September 22, 2009

Darkness at High Noon: the UnAmericanism of an American Icon

Hatched by Dafydd

A comment to the previous blogpost, That Big Ol' NEA Scandal... Just Déjà Vu-Du, has taken issue with my characterization of the seminal film High Noon as a deeply unAmerican, even anti-American movie that slanders the American character... at a time when the only form of unAmericanism that was acceptable to the intelligensia in the United States was Communism -- meaning Stalinism, as Josef "Uncle Joe" Stalin didn't die until 1953, at the ripe old age of 74 (evidently, somebody down there liked him).

I noted to the commenter that this was a deep enough question that it couldn't be answered in the comments section but required a follow-up blogpost. In the process, I hope to demonstrate how to "read" the moral character of a movie... which is a completely different process than simply deciding if it was well crafted.

Like nearly everybody else, I like the movie High Noon. I've seen it maybe half a dozen times. It's well written, well acted, lots of tension. But we must distinguish between liking a movie and approving its message (something neocon Michael Medved never seems able to do). By the same criteria above, I like Triumph of the Will; but I'm repelled by its cosmically evil Nazi message.

This is how I feel about the much subtler, but nevertheless morally corrupted and evil movie High Noon: I admire its artistry but am appalled by its vicious anti-American message.

There is a two-pronged test for art that I read somewhere; it boils down to asking two questions:

  1. What was the artist trying to do?
  2. Did he do it?

But I've always believed that a third question must be asked, one that is more important than the other two:

  1. Was it worth doing?

There is no question that all the films I mentioned in the previous post pass the two-prong test: They all set about doing something and actually pull it off. They are all artistic successes -- unless you apply the third test as well; that's where they break down.

One final caveat: In deference to one of the most famous penitents of Communism, Arthur Koestler, I titled this post Darkness at High Noon.

Before publishing, however, I discovered that CNN had already used that title... but in an Orwellian (or perhaps Dickensian) twist of fate, they used it for a documentary defending Carl Foreman, who wrote the screenplay to High Noon! Indeed, the love-letter to Foreman draws the same parallels to High Noon that I draw myself: that Marshal Will Kane represents Foreman himself and all others who continued to spit defiance at the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities (HUAC) until the bitter end; and that Frank Miller and his mob represent HUAC. (Foreman himself maintained this was what he had in mind.)

The irony, of course, is that Koestler wrote his novel Darkness at Noon two years after quitting the Party (even before the Hitler-Stalin Pact); and the novel is a powerful attack on Communism. It dramatizes the last days of an architect of the 1917 revolution, now imprisoned under sentence of death in a Communist country. To hijack that title for a hagiography of Carl Foreman takes chutzpah indeed.

Thus, in order to reclaim the moral clarity of Arthur Koestler (and also because you can't copyright titles), I shall maintain my title for this blogpost. So there. Now let's dive into the toughest movie position to defend: The case against High Noon for the crime of anti-Americanism. I won't bother footnoting; all of this information is readily available and uncontested: Google it. (Heh, I've always wanted to say that.)


High Noon was always meant to be a parable against "McCarthyism" -- rather, the left-liberal vision of McCarthyism. It was written by Communist Carl Foreman, who was called before HUAC sometime in 1951, while he was actually writing High Noon. In his testimony, he defied the Committee; he admitted to having been a Communist for many years, but he claimed he had become "disillusioned" with it some ten or so years earlier (1942? 1941?). He claimed to have quit, but I don't recall him offering any evidence for this other than his bare claim.

He also refused to name names.

It actually makes a difference when exactly he left the Party, if indeed he ever did; because if he stuck around from 1939 to 1941, then that means he maintained Party discipline even during the Hitler-Stalin Pact, when his beloved Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany. I consider anyone who remained in the Party through those two flip-flops -- or who actually joined while the Commies and the Nazis were allied, like Dalton Trumbo -- to be a hard-core Stalinist. It required very nimble mental and moral gymnastics: Before the Pact, Hitler was the devil incarnate; then in 1939, he became the great patriotic ally against decadent Capitalism; and then in 1941, when Hitler invaded the USSR, he went back to being the focus of all evil.

If a man (or woman) can do that, then he has no moral principles and the conscience of a hyena.

