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#141 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:04 PM

I think it's pretty clear that John Wayne aspired to be the person we saw on the screen, and felt that his own ideals were in line with those of his characters. I guess the details of his personal life, however, suggest that ideals alone are not enough.

He certainly played characters who drank a lot and enjoyed a woman's company, but whether he ever portrayed an adulterer I don't know.

#142 Thom Wade

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:11 PM

You know, I mostly agree with you Nezpop on Gilvary's article. She's definately over-exagerating some.


She's actually based her entire defense on over exagerations.

I do agree with her main point which is why I posted her article, but I would just make it differently. The View is just one example. The number of girly, soap opera shows that American men watch today has been increasing. Just look at Entourage - a show I'd argue is effeminate (and is specifically aimed at guys), along with Grey's Anatomy, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars ... heck, have you heard how many guys watch Oprah? I'm not condemning watching a girly show, I just once again think this is indicative of a cultural trend.


I've watched random Oprah episodes...though really, only the ones interviewing people I find interesting. But on Entourage... Huh? The one word that has not popped into my mind in seven years of watching the show is feminized.

#143 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

"Enjoying a woman's company" is a lot different than the scenario I just suggested.

Maybe it's different to you, but it's not clear to me that John Wayne saw the difference.

His relationships with his female leads seemed quite chaste - almost too much so, in some cases (cf. The Quiet Man).

Really? Seems to me that these days, anybody who broke down a door, grabbed his wife and yelled at her in real life would be in danger of a domestic violence complaint. Would you be comfortable with your husband treating you that way?

As for the hard-drinking characters, there are some things about that that were more socially acceptable at the time those movies were made,

Yet directors who worked with Wayne reportedly knew to shoot his scenes in the morning because he became a mean drunk by afternoon.

#144 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 06:36 PM


His relationships with his female leads seemed quite chaste - almost too much so, in some cases (cf. The Quiet Man).

Really? Seems to me that these days, anybody who broke down a door, grabbed his wife and yelled at her in real life would be in danger of a domestic violence complaint. Would you be comfortable with your husband treating you that way?

Ack! It's been so long since I've seen that movie that I'd completely forgotten about that scene. And yes, a domestic violence incident for sure.

Oh good grief. So why hasn't anyone else realized how horrible a role model John Wayne was in this movie yet? It came out in 1952. The number of gender stereotypes in this film would probably make a sociology professor's head explode.

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:05 PM.


#145 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 07:28 PM

Except, only in our modern day culture could we get complaints like the ones on this thread against The Quiet Man.

So that's a bad thing? You're arguing for the rights of married individuals to engage in furniture-breaking violent altercations with each other? A man who doesn't slap his wife around should be ashamed of his own effeminacy?

President Theodore Roosevelt personally strove to embody the vigorous, virile stereotype ... and yet there's something he wrote in his journal about his first wife, Alice, that is the most profound expression of tenderness I've ever come across. (I believe the passage I'm thinking of was excerpted in David McCulloch's biography of TR.) It's possible for a man to be macho and still refuse to raise his hand against a woman.

#146 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:30 PM

Jesus, Persiflage - what century are you living in?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH4OFXlvzKA
I wonder what John Wayne or Maureen O'Hara would have said to anyone complaining to them that their film was condoning domestic abuse? This is so obviously not what the film was about that it is funny that anyone would think so.

I enjoyed The Quiet Man movie, and damn it all, I like John Wayne, and it's indicative of a cultural trend when these movies suddenly start offending everyone.

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:08 PM.


#147 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:11 PM

I wonder what John Wayne or Maureen O'Hara would have said to anyone complaining to them that their film was condoning domestic abuse?

Nobody would have made that complaint to them, because at the time, what they did in the film was not understood to be domestic abuse. But as e2c observes, times have changed.

This is so obviously not what the film was about that it is funny that anyone would think so.

I don't think anyone here thinks so, but we are saying that in today's cultural context, the same behavior, actually engaged in by actual people, i.e., not film characters, might well be perceived differently.

