Thursday, January 22, 2015

America's golden era: Ladies and gentlemen, "left" and right

Liberals then weren't like liberals now. For all their problems, the (often Jewish) neoconservatives were in part a regrouping of the old, honorable '60s Cold War liberals, rightly appalled by the hippies and the New Left, cultural Marxism. (Jewish gentlemen who loved America, appreciative of the great home it has been for them.) The down side, of course: Trotskyism's still Trotskyism.

First, Bob Wallace quotes Bill Kauffman (Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists, echoing liberal gentleman George McGovern's "Come Home, America"), on a great beauty then, Donna Reed:
At some point in post-World War II America, the Middle West and all its Middle American manifestations became inexplicable. Take Donna Reed, without question the most beautifully American-looking actress of the Cold War era. Donna was an Iowa girl, a tomboy who grew up playing baseball with her brothers on the farm — watch her hurl that rock at the window of the old Granville place in “It’s a Wonderful Life”; what a wonderful arm! She was an Iowa Republican who was for her fellow Iowan Henry Wallace in 1948, for Barry Goldwater in 1964 because the Kennedy-Johnson Democrats offended her Iowa isolationism, and for Eugene McCarthy in 1968 for the same reason. Viewed through old-fashioned American glasses, Reed’s politics make perfect sense as the expression of a girl who attended the one-room schoolhouse in Nishnabotna, Iowa, and won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair for the whole-wheat yeast rolls she made for the Nimble Fingers 4-H Club. It is only in the funhouse mirror of postwar American politics that the Donna Reeds are contorted and the Arnold Schwarzeneggers look normal.
I like both Goldwater and Gene McCarthy too; both would have been fine presidents.

Next, Ex-Army quotes J. Neil Schulman's appreciation of Jack Webb. His shows were the "Cops" of their day, intentional good publicity for the police, resorting to re-enactments because filming or videoing ride-alongs wasn't practical yet. Interesting and inexpensive to make because the stories are public-domain: they're true.
Jack Webb was a cold-war liberal, which in the 1960′s meant that he was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking social conservative equally against communists, racists, and drug-using hippies. He believed in law-and-order, and was both pro-police and pro-military, though he never served as either* (unlike "Star Trek"'s very liberal creator, Gene Roddenberry, who served as both a World War II combat pilot and an LAPD officer).

To say that Jack Webb was “by the book” described both the philosophy he imparted to his loquacious police characters and his own production methods.

Jack Webb was a drug-warrior in the tradition of Harry J. Anslinger, who headed up the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962. But when Jack Webb said he was for law and order he meant it. His shows had zero tolerance of police corruption, grandstanding, criminality under color of law, or incompetence, and when he showed police doing their job “by the book” it meant not even bending the law. In the very first episode of “Dragnet 1967,” “The LSD Story,” Webb’s script (credited as John Randolph), broadcast 48 years ago this week, portrays the LAPD detectives unable to make an arrest for possession or use of the drug because it was not on a schedule of illegal substances. Sgt. Friday bemoans his inability to “save” underage kids from this menace — but, ultimately, he obeys the law which says it’s legal.

“Adam 12”’s Officers Malloy and Reed won’t even make an arrest when the law says it’s a misdemeanor they haven’t personally witnessed but ask the female witness to make a citizen’s arrest.

Everyone gets read their Miranda rights.
A jazz fan in real life, he was briefly married to and good friends with Julie London.

*He washed out of Army Air Forces training. Life is about second acts.

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