At the time Foreman was writing the screenplay, the "Hollywood Party" was reeling; hearings by HUAC had been in full swing since the late 1940s, and the public was waking up to the viper in its bed.

The Party line during this period was that witnesses before the Committee who had always opposed Communism, such as Gary Cooper, Ronald Reagan, and George Murphy (who fought against Communist influence in Hollywood when he was president of SAG, as did his protégé Reagan), and who "named names" of Communist ringleaders in Hollywood, were just sniveling cowards who had been threatened and intimidated by the Committee and by its allies who created an informal blacklist of Reds.

(In a twist of wonderful irony, one of the most steadfast anti-Communists in Hollywood was Gary Cooper, who starred as Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's the Fountainhead; then just three years later, he played the lead in High Noon! Truly, Coop the Dupe was the man for whom the phrase "useful idiot" was coined.)

Those who fought the Committee had nothing but contempt for the "friendly witnesses;" the Left simply could never accept that courageous people of good will could see Communism as an evil that must be rooted out. But this contempt was nothing compared to the rage against the traitors -- those witnesses who had actually been in the Party, had perhaps defied the Committee by refusing to cooperate once, but had since recanted, returned to testify again and name names. Some former fellow travelers also wrote public repudiations of their earlier position.

Humphrey Bogart is the most conspicuous example. He traveled to Washington in 1947 to protest HUAC, as part of the newly formed Committee for the First Amendment, which also included Lauren Bacall, Gene Kelly, John Huston, and others. There, Bogart railed against the investigations and defended the Hollywood Ten (who were then still eleven, as Bertolt Brecht had not yet fled the country). Bogart insisted the Ten were completely innocent... which is what he and the other liberals in that group had been told by the Left.

But after meeting the Ten (and being harrangued by one of them, doctrinaire Communist John Howard Lawson), Bogie recanted; evidence had by then emerged that the Ten were indeed Stalinists, and that they really did have an ongoing program to insert Communist propaganda into their movies and plays. In his article in Photoplay magazine, “I’m No Communist,” Humphrey Bogart admitted he was duped by the Hollywood Left. It was a serious blow to the cause, as were similar articles by John Garfield, Edward G. Robinson, and others.

This must have been much on Foreman's mind while writing High Noon; he later claimed that he saw himself as Marshal Will Kane, the lone man of integrity standing up to both the sin of commission -- the investigations -- and the sin of omission, those who, in Foreman's view, stood idly by out of fear and did nothing to stop HUAC.

This is what was happening on the national stage when Foreman sat down to adapt the short story "the Tin Star," by John W. Cunningham. I haven't been able to find the text of Cunningham's original; I'd love to read it to see how much of the anti-Americanism was his and how much was Foreman's. My guess is they shared the same low opinion of frontier Americans.

Internal evidence of anti-Americanism

The plot of the movie clearly is an allegory on what a (current or former) Party member would imagine McCarthyism to be like; both Left and Right have agreed on that from the beginning. Villain Frank Miller is coming to town (metaphorically Joseph McCarthy; in practice, the members of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, as McCarthy was a senator, not a member of the House of Reps), having inexplicably been pardoned just before his hanging; he has sworn vengeance on Will Kane (Carl Foreman). Kane tries to rally the townspeople; they agree to help stop Miller (refuse to cooperate with the Committee), but then one by one they chicken out (recant, name names): They're all too afraid to take a stand against him.

The townsfolk all agree with the marshal (Foreman) that Miller must be stopped; but they're all worried what might happen to them and their families if they stand up to the bully. Those despicable, cowardly friendly witnesses! Eventually, Kane must take on all the bad guys alone, while the townspeople (our American ancestors) quake in their boots and hide under the bed (from the "nonexistent" Red Menace).

One reason it has always seemed so clearly an allegory, which nearly all political critics accept, is that the plot is historically false to the period in which it's set. 1900 was the high point of vigilantism in America; it was commonplace for citizens to band together to hunt down criminal suspects. There were not enough lawmen to act as a "police force," which by then some big cities in the East were hiring; frontiersmen had to take matters into their own hands.