Everyone agrees that cultural shifts have taken place, but you seem to be saying that increased cultural sensitivity toward domestic violence is a bad thing. If that indeed is what you are saying, then you need to offer some proof.

Even bothering to try and explain that I have never even hinted that a man should be able to physically harm his wife on this thread seems like a waste of time.

But you have hinted it, whether you meant to or not. As for "a waste of time," it's your time and your book.

But I like The Quiet Man movie, and damn it all I like John Wayne, and it's indicative of a cultural trend when these movies suddenly start offending everyone.

I don't see anyone professing to be offended by the movie, just noting that the behavior depicted therein may no longer be socially acceptable.

Edited by mrmando, 26 August 2010 - 10:26 PM.


#148 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:26 PM

mm - just a quick not. I would prefer that folks not use my real name on the board.

Cool? :)

Cloaking device engaged...

#149 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:29 PM

For example... Back then nobody knew that smoking caused emphysema, lung cancer, etc.

So maybe some clips of people smoking in movies would show how cool and desireable it really is, even today?

Not just "maybe", but absolutely. (Oh yeah, violence/language warning.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmF_Phk6eIE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKc8m0apNh4
And another scene with Dennis Hopper also comes to mind.

The way our modern day culture thinks about cigarettes is another major example. It's pretty obvious that smoking in significant amounts harms your health. And most modern day Americans would probably say that smoking in very small amounts harms your health. The government has and is constantly funding anti-smoking campaigns to stop people (and especially children) from smoking. It's actually ridiculous how many of the scientific studies promoted by the Surgeon General about the horrible effects of second-hand smoking rely on bad and manipulated science. Smoking can and will hurt you, but the harms of smoking are often exaggerated by the anti-smoking lobby. The science they want to use to justify all their smoking bans is already starting to be taken apart.

Take the two above film clips for example. Do they make smoking a cigarette look cool? Yes, they do. So, what would a culture that that tends to overvalue good feminine values (like comfort, security, safety, relationships, love, nurturing, harmony) to the loss of what are considered more masculine values (risk-taking, challenge, competition, strength, individual autonomy, etc.), do about scenes in movies like this? It would want to discourage them. It would want to use rules and regulations to put a stop to them. It would want to protect little children (especially boys who might want to emulate film icons like Willis or De Niro) from seeing them. That would be the more kind and caring, motherly, Nanny-State sort of thing to do. I understand the idea, but we need more balance than that. We need to balance our needs and desires for things like safety and nurturing with reasonable amounts of freedom, allowing risk taking, and letting others figure out some things for themselves.

What, as a Christian, do you do about something like smoking? Instead of thinking of how the government (or your local church) can make rules against it, you should follow more in line with principles like those in I Corinthians 6:12 which understands that there are a number of things that aren't sin (and thus not for you to condemn), but you still shouldn't allow yourself to be enslaved/addicted to anything either. Doing that is neither overly feminine or overly masculine.

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:12 PM.


#150 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:48 PM

mrmando,

It simply isn't true that, back in, oh say, John Wayne's day, men thought it was morally acceptable to physically abuse women. The Quiet Man is a story about a spirited fiery Irish/American couple, and there's a physicality to it that most people who like the film probably thought either funny or romantic. No one but a crackpot would watch this film and think he should copy how John Wayne drags around his wife.

Everyone agrees that cultural shifts have taken place, but you seem to be saying that increased cultural sensitivity toward domestic violence is a bad thing. If that indeed is what you are saying, then you need to offer some proof ... I don't see anyone professing to be offended by the movie, just noting that the behavior depicted therein may no longer be socially acceptable.

So I guess I actually have to say it - being more culturally sensitive towards victims of abuse is a good thing. American culture has improved on different issues over time in order to align ourselves more consistently with our principles. When I suggest the apparent crazy notion that the romantic relationship in The Quiet Man was not one of physical abuse, saying "Oh, so that means you think it's ok to kick the bedroom door in or throw your wife on the bed so hard you break it" is ignoring the actual context in so many ways that it seems just like a reflex.

