Jack Reacher Is The Cultural Antidote To Our Testicularly-Challenged Times
This week I finished watching Amazon Prime Video’s excellent rendition of Reacher, which is based on a series of novels by Lee Child.
The character Jack Reacher, a 6-5 strapping hulk of a man, is well played by Alan Richson, who actually looks like the character Child portrays.
He is certainly a far cry from the Reacher played by the miscast Tom Cruise in two films. For one, Cruise is just too small. Not sure of his height, but his ex-wives, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, each embraced their divorces saying they now could wear high-heels again. And for another, Cruise is just too damned pretty.
Richson’s Jack Reacher is destined to be seen as the kind of masculine action hero that includes the likes of Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry series and Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt.
As such, he represents an American trope of the silent but strong cowboy archetype typified in Owen Wister’s novel The Virginian, which was dedicated to Wister’s friend Teddy Roosevelt.
In an early scene, the Virginian and a layabout gambler named Trampas are playing poker and it’s the Virginian’s turn to bet. He takes his time. “You bet, you son-of-a- ––––” Trampas starts to say.
Suddenly the Virginian produces a gun, and without pointing it at Trampas lays it on the table with his hand still on it. He quietly says, “When you call me that, smile.” Thus he allows Trampas a way out, and Trampas takes advantage of it.
It is all part of the masculine code of the West.
Later, trying to explain the more brutal ways of the West to the schoolmarm from back East, the Virginian tells her, “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”
Short and succinct, he is telling her there are certain duties that men in a lawless and culturally deprived land are required to fulfill in order to maintain their masculine honor.
That notion of the strong and silent cowboy later is transformed into the hard-boiled detective in novels by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and others. Again, there is a code of masculinity that is part of the expectation of honor among these detectives.
As such, these heroes, and one can add Eastwood’s Harry Callahan, McQueen’s Frank Bullitt, and Richson’s Jack Reacher to the list, provide models that generations of young men have drawn upon to teach them about how to be a man, what is to be valued, and that honor and duty are among life’s most treasured realities.
They are lessons we seem to have lost.
Michael Walsh, who has written several books critical of the cultural turn we’ve taken in recent years, writes in his latest: “Western art and culture is the story of heroes, not groups. What may seem today to be antiquated concepts of honor, virtue, glory, and the chivalric protection of women and children we forsake at our existential peril.”
The current feminization of men and the attempts to destroy the nuclear family have had a devastating effect on our culture.
Just think of that emblematic symbol of Obamacare, Pajama Boy. Think of the contrast between Obama on a bicycle and Putin on horseback. Of course, Putin’s latest work in Ukraine is perhaps an example of what some feminists and other cultural critics call toxic masculinity.
Regardless, compare and contrast military recruitment videos from China, Russia and the U.S. Which conveys the masculine virtues of bravery, honor, and a martial spirit?
I suppose this is on my mind because of what is happening in Ukraine, in particular the story of the Snake Island soldiers threatened with extinction by a Russian warship.
“This is a Russian warship,” the captain of the vessel tells the defending soldiers. “I propose you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”
In response, someone from the island said, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”
Not the most prudent of responses, but war isn’t about prudence. It is about masculine honor, national pride, defending the homeland and its women and children, and the oaths one makes and follows to the death.
Such values are almost quaint these days in America.
Content syndicated from TheBlueStateConservative.com with permission.
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I think you should add Nolen’s Dark Knight series to your list. Each part of the trilogy expresses concerns about society and how an individual stood up, made his voice heard, and acted accordingly.