Most middle-aged town citizens in the West in 1900 would have been veterans of the various Indian wars that swept the country after the Civil War, either as regular Army, private scouts working for the Army, local militias, or as members of an ad-hoc posse comitatus that would fight against Indian raiders or raid Indian tribes themselves. Everybody had guns; they were as necessary in that part of the country as water, beef, and coffee. And everybody knew how to use them (hunting probably supplemented nearly everyone's food supply).

So how in the world could a whole town of such hard-bitten survivors be so afraid of four measley guys? Why wouldn't they just take care of the problem, one way or another, as they'd been doing all their lives, against both man and beast?

No, it doesn't fit its time period at all; nor does it fit previous Westerns, where the hero could always round up a posse to help him. But it certainly does fit what liberals and lefties imagined to be the "cowardice" of people during the late forties and early fifties, who refused to stand up to the bully investigators hunting for Communist infiltration of both government and key industries, very much including Hollywood.

Aside from the personal factor, there is also a larger thrust of the movie: It's a direct frontal assault upon one of the central organizing myths of American culture. In this case, "myth" does not mean an incorrect or invalid belief; it means a belief that underlies Americans' "sense of self." The belief in question is that of the rugged individualist.

It's a truism, believed by and large on both sides of our northern border, that the fundamental difference between America and Canada is this: The American frontier was tamed by cantankerous, antisocial, extremely self-reliant individuals who went west to escape the clutches of the "big government" of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries -- which wouldn't look very big to us today but loomed large in the eyes of pioneers from Daniel Boone to Davy Crockett to the classic Western period of about 1870 through 1900.

The Canadian frontier was tamed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mounties.

Far from being a false myth, rugged individualism is a historically accurate depiction of most settlers of the West in that time: They fended for themselves because they had to; they solved their own problems, scratched for their own seed, raised their own food, and defended themselves. They didn't "call the cops," because by and large, there were none. (Even today, America is woefully under-policed -- by the standards of Europe.)

When one man could not handle a task, he banded together with the smallest number of friends and neighbors to get the job done. Settlers regularly "lit out" from a settlement when they decided it had become "too citified fer fit livin'." There were always those who welcomed the encroach of civilization, of course; they were the majority. But they came by train, long after those who first walked across the Great Plains, even after those who drove Conestoga wagons.

The Law mosied in later and chased out the remaining rugged individualists.

By 1900, such a sense of self-reliance was firmly established as a critical part of the American character, a major reason it was the age of vigilantism: Locals took care of their own problems, for good or ill. They didn't yell for the cops to come rescue them.

High Noon depicts weasley, knee-knocking townsmen pleading with one man, Will Kane, to save them; the movie utterly slanders the American character as no other Western had ever done. It caricatures our ancestors as not the self-reliant individualists with a deep sense of honor we have always thought them, but as whiny, hypocritical, cowardly vermin who were too afraid to confront evil -- even at odds of twenty-five to one! For Pete's sake, there must have been at least 100 adult males in Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, and only four bad guys.

This is character assassination of the entire United States of America, since the Old West is such an integral part of our national heritage.

A big picture's big picture

This mockery serves not only the narrow agenda of Foreman -- in a snit because the country was turning decisively against Communism in 1951-52, which he probably believed could only be explained by cowardice -- and the cause of dissing our ancestors, but also the larger agenda of the ComIntern (Communist International front). At the very time Foreman was writing the movie, America was engaged in our first true war against Communism, the first real campaign of the Cold War: defending South Korea from invasion by the Communist North.

In 1951-52, victory was still very much uncertain. North Korea had originally been "communized" by the Soviets towards the end of World War II, just like Eastern Europe; by the early 50s, they were allied with Red China as well.

In January 1951, we -- United Nations forces, mostly American -- were nearly driven off the Chosen peninsula; but we rallied and battled our way back north of Seoul. By the end of May, we and the North Korean and Chinese forces were stalemated, neither side being able to oust the other and achieve total control of Korea. (We did, however, ultimately achieve our victory conditions of protecting South Korea.)

Foreman must have intensely followed the back and forth, which occured either during or immediately before he began writing the screenplay. Given his extreme political ideology, he probably was rooting for America to lose... as American lefties have done almost ritualistically ever since the end of the last "good war," when we were allied with the Motherland of Communism. And what could better help "the cause" in Korea than to demoralize the American citizenry and delegitimize the American government?