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:16 PM.


#151 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:53 PM

As things now stand, I don't think you're able to truly back up your assertions about this issue, and many others. I don't think any decent editor - or halfway decent publisher - would accept your claims about domestic violence, and they'd be right not to. Maybe it's time to rethink the whole thing?

As of now, I'm making zero claims about domestic violence in my book.

I'm also unclear as to what these false assertions about domestic abuse are that I've made, other than insisting that The Quiet Man isn't portraying a different time where domestic violence was morally acceptable.

#152 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 11:19 PM

It's pretty obvious that smoking in significant amounts harms your health. And most modern day Americans would probably say that smoking in very small amounts harms your health.

Smoking in very small amounts harms your health in very small amounts, which are usually not noticeable.

Some people succeed at smoking in very small amounts. I've known people who have a cigarette once a day, or every few days when they're particularly stressed, or just once in a while for special occasions.

However: Cigarettes are addictive. Many people who try them end up getting hooked and find it difficult to limit their smoking to very small amounts.

It's not merely a question of willpower. Smoking changes your brain chemistry. I had two cigarettes at my bachelor party. For a week thereafter, the smell of tobacco smoke, which I had found repugnant my entire life, struck me as thoroughly pleasant any time I encountered it via secondhand smoking.

It's actually ridiculous how much of scientific studies promoted by the Surgeon General about the horrible effects of second-hand smoking rely on bad and manipulated science.

Right. Evenhanded and credible sources like this one have removed all reasonable doubt.

I know a lot of people on this thread probably wouldn't see smoking as something that has anything to do with how feminized the culture is.

On the other hand, the association of smoking with masculine values is just a load of crap cooked up by advertising agencies. Smoking sure as hell has nothing to do with virility, strength, or individual autonomy -- in fact, cigarettes sap all those qualities out of people who use them. Smoking may be a kind of risk-taking, but it's the worst kind: the kind where there's no potential reward that increases in proportion to the amount of risk taken. The downside of the risk is that maybe you'll get addicted and die of some horrible disease that gradually robs you of your ability to breathe. The upside is that maybe you won't get addicted and won't suffer any adverse health effects ... but you could achieve that upside just as easily by not taking the risk in the first place.

you should follow more in line with principles like those in I Corinthians 6:12 which understands that there are a number of things that aren't sin (and thus not for you to condemn), but you still shouldn't allow yourself to be enslaved/addicted to anything either. Doing that is neither overly feminine or overly masculine.


I think you're underestimating both how strong the chemical addiction is, and how easy it is to become addicted.

My favorite movie smoking scene is Andy Garcia in Dead Again (at about 7:58 in this clip).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjx8Dzj2q30

Edited by mrmando, 13 November 2011 - 11:13 PM.


#153 mrmando

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 11:47 PM

When I suggest the apparent crazy notion that the romantic relationship in The Quiet Man was not one of physical abuse, saying "Oh, so that means you think it's ok to kick the bedroom door in or throw your wife on the bed so hard you break it" is ignoring the actual context in so many ways that it seems just like a reflex.

But there are three different contexts to consider: (1) the context of the film itself; (2) the cultural context of the 1950s; (3) the cultural context of today. I am ignoring none of those contexts; I am merely saying that a sequence of actions that are perfectly acceptable in contexts 1 and 2 might not be acceptable in context 3.

#154 mrmando

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 02:10 AM

"That scene is not so nice because I think it does the Irish down."

This would seem to be more of a reaction to the cultural symbolism of an American character dragging around an Irish character, and not so much a reaction to domestic violence per se.

Edited by mrmando, 27 August 2010 - 02:11 AM.


