Ford plays an honest cop who is being sheltered from crooked cops by the Amish, living as one of them until he recovers from his gunshot wound. The widow and the cop develop an attraction to each other, which over time they can barely control. A village elder warns her that people are noticing her subtle indiscretions and she risks shunning. But like a lioness in heat, she won’t have any of that and talks back to the elder with proud words of feminist defiance.

The film’s message is not feminist. To honor her people, to live among them with her little boy and to enjoy the comfort and protection of her folk, she had to not only be chaste, but also refrain from creating any appearance of fornication. As Ford’s character told her on the morning after she enticed him to spy on her bathing: “If we’d made love last night I’d have to stay. Or you’d have to leave.”

The film shows the classic conflict of Individual vs. Society. The judgment of “Witness” is cast in favor of society: woman’s feminine instincts may not be let unbound.

Amish men don’t get a free ride, either. They too must contain their masculine instincts. For one, they are not free to lay a beating on a bunch of local yahoos who regularly harass them. “It’s not our way,” an Amish elder tells the cop. In this powerful scene, these strong, prime young Amish men swallow their pride and force themselves to turn the other cheek, also for the good of their people.

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10. “Heathers” – Three decades later, Veronica née Sawyer still wakes up in the middle of the night with a racing heart and racing thoughts: “There is no statute of limitations on murder.”