Some reds from the 1930s used to call themselves "premature anti-fascists;" I maintain that Carl Foreman was a premature Yippie: He unsuccessfully used tactics that would be used to far greater effect just a few years later by the Students for a Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and other members of the loose leftist coalition of anti-Vietnam War activists.

The final cut

But the consequences of what Foreman tried to bring about in High Noon were dire; in 1952, fascism had already been thoroughly discredited in the United States... which left Communism as the only viable form of anti-Americanism that was acceptable to the intellectual elite. And Communism then still meant Josef Stalin, who had killed tens of millions and was obsessed with infiltrating and overthrowing democracies around the world, including the United States.

By a direct and logical chain of reason then, High Noon was intended to achieve the following:

  • Vindicate its screenwriter's (Foreman was also associate producer) stand against HUAC;
  • Brand as cowards all those who thwarted the Party's radical agenda;
  • Undercut Americans' sense of themselves as exceptional and different from the corrupt and decadent democracies of Europe, which were toppling to Communism one by one;
  • Fatally damage the morale of American citizens while we were at war with an expansionist Communist dictatorship backed by both the Soviet Union and Red China;
  • Delegitimize our government, which was steadfastly waging that war;
  • And ultimately bring about a Red victory in Korea that would be a stepping stone to the communization of all of Asia.

Draw a loop from Eastern Europe, down around Turkey, the Arab states, around India, south of Indonesia, hooking around the Philippines, encompassing Japan, around Siberia, and back across the north to Eastern Europe; that would likely have been the Communist sphere of influence, had we lost the Korean War.

That would have been significantly larger and more powerful than what historically happened; if Korea were a unified "people's republic," I don't see how Japan, Singapore, and the Philippines could have survived as independent countries, not to mention the British city-state of Hong Kong. Such a military defeat might even have emboldened the ChiComs enough to endanger Australia and New Zealand.

Reds would have given virtually anything to have achieved all that. While I assail Carl Foreman's vile anti-Americanism, it's tough not to admire his nerve.

Foreman came close on many of those points, just as his political co-conspirators today try to degrade and smear America anent the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis. Fortunately, as strong as was the Hollywood Party in the mid-twentieth century -- and the Hollywood Ummah today -- its enemies are stronger... but only because we remain vigilant.

That's my story; the prosecution rests. If anyone wants to mount a defense for the movie's moral corruption, be my guest.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery, naturally enough...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 22, 2009, at the time of 7:26 PM

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The following hissed in response by: LarryD

John Wayne loathed High Noon and teamed up with Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo in response.

An example of what really append in the old west is the Dalton gang attempt to rob two banks in Coffeyville Kansas in 1892. Only one member of the gang survived.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2009 7:05 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Awesome and hilarious, Dafydd. I had no idea. Still - I like the movie. Who cares what creepy insanity the film-maker had in mind? Give me Animal Farm any time - a school child can understand the analogy without trouble. Here, the parable is pretty much irrelevant. If you decide to fun me and tell me that Foreman was from the KKK, cruelly oppressed by the Civil Rights leaders - or from the Audobon Society, cruelly oppressed by the Polluting Corporation - or whatever, we would have pretty much the same movie.
Personally, I think the state of Israel in 1967, abandoned by the world and its so-called friends, standing on its own against Arab nations on all sides, is a much better analogy than any of these.

As to the un-American cowardly townspeople, I did catch that when I saw the movie. But I never saw it as an indictment of the Old West. Rather, it just seemed like a story of how the sheriff dealt with being in a particularly pathetic town.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2009 7:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel

I just read the Wikipedia entry on the plot. I can see what you say the author had in mind, but I would agree with MikeR that the state of Israel is a better analogy for the Marshall.

I would also say that Frank Miller is actually a could representative for leaders of the U.S. Communist Party, while Ronald Reagan is a good analogy for Marshal Kane.

I would say that the description of the movie shows that the author actually wrote something that was the opposite of what he thought he was doing. The townspeople are a good example of what people who buy into the leftist propaganda would become.