#155 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:46 AM

Oh good grief. Half of the scenes in The Quiet Man could be said to be "domestic abuse" if you want to get all ultra-sensitive and delicate about it. I seem to remember a whole number of thrown punches, landed slaps, and other violence on the part of Maureen O'Hara, including her getting the chaperon to ask her to "have the good manners not to hit the man until he's your husband." It was part of her character in the story.

Oh man. What IS it with Maureen O'Hara abusing her husbands? I am reminded of how my wife recently saw the original version of The Parent Trap -- the one in which O'Hara plays the mother of twins played by Hayley Mills -- and she insisted afterwards that we NOT let our children watch that film, because it makes light of domestic abuse. And in THAT case, it was O'Hara who was giving her (ex-)husband black eyes with little provocation. But because it's a Disney film, we're supposed to make light of it and maybe even find it funny, etc., etc.

#156 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 01:52 PM

2. We're not in a courtroom, or in a simulation thereof. 3. I've said what I've said. You can parse it any way you want to.

What's the matter? What made you think we were in a courtroom? You don't like it when I ask you to actually specify what exactly it is I've said that you're objecting to? That's generally how one understands someone's objection while dialoging with them. It's ok, it's just that I was taking what you said seriously, I won't if you prefer I didn't.

Smoking in very small amounts harms your health in very small amounts, which are usually not noticeable.

On the Smoking comments -

I understand this is a very emotional issue for some. However, this is not to say we should just all automatically absorb all the "science" used by anti-smoking campaigns without question. It's also interesting to point out that many, if not most, of anti-smoking campaigns are funded by the government. In fact, those bailouts and stimuluses the U.S. government recently passed - putting Americans in further debt/obligation to pay more taxes in the future - well, some of that money's being used in different states to start funding more hardcore anti-smoking campaigns.

Of course smoking is very addictive. But even the more honest anti-smoking people out there will admit that it's not really the physical/chemical addiction that's the problem. Smoking addiction is more psychological than physical. If it was just the nicotine addiction, that could be easily remedied by easily affordable replacements like nicotine patches or chewing gum. The reason someone who has quit for 20-30 years can still suddenly feel an intense craving for a cigarette is that it's an inherently psychological addiction. So don't think it's something that once you start, you suddenly physically need more and more of. This is why there are so many smokers who have smoked in quite small amounts for decades at a time. What I'm interested in is why it is that we live in a culture where psychological addiction is suddenly something that we are supposed to be more helpless against than even physical addiction. Why do we live in a culture of more and more addictions, neurosises, and victims? What kind of mindset are we giving to everyone about this?

We live in a modern day culture where something like smoking is being gradually and systematically forbidden by the government, and by more sensitive people who have been taught to complain and to complain loudly whenever the slightest hint of smoke brushes their nostrils. Regardless of whether one is a smoker or not, this is not the sort of society I'm interested in living in. In fact, I'd say it's downright unAmerican.

No one even bothers to ask whether the costs of going all Brave New World on smoking are worth paying, or why can't we just use science to make smoking safer in the first place? The options of individual ingenuity to solving the problem of the harms of smoking are much brighter than the options of simply increased reliance on the government to be your personal Nanny. So, we can (1) cry and complain about other smokers, (2) advocate various government bans on smoking, OR smile and remain silent when the government passes its latest encroachment because you personally don't like smokers hanging around outside the building anyway, (3) unquestioningly and blindly accept all the anti-smoking propaganda you hear by the latest SmokeFreeAmerica commerical, (4) fling up our hands in horror whenever we see a 6-year-old child ambling across the path of a smoker huddled outside, or (5) actually pay a rudimentary amount of attention to the opposing side, (There are plenty of reasonable, non-conspiracy theorist participants in the public forum who object when the Environmental Protection Agency declares that three thousand non-smokers are killed by second hand smoke per year.) Science can and has been misused by the pro-tobacco and anti-smoking lobby alike. A reasonable man should take a more moderate approach, ask questions, and discourage solutions that treat the world like we're all living in a nursery.

On the other hand, the association of smoking with masculine values is just a load of crap cooked up by advertising agencies. Smoking sure as hell has nothing to do with virility, strength, or individual autonomy ...

Yes, we can all look at the Marlboro man advertisements for masculinity as a joke now. However, your attitude and how you think about smoking in modern day times does have a lot to do with strength and individual autonomy. If I'm too weak not to overcome a psychological addiction to cigarettes, then I guess I just need the government to do it for me (and for everyone else). Maybe if the government taxes cigarettes until I can't afford them, that will help overcome my personal addiction. Although, if I'm following I Corinthians 6:12, then I should make some sort of effort to ensure I'm not enslaved by smoking. This does not mean absolutely no smoking for everyone, including even myself. This is a pretty fundamental philosophical point.

But there are three different contexts to consider: (1) the context of the film itself; (2) the cultural context of the 1950s; (3) the cultural context of today. I am ignoring none of those contexts; I am merely saying that a sequence of actions that are perfectly acceptable in contexts 1 and 2 might not be acceptable in context 3.

The cultural context of the 1950s and the cultural context of today do not have a different morality. What was wrong back then is still wrong now. And, as far as social concerns that have nothing to do with morality, if our modern day culture considers John Wayne to be too uncouth for our own personal politically correct sensibilities, then the problem is with our modern culture and not with John Wayne.

"Here's a fine stick to beat the lovely lady"

Yep, that was a joke. You see, jokes are things that no one is meant to take seriously. Of course that line isn't funny standing alone all by itself. Jokes are only funny in the context of a specific story or situation (This one involving Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man who had repeatedly swung at, slapped, punched, pushed, and kicked John Wayne through the entire movie, while also implying that he wasn't a man because he refused to indulge in violence. Oh yeah, and they're Irish.) If this sort of thing prevents you from enjoying the film, I'm sorry for you. Just don't use it to tell others that they shouldn't enjoy the film either "because you know, times have changed now, violence against women just isn't right anymore - or I mean 'socially acceptable' anymore."

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:27 PM.


#157 mrmando

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 06:54 PM

But even the more honest anti-smoking people out there will admit that it's not really the physical/chemical addiction that's the problem.

Just because chemicals aren't the only component of addiction ... doesn't mean that chemical addiction is not problematic.

Neither of the sources you refer to is "honest." They are both therapists trying to sell a psychology-based tobacco cessation program, and they both attack a straw man: the idea that nicotine replacement therapy is intended to help people stop smoking all on its own. That's B.S. No responsible physician will prescribe you patches and tell you that is how they are supposed to work. Rather, nicotine replacement therapy allows a smoker to try to break the psychological and chemical addictions separately, and a physician will tell you that the patches will work best in conjunction with some kind of psychological approach.

Stone even claims that nicotine is not chemically addictive, so he's a loony as well as a liar. If he really believes this claim, he can prove it by going on a regimen of high-dose nicotine patches for a month and then quitting them cold turkey.

Smoking addiction is more psychological than physical.

A naked assertion for which you offer no support whatsoever. How do you know it is MORE psychological than physical? What if it is 50-50, or 40-60? What's more likely is that each addict has a slightly different mix of "triggers," both physical and psychological, each one with a particular strength ... and no generalization about that mix of triggers is going to hold absolutely true across the board.

If it was just the nicotine addiction, that could be easily remedied by easily affordable replacements like nicotine patches or chewing gum.

Well, if it were just the psychological addiction, that could be easily remedied by easily affordable replacements like cinnamon sticks -- no nicotine patches or gum required.

Nicotine replacement is not a 1:1 substitute for cigarettes ... there are 4,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke apart from nicotine. And besides, nicotine itself is toxic. You can't get a bottomless prescription for patches or gum. The idea behind patches/gum, again, is to satisfy the chemical addiction while the smoker tries to break the psychological habits ... then the smoker is expected to gradually "step down" the doses of patches/gum to wean himself/herself off the chemical addiction. And the stepping down is no picnic.