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2009 8:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: NVA Patriot

Thank you - I grew up as a kid watching western re-runs on UHF channels (time before cable) I enjoyed many of them (spagetti Westerns) and the shows like Wild Wild West. I never liked High Noon. No matter how many times I watched it - it bothered me even though I knew it was a well done movie.

After reading your post I see why it bothered me - Americans and Free people don't act like that against thugs. They act like the people of Hondorus or the 70,000 /sarc people in Washington on 9/12.

The above hissed in response by: NVA Patriot [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2009 11:52 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Sabba Hillel:

I would also say that Frank Miller is actually a could representative for leaders of the U.S. Communist Party, while Ronald Reagan is a good analogy for Marshal Kane.

Heh, if Reagan had been in Hadleyville instead of Kane, he would have been so persuasive that when Frank Miller's train arrived, every adult male would have been at the station -- and half the women! -- each toting a Springfield Krag-Jørgensen magazine-fed bolt-action rifle (the standard U.S. Army rifle at the time), because Reagan would have spent the time and money to properly equip the town armory during all the years before Frank Miller was a-comin' to town.

And all ten deputies would be there with Maxim machine guns. Frank would have taken one look out the window, then quickly called the conductor to upgrade his ticket to San Francisco.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2009 12:09 PM

The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel


You are probably right about Ronald Reagan. However, I once saw an article about how an author would be the last person to ask about the meaning of a work of fiction. In this case, I would say that the townspeople are the result of a long period of "peace and quiet". As the Wikipedia entry says

>blockquote>Will Kane (Gary Cooper), the longtime marshal of Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, has just married pacifist Quaker Amy (Grace Kelly) and turned in his badge. He prepares to move away to become a storekeeper.

This sounds like someone at the end of his career counting the days until retirement. It takes the crisis to remind him of the original principles. The townspeople are the result of the years of complacency that preceded the incident and have grown soft and forgotten where they came from. I can see why it is historically inaccurate, but consider the problems we had getting retrained for World War II and the leftist actions nowadays.

The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2009 6:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Don't know if you hear about comments on old posts, Dafydd. Guess I'll find out!

I've recently rediscovered a TV program I loved in my childhood, "Kung Fu", with David Carradine. So I've been watching some of the old episodes. I still enjoy it --- but I've been very struck by what a remarkable moral mess the show is. For a saintly personality (I don't think there is a single show where Caine does anything he considers wrong, except in flashbacks to his youth), Caine is a dreadfully immoral liberal:
1) Caine disapproves of guns. For some reason, I don't think it surprising that a master of kung fu would find the world more congenial if no one had guns.
2) He also disapproves of people defending themselves with guns. He is always ready with some snide remark (seriously and gently spoken, of course) whenever anyone plans to do so. "Why would I want to use a gun to kill a man?"
3) Caine, of course, is very capable of defending himself. It never seems to occur to him that other people might need guns more than he does. He applies his strict moral code freely to all.
4) In every show, there are a number of fighting situations (usually about two). In some, he avoids fighting (or doesn't attempt to finish off the bad guys). Very often someone good is killed early on in the show, generally because of Caine's inaction or slowness. At other times, he does fight and mops up the bad guys. The only pattern I've been able to detect to distinguish when he will fight to win from when he won't is that generally the times that he will fight are close to an hour from the beginning of the show.
5) He disapproves of lies, even to save someone's life, including his own. He learned this from Master Po.
6) Caine disapproves of "vengeance". This is the term used for any attempt to attack back. It apparently makes no difference how evil the attackers were; it is wrong to fight except in immediate self-defense. I saw one show where even judicial punishment was included: "I would never consider hanging to be - justice!"

Aside from the moral issues, a lot of the philosophy is pretty dumb. Master Po and Master Kan rarely or never say anything that makes any sense, though it always sounds profound. They are often kind and loving, and often absolutely obnoxious. They throw young students out of the temple left and right, for losing a fight, for making a wrong comment, for having a girl friend... You have to watch a couple of dozen shows in a short time to see the attrition rate. Never Kwai Chen, of course, though he messes up big on a weekly basis. Seems pretty random, though I guess they just liked him.

I still enjoy the show!

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2010 9:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I get an e-mail from the server whenever anybody comments on any post, no matter how old.