The reason someone who has quit for 20-30 years can still suddenly feel an intense craving for a cigarette is that it's an inherently psychological addiction. So don't think it's something that once you start, you suddenly physically need more and more of.


Needing more and more is a hallmark of the classic psychological addictions (money, sex, gambling, power, and Arts & Faith). The fact that most smokers don't need more and more, i.e., they tend to establish a level of consumption and remain there, suggests that they have a certain amount of chemical need for smoking, and once that need has been met for the day, there's no reason to continue the behavior. Chain smokers may be the ones who have the strongest psychological addiction.

This is why there are so many smokers who have smoked in quite small amounts for decades at a time.

Define "so many," and define "quite small amounts." There is some percentage of smokers who do it only occasionally ... they manage to smoke once in a while without becoming addicted. Anecdotally, in my experience, it's a very small percentage.

What I'm interested in is why it is that we live in a culture where psychological addiction is suddenly something that we are supposed to be perhaps more helpless against than even physical addiction. Why do we live in a culture of more and more addictions, neurosises, and victims? What kind of mindset are we giving to everyone about this? I am making the somewhat humorous suggestion that this is not the mindset of a "real" or "manly man."

So your solution is to remove all public health funding from government-run anti-smoking programs, and let the poor weak effeminate psychologically addicted smokers just smoke themselves to death with no assistance to help them try to quit, while the manly men smoke now and then only because they want to, and chuckle in their beards at the addicts?

The more you talk, the further off the rails you get.

Regardless of whether one is a smoker or not, this is not the sort of society I'm interested in living in. In fact, I'd say it's downright unAmerican.

I see. So it's "American" for smokers to blow their foul poisons in my face whenever they damn well please?

(Linking to a story about a smoking ban in Ireland and then calling it "unAmerican" ... reminds me of the clergyman who reportedly read The Screwtape Letters and remarked that some of the advice therein seemed "positively diabolical.")

your attitude and how you think about smoking in modern day times does have a lot to do with strength and individual autonomy. If I'm too weak not to overcome a psychological addiction to cigarettes, then I guess I just need the government to do it for me (and for everyone else).

Well, you said it. Only please, pick a side. Smokers are either upstanding models of strength and individual autonomy, or they're pusillanimous weaklings psychologically enslaved to cancer sticks. They bloody well can't be both.

When you describe smokers as "too weak [not*] to overcome a psychological addiction to cigarettes," you're describing your own grandfather, for pity's sake. How many hundreds of thousands of grandfathers are you willing to throw under the bus every year in order to preserve your cartoon notion of masculinity?

Anyway ... since regulating chemicals in the brain is a major component of psychology, it's really hard to draw a line and say "This part of the addiction is chemical and that part is psychological." Suppose you take up jogging or meditation to help you quit smoking, and those activities alter the levels of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, etc., in your system, which makes you less dependent on nicotine. Are you helping yourself psychologically, or chemically?

Although, if I'm following I Corinthians 6:12, then I should make some sort of effort to ensure I'm not enslaved by smoking. This does not mean absolutely no smoking for everyone, including even myself.

Ah, but expecting everyone to follow 1 Cor. 6:12 is unAmerican. Congress shall make no law, blah, blah, blah.

This is a pretty fundamental philosophical point.

Only for the small percentage of people who are able to smoke without becoming addicted. For the rest of them, chemistry (or psychology, or both) trumps philosophy.

The cultural context of the 1950s and the cultural context of today do not have a different morality. What was wrong back then is still wrong now.

Ah, but that's not the question. Rather, we're talking about things that are considered wrong today, but might not have been considered wrong either in 1920s Ireland (where the film was set) or in 1950s America (when it was made).

At various times in Western societies it was considered "right" to buy and sell slaves, or to hang a man for stealing a loaf of bread. Would you say it's wrong for us in our enlightened age to speak up and say that people were wrong to think that way?

if our modern day culture considers John Wayne to be too uncouth or not polite enough for our own personal politically correct sensibilities, I'm suggesting the problem is with our modern culture and not with John Wayne.

I guess that depends on which John Wayne you're talking about, and how much he's been drinking!

Just don't use it to tell others that they shouldn't enjoy the film either because you know, times have changed now, violence against women just isn't right anymore - or I mean "socially acceptable" anymore.

It's got nothing to do with enjoying the film. You quoted Gilvary wishing for more John Waynes. In context, she clearly didn't mean "more film characters like those portrayed by John Wayne," she meant more flesh-and-blood individuals resembling John Wayne in one or more ways that she didn't specify. That leads us to speculate how some of John Wayne's behavior, on or off the screen, might be perceived if it were enacted by a flesh-and-blood individual in contemporary society. Enjoying the film is an entirely separate question.

*You said "not" but I don't think you meant to ... your sentence doesn't make sense unless one removes the "not."

Edited by mrmando, 30 August 2010 - 07:48 PM.


#158 mrmando

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:25 PM

Just came across a couple of references to this study, which suggests that indeed, nicotine alone is not significantly addictive in rats; but its weak addictive properties are highly enhanced when it is co-administered with a naturally occurring MAOI (antidepressant chemical) also present in tobacco. In addition to raising some interesting questions about chemical-based stop-smoking approaches, I suppose this study could be used to justify Stone's statement about nicotine not being addictive (although we'd have to admit there's a huge difference between saying one chemical isn't addictive and saying that tobacco on the whole is not chemically addictive). It also occurs to me that Stone's psychology-based quit-smoking approach might work better for patients who are able to convince themselves that their addiction is purely psychological. Believing that your addiction is all in your head might help you overcome the feeling that you're powerless to do anything about it. I can't really say anything against using that kind of mental legerdemain if it helps people quit smoking ... but of course a mind-trick is not the same as a plain statement of scientific fact.

Also been reading up on e-cigarettes ... a nicotine-delivery method that, unlike patches or gum, is not (yet) regulated by the FDA and therefore is available without prescription.

Regarding gov't funding of anti-tobacco programs: as long as gov't money is being spent to treat the results of tobacco use, the gov't has every right to try to discourage that use. Allow gov'ts to deny Medicare/Medicaid benefits to smokers -- or get rid of Medicare/Medicaid altogether -- and you can get rid of gov't-funded anti-tobacco programs as well. That strikes me as a consistent libertarian/small gov't argument, although it might not be a very popular one.

Edited by mrmando, 02 September 2010 - 11:51 AM.


#159 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:25 AM

Persiflage, just in case you're interested, Mark Steyn recently posted a column that riffs on this story in the New York Times; the original story is about the belief among some educators that children shouldn't have "best friends", and it's basically gender-nonspecific, but Steyn uses the opportunity to make very specific comments about the raising of boys in today's culture:

Speaking of best friends, in 1902 Theodore Morse and Edward Madden wrote the song “Two Little Boys”, in which the eponymous tykes are wont to play soldiers on wooden horses. (The great Aussie didgeridooist Rolf Harris revived the song in 1969, and it got to Number One: Mrs Thatcher named it one of her favorite records). “One little chap/Then had a mishap,” as the song says, and breaks his mount. So his friend offers to share his steed:

“Did you think I would leave you crying
When there’s room on my horse for two?
Climb up here, Jack, and don’t be crying
I can go just as fast with two…”

Come the next verse, the horses are real, and they’re in the thick of battle. This time round, the other boy loses his mount, shot out from under him, and it’s Jack’s turn to say:

“Did you think I would leave you dying
When there’s room on my horse for two?
Climb up here, Joe, we’ll soon be flying…"

The lessons we learn in childhood stay with us. The Battle of Waterloo, they used to say (and with a straight face, too), was won on the playing fields of Eton. But in British schools today competitive sports have been all but abolished. It was recently reported that in one children’s soccer league in Ottawa any team that racked up a five-goal lead would be deemed to have lost, and the losing team declared the winners, to spare their feelings. By those standards, the hapless England footie team might have managed to “beat” Germany and get through to the next round of the World Cup (almost). What’s less clear is whether boys raised on such playing fields would be capable of winning another Waterloo, or even be prepared to fight it. Indeed, early setbacks in post-Saddam Iraq and current difficulties in Afghanistan derive in part from that Ottawa soccer mindset – that it would be insensitive to open up a five-goal lead over the enemy.