I loved Kung Fu as a teen, when it was in its first run; I think I noticed the liberalness -- I was a Milton Friedman libertarian at the time -- but since I never expect Hollywood or Hollywood actors to have a coherent philosophy anyway, I just enjoyed it for what it was.

I'm much more annoyed (today) by another show I watched around the same time, the Waltons; in that case, was irks me is how untrue the show is to the time and place in which it purports to be set: The series begins in 1932, I believe, and travels all the way through World War II. It takes place in deeply rural Virginia, the heart of the Confederacy; and John-Boy's grandfather remembers his own grandfather fighting in that war -- on the side of the South, of course. And this is right in the midst of Jim Crow, of course.

Yet not a single regular on that show harbors any racial prejudice at all. Nobody; none. In fact, there is only one black person who lives anywhere near Walton's Mountain: Gertie, who is, of course, treated as a total equal by all the whites.

Worse, they are all good, solid, Rooseveltian liberals! Everybody dotes on FDR and considers him virtually a messiah... evidently the producers were literally unaware that there was always a lot of opposition to the God of the Liberals, even during his terms in office; and much of that opposition (hatred in many case) was located in the deep South and in the rural Middle West, where people prized their independence and hated socialism.

It's difficult for most Americans today to accept, but Roosevelt only got above 60% of the votes for one of his four presidential elections, 1936; in that one, he got 60.8% to Alf Landon's 36.5. In '32, '40, and '44 he got 57.4%, 54.7%, and 53.4%, respectively (that last being nearly identical to what Barack H. Obama got in 2008 -- and Ronald Reagan in 1984 got 58.8%, better than FDR in all but the 1936 landslide.

The Waltons purported to be historically accurate (that is, it played itself as if it were a straight drama set in that era); but it was untrue to the time and place it chose. I hate untruthfulness more than anything else in a work of art.

Now, Kung Fu was true -- to the mythical Old West, post-1960 edition. That is, it's true to other Westerns that were being made then, both movies and TV... the world of Bonanza, for example, was every bit as liberal but was likewise true to that milieu, just as John Wayne's movies were true to an earlier Old-West milieu.

(Another example of an untrue series is M*A*S*H, which purports to be set during the Korean War, but is in fact set during the Vietnam War: Every "good" character in that show is a dyed-in-the-brain Hollywood liberal, including Col. Sherman T. Potter... who was born in Missouri in 1900 and grew up in the Midwest and in the Army. Every one of the "good" characters loathes the military, is a pacifist, votes only for ultra-liberal Democrats, and thinks the war is stupid and unwinnable -- despite the fact that we won it! South Korea exists to this day.

By contrast, every character who holds to conservative views -- Frank Burns, Charles Emerson Winchester the Thud, and an array of regular-Army commanders -- is depicted as either stupid or bigoted.

Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan is a particularly juicy case: In the beginning, she is a conservative, and she is depicted as vapid, hysterical, bullying, and hypocritical.

Loretta Swit complained and wanted them to expand her character. So Houlihan gradually become more compassionate, intelligent, wise, and with an emotional component that made her more believable as a woman -- and the show stopped calling her "Hot Lips."

She shifted from being a foil, a "bad" character, to a "good" one... so naturally, she also turned into a liberal. Towards the end of the series, her politics were indistinguishable from Hawkeye's or B.J.'s... which were themselves indistinguishable from the politics of Alan Alda and Mike Farrell, two hard-Left liberal activists. (The latter is considered extreme even by Hollywood standards.)

That show was about the most dishonest ever put on TV; it's difficult for me even to watch it these days, even when I'm bored.

As far as your other complaint about Kung Fu, I don't agree with you that Masters Po and Kan "rarely or never say anything that makes any sense, though it always sounds profound." It seemed to me to be fairly straightforward Buddhist and Confucian philosophy, mingled together higgledy-piggledy.

Maybe a little hippie-dippie, crystal-magic, woo-woo thrown in, but not too much. (And of course, there were occasionally actual fantasy plots, where Caine fought real demons or monsters, later in the series.)

If you read a lot of Alan Watts, for example, you should have no trouble understanding the Kung-Fu philosophy; whether you agree with it is a different question, of course!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 10, 2010 1:06 PM

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