In an essay on democracy for The New Criterion, Kenneth Minogue began by “observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much… The distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.”

What to do? The state can, as Brecht advised, elect a new people – which the immigration policies of many western nations seem intended to accomplish. But you can also change the existing people, in profound ways and over a surprisingly short space of time. Give me a boy till seven, said the Jesuits, and I will show you the man. Give me a boy till Seventh Grade, say today’s educators, and we can eliminate the man problem entirely.

FWIW, one of the people quoted in that New York Times story -- and then re-quoted by Steyn -- has written a letter to Steyn distancing herself from the spin that the Times put on her quotes.

#160 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:08 PM

I'd like to tack "no offense" on to the beginning of this statement, but you've obviously put a good deal of thought into this book, so there's no way I can say this without offending you: If the list above is representative of the types of analysis your book will offer, please don't write it.

I don't want to respond gracelessly. If I have, forgive me ... Perhaps I'm reacting against a "Christian men should be Braveheart" campaign that I see trending in the church, rather than to Persiflage's premise. If so, I am sorry. I have been writing and speaking frequently recently against the idea of The Christian as Overcoming Hero Who Smacks the World Into Shape, in favor of The Christian as Saint, who meekly and humbly takes up his cross and leads by the example of the grace-loving suffering servant. Because Saints and Heroes are, by their popular Western-mythology definitions, two very different things. But as I remain puzzled by Persiflage's premise, I am certainly interested in seeing him describe it more thoroughly.

I was part of a feminist reading group (I know, how fey, right?) about a decade ago when Susan Faludi's Stiffed came out. Assuming you're serious about your book idea, I'd encourage you to read it.

Just came across a couple of references to this study ...

Persiflage, just in case you're interested, Mark Steyn recently posted a column that riffs on this story in the New York Times; the original story is about the belief among some educators that children shouldn't have "best friends", and it's basically gender-nonspecific, but Steyn uses the opportunity to make very specific comments about the raising of boys in today's culture...

Just an FYI, but this book project is finally dead.

Thanks again for everyone's criticism, questions, discussion and suggestions. While I still hold to many of the ideas I brought up in this thread, I've become convinced, partly through the discussion here, that (1) if there are problems in our culture regarding this sort of thing, they are not necessarily best addressed through satirical cultural commentary, (2) no matter how carefully I could try and craft some of these ideas onto paper, the risk of giving offense was still just going to remain very high, the cost of which is not always worth it, and (3) there are far more interesting and redemptive things to write about.

Over the last couple years, I read a long list of books, articles and essays on the subject of gender stereotypes, values and the cultural impact of different ideas on gender roles. At the end of it all, I came away convinced that there are aspects of modern culture that are overly feminine, that there are aspects of modern culture that are overly masculine, and that there are aspects of modern culture that have much deeper weaknesses (and occasionally strengths too) that really don't have much of anything at all to do with gender differences. It was this discussion here, and a series of discussions with some very intelligent younger and older women I know, that persuaded me that there are other questions more worth exploring than this one.

I'm still writing for fun and cultural commentary is something I'm still very interested in. But I think I've got at least a few years more of practice (and humility to learn) before I decide to try and aim a series of essays at addressing any one major theme - and before I'm confident enough to presume that I could try to get anything published. Basically I just wanted to thank everyone here who commented - graciously, thoughtfully, harshly, pointedly, questioningly - it was all constructive. I valued all of it, and still count myself lucky to be part of the A&F online community.

Edited by J.A.A. Purves, 06 September 2012 - 03:30 PM.